Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wine Writing: Reflections on a Month of Wine Blogging

Blogging about wine from A-Z for an entire month? Yes!
Could I have picked a worse month to do it? No!


After signing up to do the A-Z Blogging April Challenge, I spent a long weekend in Houston for its fabulous Film Festival and to watch my husband pick up the prize for “Best Animated Short” for his film Pepe & Lucas. He was the humble winner and I the proud spouse.




I’m a writer-performer of comedy and with seven talented women I co-wrote, rehearsed and performed a one-hour Sketch Comedy show: THERE WILL BE SNACKS. We performed twice in April—once at Second City Hollywood and once at the awesome Comedy Central Stage! Both were great shows with terrific houses!


The most glamorous aspect of April was spending three entire weekends digging up the front yard with my husband and installing our own P├ętanque court—aka French Bocce, or French lawn bowling, or an excuse to throw a ball with one hand while holding a glass of wine in the other. I’d submitted to build this court with the City and it had to be completed by the end of April.

But then, didn’t everything?

All of this was on top of working and writing on other projects.

My goals for the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2013 were to write 26 comedic story/essays about my chosen theme of wine. This I accomplished. I also wanted to include as many of my own photographs as possible because I love photography and believe it can help tell a story or set the tone of a story. This too, I accomplished.

Did I have every post posted at 12:01 AM on the required day? No. Did I write blog posts in advance? No. Rather I wrote the entry every day on the day that it was due. This was a major part of the challenge and what I wanted to experience—sitting down and writing every day.

Before the challenge started I created a list of what word I would write about for “A” and “B”. I had four options for “C” and six for “J” and on the allotted day had to narrow it down to one to write on. I also tossed my planned entry for “R” and wrote something completely different that I could share with my beautiful cousin after she attended her first chemotherapy session. (I sent her the link and she liked the post.)

I am glad that I did this challenge, although sometimes it was more challenging trying to upload my blog posts than to write them! During those four days in Houston I couldn’t upload because I didn’t have a relaible internet connection! Argh!

The best aspects of this A-Z Challenge for me were:
  1. Writing a 500-1000 word piece every day
  2. Meeting other (wonderful) bloggers
  3. Reading and following their blogs
  4. Growing my own followers
  5. The supportive staff that runs and monitors this Challenge
  6. Winning the Liebster Award from the talented Helen Jameson. Again, thank you Helen! I didn’t even know this award existed and didn’t believe I’d even gotten anything so receiving it was a pleasant surprise.
  7. A book! I collected some of these A-Z wine stories and added them to new wine stories that I wrote into one book about vino. My wine book, Evolution of a Wine Drinker, is now available at Amazon as a Paperback and as an eBook!
Ideas that could improve the A-Z Challenge in the future:
  1. When signing up, please make it very simple how to add the category of the type of blog one writes. I write a Humor/Comedy blog and when I added the requested (HU) after my blog’s name when signing up, the signup page/program repeatedly rejected my web address. I was so close to not even doing the challenge but finally opted to forgo the (HU) label and just type my blog address without it. Judging by the looks of the list of bloggers without a category label for the A-Z Challenge I don't think I was the only one challenged with adding this label. Whew!
  2. I wish I could have connected with more humor and comedy/clown writer types, and addressing the above element would facilitate that.
  3. As a comedy person I crack jokes and did so in a couple comments on my own blog and on other blogs. I think comedy writers appreciate these jokes. But if I offended anyone with a comment it was my attempt at being funny! And if you didn’t find it funny, I guess I’m not as funny as I thought I was! My apologies! Again, identifying comedy writers would resolve this. I could tailor my comedy bits for the comedy types.
  4. I could not upload the Badges for the A-Z Blogging Challenge; the Liebster Award; or the A-Z Blogging Survivor. Perhaps this is a "it doesn't work with Mac" problem? Or a "it doesn't work with Blogspot" problem? Or a "it doesn't work with Alicia" problem? I spent way too much time futzing around with these badges when I could have been writing or reading other great blogs. So I just didn’t use any of them.
  5. Without the badge element working I couldn’t pass along the Liebster Award to other talented writers that I discovered during this challenge. This is my single biggest disappointment of the Challenge
  6. SO, I have decided to mention the five (not the usual 11) Liebster Awards winners here! And if they want the Liebster Award badge please go to Helen Jameson's blog and pick it up! I read so many blogs during the challenge but I found myself going back to visit and follow the blogs of the five writers below. So thank you for writing!
Liebster Award Winners:
1. The Happy Life Blog
2. A Month of.... Blog
3. The View Outside
4. JA Bennet
5. Writing in Wonderland

Liebster Award Questions:
Please answer the following questions on your blog and link back to mine.
1. What book changed your life?
2. When did you know you were a writer?
3. Who's funnier: Jerry Seinfeld or Louis C.K?
4. What's your favorite type of wine?
5. What book have you read over and over again?
6. Who's funnier: Tina Fey or Amy Poehler?
7. Have you published a book? If yes, please name it:
8. Do you read the news in its paper form or online?
9. Who's funnier: Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?
10. Who's your favorite book character?
11. What's funnier: Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory? 

I close with a huge thank you to the staff, writers and bloggers who created, monitored and ran this 2013 Challenge. Please pat yourselves on the back. You deserve the praise! For me, this Challenge made the blogosphere smaller, my writing community tighter and my writing habits better.

Thank you all and wishing you a wonderful day!
Alicia