Tuesday, 6 May 2014

It's the Season for Thank You's

Now that I have had a chance to sit back and reveal most of the "behind the scenes" kind of mental action (here and here) regarding my motivation and interest in participating the A-Z Blogging challenge, it is time to reflect some more on the experience of writing and what came next.

#atozchallenge2014Well, after all those "self-talks," once I started writing the A-Z posts all those noises of doubt and uncertainty gradually disappeared and a sort of an enthusiastic yet quiet sort of energy took over, and the posts kept coming together one after another. I managed to write down about half of the posts before April 1, though some final editing and formatting was done just the day before the posting date. But the remaining posts were composed during the month of April itself.

On the whole, it was a wonderful experience writing these posts on a topic that is very important to me. There was a rush of creativity which wasn't overwhelming or anything, just very fulfilling and gratifying in an understated sort of way. It was as if I was experiencing writing as a way to clarify my own thinking, becoming more sure of the thoughts going around in my head. And typing them out became a way to organize and refine those thoughts. Seeing those thoughts come out in the form of sentences, sentences that became paragraphs, and paragraphs that connected back to one another and formed a coherent piece of writing was a blessing of sorts. I could feel something like an inner guide helping me throughout, and leading me to the appropriate references, citations, photographs, videos, and other resources that would help me make the argument stronger and more substantive. I am grateful for this experience, immensely grateful.

And I am grateful to the moment when I first came to know of the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Thank you Damyanti, who was my first "in" into this blogging fest. It was through a post on her blog that I came to know about this worldwide festival of words. And after a few days of thinking and reflecting and self-talking I signed up. And then of course you all know what happened!

No, you don't know it all. Then somehow through some other blog, can't remember which, I came across this writing motivational blog called Write Tribe. And came to know about Corinne, who then informed me about a Facebook Group that had been put together to help support some of the bloggers taking part in this challenge. She was kind enough to enroll me into the group. And there I met some blogging enthusiasts whose support and encouragement throughout the month has been tremendous and a big motivator to keep going with the challenge.

In this group they brought up questions - technical and others - and gave answers, all of which really helped clarify many of the tips and tricks of the blogging world. They listened patiently whenever someone shared some sort of a trouble in their "blogging lives", acknowledged and offered words of consolation and/or advice if necessary. They read their fellow bloggers' works and encouraged them through appreciation, comments, gentle suggestions. I particularly found it helpful that they encouraged individual expression, even if it meant taking liberties with some of the commonly held conventions or written/un-written rules and practices prevalent in the blogging community, especially the ones that are often recommended during such large-scale challenges or marathons. All this and much more. A big thanks to Corinne, Vidya, Shilpa, Meena, Bhavya, Richa, and Shailja who kept the group working smoothly, and kept encouraging and helping the newbies.

I owe many more thanks. Let me list some of them here as my mind recalls, in no particular order: Usha ji, Eli, Sunila, Suzy, Jayanta, Birgit, Dagny, Rajlakshmi, Shesha, Sheela, Afshan, Nabanita, Shine, GuilieCsenge, PhenoMenon, Damaria, Debbie, Kathy, Carol, Sonia, Vishal, Maniparna, Preethi, Michelle, Srilakshmi, Marie, Jyotsna, Vinodini, Sheethal, Titli, Angela, Nisha, Tulika, Loni, Ida, Gauri, Danny, PsychBabbler, Aditi, Ananya, Arpita, Sushree, Nikita, Tom, Shiva, Monica, SherryCarrie-Anne, Seeta, Debi, Inderpreet, Sreeja, Sugandha, Shalini, ProactiveIndian, Sitara, Anusha, SulekhaPam, Prapadhya, Jemima, A Wrter, and many other bloggers who either regularly, almost regularly, frequently, or often visited my blog, read and thoughtfully engaged with the material I was sharing in the rather long A-Z posts. Their comments kept encouraging me to do better, and it was gratifying to see that some of what I was writing was actually resonating well with many readers.

My apologies to all those whose names I have missed - there were many others among the worldwide A-Z challenge participants who visited and commented -  I express my heartfelt and sincere thanks to them.

A big thanks to all the 'non-blogging' regular readers of my blogs - family, extended family, friends who remain anonymous but whose constant support and encouragement keep pushing me to do my best.

I must confess that at times a part of me felt I should have taken up a "simpler" theme (whatever this word "simpler" means), a theme which might have led to shorter posts with not so much "serious" material (whatever this word "serious" means). But then, this part was quite easily silenced by the encouraging words from my readers, and most importantly by the other part of me that kept reminding me that all outer work is done for an inner purpose. Keep that inner purpose in front of you and you will be fine!

Ultimately, all my gratitude goes to That One who is always looking after me, even when and especially when I make blunders and get a big-time ego-boost with all the praises and words of appreciation. She is the One who makes me remember that I must keep my feet on the ground when my head begins to bloat. She is the One who gently reminds me why I write this blog in the first place, and that I should not be distracted from that purpose.

And if you are somewhat familiar with this blog, you know that music and things musical get their fair share in this space. So it makes perfect sense, as I see it, to end this reflection post about my most "prolific" month of writing (so far) with a song. Now I should add right away, that this is a bit mushy kind of a song, but with a good message - of course about education. What else did you expect? I spent a whole month thinking only of that :) And somehow today I am liking this song quite a bit, mushy or not.


I am quite certain, even non-Hindi knowing readers will be able to relate to the song...sometimes words are so un-necessary. Right?

*****

Linking this post with Blogging from A-Z Challenge Reflection post.