The fun #AtoZChallenge 2016 Theme Reveal

“Do or Do Not; there is no Try”~Yoda, Jedi Master

It’s the first day after the first day of Spring. That means it’s the end of March. That means bloggers around the world unite in mass hysteria for the phenomenon:

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

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Every April, participating bloggers write daily posts–except on Sundays–that correspond to that day’s letter of the alphabet.
AtoZ-BlogChallenge-2016-AprilBadgeApril 1 is for the letter A, the first letter; April 2 is the letter B; April 3…well, you get the idea. The topic is anything you want, or nothing at all. Bloggers will pre-write and schedule posts so they can better blog hop while others just write on a whim each day. Photos, recipes, favorite books, villains, teddy bears…you name it, and the theme is probably there. It’s November’s NaNoWriMo for bloggers.

Last year was my first time participating, and it was quite a flop. I only completed half the month’s worth of posts because I created a theme that just exploded into a delicious mess of complications. My theme “26 Ways to Procrastinate a Writer” was designed to be a humorous look at the ways we writers procrastinate, and how we allow others to enable us in distractions. What started out as short tips led to longer, detailed explorations. Then Jayne came in. She was my flash fiction to show by example what the distraction can do to a writer. Her life developed in a soap opera.

See? Complicated. Way too much for this talent-yet-unplanned writer. My April 2, 2015 post should have been “B is for…Blogging from A to Z” because I buried myself in expectations.

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This year, I’m keeping it simple–simpler, at least–with:
Alphabet Haiku

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The idea did not spring forth because April is National Poetry month, although that’s a nice happenstance. This theme came from a haiku challenge I had started on a now-defunct (?) social app community called Heyku. Later renamed Ku, my app stopped working, and I haven’t confirmed its non-existence on Facebook, since FB is the only place people actually communicate with others. Anyway, I did an alphabet challenge where every word of a haiku began with the same letter. I almost reached the end–“W” for werewolves never posted on the app site–but I never got to Z. Old photos on my phone reminded me of this, and it seemed like a good thing to revisit.

I will NOT reuse any of those old haikus. That’s part of my challenge. I may mix it up a bit: all words begin with the same letter, end with the same letter, rhyme somehow…I’m not sure how things will shake up.

If you followed last year’s adventures, I will also be finishing up those Procrastination posts of Jayne and her Writeself. They’ve been a weight hanging over me, one I cannot let go of. I need to finish them. Knowing that many of them are mostly-written makes me feel somewhat positive about completing. Again, I’m not sure how things will shake up; as my husband says with annoying regularity: “We’ll see.”

If you want to see what other bloggers are doing, check out the Theme Reveal here. As of this post, there’s almost 500 bloggers participating.

Grab hold of your horizon

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”~Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister

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Yes, you should remember little moments

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”~Winston Churchill, English statesman

NOTE: apologies to Diva visitors; I initially uploaded last week’s linky code to this week’s challenge.

Do you remember last month? Heck, do you remember yesterday?

I appreciate the little things, yet sometimes I need a visual reminder of those little things so I can remember to appreciate them in the future. What about you? Do you forget little things like making all the green lights on the drive home? While that’s not a good example of capturing the image on film/digital media–always keep both hands on the wheel while driving and make bluetooth, hands-free phone calls–what are some tiny things that made your days?

For me, I looked at my phone at 4:44 on May 4th–Star Wars Day–and was able to capture that moment with a reminder pop-up on my phone’s screen. Cool coincidence!

My tree. I see her death and her rebirth. Follow the full journey over at #TheWritersTree on my Instagram feed.  I am so pleased, nervous, scared, happy and joy-full over her daily growth and change. Little changes every day: a new bud here, a larger leaf furl the next.

Zentangle classes at Great Lakes Mega Meet and Baker’s Studio. Happy students. Stunning images.

Back on the WiiFit, the highest step scores to date, and I’m lookin’ fine doing this.

A navy blue evening sky. Creating my first refrigerator magnet haiku on my new phone app. Taco Tuesday–I had totally forgotten about that! An inspirational cough drop wrapper. Funky manicure color. Calming moment sitting on a wall one evening next to a highway. Yes, I found that relaxing, and I want to do it again.

I note my lack of coffeeshop photos, signaling a lack of writing. I miss that. Reminders don’t always have to be positive, but they shouldn’t make us feel guilty. I’m not, just sad that I didn’t make the time.

In a moment to make more time for things I like comes this week’s Diva Zentangle Challenge 220 is the monthly Use My Tangle (UMT) post.

I have some half-finished tiles that I carry around in my Zentangle leather wallet–thanks to Laura, the Diva herself and the Blog Friendship Cup–and those tiles annoy me. Every time I look at them. It’s an incomplete feeling, a stubborn emptiness, an almost-hatred for their stalled completion. I decided to get them out of my life, and wallet, to make room for new, blank creativity. Incorporating a Diva Challenge into one of those was an increased challenge.

I not going to tell you what was new and what was old, but I was thrilled enough that my hands were not steady. The lines on All Boxed Up are uneven, but it’s a comfortable, flowing tangle full of auras. I like that aspect of tangles, and I like the sense of happiness at reviving an older, unfinished tile.

I have two more tiles like that–at least that I know of. This is exciting.

Another little moment to remember. What about you? Is this one of those moments?

There’s a haiku on the horizon

“Very few of us are what we seem,”~Agatha Christie, English writer

Check out the poetic entries at Haiku Horizons. This week’s theme: song.

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Haiku Horizons #66: song

Here there be Haiku

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life.”~Walter Anderson, German writer

I’m in a whimsical poetic mood. Enjoy.

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Why it’s okay not to write

“The sun is new each day.”~Heraclitus, Greek philosopher

Did you ever have a day that was productive but not? That went by so slow but all of a sudden it’s bedtime? Things you thought were wrong were actually right, at least along the correct path? That everything seemed old and stagnant, but then someone points out something cool about you or your work?

I was re-introduced to my writing. Guess what? (go on, take a guess) I was the one who reintroduced myself, reminding me that I can string words along in a pretty good sentence or poem. Before I head off to do some more serious edits–or maybe add more words in again, who knows?– I’m sharing some writing images. Thanks to Marcie at Overcoming Bloggers Block for saying that it’s not cheating to do a blog post of just photos somedays. They tell a story, too.

If you like these and want to see even more of my writing universe, visit my Instagram feed and say “Hi.” The “social” aspect of social media always starts with a conversation.

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Alliterating the alphabet via @Kuapp

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Glimpse into my writing world

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As good as customer service can be

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Address book becomes new journal. The B&N cashier handed the book back just like this. Struck me as a cool image.

Writing thoughts on how to be successful

“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.”~Ernest Holmes, American Theologist

“I want to be a writer.”

I hear this from strangers. I hear this from my writers group. I hear this from NaNoWriMo participants and winners. I also hear it from published authors.

I am a writer.

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NFPW 2014 National Award for my Star Trek book

I’ve often imagined being interviewed on TV or for a magazine–who hasn’t?–and I would say “I’m a good writer. No, I’m a great writer. I also know I can learn more and my craft can be refined.”

I don’t need validation to prove I’m a great writer, but it sure doesn’t hurt!

Maybe you’re someone who just picks up a pen and scribbles words and images. What do you want to be? Are you a writer? Are you an artist? You have to believe in yourself and, if necessary, prove to yourself that you are what you want to be.

Even though I am a great writer, I need to remind myself. How do I do that?

Well, I write.

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The first Michigan Scrapbooker article with my new headshot

I am fortunate to have publishing opportunities, like writing two columns for Michigan Scrapbooker Magazine. My latest article combines my love of writing with scrapbooking funky little mini albums. Check out my current article creating map mini albums, pages 18-19. Don’t stop there. Explore all the digital issues. Support this free, magazine, especially if you live in Michigan.

I belong to an awesome writing critique group, Deadwood Writers. It’s tough to find a strong support network, but these people are that. They cut apart my submitted manuscripts into teeny tiny word scraps, and I love them for that. I took writing classes in college, and those classes taught me to have a thick skin when it comes to suggested revisions. I get nothing from people who comment, “Oh, that’s a nice piece.” The most useful thing is for someone to tell me, “This sentence doesn’t work. This whole paragraph is redundant. You’re telling us, not showing us. Consider rewriting this whole page.” To those people, I say, Thank You! The story is mine to write, the direction is mine to write, but it’s good to know what is confusing or awkward to others.

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Instagram images by writer me!

So we practice writing. One year ago, the group began a website, Deadwood Writers Voices. I have a monthly column. My blog posts appear on the 18th of the month, and they tend to focus on my adventures in self publishing. My latest post discusses how I use Instagram to promote my writing and discover a community.

Twitter is another place I find a community of people and writers who share wisdom and knowledge, and they have fun playing in 140 characters or less. One user, @WriterlyTweets, does a weekly six-word story challenge. My Tweet this week was popular and shared, or retweeted, almost a dozen times. It may not seem like a lot, but I’m feeling the Twitter Love. How can you not put six simple words out there? Success and belief starts with small steps. Six words is a good starting point.

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Twitter Love from other writers

I also find outlets to give me a fresh perspective on writing. Coffee shops are my favorite. Yes, I am that trendy hipster sitting in the corner, typing on my laptop or scribbling revisions on copy paper and notepads. You can also find the unexpected in places like that. An independent bookstore in Ann Arbor, Literati, just opened a coffee shop on the second floor. That’s it: a coffee shop. The Espresso Bar serves coffee and espresso drinks. No pastries, no sandwiches, nothing to distract you from the fresh locally-roasted coffee. The basement, however, houses nonfiction books and…hold your breath…a typewriter. No, a real typewriter. Completely manual. The carriage return level must be pushed by hand to move down to the next line.

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Remember when you had to hold your breath lest you made a mistake? Or maybe you don’t recall any machine that didn’t have spellcheck. Whether it’s a throwback or discovery for you, the store encourages you to type thoughts of wisdom or craziness or just words. I can’t resist myself, and I make it a point to carefully compose words before I leave. The deliberateness of it all, the tentative way my fingers hover over the keys, the purposeful punch each finger makes…it all scares me and frees me. This is my latest contribution, a haiku about writing.

Do you have a place to inspire you to create you? If not, find one!

Random Fridays are the best fridays

“Rough diamonds may sometimes be mistaken for worthless pebbles.”~Thomas Browne, British scientist

Today has been a delightful cacophony of events.

I started the day off writing in my local Starbucks. I began composing this post there with the help of my Office Guys.

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Snufflet and Finse help with the writing

 

I attended a mandatory training session for my job.

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I posted some haiku poetry on Instagram.
For more fun stuff by me, check out my Instagram feed.

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I met my friend for a crop at the newest and coolest scrapbook store to hit southeastern Michigan, Baker’s Studio. It’s in the heart of downtown Farmington.  What a fantabulous location: down the street from a Starbucks, next door to a used bookstore and above a burger joint.

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Scrapbooking an overdue calendar gift with some crop Guys

 

Dinner from said restaurant, the original Basement Burger Bar. The restaurant delivers to us upstairs.  We hear the jumpin’ Friday night live music sessions upstairs in the store. Some bands are delightful…some are…well….

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Turkey burger, funky toppings and sweet potato fries. Feeling hungry?

 

There was a surprise activity tonight: a free makeup and photo session at Mike Greer Photography, a business located above the scrapbook store.

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Before-Diva pea

 

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After-Diva pea

 

And some of the finest screw-top wine I’ve had in a long time.

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Finally home. Working out on the WiiFit tonight? H-E-Double-hockey-sticks no! Home to hug my husband. I hope you had a fun, filled day. Good night!

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It’s a sad, lonely night for my WiiFit board

Remember the good times

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”~Confucius, Chinese philosopher

Playing games. Stylin’ a new haircut. Stuffed animals and Slurpees.

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Always send spontaneous happy texts or make surprise phone calls.

A bird on the back deck. Coffee and coffee, then throw in a little more coffee. Toss in a little writing and a smidge of art, and you have a recipe for fun days.

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