2023 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

April Challenges by Maria L. Berg 2023

Last year’s A to Z Challenge became a year long focus that changed how I approach art, poetry, and writing fiction. I like to combine the A to Z Challenge with the daily poetry prompts from NaPoWriMo and Poem-a-Day, so last year I picked the simple topic of “Abstract Nouns.” Abstract nouns are nouns that denote an idea, quality, or state rather than a concrete object. In other words, they are things that cannot be measured or perceived with the five main senses. They represent intangible ideas.

Studying abstract nouns led to reading lots of philosophy. Trying to capture photographs of abstract nouns led to a deep dive into abstract art and creating many new photography techniques. And the challenge led to some interesting poems about how we each have a different definition, sometimes contradictory definitions of the same abstract noun.

After the April Challenges were over, I continued my study with a new daily challenge of abstract nouns, and by the end of the summer, I had discovered a new passion: Contradictory Abstract Nouns. Inspired by a piece of writing advice, “Find the despair in hope, and the hope in despair,” I started trying to capture images of these contradictory abstractions, and this led to a continuing study of what I call the Big Five: Truth/ Deceit; Beauty/ Ugliness; Love/ Apathy; Happiness/ Despair; Wisdom/ Naivete. I even used the Big Five as inspiration for the main characters in my NaNoWriMo novel.

For this year’s A to Z Challenge I will be looking at contradictory abstract nouns that both start with the same letter. This will make for less obvious combinations, and more creative contrasts. Since A to Z subtracts Sundays, I’m going to leave this year’s Sundays open to collage my images and thoughts from the week.

Here is a calendar of the ideas I have so far. Like last year, X needs some leeway. These are tentative and may change by April first.

April 2023 calendar with pairs of contradictory abstract nouns from A to Z. One per day except Sundays.

Spring Has Sprung

White, and a few pink, cherry-plum blossoms reach into a blue sky with wispy white clouds.
Spring is in the Air by Maria L. Berg 2022

April is coming very soon. It’s a busy month here at Experience Writing because it’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), and the A-Z blogging challenge. This year, since I photo-illustrate my posts anyway, and was so inspired by one word daily prompts last fall, I thought I would add a photo-challenge to the mix.

How will I do all that AND continue building healthy habits to finish my novels? Good question.

First, let’s look at all the fun challenges and events coming up in April.

National Poetry Writing Month

I started participating in NaPoWriMo in 2018. I really enjoy reading all the different responses to the prompts and the inspiration of the global community of poets celebrating poetry (language(s), perception, symbolism, creativity, imagination) together.

Writer’s Digest also has a Poem-a-Day (PAD) challenge through the month with daily prompts. I like to combine prompts, so I usually write to both.

When I renewed my membership with Academy of American Poets this year, I noticed that I can create my own anthologies: collections of poems I love from poets.org. I’m excited to do that throughout the month (and beyond). They also have special events like poem in your pocket day, and you can sign up for daily poems in your email, if you haven’t already.

Blogging A-Z

I have combined the Blogging A-Z challenge with NaPoWriMo since 2018. I really enjoy this challenge. I get to make up my own topic each year, so it adds another element to the daily poetry. For this challenge I like to explore words and language. Last year I explored Janus words; the year before it was musical terms. Look for this year’s theme on Wednesday.

April Daily Photography Prompts Calendar

I will be putting my one word daily prompts into a calendar like I did last November and December and include it with my A-Z announcement on Wednesday.

White and pink cherry-plum blossoms against a cloudy sky with part of the slope of Mt. Rainier in the background.
Sprung by Maria L. Berg 2022

Haibun Monday

Today’s prompt for Haibun Monday at the dVerse Poets Pub is “cherry blossoms.”


Last week, the house had a stroke. I plugged in the air-popper and the lights dimmed. Then part of the house was out of power, and my desk monitor was flashing madly. I ran to the fuse boxes, but nothing was flipped. The overhead light was pulsing and I heard a clicking noise.

I pulled the main switches down then sharply up again. The pulsing and clicking continued. I pulled each of the fuses to the right and then the left, and checked the water heater. It was the source of the rhythmic clicking, blinking rapidly on and off again and again, the beat to the pulsing lights. Not wanting to lose my newish water-heater, I shut it off at the fuse box. I unplugged everything. Turned everything off, and went to sleep with memories of cold showers, and expectations of hard days ahead.

The morning after the morning I called the power company–and they sent someone out and then some more someones and had the problem fixed by the afternoon–I opened the door to my cherry-plum trees in full bloom. I heard a loud electrical hum, and only imagined more electrical problems. I stepped outside and saw the trees writhing with bees in every blossom.

A yard book-ended in pink
overnight blossoms
pulsing in pollination

{Strange note: I started a draft of this post yesterday. When I came to work on it today, it was published, back-dated to March 8th. The only thing I can think of is the cat walking on the keyboard, and that’s pretty impressive, even for him.}

April’s Blogging A to Z challenge: contronyms, antagonyms, or auto-antonyms. Oh, my!

April is almost here! My days are flying by too quickly.

Yesterday, I signed up for the blogging A to Z challenge. This will be my fourth year combining National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) with the blogging A to Z challenge. I enjoy how the poetry prompts and the words I choose for the challenge influence each other to inform my poetry. Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest will also have daily prompts for his April Poem-A-Day (PAD) Challenge that will probably make their way into my posts.

So far I have explored the A to Z of:

2018: Words that were new to me
2019: More new words
2020: Music terms

This year I have been playing with Janus words, exploring how words that can mean their opposite might be used to “turn” a poem. For the A to Z challenge I will look at Janus words and phrases–also known as contronyms, antagonyms, or auto-antonyms–from A to Z and attempt to employ them in my daily poems.

I hope you’ll come by each day to read my new poems, see my new photographs and hear about what I learn along the way.

Hears to a creative and fun April!

Exploring Klecksography is Free and Fun!

You don’t have to have paint and brushes to create ink blots. You can use coffee, tea, even ketchup or mustard. Ran out of printer paper? Any old scrap paper will do.

The legend of alone people

To further my klecksography innovation, I started with the eye-dropper and let that layer dry. Then I tried different size brushes. Flat vs. round brushes didn’t make much difference, but I did notice a difference between the smallish round brush I used yesterday and a large round brush. The results were satisfying, so tomorrow, I’ll keep experimenting with different brushes.

For today’s poem, I used the Sasquatch Magnetic Poetry kit.

April is Poetry month

Here is a list of links to explore as you get ready for National Poetry Month. I’ll be participating in all of these Challenges like I did last year. I like to combine the different prompts and for A to Z I usually explore new words (to me) that I then use in my poems, but I might do something different this year. Any ideas?

National/ Global Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo/ GloPoWriMo)

Academy of American Poets poets.org is a great resource for poetry. They inaugurated National Poetry Month in 1996.

Writer’s Digest Poem a Day (PAD) Challenge

Blogging from A to Z Challenge

The Writer’s Games – Registration opens April 1. Games begin May 8th.

And don’t forget dVerse poets pub where every month is poetry month. It brings together a great community of poets that host prompts and an open link night.


Happy Reading and Writing!