If you've been following my series of tutorials on how to grow vegetables in the semi-arid, summer rainfall region of South Africa, you might have noticed that I had an unscheduled pause in the A to Z Challenge. Sorry about that. The break was not intentional.
The long Easter weekend begins late today (normal schedules resume on Tuesday) and many offices are closing as we speak as South Africans, including some of my family members, are going on holiday. So I'm going to have a lovely quiet time to blog and catch up with the challenge with very few interruptions.
Before I resume publishing the series though, I thought I should share some of the lessons I learnt so far:
1. The A to Z is marathon blogging, not a sprinting session - Yes, I heard veterans saying "pace yourself," and I thought I had. But clearly I didn't, because I did need that minute to pause to attend to other life related things and recharge.
2. Life happens; deal with it - In my case, it was needing to take Mma to a doctor and having to attend to some extra things related to her care.Nothing huge, but when you have a business to run, a household to manage and are involved in a daily blogging challenge, then one more task can tip the dominoes.
3. Manage your time as efficiently as you can - Again, I thought I was doing that. All I needed was Mma being off and some close cousins to make an unexpected visit for a number of days to tip my house of cards.
4. Set up a back-up plan to keep publishing - In hindsight, I should have seen all these life issues coming and planned for them in advance. Maybe not the exact issues, but something to upset the applecart, because Plan A is messy like that :)
5. If your pre-write your posts, make sure that they are publishing ready so you don't need human intervention to at least keep publishing, even if you cut down on blog visits- I pre-wrote my posts, but they're not publishing ready. So I have to take a look at them first before we go live. Which takes time.
6. Have fun - For a moment there I was getting stressed about it all. Then I had to remind myself that my reason for joining in was to make new friends and have fun, not to add another source of stress to my plate.
In spite of the above, a lot of things have been happening out here:
a). Mid-challenge I wrote an ebook proposal to a publisher, asking if they'd want a consolidated 3 book version of the series (vegetables, herbs and fruit) They've emailed to say "Yes" and want to see the full manuscript of the vegetable ebook. Can I just say "wooot!"
b) Emboldened by their response, I contacted several local organisations to ask for support so I can improve my gardening and blogging processes.
I met with them and one organisation has offered a lot of technical support in growing vegetables and will help promote my blog within their own networks. They will even consider translating and publishing the books in print to distribute locally.
Another organisation offered whatever seeds/seedlings I need to get my crops going. I'm still excited by my meetings with all the people - they were as excited about what I'm trying to accomplish as I am :) This brings me to lesson 7:
7. Your posts can have life beyond the challenge - We all have different reasons we blog and joined the challenge, but while the challenge was going on I realised that the challenge need not be the end of the material I was developing. Hence the book proposal.
So. I hope you're still enjoying the challenge; that you're learning things you didn't even know you wanted to learn; meeting interesting people. But most of all, I hope you are still enjoying blogging.
See you tomorrow.