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Three Gifts I Received From the April #AtoZChallenge: Reflections #AtoZChallenge2018

Three Gifts I RECEiVed FROM the april #atoZchallenge

This was my second attempt at the month-long, A-Z Challenge and I am so very glad I dived into it headlong, despite the initial hiccups and apprehensions. My posts weren’t scheduled in advance. Till the time of the deadline of the Theme Reveal, I was unsure, whether I wanted to participate or not. Thanks to a variety of discussions with my fellow bloggers at Write Tribe and gentle nudges with clarity and direction from blogger friends like ShailjaG.S. NidhiMayuri;  I went ahead and took the plunge.

Thereafter there was no looking back. Since my April Anecdotes were a maximum of 600-700 words, I did not grapple with time. I was able to churn out every single post a day in advance and schedule it for 12:06 A.M. Indian Standard Time. Why 12:06 A.M. you may ask? Well, the idea was to go live as the new day dawned and 06, because I’m numerically a number six, by birth and according to the numerology that’s my lucky number too. Yes, I do tend to get superstitious of and on, but trust me not in an over-the-top way. *grin* My Z post was the lone survivor which went live only later in the afternoon on 30th March. I tried not to beat and berate myself for it; though after a few initial failed attempts of trying to avoid the inevitable. After all it was all for a good cause. You can read the back story here. My April Anecdotes were a mix bag of fiction and stories that were partially  inspired by the alluring month of April. I had too much fun writing them, trust me.

So, here are the Three Precious Gifts I Received from the Fascinating, April AtoZ Challenge 2018:

1. Diligency and dedication:

My blogging journey had become quite erratic, due to innumerable reasons. But thanks to this year’s AtoZ Challenge, I’m back on track and I hope to stay that way for times to come ahead. Writing every single day, except Sundays inculcates a huge sense of discipline. It’s a great way to stay consistent and sharpen ones writing skills. I promise myself and my readers to post at least twice or thrice a week, and make no compromises whatsoever. Diligency and dedication is always rewarded. Over the years, I’ve realised that giving our hundred percent and committing oneself to every little aspect of our lives be it our children, our work, home management, our fitness routine; can only reap valuable results, nothing less. The AtoZ Challenge is a great platform that teaches us a lesson in commitment, hardwork and dedication.

Diligency and dedication is always rewarded. Click To Tweet

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2. StrikING a Balance Between Writing, Family, Home and Recreation:

This year’s AtoZ Challenge was unlike last year’s, which was my first. I struggled to find time for my family and home, last year and I wrote and commented, like a woman possessed. My interactions with the family was reduced to the barest minimum. This year, keeping a simple theme and a minimal word count helped me prioritise. But then it goes without saying that I’m extremely proud of my travel stories from last year, which is now an E-book by the name of Travel Epiphanies. A travel book also requires a lot of research and digging out the right pictures from one’s old archives and otherwise. So I’m not negating that journey whatsoever, instead I’m super proud of it, as it resulted in my very first book. Each journey, each destination in life is different and unique, and reaps different results you see.

While participating in the AtoZ Challenge 2018, I had the good fortune of being able to juggle deftly (more often than not) between my family commitments, fitness regime, home management, time with my girls and DH and catching up with friends. I went for my cycling jaunts and re-joined Boot Camp Yellow; the early morning, week day, strength training classes, at 5 A.M. I spent Saturdays watching some wonderful flicks, thanks to Soumya’s recommendation. I managed to return to my favourite hobby: reading. A passion that was slowly dwindling away, thanks to the technology invasion. I spent a little time each afternoon and before retiring to bed at night reading; Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Big Magic and Amit Sheth’s Dare to Run. I also finally lapped up Vivek Shanbaug’s, Gachar Goachar, a must, must read.  I also had the good fortune of attending  and hosting an energy management workshop at our home during the challenge. I wrote a post on the workshop titled Uplifting Our Energies, in my April Anecdotes. At the same time I kept up with my Buddhism practise, by home visiting members and nurturing them, which is the crux of this practise.

Each journey, each destination in life is different and unique, and reaps different results you see. Click To Tweet

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3. Explore, Evolve, Learn, Grow and Give Gratitude: 

Explore, Evolve, Learn and Grow: The AtoZ journey has taken me on an exploratory journey of words, stories, wisdom, learnings, fascinating interactions, new connections and organic growth. This journey would not have been possible without the untiring support from my fellow bloggers. I forged new friendships and renewed old bonds through this incredible platform. I learnt much from every single blog I read. Though I wish I had scheduled my posts in advance and used time blocking (Shailja’s tips). This would have enabled me to read more blogs and comment more effectively. I still have a few pending comments on my blog to reply to. I’m terrible at this, unfortunately. I did try and reply to every comment the first three weeks, but the last week became a challenge. I’m going to make amends with this habit. I’m going to learn from my mistakes and evolve.:)

Gratitude: I will try to name a few outstanding bloggers I interacted during the course of the AtoZ Challenge. Hopefully without missing out on some. At forty-five amnesia starts to set in, slowly but surely you see. I had thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the following blogs, and also the good fortune of receiving their comments on mine:

Keith’s hilarious tales of his friend Rosey, that helped me unwind and laugh a lot more, Varad’s tales, with a twist that blew me away, Iain’s fascinating stories from across the beautiful locations of Europe, were enchanting to say the least (I hope you are turning it into a book, Iain), Balaka’s slice of life characters that continued to intrigue even when one was done reading the posts, Kalpana’s mesmerising jaunt’s around Delhi, Seema Misra’s, stunning sketches and narratives (I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog Seema, even though a bit late in the challenge), Ramya’s to the point, impeccable book reviews (my TBR became fatter and I was reminded of my old time favourites), Soumya’s fabulous movie reviews (a feast for the eyes awaits), Anurag’s dextrous short, sweet and wickedly delicious story telling, Namratha’s poetry with a cause, were a class apart, Antoinette’s Stories served around the Table, around her food memories that took me back in time, Sharon E Cathcart’s fascinating David Bowie tales. John Holton’s unique word theme, Arjun’s well-researched stories and impressions on Mental Health (need of the hour), both the Shilpa’s were unique in their own right; Shilpa Gupte’s blogging tips adorned with her beautiful zentangles, and Shilpa Garg’s travel themed blog; Shalini’s tales told by her furry child Muffy, Dr. Roshan’s stories on kindness and humanity in today’s modern, yet dog eat dog world, Meha’s refreshing Rainbow society tales, Nidhi’s Buddha stories, Akshata’s brilliant female protagonist, Mayra and her uplifting life, Romilla’s nifty haikus, Deborah Weber’s Wonder manifesto that included enchanting snippets from our every day world, and last but not the least the founder of AtoZ Challenge, Arlee Bird’s  posts on decluttering was “pounds”for my thoughts!!!

Shirley, Neha, Moon, Sunita, Cheryl, Deepa, J Lenni Dorner, Roma, Leanne, Rohan Kachalia, Praveen, Anita and Tina thanks a million for rooting for me and making the journey worthwhile. Your blogs were super too. There were a few other blogs that I did read and might have missed mentioning. Please do forgive me. I just told you why. 😉

It’s been an extremely gratifying month-long journey. I was hoping to go on a technology detox, not knowing that the E-book Carnival with Blogchatter awaited me right after the challenge. I also have an upcoming Buddhism gathering, wherein I will be writing and participating in a one act play. Apart from that my role is also to encourage and guide other members to participate, including the children’s division, also known as the Future Division.  I’ve decided to enjoy what lies ahead. The aftermath of AtoZ has been pretty unexpected. But then, I shall continue to cherish and make the best of these moments while awaiting a future where I shall go offline for sometime. I hope to return detoxed and rejuvenated, ready to take on more challenges and learn a lot more.

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My theme for this year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge  was April Anecdotes. These are twenty-six compelling tales of some real people, and some not so real people. These tales will be surreal, peppered with a dose of non-fiction, but some might just be a figment of my over active imagination. You can read my theme here.

You can read my posts from #AtoZChallenge2018 here:

A is for Anachronism or Misplaced in Time?

B is for Burden or Unburden?

C is for Control

D is for Destiny’s Child

E is for Enchantment

F is for Far from the Maddening Crowd

G is for Goblins, Gnomes and Gypsy Spirits

H is for Heart, Mind and Soul

K is for Kiss

L is for Love Conquers All

M is for Mystic’s Magic

N is for Never Say Never

O is for One With Nature

P is for Painted Not Tainted

Q is for Queer and Quirky

R is Reminiscing the Yesteryears

S is for Signs

T is for Thankful for Your Tender Love

U is for Uplifting Our Energy

V is for Vivacious Souls

Three Gifts I Received from AtoZChallenge

31 thoughts on “Three Gifts I Received From the April #AtoZChallenge: Reflections #AtoZChallenge2018

  1. Deborah Weber says:

    This is such a thoughtful post Natasha. I really celebrate that you not only completed the challenge (yay!) but also that you found the discipline of regular writing to be the sort of momentum you needed, and that you were able to find the kind of life balance you were looking for this time around when doing the challenge. These are both huge things. More cheering!

    And thank you for the kind mention of my posts. I’ve found some yet-unvisited-by-me folks on your list as well, so I appreciate that as well. It’s nice to be moving at a more leisurely pace again, so I’ll be doing my exploring slowly, but it’s always wonderful to find new treasures in the blogging world. I count finding you this year as one such treasure.

  2. Vidya Sury says:

    Wow! What a beautiful recap of the month that was the April AtoZ Challenge! You totally rocked it. I read most of your posts and they were just wonderful. Glad you had a fulfilling month, Natasha! See? you ARE awesome. Looking forward to your book!

  3. Ramya Abhinand says:

    You did a brilliant Job of the Challenge NAtasha.. YOu actually wrote them all out everyday, which in itself speaks volumes about your diligence. Ans Thank You so much for the Shout out Natasha!!

  4. BellyBytes says:

    Hey Natasha you seem to have found the perfect balance with blogging and your life. I am glad that I met you in the Blogosphere and look forward to more interactions now that the A to Z fever is over. I love your takeaways from the A to Z. All of your observations are essential to maintain and sustain a healthy writing/blogging life. Keep going girl !

    • Natasha says:

      Thank you so much dear Sunita for your ever kind words always. Your faith in me makes this journey so worthwhile. Yes looking forward to so very meaningful interactions soon.

  5. Dr Roshan R (@pythoroshan) says:

    Oh man… I feel so inadequate after reading this. I have just been putting off the reflections post, basking in the glory of just completing the challenge. This awesome post is a reminder of all that I still have to finish!

    • Natasha says:

      I was doing the same Doc, putting it off for later but when I saw our blogging community was already up and ready with theirs I pushed myself to put together mine. It proved to be a bit of a struggle with the E-book work and some personal commitments but I managed fine, thankfully.
      You are a pro at all this Doc and you will finish it all in a breeze. Looking forward to your reflection post.

  6. Shilpa Gupte says:

    Diligence and dedication are the two lessons I, too, learned from A to Z. I learned to write every day. In fact, the thoughts just flow with a surprising ease! So much am I impressed by this exercise, I have made a pact with myself to try and participate in the A to Z every year. God willing!
    Thank you for the shout out, Natasha! I, too, enjoyed reading your posts, as I always do. Like I said, the way you use your words and your language has a lot to teach me about writing.

    Congratulations on completing the challenge and best wishes for the rest of your goals! <3

    Much love!

    • Natasha says:

      Thank you so much Shilpa. You and your words have always been my perk-me-up in the blogosphere. I’m so glad I met you are your feathered and four legged family through this incredible journey.
      I love going back to Metanoia as I always find myself finding some solace in your simple, easy and slice of life writing.
      Congratulations to you too do completing the challenge with such poise and grace.
      Big hugs and big love ❤️❤️

  7. Rachna Parmar says:

    This is amazing, Natasha. You’ve learned so much and been a winner for completing A to Z with aplomb. Kudos! I can see how much you enjoyed the challenge despite the challenges. I am really impressed with how you juggled so much. Wish you loads of luck with blogging in the coming months.

    • Natasha says:

      Thank you so much Rachna. I learn every day from seasoned and experienced bloggers like you.
      Wonder if I ever told you how much I love reading your posts and visiting both your blogs. It’s been a while and I’m looking forward to reviving my reading once I’m done with the e-book and taking a technology break.

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m so humbled. ❤️

  8. JazzFeathers says:

    Such a great post!
    I particularly liked the part about balancing, because that’s the hardest part of the challenge in my opinion. I can’t say I managed balancing too well this year…

    Congratulation on completing the challange!

    • Natasha says:

      Thanks so very much. congratulations to you too!!! I’m going to catch up on your posts sometime soon. Remember reading you last year Sarah and you were fab!
      Though I must admit I’m kind of going nuts post the challenge balancing a few critical commitments and the E-book release.

  9. Soumya says:

    Thank you so much for the shout-out, Natasha! I enjoyed coming to your space day after day and learning so much about life, peace and myself! I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with you and thank you so much for all the love and support on my blog.

    Lots of love and hugs! <3

    • Natasha says:

      I totally loved interacting with you too Soumya. Thank you so much for all the blog love and faith in me and my words. I’m glad they touched you in some ways.

      Big love and hugs <3

  10. Arjun GUPTA says:

    It was a pleasure for me as well Natasha! Getting to meet so many people and interacting with them has a pleasure of its own. Let’s hope this friendship continues 🙂

  11. Shailaja V says:

    Extremely proud of you for jumping into the challenge and completing it with aplomb. I’m so very touched by your shout out, dear Natasha.

    What matters at the end of thr day is the connections we make and the people we keep. I think you’ve done a fabulous job of both through this challenge.

    Wishing you all the best for the ebook carnival. And much success with consistent blogging too.

  12. Praveen Bhal says:

    Congratulations on completion of your A to Z blogging challenge. Way to go girl. It was wonderful going through each one of your blogs. Hopefully you are getting back to your friends soon

    • Natasha says:

      Yes, it was quite a fascinating journey. Thanks for rooting for me. When kindergarten friends like you stand by you, it makes a world of difference.
      I need a little time out for myself, so hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll have time for friends.

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