Tuesday, March 3, 2015

When A to Z and IWSG Collide


                                                               
   

It's time for another edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group Be sure to visit this encouraging group of bloggers. This year the first Wednesday in April coincides with the letter "A" in the A to Z Challenge.

Though I didn't participate in the festivities last year, the first Wednesday in April 2014 corresponded with the letter "B" of the challenge. Since I still haven't begun writing my twenty six posts for April, I thought I'd take you through the best or worst of "B"s.

                                                                                                                


In 2011, I wrote about Battling Bulges. As writers, we often need to trim the fat from our stories, before we become overstuffed on adjectives, and run-on sentences.

The following year was all about the Brutality of Bra ShoppingMany readers are in search of an uplifting experience, and it's our job to provide it for them. Though sometimes it's difficult to find the perfect fit, especially when our audience outgrows our material. Somehow that didn't happen in our YA days.

In 2013, my "B" topic was on Beauty Shop Bullies. This subject provides three options for the IWSG.  Bloggers have their choice of beauty shops, bullies, or both. Though I can't imagine anyone else has encountered an eighty something year old bully at their mother's beauty shop. There are bullies who do try to discourage us from writing, and there are plenty of writers who are insecure about their hair. Although we can all agree that Alex  and  Arlee are a cut above the rest.

Please keep in mind that the  IWSG meets on the first day of the  A to Z Challenge, so put your "A" game on. I look forward to participating, and cheering on the wonderful A to Z blogging community. I'll never forget my very first challenge in 2011. It was shortly after I started blogging, and I had no idea what to expect. When I told my mom I was going to be extremely busy that April, she replied without missing a beat, "I'll try not to die this month." Thankfully, she kept her promise.


71 comments:

  1. Loved brutality of bra shopping :) Happy to do the AtoZ with you again this year.

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  2. Your mom is funny. I'll be sure to stop by and see what you do this year.

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  3. Your Mom is a hoot! Good luck with A-Z. As always, this year I will cheer from the sidelines.

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  4. You do have some of the more creative B's in your A to Z arsenal. :) I'm so close to jumping on board the Challenge again this year. I think I missed the last two because I was too busy writing. I'm in a better place this year, so I may see you out there. Well, I would anyway, just because I read all your posts. :)

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  5. Hi, Julie! How are you?

    I love your mom's reply...too funny!

    Congrats on doing the challenge again! I did in from 2011-2014... It was INSANE and WONDERFUL all at the same time. But sadly, this year I may have to pass. Just too busy with life. I had been in Florida/NYC for six weeks total and just arrived back yesterday. I hope to move to Florida and away from CHIBERIA by mid April. Of course I will be up here for the summer. Florida is horrible then and my lease is until Nov15... Life is crazy...

    BUT, I will be popping in to read you A-Z.... It will be fun to be a voyeur this year. LOL...

    Let's have lunch next month before I leave again if you can. I'd love to see you!

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  6. That bra shopping was hilarious. You're a glutton for punishment, doing the A to Z again. I won't have time this year. Maybe next year, but I will pop along to see how yours is coming along.

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  7. GEM JULIE ~
    I'm insecure but I'm not a writer. Does IWSG have a halfway house for blokes like me?

    A couple people mentioned the hilarity of your Bra Shopping post, but I didn't see a link to it. As I get older I find that my once rock-hard pecs are starting to droop and I thought I might find some helpful advice in that blog bit. (Advising me to exercise more, however, is advice I can live without. I already do a case of 12-ounce curls a day, and lift 8 ham sandwiches to my mouth every day, and that's enough exercising for me.)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Stephen - I wasn't a published writer when I first joined the IWSG, and through Alex's group I contributed a short story to Nick Wilford's Overcoming Adversity anthology. Many members just enjoy blogging, and aren't interested in getting published. I know you would be an asset to the group.

      Though you won't be receiving any helpful advice, I posted a link to Brutality of Bra Shopping above, as it wouldn't appear in the comments section. Love your ham sandwiches and curls exercise regiment!

      Julie

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    2. Thanks for the link! I went and checked it out.

      I remember seeing that other picture of you in comment sections some years ago but didn't know you then. Seeing the picture now I thought: Oh, that was Gem Julie! I remember that image. I didn't realize you were her and she was you. ...I'm suddenly reminded of a Beatles song: I am he as you are he as you are me And we are all together... What brilliant LSD song lyrics, huh?

      >>... I know you would be an asset to the group.

      Well, thanks, but... I'm sure I would just be the a-double-s of the group.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

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    3. Stephen - I think I need to update my photo soon, and it would be nice to see one of you. As far as being the "a-double-s of the group," it would depend on how tight your glutes are. Sorry I can't nominate you without more information.

      Julie

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  8. I remember the bra shopping post and it still makes me laugh. And I'm so glad your mom kept her word and didn't keel over on you.

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  9. This year I'm sitting out of A to Z but I will be reading the posts. Too much happening with Sir Poops. Since his heart has enlarged and he has water in his lungs, I've been cleaning up a lot of secretions.

    But I look forward to reading yours. You always make me laugh, which I need in my life now.

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  10. Must remember that Julie, a case of "When Two Worlds Collide".

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  11. lol that was nice of her to try not to do.

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  12. I love your mother's comments.

    I look forward to reading your posts for the A to Z challenge.

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  13. Hey, thanks Julie.
    Just ignore the bullies, wherever they may be.
    And the next post day will be interesting since it's also the first day of the Challenge. Hope I survive...

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  14. Bullies are cowards and ego driven insecure sad cases...let them pass by. Bra shopping...every woman's dream...NOT! Your mom is a hoot:)

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  15. My audience outgrew my material a few years back. Never thought that would happen, but age has a way of teaching you about possibilities! Thanks as always for making me laugh.

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  16. My "A" doesn't have anything to do with writing or insecurity, so I'll have to add a separate note for IWSG.

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  17. Yippee.....A to Z time again.

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  18. your mom is a team player! I've signed up for A to Z without a plan. Yikes.
    sounds like you are getting in gear. I look forward to a fun April

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  19. Very funny thing your mom said. That's great stuff.

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  20. Your mother has a beauty shop? Does she own it, or is she a customer who behaves as if she owns it? I wonder if they'd stock my natural jungle beauty creams.

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  21. Rhonda - I'll always be grateful to you for persuading me to join my first A to Z in 2011! It will be fun doing another challenge with you! Thanks Rhonda!

    Natalie - I really need to get started. Thanks Natalie!

    Liza - My mom is pretty funny! Thanks Liza!

    Luanne - I hope you decide to join in! I always enjoy your entertaining posts too! Thanks Luanne!

    Michael - Yes, it is "insane and wonderful all at the same time!" I really felt left out when I didn't participate last year, yet I know I'll be horrible to live with during the month of April! "Chiberia" is the perfect way to describe our Chicago winters! I'm so excited that you found a place in Florida, but will still spend your summers here! I would love to see you soon, Michael! Let's hope for an April thaw celebration!

    Rosalind - I know I am. Hopefully, my family won't leave me in the process! Thanks Rosalind!

    Julie





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  22. Julie - I'm also grateful that she kept her promise! Thanks Julie!

    Shelly - I'm so sorry about Sir Poops. He's so lucky to have you taking such good care of him. Sending lots of thoughts and prayers his way. I'll try to come up with a few silly posts. Take care of yourself too, Shelly.

    Yvonne - A very important day, indeed!

    Pat - That's the kinda gal she is!

    Arleen - My mom always makes me laugh, and I'm sure she'll be guest starring throughout April! Thanks Arleen!

    Alex - I have every confidence that you will do an outstanding job of blogging every day, co-hosting A to Z, the IWSG, and promoting your book all at the same time. It's amazing how you'll also make it look effortless! Thanks for all you do, Alex!

    Birgit - The bully in this particular story was pretty harmless. Sorry if I got you all riled up, because I'm addicted to alliteration. Yes, bra shopping is right up there with bathing suit shopping for me. UGH! Thanks Birgit!

    Lee - I'm surprised that anyone would ever "outgrow your material." You always make me laugh too, Lee!

    Chrys - This is a time when you have to really let your creative juices flow. For example, you could be writing A is for Artichoke Hearts, and explain how you almost choked on one. This experience unleashed all of your insecurities about how an untimely death would affect your writing career. Hey, I think I just came up with my "A" post, although you have first dibs if you change your mind! Fortunately, Alex is a great sport!

    Julie

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  23. Delores - I'm so happy that I met you during my first A to Z! Looking forward to spending the best and worst of times with you all over again!

    Thanks Patsy!

    Joanne - That makes two of us who don't know what we're doing! Maybe we can sneak in a few of our poems from Old Broads along the way! Great line about my mom! Glad we'll be doing A to Z together, Joanne!

    Ivy - I've said many times that I think my mom should be the next Betty White! Thanks Ivy!

    Gorilla - My mom should be part owner of the beauty shop considering that she's been going there almost every week for thirty five years. I'm sure she'd love to stock up on some of your "natural jungle beauty creams," though I shudder to think what the ingredients are!

    Julie

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  24. Hi there from a fellow IWSG member! It seems there are insecurities every step of the way. I think the hardest thing in the world is to believe in ourselves which is why I say affirmations about it every day! :-) Wow, your mum sounds like a real character. Love it. Good on you for taking on the A-Z challenge, I felt a little frightened of the commitment.

    http://www.yvettecarol.wordpress.com

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  25. Love your mom's answer. So, if you stay busy enough, she'll have to live forever. Good deal.

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  26. I loved the A-Z when I participated, but I won't be doing it this year :(
    And we just won't mention my hair.

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  27. Yvette - It is a big commitment, but it's definitely worth trying. I agree with you about my mom! Thanks Yvette!

    LD - Sounds like a great plan to me! Thanks LD!

    Carol - Good luck with your writing, and we don't need to discuss my hair either!

    Julie

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  28. Ha! Glad your mom kept her promise. Good luck to you with the A-Z. :)

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  29. Hi Julie.

    Battling Bulges... hmm...? I let him go in 2011. That was a good year!
    The Brutality of Bra Shopping... wow! This rivals the day 'floppy disc' became obsolete.
    A-Z, not for me... I'm a minion for John Holton this year! It will be fun... just like your writing! (smile)
    Thanks for voting in my BOTB :)

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  30. Daisy - I am too! Thanks Daisy!

    Dixie - Glad you got rid of your battling bulge! I never thought of them as "floppy discs" before! Good one, Dixie! Congrats on being a minion! Thanks, and I enjoyed your BOTB post!

    Julie

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  31. Hi Julie - your mother is a complete hoot - and I loved her comment ... and I'm glad she's still around to keep you in check! I'll be there at the A-Z ... still have to write them ... even though I made the decision on what the subject was to be a year ago - hopeless! Still it's a frenetic fun time ... and I did love your Bra posting ... cheers for now - Hilary

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    1. Hilary - I'm so glad you're feeling well enough to participate in another A to Z! I'll never forget how you were the first blogger to welcome me in 2011! I'm impressed that you came up with a theme, so far in advance! Thanks Hilary!

      Julie

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  32. One of these years I'll finally do the A to Z :)

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  33. I'll try not to die this month. Hahahahahahahaha. Your mother kills it every time.

    I'm not A to Zing this year. I'm finding it tough to keep up with BoTB twice a month and the IWSG post. Yikes.

    However, I'll be cheering all of you on in your daily blogging quest!

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  34. Keith - You would be a wonderful addition to A to Z!

    Robin - You did such an outstanding job last year, but it does take up a lot of time. I hope I get through it with my mind and my Internet service intact! Thanks Robyn!

    Julie

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    1. Oops...Robin with an "i." Sorry about that.

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  35. I'm looking forward to reading all the varied posts from everyone in April. I enjoy reading it! All the best!

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  36. And I haven't gone bra shopping since I read that post. It's not to your credit, necessarily. I hadn't gone for years earlier. That post left a lasting underwire-like impression, Julie. I know you'll keep us laughing and entertained in April.

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  37. I love your mum's sense of humour!

    Forgive all the British spellings of things ;)

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  38. Editors At Work - It's always fun to see all of the creative A to Z posts! Thanks for cheering us on!

    Robyn - A "lasting underwire impression" is probably the best review I'll ever get! You are too funny! I hope I'm up to the task in April. Thanks Robyn!

    Michael - My mom always has the best lines! I happen to like the British spellings, though some of the Australian sayings have completely different meanings in English.
    Thanks Michael!

    Julie

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  39. It will be awesome to follow on and read all the posts.

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  40. I'm getting quite excited about A to Z now, I really want to take part again this year but I'm so worried I won't be able to visit lots of the wonderful blogs.

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  41. RR - It is fun to see what everyone comes up with!

    Maria - I feel the same way. We just have to do the best we can. I remember reading that at least one person was able to get through the entire list! That was quite an accomplishment!

    Julie

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  42. Re: bullies. Ignore them. Should be easier now than it was in middle school. We have more self-confidence, right? Good luck with the A-Z Challenge.

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  43. Diane - Bullies today are much worse than when we were growing up. We may have gotten pushed and teased, but never had to worry about being humiliated on social media for all to see. I agree it's best to ignore bullies. For me self-confidence is still a work in progress. Thanks Diane!

    Julie

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  44. You're right.I can't say I've ever encountered an eighty something year old bully at my mother's beauty shop. If I did, I would admit to my secret stop-by's at my mother's, you know, beauty shop. ;)

    Bryan told me to come and visit you, so here I am.

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  45. Good luck on the challenge. Although I won't be calling it challenge because I've read your posts and your killing it every time. :)

    Happy weekend!

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  46. Blue Grumpster - If you ever decide that you are willing to admit it, I will be here to support you! Bryan and Brandon are extremely talented, and they have the most loyal followers! I'm very happy to meet you, BG, and I look forward to getting to know you! Thanks for following me!

    Lux - Thank you for the very kind words! I always enjoy reading your posts too!

    Julie

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    1. I've known the Beer fellas since, what, 2010 and they still visit their friend Blue. Talk about loyal! Now excuse me while I go and have something done about my wrinkles.

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    2. Blue - Did I mention they also have great taste? I thought one of the advantages to being blue, is that you never age. The wrinkles must be a figment of your imagination.

      Julie

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  47. Haha, the Brutality of Bra shopping amused me :) And in stories I totally know what you mean - I LOVE to write with a bit of flower, and as a result all of my sentences are three lines long :P. Have a good week Julie!

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  48. I know what you mean about shopping for bras. Those ladies can be so mean to a fella who just wants a little support.

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  49. Sarah - I think you're doing a tremendous job with your writing, as well as your photos! Hope you have a great week too! Thanks Sarah!

    Al - Please don't let those insensitive mean girls get to you. Wear your Manzare or Bro with pride, Al! Kramer and Mr. Costanza would want it that way,

    Julie

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  50. I'm not man enough for A-Z. Or for bra shopping, for that matter. That sounds awful. But I'm very secure about this wonderful head of hair, so at least I have that going for me.

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    1. B & B - Both of you do have great hair! You could do A to Z if you alternated days, and cut back on your dazzling illustrations. But it just wouldn't be the same. You can't skimp on quality. Besides, your fans would probably start looting and running amok. You'd feel the same way if you went bra shopping.

      Julie

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  51. Great post, Julie.

    I'm sure you'll do another fantastic job with the A-Z again this year. I toyed with the idea of jumping back in again, but will probably do like I did the past couple years, and just sit out of blogging for the month of April. It provides a nice break, and HOPEFULLY, will spur me to do some writing. We shall see.

    Your mom is the BEST.

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    1. Susan - It would be so much fun if you jumped back in, but I understand how you want to catch up on your writing. I hope I make it through in one piece! I already feel like finals week is approaching, and I haven't even begun to look at my textbooks! Thanks Susan!

      Julie

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  52. Great post. I'm looking forward to reading all the posts.

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  53. Hi Julie - I'm in .. just need to write them! Cheers Hilary

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  54. nice blog, follow for follow?

    www.trendyytimes.blogspot.nl

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  55. For me April 1st also brings Battle of the Bands. I've done that post already and I think I've successfully combined everything including a Wednesday "Ask Arlee" segment. Quite a blogging coup I think.

    Now I deserve a bully free haircut.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    A Faraway View

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  56. Editors At Work - So am I! Now if only I knew where to start!

    Hilary - You always go all out for A to Z, and I look forward to tuning in!

    I Choi - Thank you, and I'm happy to return the favor!

    Lee - You deserve much more than a "bully free haircut!" I'm very impressed with all you do! Thanks for everything, and I can't wait to read your "A" trifecta!

    Julie

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  57. Brutality of Bra Shopping. Genius!

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  58. Thought I would stop by and see what you are about.

    This was a fun and funny IWSG post. 'The Brutality of Bra Shopping' Ha, ha, ha! I've been there both figuratively and literally. And 'Beauty Shop Bullies', sounds as though it could have been fun (unfortunately, I've actually run into a few of those). sounds like you've had a good run of A to Z's. I did it once and that was enough for me. I had a real hard time keeping up with blogging every day. But I do enjoy lurking around and reading the other posts.

    When I went to you profile to look up your blog address, I noticed you live in Chicago. Although I haven't lived there in quite a while, that's where I was born and raised. I've seen you around blog land, but it's nice to finally meet you.

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    1. FAE - Always glad to meet another Chicagoan! I'm sure you don't miss our nasty winters! Thanks for the kind words, and for following me. If you look slightly left of center, you'll see me on your GFC. It's so hard to keep up with everyone, but I will definitely try to visit you more often.

      Julie

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