During the month of April last year, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge - one alphabet-themed post per day (except Sundays). I had such a good time with it that I'm doing it again this year. I'm loosely organized on the theme of downsizing, minimalism, and small-home living that I've learned in 14 years of living on a small boat. I'm starting with A is for Anchoring Out, Anger-ing Out, and ending with Z is for Zout and Zwarte Peper (Dutch for salt and black pepper). Click on the A to Z logo on the lower left sidebar for links to many other bloggers participating in the challenge.
Here's a magic formula for writing great stories. All you need to do is fill in the blanks:
"I went to ______, looking for _____ and was surprised to find _____, which taught me _____."
I got this tip from this great writing book by Paul Spenser Sochaczewski, who describes this prompt as essentially turning your story from "I went here, and did this, and then that, and ate that, blah blah bor-ing," into a quest. From the profound to the mundane, it has worked for me every single time.
"I went to every bar in St Augustine, looking for the best margarita in town, and was surprised to find that I gained ten pounds, which taught me that I don't have the metabolism of a 25-year-old any more." I ate a lot of tasty Mexican food along the way, as well. It was a great quest for starting conversations with the locals -- everyone seemed to have an opinion or a suggestion for a place to try.
"I went to the Caribbean, looking for peace and quiet and relaxing in the beauty of nature, and was surprised to find I had arrived in the middle of Carnaval season, which taught me that in order to have the best times, you have to go with the flow."
|What I thought I was getting: view from a hike, Virgin Gorda, 2004|
|What I found: Carnaval parade, Aruba, 2015 -- high energy excitement, loud music, and partying|
Try it yourself in the comments -- fill in the blanks: "I went to ______, looking for _____ and was surprised to find _____, which taught me _____." And if it inspires a blog post of your own, please post a link!