I’d like to thank the team that put together this challenge. There were a heck of a lot of people signed up to this and I’d spend several hours each day just reading different blogs which interested me, all through the @AprilA-Z
The reason I decided to take on this blogging challenge in April was mainly to keep me focused and writing each day throughout the month. I had surgery at the beginning of April so knew that I would be off work for a number of weeks. Having the challenge to focus on each day really did keep me from feeling too sorry for myself whilst I was recovering from surgery.
I decided to have one theme throughout the challenge which was New York City. I visited New York City for the first time last summer. Talk about a dream come true for me, the city lived up to everything I imagined it would be and much more. Since returning home I couldn’t quite bring myself to blog about it as I didn’t think I could do it justice in one blog post.
After all visiting such a city rich in culture and attractions could never be fully written about in one blog post, so doing it in 26 blog posts was even better.
The challenge and the theme also gave me the excuse to go through all of my 1,500 photographs and select my favourites to display with my post for the day..
Thinking about what to blog about each day was something I really enjoyed too. I’d kept a notebook of each day while I was in NYC so I kept referring to that and reliving my wonderful five days.
I wasn’t sure how long it would take me to recover from surgery, and as I’m an active person I knew I had to do something to keep my spirits up. This blog challenge certainly did that, as it made sure I did the thing I enjoy doing each day which is writing. Even bed-bound I still managed to get on the laptop and post every day.
My blog traffic increased throughout the month and I picked up about thirty new followers which was a welcome surprise.
I do enjoy blog challenges, now the difficult part is trying to keep up with interesting blog entries throughout the year.
Z is for Zoo
MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE
Only in America would you find a zoo in a park. Okay, I admit I haven’t actually checked if that is correct or if there are more zoos in parks.
What I do know is in the North West of England we have Chester Zoo (not in a park) and Blackpool Zoo (not in a park).
In New York, they have a children’s zoo in a park. That park being Central Park. Admittedly they can afford the space for a park given how vast Central Park is.
I was very grateful for this distraction so my son could visit the zoo with his dad, while I went off on a Mad Men tour.
That’s it folks. Z is the final day in this April A-Z Challenge.
It’s been a hoot.
Thanks for reading.
The photograph below is me by the fountain in the opening credits of Friends, I think I was trying to be Jennifer Aniston plus 30 pounds!!!
W is for World Trade Center
MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE
Not many people will visit New York City without paying a visit to the World Trade Center.
A trip to the 9/11 memorial is also a must-visit spot if not for anything else but to pay respects to all of those who lost their lives on that fateful day in 2001.
I would also recommend visiting St Pauls Chapel located at 209 Broadway between Fulton and Vesey Streets in Lower Manhattan.
The Chapel’s rear faces the east side of the World Trade Center site and when the towers collapsed it served as a place of rest and refuge for the recovery workers who were at the World Trade Center site.
It is a miracle that the Chapel survived the impact of the towers collapsing. For eight months hundreds of volunteers worked 12 hour shifts around the clock. It served as a resting place for the New York Fire Department staff, police, construction working and others, and these volunteers provided meals, beds and general care for these workers.
Inside the Chapel you can view the impromptu memorials that the Americans brought to this site. Photographs, teddy bears, posters, letters and prayers which were all displayed on the railings outside, are now on display for the general public.
A beautiful tribute to everybody who was affected by the events of 9/11.
There also rests the remains of tree roots outside of the chapel which also survived the trauma.
Walking around the site, seeing all of these memorials still made it feel surreal to me.
It didn’t quite sink in that I was standing at the site where thirteen years ago those images that I watched on television actually happened.
Even as I stood next to the foundations of the twin towers, trying to imagine what it must have been like to be part of that day was difficult. Luckily I won’t be haunted by those images like hundreds of New Yorkers are.
Last night I logged onto the #scriptchat conversation on twitter and asked the same question to the panel which were @Bang2write and @Julie_Gray. As I anticipated they didn’t favour one over the other, it is entirely a personal choice.
I’m an advocate of education – just as well as I work in a university. Having undertaken many courses over the years to build up my qualifications for work and also as a personal goal. I’m a firm believer that it’s important to have qualifications, but just as important to have relevant experience, skills and knowledge.
I was a late starter when I undertook my degree. It was something that niggled me throughout my twenties as there were many jobs in the public sector that looked like something I could do, but the person specification always requested “educated to degree level”. Early 2005 I did a magazine journalism course, which followed by me signing up for a degree at the Open University.
After I graduated in 2009 I had a burning ambition to then study for a masters, but I was adamant that it would be in something that I felt passionate about. Scriptwriting ticked both those boxes, so I was ecstatic to be offered a place on the course.
Now I am at the end of the postgraduate diploma part of the course, I must admit that although I could have just bought a lot of books about scriptwriting, and if it works for people then that will save them a heap of cash. However, for me attending a class every week, listening to lectures, masterclasses and then receiving feedback from my peers has been invaluable.
I have experienced aspects that I never would have if I was self-taught. The best experience was during my radio drama module where I was present at the drama being recorded in a radio studio with a group of talented performance students. Hearing your words and characters come to life is really valuable. With the medium of radio too, it is easy to spot mistakes that have been made with the script which don’t work in an audible medium.
Being part of a small community of like-minded individuals has kept me motivated during some difficult times over the two years. There are times when you wonder whether you can actually do this, especially when those rejection emails come from the writers room and other script calls. Personally without my class mates I’m not sure I would have got to the end of the course,and I’m hoping that my dissertation will give me the calling card I need.
I know other writers through twitter who were entirely self-taught, and this goes to show that it is a personal preference. I absorb information if I can hear somebody talk, and for me to take notes. But, it’s also reassuring for any future writers that there are a lot of very good text-books out there that can do the trick as well.
How about yourself? Do you favour education or think that self-taught is just as effective.
This is a post for http://www.writesofluid.com blog writing challenge. One blog post a day for all of June.