Friday, 1 April 2011

A = April's Arrived!

 “Oh, to be in England, now that April’s here.” 
(Home Thoughts, from Abroad – Robert Browning). 

Maybe this should be re-written as ‘Oh, to be in Blogland, now that April’s here' because today I (and over 800 other bloggers) embark on the April 2011 Blogging Challenge.

What does this involve?  Blogging every day in April (except Sundays), each blog starting with a consecutive letter of the alphabet, right through from A to Z so that, by the end of April, I will have completed 26 blogs.

Why am I doing it?  When I signed up, it sounded like fun – and a way to get my creative juices flowing.  During the last few days of March, my blasé attitude has gradually turned to something bordering on panic – which leads me to the next question:

What on earth am I going to write about each day?  When I first decided to take the challenge, I had every intention of being ‘very organised’ about it.  Maybe I’d even write the blogs in advance.  I made an A-Z list, jotted down a few possible titles, wondered whether or not I should have a theme, and then - And then what?  Nothing. 

When I was working full-time, I used to be extremely organised.  Made lists and ticked things off well in advance of when tasks had to be completed.  Once I retired, my innate skill of procrastination came to the fore and ‘never do today what you can put off until tomorrow’ sadly became my motto.

So now it’s April 1st and the short answer to the question of what I’m going to write about is – I haven’t a clue!  I shall have to do what I do when I’m writing my novels – and pantser my way through April.  For those readers unaware of writers’ jargon, that means ‘writing by the seat of one’s pants.’

I admire those writers who plot their stories in great detail.  They make notes about what is going to happen in every chapter, they write detailed character profiles, they know exactly where their story is going.

But while the left (organised) side of my brain tells me it’s very sensible to plot your book in this way, the right (creative) side still screams ‘Planning it all out beforehand destroys the spontaneity.’  So I start with two people and a basic idea.  Sometimes an idea about a conflict starts me off, sometimes just an idle musing (see my previous blog for an example of this).  I then work things out as I go along.  Different ideas occur to me. I incorporate some, I discard others.  The characters talk and take me along with them.  Sometimes they surprise me.  It’s a journey of discovery.

I have a feeling that April is going to be a similar journey.  Hope you’ll join me for the ride!   And if you want to challenge me with any particular topics, please do!


  1. Hi,

    Hee hee, my A-Z pant elastic is a tad loose, too! ;)


  2. Hi Paula .. good luck .. A for advanced planning .. but I understand the right side mix .. makes for more fun sometimes!

    Enjoy meeting loads of new people .. and getting B written?! Mind you - you're an accomplished writer your works must be brimming with bees? .. Cheers Hilary

  3. Heya new follower.. :) and excited to be starting this challenge.. I can't wait.. just wrote my little blog post for A.. gonna try not to drive myself mad with it.


  4. I like your pantser approach. It's been my way of doing things ever since I got married and started having babies. Schedules and plans tended to fall by the wayside. Hips got wider. Job related computer use and then blogging didn't help matters. By the time April is over, my pants might be stuck to the chair:)

  5. I write like that too. Either I don't have the time to plan it all out, or I am just lazy:( Good luck with the challenge!

  6. Stopping by from A-Z! I feel much the same way. I could not come up with something organized, but I am not going to let that stop me.... here's hoping we making it all the way to z!


  7. Strange, I, too, used to be organised when I went out to work. Now, I just take life as it comes and hope for the best . . .

  8. lol I am with you on the not being so prepared for what to write about, I am going to "wing it" for this hefty challenge. What a great first post. :)

  9. Thank you all for visiting - I'm glad to see that so many of us are 'winging' the Challenge, makes me feel better about my own lack of forward planning! :-)

  10. Hi there. Looking forwrd to following your blog. I like that term panster. Good look on your challenge. You are two above me so I'll be back frequently.

    Inspired By Lisa A-Z

  11. I'm not doing the A to Z challenge (no time) but it's gonna be fun to ride the ride with you!

  12. Hi Paula! I love that you joined in on the fun! Already a spring and summery start to the challenge!!!

    I'm here to welcome to the A to Z challenge! I'm a co-host, should you need anything don't hesitate to ask!!! I do hope you'll stop by my neck of the woods! We're also having fun on twitter (I'm @jenunedited and we're using #atozchallenge)!

  13. HI! I'm pantsing it too. I have exactly two posts written, and one of them was for today. Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!

  14. Interesting challenge. Perhaps on days you are stuck you can just open up a dictionary to the letter of the day and randomly point your finger at a word. Then that's your subject. :-) It works for CBS reporter Steve Hartman. He goes to a town, opens up a phone book, closes his eyes and points to name. Then he contacts them and tries to get a story. He's come up with some interesting ones. :-)

  15. Look forward to your visits, Lisa - and mine to you too.

    Ana, will rely on you to give me a shove in the right direction when I get stuck :)

    Thanks, Jen. I've not ventured into Twitter yet - maybe that's my next challenge! Popped into yours and left a comment for you.

    Hi Heidi, been into yours too. Isn't this fun? I have my B post part-written but after that only a few vague titles!

    Adrienne - thanks for visiting. I have titles as far as N - apart from K. Totally stuck on that. I tried what you suggested, and hit on knapweed - not sure I could make anything from that! :-)

  16. I feel the same way. I wrote out all of blog titles...and that was it. Didn't do an outline or anything. lol!

  17. Good luck, Paula! I think you're very brave to take on this challenge and I'm looking forward to reading some interesting stuff!

  18. Not evem got all my blog titles yet, Dianne, so you're ahead of me!

    Thanks, Michelle - great to have you as a follower. Hope I can find some interesting things to say!

  19. Hi Paula,
    I am your newest follower (and am also doing the April Challenge). I agree with your pondering, "should I have chosen a theme?" Because my Blog has a topic already, I am torn between feeling that most of the titles are "easy" to feeling like the theme is a bit confining! I would love to write about my crazy cat and his adventures chasing the only squirrel in the neighbourhood, but that really doesn't come in a lunchbox! Which I suppose we should all be thankful for.
    Looking forward to the ride!
    Happy April!

  20. Good luck, Paula! You'll do great...this is quite a challenge!

  21. ha ha, knapweed! I think you should go for it, maybe tie it into a type of villain. LOL