When Nope Just Won’t Do ~ Reflecting on the #atozchallenge

Posted: May 9, 2016 in A-Z Blog Challenge 2016
Tags: , , , , ,

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]


Date: April, 2016

Challenge: Create 26 blog posts, one for each letter of the alphabet.

Post them every day in April, with Sundays off.

I almost didn’t do it. I’m a horrible procrastinator, and when I say I will do something and don’t do it…well hello there, anxiety!


scared baby


But I took the challenge and damned if I didn’t pull that sucker off. I chose haiku as my method of delivery—haikus are short, and I figured the only way to get 26 consecutive blog posts read was to make them short. And I chose phobias as my theme. Why phobias? Probably because I was scared.

But haiku? What the heck did I know from haiku? I’d never written one; I barely remembered the form had to do with syllables (three lines of 5, 7, and 5 respectively, for a total of 17 syllables). But I decided I liked the simplicity of the form and knew that a formula of sorts was the only way I would ever get the 26 posts done. And, wonder of wonders, haiku came easily to me. I actually had comments praising my poetry, and remarking on the power of my symbolism.




Somewhere around mid-April, another literary blogger (completely unrelated to the A to Z Challenge) invited me to co-write a dark literary poem with another established poet.

Folks, I don’t write poetry, per se. I may delve into the occasional prose-poem thing to color a point, but I am a novelist. I write suspense, mystery, horror fiction. I am not a poet and I know it.

The only reason I can think of for this erudite fellow to invite me to write poetry is that he must have stumbled on my blog, saw my haikus, figured he’d throw me a bone. And when he asked, I of course said, “I’d be honored, when is it due?”




Because that’s what you do. If you want to succeed, you take the challenge. You say YES more often than you say NO.

Years ago, when my then music director (I am also a musician) asked me to direct an upcoming musical, I said yes. Now…I play guitar and I sing. I have written plays and sketches. I have directed some dramatic pieces, and even performed in some half-assed musicals. But I have never directed one—and this one had multiple soloists, dancers, and a chorus of fifty. And multiple set changes. But he asked and I figured I’d jump and learn how to fly on the way down.

That’s what the A to Z Challenge taught me—or maybe a better word is Reminded me. Because I’ve been here before, but the past several years have driven my head into the sand. I’ve said NO far more often than YES, and I believe I have suffered for it. I’m not advocating for anyone to overstress themselves, or take on too much. But be open. Don’t say NO because it is what you have become used to saying.

When I was a new parent (some thirty years ago) I heard a respected child psychologist advise parents to say yes to their children as often as possible. “If there’s not a genuinely valid reason to say no (the safety of the child for instance), then practice saying yes.” I took that to heart and my children grew up—as far as I can tell—happy and well-adjusted.

Our inner child/artist/wild person deserves that same affirmation. Say yes whenever possible; when it makes sense, but also when it doesn’t.

Give in once in a while. Direct that musical. Own that karaoke. Let the poet inside you take a run at a haiku or a sonnet. It may open doors you didn’t even know were there.

A final haiku, because my Yes has created a monster:


Give yourself a chance.

Why make it no? Just say yes.

Screw Nancy Reagan.


Lastly, a shout-out to a couple A to Z bloggers who I really enjoyed.

An Artist’s Path, and Kai’s Life. Something spoke to me from these bloggers, and I recommend them to you without reservation.


a to z survivor 2016


Visit Martin’s website by clicking HERE.


Visit Martin’s Amazon page by clicking HERE.

  1. Nicola says:

    So pleased you jumped aboard. It was a pleasure to check in and read your work. Great reflective post and I particularly liked your analogy with directing 🙂 Have a lovely week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. artistpath says:

    Aw, thanks so much for the shoutout for my blog! This is my year of yes too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Arlee Bird says:

    Love the can-do spirit you have. As though the 26 post Challenge weren’t enough, you took on the Challenge of writing haikus. Pretty cool that you got the other literary offer.

    Thanks for sharing your experience in such an entertaining way. I enjoy your style. Perhaps you’d be interested in writing a guest post for the A to Z Blog (a-to-zchallenge.com)

    If so, let me know at arleebird@gmail.com

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  4. randommusings29 says:

    I imagine haikus are extremely hard to write, well done on producing 26 of them! Congrats on the opportunity to co-write a poem, and I agree about saying yes and not letting fear hold you back 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Completely agree with taking a chance on personal challenges. In fact, the working title of my current WIP is Just Say Yes and it is totally inspired by Mrs. Reagan’s mantra. Although I tend to have the opposite problem and have had to learn to Just Say No in the interest of improving my time management skills.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mott342 says:

      I totally get that. For years I was overcommitted due to an inability to say no. But the past few years were too far in the opposite direction. I was saying no out of fear and for a creative person that’s the death knell. 🙂


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