Monday, May 5, 2014

Getting Found and Reflections

Did you participate in the A to Z? Have you ever participated in the A to Z?

If you read my "Z" post, you know that back when I started blogging in 2010, I was a wreck. My whole world revolved around pain medication and trying to hold on to my sanity. My migraines raged so badly that I couldn't see anything but THAT. Who I used to be (pre-migraines) was so far in my rear view that I couldn't remember that person and the future was looking too much like the present. I couldn't see this version of me, the person I am now becoming. It was too far out of my field of vision.


The worst part was that I felt useless. Without purpose. We think that we need hope to survive. I would argue that we do not. What we need is purpose. I didn't have ANY hope back then that my life would change even remotely for the better. Blogging gave me Purpose. Purpose sustained me. Each day I typed out a blog bit hoping that I would find myself. I knew that I was lost in a place called Desolation. Did it matter that the writing I was doing was read by so few people? No. Eight or nine people (and eventually more) faithfully read what I was writing and it was enough. Even when no one read this blog, I still had a Purpose. I needed a reason to get out of bed every day. Blogging was the string that kept me and my sanity within spitting distance of one another.



Since I started that journey back in 2010 my motivations changed several times. Blogging started out as a Purpose. When I started writing my first WiP (now in the drawer) I discovered other writers, agents, and more on here. It felt like coincidence... because I still do not understand how it happened. I found one writer's blog and it led me to the rest. I learned so much about the craft to improve my writing and how to submit all of that Writer Goodness to an agent. Then, totally disheartened, I shelved my WiP and deleted some of those sites. Ha! Have you ever done that??? I am still no good at "finding" blogs on here. I stumble into them or they find me. 


I remember when I found Alex Cavanaugh's blog. Yeah, the guy is EVERYWHERE and it took me years to ferret out his blog. This is what I am SAYING (about me). I followed. He followed back. He left me good comments and encouraged me to start on another WiP. I mentally scoffed. I could faintly hear Buddy Holly in the background crooning "That'll Be The Day." And then I found so many of the rest of you. Or you found me. Again, not sure how that works. And I kept stumbling into more writer sites, agent sites... AGAIN. And that desire to write surged once more. I launched into another journey of writing.


I decided to help all of you with my A to Z Theme this year by showcasing some of my favorite blogs.... so that you could find them. So many of you did. You read, you liked, you clicked over to their blog, and you followed. I learned that even while I like-love all of the blogs I featured during this to A to Z, some of you didn't. And that is okay. I can still hear my nanny in my head saying to me, "Why aren't you eating that?" I would say nothing because the truth was I didn't like it, but didn't want to hurt her feelings. She continued, "You like what I like. Now eat it." I approached this A to Z kinda like that. I thought all of you would like what I like,would want dessert, and more. Turns out that you like some of what I like.


I participated in the A to Z to find and get found. I consider this year a success. I found a handful of blogs that I enjoy very much and am now following. And I picked up a handful of new readers. I am blogging because I like it. Blogging now means connection and support and friends. Yes, I consider some of you wonderful friends that I would miss so very much if you quit or I quit. It no longer is the string keeping me in touch with my sanity. That is how far I've come.



How about you? What did you find during the month of April?

This post is Reflections on The A to Z. Yes, it is part of a bloghop.  You can sign up Here to participate or read the links.

45 comments:

  1. Glad that you are writing again! That is what we are here for - to encourage each other.
    Your theme was a wonderful idea. I've always featured other bloggers and it's a joy to check back and find many of my readers followed them.
    Most blogs I have no idea how I found them. But there is a good chunk that I know came from this awesome Challenge. That is what keeps me coming back every year.

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  2. That's quite a journey you've been on, Robin. So glad you are better now and writing again.

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  3. It's been a journey of growth for you. The personal growth is what matters.

    I think Alex is the one who holds the blogging world together.

    River's cover is gorgeous - congrats to her.

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  4. That's awesome that blogging helped you through some tough times. When I started blogging back in 2005, all the blogs were more like online journals. In fact, all my blog friends wrote about personal stuff. I didn't say many writing blogs until 2009 or 2010. Probably when Alex came on the scene.

    Thanks for sharing some cool blogs with us. It's been a great Challenge!

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  5. First of all, the A-Z exhausted me too.This was my third time. However, the day after it ended, I felt like I was supposed to be doing something, so I visited blogs from the list.

    Secondly, who is Alex and WHERE did he come from. He is the most supportive person, for sure.

    Finally, DON'T EVER stop writing. I enjoy your writing. Either take that WIP out of the drawer or start something new. I mean it, don't make me come looking for you. :)

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  6. I love your reflections, there is such a positive happy note in them!! I found a few bloggers in the A-Z that I really like and am now following (including Alex). And I got to see posts every day from bloggers I already liked who don't post daily (big plus). :)

    Have a great May, Robin!

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    1. I am so happy that my features helped you to find some new blogs. That is wonderful!

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  7. Robin
    I've been around to watch much of your growth these past years and you were amazing, you are amazing and you will always be amazing. I've always enjoyed your creative ideas and your keen mind. I like it that you are climbing more branches of the tree. For instance, dancing. You know I love that for you.
    Your theme for the A-Z was more fun than any I've read in a long time. The thing I enjoyed about it was that the posts were so varied and it proves you are interested in a multitude of things that people write about. I was already friends with many of your selections and I know we share many of the same interests. So I say YAY for all of us and may we get out of blogging the things we need and grow on.

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    1. I feel the same way about your blog bits, comments, etc. Amazing. I am still enjoying the dancing very much and I am sure I will start blogging about it in the near future.

      I have a feeling that I am in for some Big Changes this year. I am hoping that before the year ends my migraines are enough under control that I will start working again. If/when that happens, my blog time will be seriously cut back. This might very well have been my last A to Z. But, I am good with that. It is better to have full life than the opposite.

      I don't plan on disappearing altogether. I would miss everyone way too much for that!!! My posts might get shorter, though!

      Delete
    2. Robin
      It's strange, but i've met some people through blogging who have cut way back or stopped completely but once we have become good friends, we still communicate through email. Good friends are always "there."

      Delete
  8. You know, ROBIN, that's a good question!

    I recall that I began blogging here in 2008, right after Amazon.com banned me. A friend of mine, Aaron (A-DogG), suggested I start blogging here, and so I did. (And that's the reason for the "-Dogg" in my blog/comment sign-off.)

    I can remember how some bloggers found me, and how I found some blogs (a number of them through Arlee Bird's 'Tossing It Out' blog). But I have NO IDEA how I found your blog, or you found mine.

    Do you recall?
    It's not really been that long since you and I started 'Following' each other's blogs, but I haven't a clue how it happened. You know?

    ~ Stephen
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I believe you found me through a comment I left on someone else's blog. I think I quoted or mentioned Ron Paul and that piqued your interest. Then you read something of mine and commented and then I checked out your blog and started following... and the rest is history. Now... for that original blog bit with my comment... I HAVE NO IDEA. Do you remember now?

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    2. YES!!! You are EXACTLY right, and now I DO remember it!

      In fact, in my final political blog bit (which I hope to post sometime in the next 3 or 4 days) I will be referring to the blog where I first encountered you. It won't be the very same blog bit, but from there it would be a simple matter of backtracking to the point where I first addressed you. And, yes, it was your mention of Ron Paul that caught my attention!

      Your memory is better'n mine, but then you're considerably younger than I am, too. Wait 'til you reach my age, then you'll be thinking: What was the name of that person I never met at that blog I never visited, and... who am I again?

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

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  9. Alex ~ When you read THOUSANDS of blogs there is no way of remembering how it all began. Ha! Yes, it is good to be writing again. Thank you for encouraging me.

    Karen ~ :)

    Diane ~ I can honestly say that I have experienced miles of personal growth.

    Jay ~ This blog was definitely very journal-like for a long time. And it can still go there from time to time. But that is fine with me.

    Teresa ~ I have a WiP that made it through the rough draft stage. It is now in Editing/Revising, though that was backburnered in April. I look forward to getting back to it.

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  10. Having purpose is huge, and having a blog definitely helps that. Not just that, but forcing yourself to write every day really helps regular writing. So I'm glad to hear you're back into it.

    It amazes me that the blogosphere is so big and so small at the same time. I see so many familiar faces no matter which blog I visit, and yet I meet new faces every day, people who've been blogging for years and years that I'd never heard of until now. I love that.

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  11. I started blogging for accountability....then I realized that it was my voice...I could 'hide' behind my key board and say the things I was thinking, or felt. I could be honest...and by process of being honest, I let go of my misbegotten shame for things I had no hand in. You were one of the first people to find and encourage me. I will never forget that.

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  12. Soooo happy to know that you've come so far. I was watching something on telly last night that spoke about having purpose-filled days and making good use of our time. I did meet some interesting people in April via your posts on them.

    Those pink, sugary cupcakes have sent me into a sugar high. :)

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  13. HI, Robin,

    You should be VERY PROUD of yourself! You did an amazing job on this challenge. Not only did you write beautiful and caring posts, but you visited so many blogs. Sadly, I didn't get around as much as I would've liked, but you were there before me. So give yourself a huge pat on the back and SMILE about your achievement here!

    WELL DONE!!!!!

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  14. Robin-

    First off, I love that "Ted" quote. I have always maintained that a vast gulf separates "followers" and readers," and I prefer the latter.

    I forget now how I found your blog....my assumption would be an A to Z comment exchange, although it could have been a comment you left on either a McCarthy or Arlee post that caught my eye.

    What did I find in April? I mostly took the month off from blogging, so I found a little break from wrist pain (have some carpal tunnel symptoms that flare up now and again). I found it was much easier to be a spectator than to try to post something every day.

    And I found I missed the exchanges with my Blogger firends. While I am not great at keeping up off-Blogger correspondence, I do value the back and forth from my "regulars" (the same group who respond when I comment on their sites as well).

    Recently, you either posted or commented about your age, and while I knew from pictures you were younger, I was surprised by the actual number. Mainly because your words carry the undertones of an older soul (influenced, I might imagine, by some of what you've dealt with over the past years).

    Because of that, I really hope those Big Changes you mention happen for you.

    While I'd miss your posts, you have a lot of road in front of you and life has a lot to offer, and I hope you get a chance to experience all of it.

    Me, I'm almost getting to the point where I can see the toll booth up there...but it's been a good ride!

    Larry

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  15. I'm really glad I found you through this challenge! The blogging community is awesome. It can help you get through a lot of tough stuff in life. I hope you'll be around for a while!

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  16. Every time I read your posts and hear how things are moving forward for you I am so glad! Robin, you are so strong, and, you have a generous soul. I love your Thursday posts and I love, love, love what you did for A-Z...a month of Thursdays, kind of, sort-of. But the thing of it is that while you put the bloggers you like out there, you were also daring to put yourself out there. You were saying, This is who I am. This is what I like, and I'm strong enough to deal with it if you don't agree with me. I followed several folks you featured, and a got a few new followers when you featured me (Thank you again!). And, oh my! I forgot to tell you!!! I was invited to submit a couple of my poems for a poetry project that will benefit charity as a result of your kindness in including me. It wouldn't have happened without you. Your A-Z was a lovely way of giving. Well done, and I thank you.

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  17. You're absolutely right. One needs Purpose first and above all to survive chronic ailments without going totally insane. Some, like me, just end average insane. I got some visits from the day you features me. I really thank you for the kindness. I'm glad we ran into each other because I have learned useful lessons from you and also enjoyed some laughter. I'm very glad to know you're getting better and your life is more about life itself than surviving pain. Dragon Hugs to you!

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  18. Finally returning that visit from way back in April!

    What a wonderful blogging journey you've had. It turns out that mine is quite similar. It has been the biggest blessing, getting to know the people who read each post of mine (even when I take mini breaks for school they're right there).

    *hugs*

    Glad to have met you!

    Sam

    Writing Through College

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  19. ABFTS ~ I know precisely what you are saying. I see so many familiar faces on friends' blogs, but I don't often click over. Maybe I should do that more...

    Christine ~ Awww.... I treasure you, too.

    J.L. ~ So glad you made some new friends.

    Michael ~ I am proud and worn out. All of that visiting and commenting was exhausting. I had so many friends participating in the A to Z. Whew. I am really happy April is over.

    LC ~ I cannot recall how we "met." That is so strange. I think maybe through Stephen's blog. Though I am not sure of that. And I think you have my age wrong. When I posted that birthday bit I used the scratch through feature on 29 and replaced with something generic implying that I am older (which I am). My aunt had a running joke about being 29 right up until she died... a few years ago. I am in my mid-40s. Does that sound more right to you????

    Sherry ~ Not planning on any breaks right now!

    Liza ~ Wow. I am thrilled that your feature here ended up with poetry submissions that benefit charity. How awesome is that????

    Al ~ Don't tell anybody but I am average insane, too;)

    Samantha ~ So glad that you dropped in. Bloggie friends are the best!!!

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    1. You should have left me in ignorance! You'd once posted a Vegas picture where you look much younge.

      In any case, you've got a lot of life yet to live and I hope the changes you're anticipating are wonderful!

      LC

      LC

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  20. Congrats! I went on vacation. And finished a book. And some other stuff :)

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  21. That part about needing purpose rather than hope is powerful, and hits me where I've been living. I'm going to have to find a way to apply that.... or maybe I have in a lot of little ways but I'm not letting myself know. Either way, I can think of a dozen times in the last three weeks I could have used that mindset.

    I ran into a lot of the people I blog with when some of my early friends had blog parties- you drop in at the comments section, talk to everyone just like you would at a get together, put up your blog link and case the others. We had some pretty fun times there... unfortunately, many of the "cool kids" who started the parties have gone on to bigger and better things. And about half the ones that do still blog remember me as the guy who got busted in the hostess's panty drawer (scurrilous lies, I tell you!).

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  22. Robin, I'm so glad to have found your blog! I've enjoyed the people you featured and I enjoyed learning more about your journey as well. This really is a great little (and huge) blog community. Thanks for visiting mine as well!

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  23. Wow, I'm voting your reflection as the best. I'm so glad I found you. And another million thanks for showcasing me. I always enjoy your posts.

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  24. I can relate to your blogging journey. I began with aimless wandering until things made more and more sense. They still don't make total sense, but a least they make more sense.

    Your theme for this year was a smart one. And it was in keeping with what you usually do on Thursdays. You make friends, acknowledge them, and keep them. Smart social networking in my opinion.

    You added a lot to this years Challenge.

    Thanks!

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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  25. You've come far, dear Robin. I saw praise for your A-Z theme on Alex's blog too. It was very well received. You did great, and you're a great source of connection for others.

    I think we all started blogging with faith in something, not knowing what it was but sticking to it nonetheless. We stick with it because of each other.

    xoRobyn

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  26. love your tidbits of wisdom, and so proud of you for coming so far! i'd miss you too!! thanks for all your support during the challenge and kudos for all the work you put into it!

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  27. Hey, Robin. You're the winner of my books! Congratulations! If you could let me know where you'd like them sent, I'll get them out to you. My email address is sherry.a.ellis@gmail.com.

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  28. Carol ~ Yes! I saw some of that stuff in your blog post. I loved your beach pictures.

    CW ~ When I read something that Hits Me Where I Lives, sometimes I KNOW right away how to take that idea and incorporate it into my life. Other times, I only know it in theory. I can't find the practical application. I hope you find yours soon. It is good to use the things that benefit us.

    Lynda ~ I am happy to have found you, too:)

    Susan ~ Well, that's high praise. I do believe I am blushing.

    Arlee ~ I didn't think about my theme in terms of "smart marketing" until now. I was more worried about leaving people out whose blogs I adore (but the letters just weren't working for me). Go figure.

    Robyn ~ I missed that on Alex's blog. I will have to go back and check again. Hmm. Thank you for all of the encouragement you have sent my way! Hugs.

    Tara ~ Right back at ya. :D

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  29. Hi human, Robin,

    Apawlogies for my delay in leaving one of my highly cherished comments. So, here I go.

    Dear lady, you have gone through some very tough times. You've struggled at yet, the verbalisation you share is therapeutic tonic that you share. Help each other, we help ourselves. You also did the A to Z in a most altruistic spirit. Your theme was what I truly admire.

    Within the all different, all equal blogging community, you have struck a chord with your kindness and sincerity.

    I was truly heartened to see the alternative to my Challenge was an outstanding success. Hopefully, most involved embraced the pawsitive ethos that you so pawfoundly shared.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny, the cordial host of The Alphabark Challenge, 2014! :)

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  30. Robin, I definitely feel a connection to the blogging community...like actual friendships. And I find myself constantly procrastinating with my writing to visit my friends to see what they are up to. So glad you're back to your writing---as I should be!!

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  31. Robin, I liked your A-Z challenge very much (the part of it that I managed to read, which is most). I feel like I can always check back when I have time to start following some of the blogs that you hosted, because you posted those blogs. I know where to find them. Thank you for that! I like your own writing too!

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  32. This was the best reflection post I've read so far, Robin. There's a saying I've learned along the way, your blog post reminded me of it, "take what you want and leave the rest." It's pretty much how I feel when I write my blog. I write from my own experiences, I hope people will take what I share and glean what they like from it and what they don't like they leave behind. I found some great blogs from you in April and I thank you very much for sharing them!!

    Elsie

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  33. Robin: I did not participate in the A to Z because of writing and teaching commitments, but I follow many of the participants. However, as for you, I remember those days and your posts and your struggles. What I never saw is the person your described above. I NEVER saw that person. I always saw who you are now.

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  34. I loved your A to Z. I found a lot of new sites.

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  35. You really outdid yourselves with your A to Z theme, and you led me to lots of wonderful blogs! I'm sorry that your migraines have caused you so much pain throughout the years, and I'm very impressed that you've managed to fight through it. Thanks for all you do Robin, and stay healthy.

    Julie

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  36. Robin, your A to Z was amazing! You clearly worked hard to show others the blogs that you read, in the best light. You helped many people make new connections and that alone is really something. Your efforts will cause a ripple effect for a long time to come, I am certain!

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  37. well said Robin- I started blogging on my own back in 2006...and then around May of 2010 I started participating on Tess Kincaids Magpie Tales!
    ( http://katheworsley.blogspot.com/2010/05/haiku-for-goldfish.html )
    What an opening of a door. Not only did I find out I could write and have fun writing poetry but I have made so many wonderful friends all over the world! Our blogging community of creative and lovely people is such a treasure to me.
    And it just gets better with folks like Alex and yourself! Big hugs and always have fun!

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  38. I loved reading your A-Z posts this year! I know I got behind, but you shared blogs I had never heard of and several posts reminded me of those I already follow but hadn't visited in a while. I can relate to the pic who are you and how did you find me when I first started blogging. :) I never thought about the purpose/reason I even have a blog other than it is cheaper than visits with Dr. Phil! Now if only my job, the internet and life start cooperating so that I can get back into the silly things that enter my mind slash blog! Happy Monday!

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  39. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! Thanks for sharing. I'm just stopping by briefly as I drive around on the 2014 A-Z Road Trip…don't forget to wave when you see me go by! (lol)

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

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