I first read about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge from reading the blog, Uncovering Roots, Extending Branches last year. The idea behind this challenge is that you will receive email prompts, a word or phrase, every week, and you find something about your research or family history to write about. The first thing I thought was I am not disciplined enough at this stage of my blogging to write something every week. As the year went on, I followed Amy Johnson Crow, the blogger behind the challenge, on Facebook. More and more I became intrigued by this challenge and decided that I would start this challenge in 2019. I had been blogging for two years, so I figured I would be able to keep up with prompts.
So, January came around and the first email came out with four weeks worth of prompts. I must admit I was immediately nervous and overwhelmed. I just didn’t think I would be able to keep up with 52 Ancestors blogs, doing my actual research, blogging about my research, and living my everyday life. But I really wanted to do this challenge because it would get me outside my comfort zone and get me focused more on writing. So I decided to accept the challenge with a couple of modifications. First I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with the thought of having to actually write, edit, and publish a new blog post for every prompt. So I bought a journal that was dedicated to my 52 Ancestors Challenge, and I write about the prompts in there every week.
I’ve been researching for over eight years now, so I figured there would be some prompts that are aligned with blogs I have already written. So after I have written in my journal about a prompt, I go through my blog posts and print out one that is related to what that week’s prompt is. I staple the print out to that week’s journal entry. This has helped me tie up some loose ends in my research. My second modification would be to publish at least one new blog post per month from the 52 Ancestors Challenge. So that’s why when you go to my blog, there isn’t a blog posted for every week of the challenge. Also every week Amy Johnson Crow will upload that week’s prompt on Facebook which allows the challengers to then upload their blogs for others to read. It’s nice to read other people’s interpretations of the prompts and about their research style. It also gives other people the opportunity to read about my journey.
Is that the way the challenge is meant to go, probably not. But this is what works for me at this time in my life. I have been able to get my thoughts out on paper. I have written about some topics that I wouldn’t have thought about on my own. I have been inspired by reading about other people’s research. I have been able to focus on writing about my journey. I am getting more comfortable writing. And this challenge gives me something genealogy related to do during the slow periods of my research. It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost five months since I nervously opened that first email wondering if I would be able to find something to write about. Now I look forward to those emails and getting my creative juices flowing. And this is how my journey continues…