Monday, May 2, 2011

A-Z CHALLENGE REFLECTIONS

PARTICIPANT 852


If there's such a thing as a busy retiree, then I'm one:  I run two households (including their gardens), grow, nurture, harvest and market crops, and entertain visitors on a four acre farm with a number of goats and chickens.  I chase wild boars, get rid of pests, cut the grass, pull out weeds, watch the birds and nest the bats and the bees. I build BBQ pit, am a repairman, and I mend the fencing too.  I maintain two cars, two dogs, some rusty old machines, and occasionally babysit two grandchildren.

When I'm hungry I cook, and when my clothes are dirty I wash them.

Why in the world would I want to join a Challenge which requires me to write every single day except Sunday for a whole month?  The Challenge is organized and participated by writers - not just ordinary writers but a number of them are published and accomplished ones.  The rest are on the way to being published. I'm a farmer for crying out loud!

There's the generation gap too.

The introvert in me held me back.  I could still hear the voice: "No, Grandpa don't go there, you'll be the ugly duckling".  Mr. Inferiority Complex was making a comeback, I knew.

Then I read and reread Arlee's and Alex's introduction, their strategy and guidance. I was convinced that it's worth a try. After some hesitation I clicked the 'join' button. I was participant number 852. That's how long I hesitated!

Then came the pang. The agony. What have I got myself into?  I started blogging 'seriously'  in August last year.  By seriously I mean an average of two posts a week. Or 8 to 10 a month.  Now I'm supposed to do 26!  Am I crazy or what??  If my durians and goats knew what I was getting myself into they would surely revolt.

But a commitment is a commitment.  No getting out of it. Come rain, shine, or thunderstorm. Durians dropping, customers waiting in line, goats waiting to be nursed, fed and milked, Irfan and Zaqwan screaming away wanting me to continue with their kindy classes, had to be mere distractions.

The adventure began, and I wrote and wrote.  From A to Z.  I had never written so much in my life!

Now thankfully I can proudly say "I did it!".  It is with a great sense of pride and satisfaction I now display this Award, beautifully crafted by Elizabeth Mueller :





Even though it was a daunting task I must say I enjoyed writing every single one of those posts. The challenge had disciplined me into writing every day. Constancy in purpose in the key to success, someone said. And this is proof.

I didn't get many new followers, not in absolute numbers anyway, but they did increase by a good percentage.  This is understandable.  Not many writers I reckon would be interested in farming, otherwise they would be farmers.  But visitors to this blog would realise that it is more about Life and less about farming. That's why I label this blog as My Look at Life and My Book of Life.

Those who did visit (and I have a number of awesome regulars) gave thoughtful, inspiring and encouraging comments. They are the reason for me to go on writing. They are friends who had stayed by me in good and troubled times.  Thank you all!

I had the opportunity of visiting and following some delightful blogs and made wonderful new friends.

All in all it has been a thoroughly enjoyable and exhilarating experience. I would like to thank the hosts for making it possible and for an excellent organisation.

Till we meet again - cheers!



46 comments:

small farm girl said...

We enjoyed your post too! I'm glad you made the promise to write.

Armand Cordero said...

Congrats on completing the challenge ! It's great that you were able to do it whilst leading such a busy life. Really goes to show that an organised plan of action/formula really helps to.. in this case, write everyday :)

Aishah said...

This is a wonderful reflection Grandpa. The regular readers and commenters that we build friendships on that count. And you have written beautifully and intimately and we could share-in your love of your farm, your family and your life.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

So much to do, all in a day's work! Kudos for doing it all and enjoying it. Congrates on achieving the challenge. I would love to visit your farm.

sue said...

Hi Grandpa. I had similar thoughts prior to the challenge, I'm not a writer and it seemed such a huge commitment. That I completed is very satisfying, and it is due to the encouragement of bloggers such as yourself that I dragged myself over the finish line. I'm so grateful you were there to pick me up and give me that boost when I needed it. It's been a pleasure to meet you, and I'm glad the durians goats and children coped with your blogging schedule. The children will be proud when they understand what it means! Sue@traverselife

baygirl32 said...

Ah Grandpa, I'm glad you decided to jump with both feet. I have enjoyed comming here during April and admire your commitment to the challenge. I think we all deserve a big round of applause. I'm no writer, but I jumped. I will be back many more times to visit I am sure.

Su said...

Yay! I'm so glad you joined in-- I enjoyed reading your posts when I was able to come round. And I don't think anyone in their right mind would call you anything BUT busy!

Niki said...

You are just beautiful and a wonderful bloggie friend. Thank you. XXXXXXX

Lo said...

Hi, Grandpa......
I am so proud of you. Congrats on completing the challenge and posting so many wonderful pieces.

And thanks too for taking the time and trouble to leave comments on my blogs. My Jewish Grandma would say, "You are a real mensch!"

Love 'ya.

Happy Frog and I said...

Congratulation Grandpa that is some achievement. you have been so busy in April with the farm and your challenge but you have still found time to leave comments on mine and other's blogs. Thank you so much. :-)

Akelamalu said...

You did a great job Grandpa and I applaud you for rising to the challenge. :)

Rachael Harrie said...

Congrats on finishing the Challenge Grandpa. I'm so glad you decided to join in the end!

"The Challenge is organized and participated by writers - not just ordinary writers but a number of them are published and accomplished ones. The rest are on the way to being published. I'm a farmer for crying out loud!" - hmm, just so you know, I think you're a farmer AND a writer!!! :)

Hugs,

Rach

Rachel Morgan said...

Well done for joining! Even if it took you a while to click the Linky and put your blog there. You CERTAINLY weren't the last!

Joylene Butler said...

They come because your blog isn't just about farmer. It's about nurturing, appreciating nature, loving family, caring for the young, seeing the world through the innocence of a child. It's why I keep coming back.

Kudos to you, Grandpa for surviving such a workload. I'm dang proud of you because I know how tough it is. I didn't do it because I knew I'm collapse halfway. Young man, you are an inspiration.

Sheila Deeth said...

Congratulations. Looks like that was a fun and inspiring challenge.

Carol J. Garvin said...

So glad you survived the A-Z... I've always found that the more you write, the more you're able to write. You prime the pump of creativity and it inspires the imagination. :)

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

I'm glad you hopped on board! Really, I discovered quite a few blogs/bloggers of people from all walks of life. Of course, we found each other way before A-Z, and I keep coming back because you are made of awesome! (and very busy!!!)

Jennifer Hillier said...

Way to go, Grandpa!

klahanie said...

Hey Grandpa,
Although you may have worked out that my satire postings on that 'A to Z Challenge!' were somewhat cynical; I have much respect for you and all those who attempted or finished the challenge. Indeed, I would like to think it was a way of bringing together, that little bit closer, the diversity of humanity, within the blogging community.
However, I'm very glad it's over and that my blogging friends get into a more regular routine. Congrats on getting that rather ironic award eh :)
Take care, my friend.

Brooke Rousseau said...

Congrats on completing the challenge! It was fun getting to know you a little. Hope to see you around the blogs in the future.

Grandpa said...

Whooaaa! What a response! Y'all are beyond cool and made of awesome! LOVE Y'all!

When reading your comments and visiting your blogs I'm always intrigued by the way y'all write and your crafty use of words. I guess that's one of the reasons why I hang around writers so much! :)

Seriously, I'm touched beyond words, and eternally grateful for your compliments, companion and friendship.

When I write it's simply feelings put on paper - words just flow - the result is what you see on the screen. If it makes a difference to your life, or brings about some positive change, that's a great bonus. I'm happy and thankful for it.

To Sheila and Carol, Welcome to The Farm! I will pop over to your blogs in a bit. Thanks for stopping by and do look around - you might find something you like.

Thanks once again, take care and have a great week ahead.

Ann Best said...

Grandpa: I don't know how I first met you. Not through an A to Z, I do know that. But if I hadn't met you--if you hadn't been on Blogger with your awesome blog--I would have missed out on meeting a wonderful person. Heck, I'm a Grandma. Never thought I'd be blogging OR publishing a book at my age. I so appreciate your support, and I love coming over here and seeing your wonderful photographs, your smiling face, and all the green. My daughter Jen LOVES the green too, her favorite color.

Just keep writing, at least for as long as I can keep doing this too.
You're just one of the nicest people I know!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Niki said...

ooh Grandpa. A tornado went through part of Auckland so perhaps not so safe!! One of my daughters is up there at University, but she is ok. I think one or two people were killed.

Grandpa said...

Thanks for the alert Niki. Will follow development closely and decide if we should still go...

Misha said...

Well done! I think it's awesome that you could jump from posting twice a week to three times that much.

I will try my best to become a regular. ^_^

Count Sneaky said...

Congratulatulations Grandpa from one Grandpa to another who probably could not have survived the challenge. It is all I can do to get out one post a week...so Good Show! My best.

Arlee Bird said...

You did it, and after hearing all you've got going I don't know how you did it, but you did it! It's pretty amazing. And it's kind of nice to know us old guys can not only keep up with the youngsters, but sometimes we can stay ahead of them.

Thanks for being a part of this thing and infusing so much positive energy into it. Next April will be a breeze for you.


Don't forget to pick up your Winner's Badge at my site.
Lee
Tossing It Out

Lisa said...

Sounds like you took a risk that end up well. Glad you have a great experience. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Lisa
InspiredbyLisa

Mercy a.k.a Rogue said...

Well done Grandpa and congratulations. You did a wonderful job during the challenge and I look forward to reading many more posts from you. Your encouraging words during the challenge were so much appreciated.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

But you did it! And you were a good commentor on other blogs as well. Glad you signed up for the Challenge. Keep on blogging!

L'Aussie said...

You did great Grandpa. I loved your posts. It's a wonder you didn't get more followers.

Denise<3

Join the new Romantic Friday Writers Group.

K.C. Woolf said...

It's interesting to see that no matter how we live or how old we are, our issues and anxieties are pretty much the same.

I'm glad you decided to take part, and happy to discover your blog now! :-)

walk2write said...

Greetings from northern Florida (almost southern Georgia)! Now that the Challenge is over, I'm able to visit many more of the blogs I missed in April. I'm glad I found yours in the followup.

Hart Johnson said...

Congratulations for making it to the end! And I think life, farming, and all that is great blog stuff. Yes, I blog about writing stuff a lot and follow a lot of writing blogs, but I like the blogs BEST where i get to know the bloggers--PEOPLE... and I think you do that quite well. I love your humor.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Hi Grandpa! I loved the challenge - I got to learn so much about you. As Rach know, I struggle also, with being a "writer" so I'm watching your progress closely. I like that she said you are a writer AND a farmer. I think I can get comfortable with that also.

Have a great day! (And no powerpoint presentations! ha ha ha ha ha ha)

alisonamazed said...

Congratulations on taking up the challenge and completing it! Sounds like you have a great life there. Beautiful photos also. Looks a slice of heaven.
Alison

SJerZGirl said...

I'm so sorry I missed your A-Z blogs. I'm going to have to go through them. You make them sound like loads of fun to read. Join us, won't you, on a new adventure for the month of May. Z to A in May. Same rules as Arlee. You'll find the link to the sponsor of the challenge in my blog.

Stopping by from the Z to A in May Challenge. You can find me at:
The Frustrated Foodie

SJerZGirl said...

One of my former classmates now lives in the Philippines. I don't know where, but if you see a big burly guy named Ben who likes to play soccer (football) and who used to be an auctioneer and antiques appraiser in New Jersey, that's him!

Missed Periods said...

My husband would do anything to live a simple, tranquil farm life like yours. Maybe he's onto something; you look very content.

secret agent woman said...

Whew! You really do stay busy! Bet you're relieved to have the challenge done I felt that about finishing up a daily photo challenge I accepted.

Susan Kane said...

I enjoyed your reflection on the A-Z blogfest. I felt like I was jumping into the deep end of a large swimming pool.
Keep writing!

Stephen Tremp said...

Congrats! on finishing the Challenge. I've always wondered what it would be like to have a few acres and plant some stuff and have chickens roam the yard. Sounds like a good deal to me!

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

I enjoy your posts! When will I ever get to visit a rainforest? (Well, I got to through your blog!) I've never heard of durian fruit before either (now I want to try one). You offer a whole new world and I'm so glad you did the A to Z!

Take care, I'll be back to visit.

The Write Soil

The Manic Chef said...

Greetings Grandpa, I'm so happy for you and inspired by you. Everyone should have a Grandpa like you, maybe if I did my life wouldn't have been so lonely, insecure, chaotic, loveless. Congrats on the accomplishment, I'm proud for you, and of you, because....you stay so lovingly humble. Your family is so blessed by you....you just keep on giving...giving...giving. I wish I had a father/grandfather likened unto you, but I did not...... nevertheless I met you. I don't think I could have committed myself to such a task...oy... I'm freak'n out now just thinking about thinking about it! Thank you for being you, you are a dear man. Later.....

San said...

So thrilled to finally meet you, Grandpa. I've heard things...farming things and other things, lovely things about you :)

And congrats for completing the challenge :)

You are simply fabulous and I do hope you continue blogging. About farming, life and those looks become books...about it all :)

Cheers :)

Cara Lim a.k.a Andrea Wh@tever said...

Dear Grandpa,

Congratulations on your tenacity. I won't have lasted anything past "G" .. uhmmm.. ok, I fib...maybe "C". *LOL*

Or,

I would have cheated. And cartooned all the way to Z.

Someone once told me that you can't wait to be inspired to start writing or painting or sketching or whatever. You just have to get your head down and start doing it. The ideas will flow eventually.