A to Z Challenge: Reflection

A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

When I first discovered this challenge, it was only a day or two before sign-up closed. I ended up making a snap decision to participate, hoping to build up my blog. It would be easy, right? After all, it was just a simple post every day except Sunday throughout the month of April. I could probably wing it. Maybe.

So signing up, I now had to chose a theme. Easy enough. This blog is all about writing, so I would make my theme Everything I Love about Writing. There! I was going to breeze through this. Then I stumbled over my first obstacle. I actually had to come up with subjects the fit this theme using every letter. Do you know how hard it is to find X and Z words? Neither did I.

My good intentions of getting all the posts written ahead quickly fell through and I was writing a blog post every day. That actually turned out to be fun as I could approach it from a fresh perspective. Also, as I mentioned several times during the month, I am a pantser, not a plotter. I had a master list of the subjects I had picked, but every new post was a delightful surprise.

For example, my theme was Everything I Love about Writing.  However, I realized that that was too one-sided of an approach to what I consider my writing journey. After all, how can you recognized good if you never see bad? So I expanded it to all aspects of my journey. Something that surprised me was my G post, G is for Grammar. I didn’t like that post, I don’t like grammar, it was the antithesis to my theme. It was one of the most popular posts from the entire challenge. Every post revealed something new to me, challenged me to change and grow.

A particularly fun part of the A to Z challenge was getting to blog hop to other bloggers. I only visited about ten consistently, but I was delighted to get to know them through their blog posts and A to Z journey.

So how can I sum up the A to Z challenge? I still don’t know what happened to April. I scrambled to keep up with the posting and comments. There were days when I felt like I fell far short and others that I felt like I’d won a gold medal. I got to met new bloggers and made some amazing friends over the course of this challenge. As my dad says, ‘Would I do it again?’ The answer is yes. I’m looking forward to next year.

My thanks to everyone who stopped by during this challenge, you’re the best!

 

K is for Kinesiology

So what exactly is Kinesiology?

 

“The study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement”

Source – Merriam-Webster dictionary

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Now, you may be asking yourself what exactly does this have to do with writing? Please be patient and bear with me, it will all make sense in the end.

 

A little over a year ago, I started a journey. I was looking for a place that taught Tai Chi, looking for a way to get more fit in a low impact way. Although there was only one place that taught Tai Chi in my area, I decided to investigate the other dojos as well. It’s a good thing that I did because the place that taught Tai Chi was a very narrow minded place and did not fit at all with my principles and morals.

 

So I walked into this dojo with little to no idea of what I was doing, only a dream of wanting to learn martial arts since I was a little girl. It was a welcoming place and I felt instantly at home. Despite having no idea what I was getting myself into, I signed up and started off on my martial art journey of learning Kenpo Karate. Thankfully, I was very fortunate with the dojo I joined. The teachers are incredible and there is a culture of responsibility and kindness there. It is taught as self defense and they make sure that you know what will happen if you have to use it as well as ways to avoid having to ever use it. After all, the best self defense is to get out of danger before it even starts, right?

 

So what does this have to do with writing? When I first started Kenpo, I just wanted to do the cool choppy thing. I am not a fighter and I have never been in a physical altercation (except for with my brothers, but that’s just sibling stuff so it doesn’t count). So, like in Kung Fu Panda, I was looking for a level zero.

 

I am like Po, lol https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWo0dm16wLY

 

For the first month, I was totally lost. However, I persevered and gradually things began to fall into place. And this is where kinesiology comes into play. As I started learning the different techniques, I also started learning cause and effect. If I hit here, a person would most likely react this way. If I block a blow, I’ll have to be ready for the second punch or kick because most people won’t just hit you and then wait for you to hit them back. This then turned into freestyle sparring. I often didn’t have time to fully execute techniques, so I learned how to break them down and use the pieces to get the results I needed. If I needed to get more space from my opponent, I could do a, b, or c. If my opponent favored a certain type of move, this is how I could deal with it. It became like a giant chess game or unraveling a mystery and I adored it.

 

So the genre I write tends to be action/adventure under the broad heading of fantasy (I like to create my own worlds, although the Seeker Files do include magic and supernaturals, so it is fantasy). However, despite my love of the genre, I have trouble writing fighting scenes simply from my lack of experience. They just sounded stiff. So imagine my surprise when I was writing one about half a year after a started karate and it just flowed. I was half shocked, half thrilled, and totally ready to write even more. I hadn’t realized how much I had subconsciously learned and how important it was to know exactly how people act/react in a fight.

 

I have been learning Kenpo for about a year and a half now. Unlike when I first walked into the dojo, I know exactly what I am getting myself into. I also readily admit how little I truly know and that it’s going to be the journey of a lifetime to ever truly master it. But that’s ok, because like writing, it’s a passion that I will never abandon.

 

So what is something in your life that has translated into your writing?

J is for Journey

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Now, I know that I’ve been using a lot of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit references. But honestly, they are epic books and movies (except for The Hobbit trilogy, I cannot condone those) and they have withstood the test of time. Some books are poorly written but become immensely popular for short time. Others are very well written but are a dense read, so they remain of limited popularity. Tolkien combines both ease of reading and excellent writing, as is shown by its continued popularity years after it was written. Anyway, I digress.

 

Journey is one of my all time favorite words. It implies travel, new experiences, personal growth. But as Bilbo Baggins so aptly tells Frodo

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

 

I find that this to be true of writing as well. When you embark on the path of a story, if you don’t keep your feet under you, you will be swept off to who knows where instead of the intended destination of your story. Also there is the fact that in a story, as in real life, a journey does not have to be a physical journey, but it can be an emotional journey instead. All that matters is that the character is not in the same place that we found them and that we know how they got there.

 

What is a journey that you or your character have taken lately?

 

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