Reflections of A to Z Challenge 2017

It might be just me, but the reflections post is the toughest thing about A to Z Challenge. I guess I have been bad at summarizing things. I can discuss with you endlessly about this challenge and how I accomplished it or what were the setbacks, but summarizing it into one post is nerve-wrecking. Anyhow, I will try my best and this post will be completely informal with a lot of self-praises (I deserve it, right?).

A to Z Challenge 2017 is not my first. I did it a few years back, but I was not working back then. Don’t think it is easy if you are sitting home, but when you are working, it’s a hell lot difficult.

My Theme for A to Z Challenge 2017

Writing anything regularly for a month is a challenge in itself, but writing on a same theme takes the bar higher. When I first decided to write fictions, it felt like a joke to me. When I still think about it, I laugh. It sounds crazy and so unachievable. If you follow my write-ups, you must be aware that I am a romance writer. When I’m writing romance, emotions brew up in my mind naturally and with the feedbacks I receive, I think I can do a satisfactory job at that.

Horror is something I really wanted to write. It’s completely different from my comfort zone, but at the same time it’s something I have always desired. It may be because I watch a lot of horror movies or I feel fascinated with the fact that you can scare people with mere words.

All those thoughts made me choose horror fictions as my theme for the A to Z Challenge 2017. However, if I tell you frankly, I was sure, I would drop out of the challenge in a week at max.

My Routine during A to Z Challenge 2017

I used to wake up at 7:30 in the morning to be able to reach the office before 10:30 am. It’s 30 Km away from home and I take the Delhi Metro for the same. On an average, I used to reach home at 9:30 pm. This routine left me with 10 hours every day and that was all I had for doing everything. No, I did not tell at home that I was doing something like this, because I’m quite a pessimist and I hate telling people about something before I have completed it. Dinner and some time with family took another ninety minutes and by the time I sat on my desktop, it was 11 already.

I usually wrote for 2 hours continuously, plotting the story and introducing characters into it. 1 o’clock was the time when I started feeling restless, exhausted and sleepy. It was the time I would sneak into the kitchen, make myself a cup of strong black coffee and take it back to my room.

Depending on the length of the story and the writer’s block, I usually spent the next one and a half to two hours finishing the story. Caffeine in the system really helped me stay awake and work dedicatedly. On an average, I was able to finish and schedule the story by 2:30 am to 3:00 am.

The torment of A to Z Challenge 2017 did not end there. It was the time, I used to wash my face, go out on the terrace, breathe in the fresh air and think about the next letter. I tried to make up my mind against a concept at least, before I slept, so I could think about it whenever I got time. On average, I used to sleep between 3:30 and 4:00.

It takes 25-30 minutes for metro to reach Jasola Vihar from Central Secretariat and that was the time I tried taking a power nap before reaching the office. Sometimes, I was successful, sometimes I was not. Definitely, I felt sleepy in office, but black tea and black coffee always had my back. On my way back on the same route, I was usually plotting ideas or researching (some stories like Voodoo needed research) about occults and rituals. In my route from Keshav Puram to Kashmiri Gate and Kashmiri Gate to Central Secretariat and vice versa on the way back, I was reading posts written by other people. I’ll tell you the reason later.

When I reached home, it was the same routine all over again.

Set Backs are a Part of Life

I have mentioned everything as an average. There were days when my back would hurt and I had to sleep at 2 itself. I would then finish off my pending story first and then write for next on the next day. There were days, when I got stuck and slept for only 3 hours.

Apart from that, you do a) Fall ill, b) Get frustrated in office, c) Get scolded by friends for not picking up their phones, d) Have to visit relatives or get a visit by them and e) Feel anxiety.

My sister got Rokafied (a term invented by her) in April and I’m quite happy for her, more than I can express. My mother was admitted to a hospital in April and I’m thankful to my sister for being there with her in those days. I became a victim of car theft in April and had to rush to Police Stations and Dealer for insurance formalities.

At times, I felt like giving up, but I feel proud that I did not.

What keeps you going?

I’m not fortunate enough to have friends in real life who like to read. However, I have many friends on social media who do. In addition, there are several other people who were taking the journey of A to Z Challenge 2017 alongside. It’s actually their feedback that keeps you going. Every time when my mailbox pinged, I would open it up and read the comment. Some people actually read your posts and they tell you the reason why they liked it. Some people don’t comment, but they tell you in personal that you are doing a good job and you should keep going.

Whenever I felt helpless and demotivated, I used to go back to the previous posts, read the comments and boost my morale to keep going. I would refrain myself from naming people here, but I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It’s you that made it possible for me, nobody else.

At the same time, you have to do the same for other bloggers as well because you are not the only one in need. Every writer loves feedback and encouragement. I did follow some challenges and left my feedback as much as feasible in the time I had. I’m afraid, I still have to read some pending posts.

Also thanks to BlogChatter for connecting me with so many amazing bloggers.

It’s not easy!

Before I write anything regarding it, I salute all the other bloggers who completed the challenge. You deserve all the appreciation in the world for making it to the finish line.

People think it is easy, but it’s not.
“You can do it anytime later.”
“It’s just one post/story! C’mon, let’s go out.”
“You are a fool.”
“You’re gonna fall ill. It’s a waste of time.”
“Who is reading your stories?”
“You’re not gonna win an Oscar for this.”
“It’s not like you are getting anything in return.”
Trust me, I heard all of the above in the same month.

In addition to that, I had a fight with an online friend when she was making fun of the A to Z Challenge Participants on the grounds of spell errors or grammar errors in their posts.

I learnt something during this challenge. You need to find the negative people around you and kick them out. Trust me, there’s no feeling that can be compared with how you feel when you finish the challenge. It’s so uplifting and it gives you such a great confidence in yourself as a writer. Not everyone can do it. It requires so much pain, efforts and dedication. Don’t let people demotivate you. Remember that only a few hundred bloggers are able to complete it in the whole world. If you find yourself among them at the end of the day, it serves as one of the proudest moment.

The Next Step

I’m editing the stories and compiling them to push a book on Kindle. Again, it is only because of your lovely comments, personal messages and the indirect support you offered me. Once I have done that, I plan to retreat into books and TV series and of course, take some rest. If you wish to read my posts for A to Z Challenge 2017, you can hop on to the Archive.

Anmol Rawat

Anmol Rawat is a contributing author of three anthologies - A Little Chorus of Love (also edited and published), Six Degrees - Game of Blogs and Blank Space. He is also a bibliophile, a music lover and a dreamer.
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  1. This was my second year doing the writing challenge and in some ways, it was easier and in others, it was a struggle. But it was fun and a feel like I got a little bit of my blogging mojo back. I’m sorry that life got in the way so much this year for you. Enjoy your rest. Donna from Girl Who Reads

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