This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doris Plaster: An A to Z Success Story

        Today I am honored to have Doris Plaster as my guest.  Her story is a great testimonial for the possibilities of creative inspiration added to participation in Blogging from A to Z.  Here is Doris in her own words.

The story behind the 50-word stories
A 50-word story? How in the world can someone write a story with such few words? I pondered as one day I came across a portfolio with interesting quick stories. They were beautifully crafted, made perfect sense and left me with an “Oh” expression by the end of each story.
When Lee announced the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, I looked at it as an interesting opportunity to establish some discipline related to writing. It’d also be a great opportunity to explore other blogs.
But I don’t have time to write daily! I thought, with disappointment. I live a busy life, holding a full time job as Director of Social Services in a 135-bed nursing home. Additionally, I have a home and family to take care of.
Yet I am not a person to easily give up.
As if a magic answer, the idea of writing 50-word stories flickered in my mind. In actuality, it would become a double challenge: writing something daily and mastering 50-word pieces. I chose elderly and healthcare as my preferred themes for the stories due to that being my area of expertise--and my passion.
I had a plan. I signed up!
The story behind the “Home Sweet Nursing Home” book.
The A to Z project was the most fun writing activity since I began blogging a year ago. The effort of assembling the vignettes, based on real experiences, containing dialogue, characters, and a story line was definitely an amazing challenge. I was so thrilled when I began receiving numerous comments with interesting discussions, and definitely, valuable feedback. My excitement was even more heightened as I noticed an increased number of readers, and quite a few compliments expressed. By the end of the challenge, about five of my readers suggested I publish the stories, given that they were so unique and well-written.
I was greatly surprised! I had no intention to publish a book anytime soon. And surely not when I signed up for the A to Z Challenge.
I gave it some thought, mentioning it to my husband, who was very supportive of my readers’ idea. After several days of debating, I finally made the decision.
I will get the A to Z stories published!
Another challenge began. Small steps toward the world of publication were being made. I was nervous and excited at the same time.
Getting my stories published was a rewarding decision, I thought. Especially when I touched and smelled my first book. Home Sweet Nursing Home was released a couple of months ago, and is available through Amazon.
Since it’s a small book, it was a fairly decent journey to publication. I learned some experience that may help in the future should I decide to publish another book.
Home Sweet Nursing Home seems to have the appreciation of many people that have had the change to read it. I’ve received encouraging comments from friends, colleagues, and workers from the healthcare field. I have received an invitation to write and speak at a local healthcare association. I received an email from the Alzheimer’s Association, Missouri Chapter, asking where they could buy my book, as they wanted to give it to their support group facilitators. I’ve been invited to guest post on other blogs, as well. Last week, I was interviewed by a local writer wanting to know how I was inspired to write my book.
Sometimes a simple idea can develop into a successful project. Your heart and passion must be in it. Motivation, dedication and commitment are equally important.
The link to my book on Amazon is:
I am thankful for all the blogger friends who joined my blog during the A to Z Challenge, and for the marvelous friends who encouraged me to publish the stories.
Thank you, Lee, for having me as your guest. You have certainly been a great blogger friend and leader. I appreciate your and Stephen T. McCarthy’s support. You guys are awesome!

        Thank you, Doris, for your wonderful and inspiring story.  I encourage readers to support Doris's efforts.  Her success is your success.  Please share this post with others.  Who knows?  Perhaps you or someone you know will be the next one with a similar story to tell.

        Visit Doris's blog at Hold My Hand: A social worker's blog.



  1. Thank you Doris for a wonderful write, I have followed since that A to Z challenge and loved every post. I have made many friends since Lee's first Ato Z and we're still going strong.

    Thanks Lee for hosting Doris.
    Have a good day.

  2. Wow, what a great A-Z success story! I love hearing about these. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Oh, and I can't find a link to Doris's blog in the post, just the link to her book.

  4. I have Doris's book and have read it with giggles. Such a talented woman she is. Well, worth a good read!

    Lee, I'm back and thanks for letting me know all is fixed. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  5. Happy to meet another writer inspired by the A to Z to publish something. I'm going to get this book!

    Congratulations, Doris!

  6. What a great way to turn a blog challenge into something lasting. Congratulations.

  7. Lee, tried to pop round yesterday and couldn't access the page after several attempts. Glad to see the kinks ironed out!


  8. Way to go Doris! Continued success with the book.

  9. Yvonne -- I'm glad you've continued to support Doris. She writes some wonderful stuff.

    Ciara -- I too love these types of stories.

    Donna-- Thanks for the reminder. I have added the link to Doris's blog.

    Jules -- Thanks for your affirmation of the book. Glad things are back to normal for us.

    Damyanti -- You and Doris may have started a trend for the future.

    LD -- I agree that taking one's challenge material and using it is a very constructive approach.

    Suze -- Hope things stay okay from now on. My blog problem gave me a scare.

    Tim -- Thanks for your vote of support.


  10. It warms my heart to read stories like that. That's a survivor's story. Way to go.

  11. The real stories of the A to Z challenge written by Doris were very touching indeed. I have been a fan of her blogs even before the A to Z challenge.
    Thanks for the this blog as we get to understand her even better. We do need social workers like her specially with the growing number of seniors of my husband's and my generation.

  12. That's great! I think that the elderly sometimes lack a voice, so it's great that you gave one to them. I hope your sales do very well!

  13. Very inspiring story, Doris. Congratulations on your book and best of luck too.

    I'm considering linking up next year to A-Z. It would be my first time.

    Thanks, Lee, for hosting.


  14. I'm curious if Plaster's book was self-published or had a publisher? I didn't see a publisher listed in Amazon, but I could have missed it. I'm kind of hoping it was self-published, because I'm looking at self-publishing some of my own work, and this is a great success story. But of course, a publisher gives the book more marketing, so will make it more popular. Either way, congrats on the success.

  15. Manzanita -- It is a nice story for sure.

    Munir -- You said it. In the decades to come the elderly in need of care may rival or even outnumber the younger population.

    Misha -- I'm definitely rooting for the sales of this book.

    Teresa -- It would be great if you joined us in Blogging from A to Z. I think you'd come up with some wonderful posts that might be worthy of your own book.

    Monkey -- It is published on Create Space which is in essence a platform for self-publishing. Perhaps Doris will enlighten us more in a future post.


  16. A to Z does it again. Congratulations to all concerned.

    Doris, keep up the great work.

  17. I know Doris! So cool to see several participants who turned their Challenge posts into books.

  18. What a great story! Congratulations to Doris for your publication and to Lee for facilitating such a great blog challenge!

  19. Yay! Good for you. This was a great idea.

  20. Wow, congratulations Doris!! How exciting! And such a unique and important topic too!


  21. Just goes to show where you can go with a plan. My A-Z was fairly aimless but hugely fun. I like the idea of crafting a challenge like that into a book. I am already working on having a plan for next years Challenge. Good job Doris!

  22. Mary -- A to Z is the blog event that keeps on giving.

    Alex -- It gives some of the rest of us something to consider for next time.

    Amy -- I'm honored that writers like Doris have found a fruitful outcome from A to Z.

    Carol -- I never dreamed that my idea of blogging from A to Z would become what it has.

    Carla -- Doris's topic was definitely unique.

    Chuck -- I have a feeling there will be more bloggers thinking like you next year.


  23. Lee, thank you for your support. You are such a good friend. I have no words to show my gratitude.

    And thank you everyone for your kind comments and encouraging words.


  24. Thank you, Doris, for being here today. And stay tuned. I'm sure there will be more comments to come.


  25. Wow, that's a fantastic success story! Thanks for hosting, Lee.

  26. a lovely story and a lovely post, Doris and Lee!

  27. Hi Lee - what a wonderful guest blogger .. Doris' stories and thoughts have been amazing .. I've bought her book and have lent it to the Nursing Centre Manager as the lower floor is Dementia care now.

    The stories are brilliant and so well told .. succinct and just appropriate - heart rending .. but so important to read.

    Thanks Lee - just glad I can get here now .. the nasties have gone away ... cheers Hilary

  28. How wonderful!

    I'm a big fan of micro fiction (I had a story in the first Hint Fiction Anthology - all the stories were 25 words or fewer) and recently wrote some Twitter Fiction - even though I'm not on Twitter. :)

    (Hi from the Contemp/Mainstream group over at the Campaign!)

  29. Rhonda -- Thanks for stopping by.

    Talli -- It's something to consider for those who do the A to Z again.

    Dezmond -- Thanks! I've got to admire Doris for what she accomplished.

    Hilary -- It's the wonderful folks like you who will help Doris in her publishing efforts. Thanks for supporting her.

    Madeline --25 word and Twitter stories sound like a real challenge. It would take some true word craft skills to pull those off successfully. Thanks for stopping by.


  30. I'm a new follower from Rachael's Platform Builders Campaign. You have an interesting blog.

  31. Good luck with your book, Doris.

    Arlee, I'm amazed how these A to Z Challenges have developed. People felt triumph for completing them, learned more about themselves, and now one has been driven to publication. Impressive!

  32. That's wonderful she made a book of her posts!

  33. This is so neat ... and everything happened so quickly! I look forward to checking it all out.

    Arlee, thank you so much for stopping by to say hello this morning.

    Take care,

    Kathy M.

  34. That is a great success story! Congratulations to Doris on her book. :)

  35. Richard -- Thank you for stopping by and following. I will be over to check out your blog soon.

    Theresa -- Actually 2 have gone to publication. Damyanti has also published an ebook of her A to Z stories and will be a guest on this blog on Sept 12th.

    L. Diane -- I think Doris had a good idea in turning her posts into a book.

    Kathy M-- Doris certainly got on it right away didn't she. That's the way to do it if you're highly motivated.

    Golden Eagle -- Thanks for your good words.


  36. Fifty words each? I'm impressed. Wishing Doris success with this project. Her's is the second book I know of that's come out of the A-Z. Kudos to Doris and Damyanti!

  37. Fantastic! Congratulations to Doris. And kudos to you Lee for offering her the platform from which to find her success. This is a wonderful story.

  38. Congrats Doris; so happy for you!
    WE can make time for our passion, so glad you did!

  39. Joy -- I tried to do a 50 word story for my Friday post and ended up with 80. I guess with practice I might do it, but I find it difficult to write something coherent in that few of words.

    Liza-- I hope we hear many stories like this in the future.

    Ella -- It's a matter of just doing what needs to be done.

    Damon -- Thanks. I'll check out your blog as well.


  40. This is the kind of story I love to hear! Good for you, Doris, and thank you, Lee, for the introductions.

    Fellow Campaigner here, by the way. And a new follower.

  41. Doris - This is a great story, what a fabulous idea. I like flash fiction. It really teaches you to write tight.

    Lee - I'm following Rachel's Platform Building Campaign trail like you I'm in the Adult Fiction group. My blog can be found here.

    Looking forward to communicating soon


  42. It is so cool that the A-Z challenge led to such a rewarding end result! Congrats to all involved.

  43. A great idea and it works! Your story is awesome Arlee. Great interview. Doris is one of the good ones.

  44. LADY DORIS ~
    I just got back into town last night and so I'm only now catching up on past posts.

    You are an inspiration to so many who wish to see their writings published.

    It is amazing to me to see how popular and successful Lee's "A To Z Blogging" idea has become.

    And it's gratifying for me, too, since Lee has said numerous times that my blogging was a key element in convincing him to begin blogging in earnest. So, in a way, I feel that I too played a small part in all this success, despite remaining primarily on the periphery of the Blogosphere and not exactly being the enthusiastic blogger I once was.

    LADY DORIS, it couldn't have happened to a nicer person. I thank you for the heartwarming stories I've read on your blog, and I thank Lee for sharing his wonderful Blogfest idea with the rest of us. As I'm sometimes known to say in my grammatically-challenged way: That's good stuffs!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  45. Katie -- It is a great story. Thanks for visiting and the follow.

    Maria -- I'll be stopping by.

    Carrie -- Thank you for saying so and it's so good to see you stopping by--it's been a while.

    Maurice -- Doris is one dear lady with ambition and heart.

    Stephen McC-- You have more influence than you sometimes give yourself credit for. I know that I, and I'm sure Doris, appreciate your continued support and your talent as a blogger and writer.



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