The October Challenge

writerSome of you may remember last year I attempted to complete a blog challenge created by Jane Ann McLachlan. I think I made it about halfway before I went crazy and aborted the mission. Well, October is right around the corner and Jane is presenting the challenge again. When she emailed me, my first reaction was no way, Jose, but I went to her blog anyway and I read the details of this year’s challenge. I reconsidered. Maybe I could do this? Maybe I could even have some fun with it?

Last year, the challenge was to write a blog post every day for the entire month of October and each numbered calendar day corresponded to that year of life. This meant we spent a lot of time reminiscing about years of life that honestly, I don’t remember very well, especially early in the month. (I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything memorable when I was a year-old, really.)  I struggle to blog to begin with so I felt as though I was grasping at straws a bit on that one. And teen years? Well, I just didn’t want to go there age-by-age.

This year, Jane’s challenge still focuses on memoir writing but I like the changes she’s made. For starters, instead of posting every day, we will only post on the odd days. This gives us not only a chance to catch our breath, but also the opportunity to spend a day enjoying the posts of other challenge participants. Great! Not only that, but each week has a theme where we will focus our memories. These include Childhood, Relationships, Secrets, Roots and Wings, and Gratitude and Regrets. Ooooh boy. I’ve already got a few ideas floating around in my head for these and I’m looking forward to sitting down and playing with them.

Want to join us? This challenge is a great opportunity to stretch your blogging muscles, whether you write memoir or not. Fiction is welcome, too. Want to spend a month getting to know the main character from your latest book? You can do that, too. Your memories don’t have to be real and whichever creative way you wish to express them is welcome.

As a matter of fact, if you’re interested in signing up to participate (why not?), I recommend that you visit Jane’s blog to read the details.

And then, join me on Tuesday as we get on your mark, get set … and go!

Six Sentence Sunday and Blog Challenge – Year 7

Oh boy, maybe I’m getting in a bit too deep with all these challenges and things to remember. Pretty soon I won’t know whether I’m coming or going. It’s Sunday and I have two wonderful things to share with you today. First of all, one of my all-time favorites, Six Sentence Sunday, where I get to share a snippet of whatever I happen to be focused on for the moment, and secondly, my newest Blog Challenge, where I get to reminisce about my life one year at a time. I skipped age six but it’s just as well because I couldn’t come up with anything significant to say about it, and per the challenge, I need to write at least 25 posts during the month of October so it doesn’t hurt to skip one here or there. Today I focus on age seven.

Six Sentence Sunday, you go first. I’ll keep this brief. If you are interested in checking out the other participants, click HERE for the list. They are always fun to read.

So, pick a page, any page?? Pick a story, any story?? This is, indeed, the difficult part of the challenge. I’m going to hop back over to Nathanial and Sarah’s story even though I’ve not written anything new to add to it recently. I’m still stuck in la la land with no idea which way to run. Don’t you hate when that happens? There is so much from their story that I still haven’t shared, however.

If I have learned anything from my participation in Six Sentence Sunday over the weeks, it is the fact that I generally write really short sentences and a lot of dialogue. But here you go, I came across this little segment which I hope you will enjoy. Grandmamma had been kidnapped by the angerroots but now she’s inexplicably back and Sarah has a lot of questions about how and why, not to mention how their new (albeit handsome) neighbor Nathanial fits into the equation. We can assume at this point that Grandmamma is a lot more than she seems…


Grandmamma accepted the tray quietly and began eating with an appetite that Sarah was not accustomed to seeing in her. She lingered, trying to busy herself with cleaning up as she tried to find the right words to phrase her questions. It was a delicate subject to broach.

“Grandmamma,” she said at last, “Do you remember our nice neighbor Nathanial?”

Her grandmother stopped mid-bite and set down her spoon. She looked suspiciously at Sarah as though she had just said something illogical and when Sarah did not continue she huffed and went back to eating.


Next up, it’s the October Blog Challenge courtesy of Jane McLachlan and I’m focused today on years six and seven. Awww… look at me, growing up so quickly! It seems like only last week that I was just a baby and here I am in first … and second grade. Where does the time go?

First day of school, first grade. We sat in desks that had metal loops on the front. Not sure what the purpose of the loops would have been but several of the other kids were being silly sticking their feet through them while we waited not-so-patiently for the teacher to enter the room. Being the silly girl that I was, I stuck my feet through the loops as well, only mine didn’t slide right back out like the other kids’ did. My first introduction to my new teacher involved her taking off my shoes and disconnecting me from my desk. Enter embarrassing memory, number one!

Second grade I’d had enough of school so I quit. Well okay, I tried to quit. Actually, I remember it as first grade but my parents still insist that it was second grade, the infamous bad year for everyone in my family. They are probably right. I don’t know what possessed me to want to quit school. As far as I can remember, I’d always enjoyed it. I don’t remember having trouble with the work or any of the other kids at that point. I guess I just woke up one morning and said, nah, I don’t feel like it. Besides, baby brother got to stay home all day and play so why shouldn’t I? Being the Aries that I am, once I’d set my mind on it, that was it. There was no convincing me otherwise.

Therefore, second grade meant a torturous year of my parents trying to send me to the bus stop and me turning around midway and walking back to the house. My parents driving me to school and dragging me to the classroom kicking and screaming my head off. I held my own and insisted but I guess eventually they wore me down because in the end, I finished second grade and went on to third.

Later on down the road when my brother started second grade, he went through a similar experience. At this point, I’m hoping it’s not genetic and if it is, please tell me that I didn’t pass it along to my own kids. I have #1 starting second grade next year and I know I don’t have the patience that my parents had when they dealt with me. I am reminding time and again that my second born has inherited my stubborn streak. Perhaps he will be the one to carry on the family curse? Ah, the joy.

We shall see.

Thanks for stopping by to share my six and reminisce about my early years. It’s been fun. Come back tomorrow for year 8. (Another year closer to when I started writing!)

What’s Up?

The sky, of course.

And besides that, it might be a good time to give you an idea of what to expect from me in the days ahead. I’m participating in two challenges, one new and one old, and I’m pretty excited about both of these.

First of all, in October I’m trying a blog challenge courtesy of Jane Ann McLachlan. I’ve never participated in a challenge to write blog posts before but I’ll do pretty much anything for a little inspiration when it comes to writing. Jane’s challenge interested me right away because I’d already been in a nostalgic mood and thinking about putting that to use in my blog. Her challenge will help to focus that nostalgia for me.

Jane’s challenge presents us with this theme:

“Write a memory or reflection for each of the first 25 years of life. It can be a personal memoir from your life, a reflection on turning a certain age, a recollection of someone else at that age, a poem or a photo, on the ages 1 to 25.”

The challenge?

To write at least 25 of these posts in the month of October. (Eeeks!) Admittedly, this is going to be a tough one for me.

From what I gather, flexibility and creativity in this theme are welcome so it won’t have to be just be a boring rendition of, “this one time at band camp…”

I’ve not found an official linky list or sign-up sheet for this challenge but if you click on the link I attached above, you’ll find all the details that you need to participate if you so desire.

Once we make our way through October, it’s November! November! November! Don’t know why I’m excited about November? Have you been living under a rock? November is National Novel Writing Month, aka Nanowrimo. You can find the details and sign-up on the official site HERE.

(Add me as a buddy while you’re at it. My user name is StephIngram.)

The challenge?

50,000 words in the month of November!

I know a lot of fellow writers who plot and plan, fill out outlines and character sheets, and have a pretty good idea of what they want to write before they sit down on November 1st and let the words start flowing but me? Nah. I embrace the challenge wholeheartedly. I look at Nanowrimo as my time to PLAY! When I sit down on November 1st, at first I might have a scene in my head or the seed of an idea starting to take root but I won’t know who my characters are and I won’t know what sort of mischief they plan to get up to over the course of the next thirty days. I realize some writers consider this reason for heart palpitations and cold sweats but to me, it’s pure bliss.

I just want to write and create and not care about whether the end result is actually reader-worthy. (As a matter of fact, history proves that it won’t be.) But that’s kind of the point, right? The rest of the year my inner editor gets to tell me that what I’m writing isn’t good enough or try to push me into a direction that I feel like I should take, rather than want to take. During November, it’s goodbye editor and hello fun.

And let’s face it, the Nanowrimo forums and community offer new friendships, encouragement, and inspiration for the entire month. Writing 50,000 words in a single month in and of itself isn’t really anything special or exciting but doing it alongside a multitude of other like-minded people is what gives it that special sparkle. (Don’t believe me? Try it! I dare you…)

To make it even sweeter, this isn’t just any old year for me doing Nanowrimo. This is an anniversary of sorts. This is my 5th year!! I first discovered and participated in Nanowrimo in 2008. I didn’t know what to expect that year and I didn’t expect to write 50,000 words but I surprised myself and I did it. By the end of it, I was hooked and I went on to win in 2009, 2010, and 2011. This year will be no exception.

So, what does this mean to you? Well, in essence, it means that once you’ve suffered through a month of reminiscing with me about my first twenty-five years of life, I’m going to drag you straight into the madness that is Nanowrimo. Consider yourself warned.

So… Are you with me or against me? What challenges will you embrace over the coming months?