On May 7th participants in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge have been asked to provide a reflections post. This is mine, provided for both my post series on criminology found at my website and the slight failure of blogging every day on this one also.
Am I a survivor? You bet ya. I would suggest the series of criminal themed posts on my website was highly successful from a personal and public perspective. It appeared popular with several new readers, and if I had, as a writer, something like a book to sell from that website on the theme, then all the better. But this year I didn’t.
On this blog, not so much. My fault entirely – I didn’t pick a correctheory at at the start, and lost motivation. Overcommitted on what I thought I could achieve, based on previous blogathons I’ve participated in.
The a-z blogging challenge was new for me this year. I learnt a lot from it, particularly regarding planning and time commitments.
Unbeknownst to all of us, the challenge took off, and the popularity this year saw more than 1600 participants, all listed in one big blog links list. I am amazed that several participants had the time and dedication to get around and visit every single one of those blogs.
When I entered the Easter school holidays as a parent with a child home I lost any spare time to continue on my own visits. I also found it difficult to visit and search around for comments on blogs which – for me – simply didn’t interest me. It began to feel false to simply leave a ‘Hi, visiting from A-Z’ comment just because I felt I was obligated to provide evidence I was committed to the challenge in full, and visiting was expected.
And yet, I appreciated any kind of comments I got on my own blog.
There were a lot of writers signed up on the challenge too – but some of it was hit and miss regarding if we found each other. Or whether other writers were actually interested in finding other writers, for that matter. Perhaps with such a large listing, in the future this could be categorised into broad range themes, to allow us to avoid blog themes we’re not interested in, or find those we truly are.
I obviously had a problem with the implied word count constraints “suggested” for participants. I’ve always written longer posts unless writing a tips type post, and in my case I wasn’t theming my posts to such a tips or quick guide. We were told to keep posts brief because other participants were expected to visit us and wouldn’t have the time to read our posts.
Which brings me to a decision that I wasn’t the right person for the A-Z challenge this year, I wasn’t a great fit.
I still got a lot out of it, however, because I did visit at least 100 new blogs, probably more, and for a good thirty of those, I am now a new follower or subscriber. My own readership increased a little too, and I met some great people who keep coming back. On an additional positive note, the series on criminology has solidified my research for my novel currently being written. It was a massive knowledge uptake, and at some points the subject matter actually was quite lurid and got me down. But the whole exercise was incredibly helpful in many ways, for my writing, and going forward.
Would I do it again? Yeah, not sure, but then, I always commit to spur of moment thoughts, and the A-Z is one huge adventure across the blogosphere, and who doesn’t like adventures? I’d like to thank the organisers who spend so much time putting this thing together