#atozchallenge A to Z Reflections

My reflections on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge of last month, word by word – A to Zed:

  • AtoZ2013-_thumb.jpgA = Assumption. I assumed I could do A to Z, plus revise a novel. You can pin the donkey’s tail on me now.
  • B = Ball. I had a ball.  I very much enjoyed this year’s A to Z, perhaps because I enjoyed writing and exploring my theme, and I had more time for the discovery of other blogs also.
  • B = Bonus and Book. Through my A to Z Series, I added bonus posts for fun. So why not a bonus B point here? Book – after looking at my posts, based on the theme The Writer’s Core Habit Pack, I realised that – with close to 30,000 words – I had actually blogged what could be the seedling for a non-fiction book. I blogged a book. I. Blogged. A. Book. Jeepers. [Pulls herself down from the ceiling to get more real about it.]
  • C = Captcha. The demon of the blogging universe. Some people still use it, despite recommendations not to, and those people seldom allowed me past captcha to comment. One blogger took hers off, put it on again after claiming she was getting lots of spam, then demanded in the same post that anyone reading her must add a comment. Believe me, I tried but she’s perhaps better off with not hearing what I thought of her demands.
  • D = Distance. Never have I felt the confines of my location more, than during the A to Z Challenge. My Australian timing meant that, alongside the kiwis, my posts were some of the first going up into the ether for the day. When I went to read everyone else’s, they were a day behind. Conversely, participating travel blogs introduced me to several exotic places I’ve been to, or want to go to. Comments on my own blog came from all across the world. The Global Village really has been born through blog challenges like A to Z.
  • E = Ermie on the Run – this was my favourite blog find during the challenge. Ermie took us on a runaway travel session from Abroad to Yahoo, taking in Disguises, Evil Twins, Sight Seeing and X-Ray Machines, amongst the rest of the alphabet. Accompanied by illustrations and humorous (and even political) prose against the Google giant, I laughed and wowed all the way through my feed reader during the month thanks to Just Ermie.
  • F = Follows. The challenge really did find me many new followers and people I classify as web friends. I also found a good hundred other blogs I am now following myself.
  • G = Gratitude. I’ve expressed it in a T for Thankyou bonus post, but it’s worth saying it again. My gratitude goes to the A to Z Blog Challenge founder, Arlee Bird, the administrators and minions who helped the challenge along to its success. And more thanks to those who came here, commented, followed and shared themselves with me.
  • H = Hangover. Like many participants, I’m suffering in the aftermath of spending every day blogging, reading and administrating on my blog. I miss the buzz already, but like drinking too much and waking up from a near-comatose sleep I barely remember getting into, I’m also glad it’s over.
  • I = India. Lots of Mummy bloggers from India participated this year. Their honest look into the domestic side of one part of India as a nation contrasted with the feminist and financial issues of the country that our media focuses on.
  • J = Journey. If you keep a blog long enough, you invariably begin to realise how much the posts evidence a writer’s journey. A to Z was like one of those rushed road trips where you plan to do a lot, see a lot, live a lot, but it all goes haywire. Plans get de-railed, the journey itself takes over, and somehow you arrive at the end, in a place you didn’t quite for-see at the start. It’s a journey you can’t do too often, and one you will never be able to repeat. But the good thing is, that it’s all already captured and documented for you.
  • K = Knockout. Although my posts were pre-planned, it’s the bonus videos, graphics and off-topic posts – the knockouts, that I really enjoyed on the day. It pays to have a large reference library to go to for these, though. Mine is a growing Pinterest library, and huge RSS feed of posts.
  • L = Linky Lists. The A to Z this year had nearly 1700 people on it. I’m still trying to get around to half the blogs – and am frustrated by those many who didn’t bother to categorise their blog, and those who registered but didn’t start blogging. Always happens. But in there, are precious jewels.
  • M = Mix it Up. I’m not sure I was successful at this. I tried to provide all sorts of posts – from pure text, video shares, infographics, just one image post and gallery posts containing collections of images. I provided additional information in PDF downloads, and bonus posts for fun. I enjoyed them, which kept me motivated to blog.
  • N = NaNoWriMo. I participated in CampNaNo in April also, using my blog posts for the marathon challenge. This meant I also had to pay attention to wordcount and targets, and there was a lot of administration necessary to validate that. To make up for that overcommitment blogging wise, I cut down on other challenges such as ROW80 and the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I learnt from doing A to Z last year, some better time and project management skills.
  • O = On. On all the time. The A to Z Blogging Challenge supposedly has Sundays off. However, with posts and comments coming from all over the world timezones, there was seldom a day where I could take the whole day off. I wanted to approve new comments, respond to existing ones, follow-back, and of course, read other posts. It’s a full-on month of blogging, in more ways than you initially think.
  • P = Preparation. The key to my success this year was a full month’s preparation in March. I still wrote the posts each day, but knowing (mostly) what I was going to talk about, and having some resource documents done up beforehand helped immensely. But yes, some of those letters were hard, and the last week is always going to be a struggle with X’s, Y’s and Z’s.
  • Q = Question. Why did so many bloggers who registered on the A to Z linky list not bother to use the categorisation letters provided this year? How many bloggers out there don’t actually understand why they are blogging, and to what theme, ideal or audience? Interesting stuff.
  • R = Reflect and Rest. What many of us now need to do. (This is my reflections post).
  • S = Social Media. The A to Z team were particularly successful at utilising social media this year. I saw my own Twitter handle come up several times in Tweet lists over the month. The A to Z Challenge website itself, contained A to Z postings with the topic of the challenge, giving helpful and motivational advice for participants going through the month. There was also a Facebook page with these feeds.
  • T = Trends. I noticed there were many less foodie blogs this year than last. I was after some good recipes, so disappointed in this. Less craft blogs, also. Many more Mummy blogs, personal journals, and several more adult only bloggers joined in. A lot of writers shared their short or serial fiction on blogs too. Because it was also National Poetry Month, there was quite a lot of poems, particularly haikus, shared on blogs. Of course, I still have half the blogs to read, so my unofficial trend bullet point here is highly questionable.
  • U = Undiscoverable. I encountered about ten blogs in my reading pass-bys, where I couldn’t actually find their daily posts (presuming they were doing them). Several blogs hid behind static splash pages or had titled their post pages with something I didn’t recognise. Other points which turned me off from trying to find their posts – blinking graphics, and unbelievably, some bloggers still think it’s not annoying to pump out music at anyone browsing by, through widgets you can’t turn off. URK.
  • V = Variety. Long-time bloggers like me can do with something like the A to Z Blogging Challenge, simply to remind us of the sheer variety of writers and bloggers out there. There were a few newbies who began to blog for the challenge. There were also some other bloggers who registered four or five blogs into the challenge – some pulled out after the over-commitment became an issue, but at least one was successful in posting everyday to five blogs. Very-Wow.
  • W = Writer. Bloggers are writers (yes, even if you simply stuck up a vlog or youtube video). It was fantastic to see this channel being embraced by so many.
  • X = X-Rated. The AO category for A to Z had quite a few participants. Most topics covered weren’t too harsh on my older eyes or sensibilities. I like to think I’m reasonably open-minded (don’t we all?). But one blogger hadn’t bothered to categorise himself, and didn’t sit behind the warning page that the Blogger platform provides for unwary browsers. I stumbled onto the blog to find myself confronted with images which I’ve never really bothered with before. Not hard-core or morally corrupt, but let’s say I’ve certainly come away from the challenge with a new understanding on many subjects. Which is possibly what blogging is all about, yes?
  • Y = 2.Years.2.a.Book – this was my Y post in the series, the most popular of all, thanks to a lot of social media attention and forwards. It’s a homegrown infographic for multi-tasking writers.
  • Z = Zee Endz – this was the title for my final post, and it’s also the second most popular post out of the series. Not surprising, because I used the post to simply provide a huge reference and resource list of all the links I had used through the series. For writers, the post is a huge reference list to dig into.

17 thoughts on “#atozchallenge A to Z Reflections

  1. I was one blogger who didn’t categorize my blog. I do a family history/genealogy blog and I didn’t see anything that would fit in the categories offered. If there had been one, I would have used it.

    1. Yes, it’s always difficult to capture all the possible categories in a list. And many people don’t like to think of themselves as categorised.

      But with 1700 blogs, it’s helpful to know what you’re about to visit, regarding content. Particularly when it comes to things like adult content, and some subject matter.

      I appreciate your response, Kristen. Thank you.

  2. Very interesting way to do your reflections post. I was new to the Challenge this year. I did not categorize my posts either, although I suppose that they would have fit into the travel categories. The thing that bothered me about categorizing was that I would not go to certain blogs is there was a category that I wasn’t really interested in. So I ignored the categories and discovered quite a few new blogs that I liked.

    Paula’s Place

    1. Congrats for getting through the A to Z for the first time, Paula. I think that’s also a good point about catergorisation, although I didn’t look at it that way – I still went through the list bit by bit. But going back later on, I would like a quicker way of finding those blogs I am really interested in – like writing ones, for instance. Although I, too, followed and discovered many others of different themes and hold other interests like we all do.

  3. Excellent reflections and most original. I agree with (C) I found them most annoying, not knowing they were there until I had finished the post. Well done.

  4. Wow! What a fabulous reflections post!! I am one of those first time challenge participants who failed to note a category in my link. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to change that once you have signed up, so I left it off for the duration. Part of the reason was that I couldn’t decide what I was going to write about, and as it turns out, I could have gone with the MI and done just fine. Next year I will be ready when the link list comes up, and I WILL have a category listed! 🙂


  5. Love the way you did this. You make many excellent points. Maybe you’d like to consider doing an A to Z Blog post sometime in the upcoming year. We are always looking for bloggers who write well and present things in unique ways. I’ve made a note of your blog for this consideration, but let us know if this sounds interesting to you.

    In regard to the categorization, we felt there was a need to label certain blogs that might have offensive content for some and they should be labeled with an adult warning. Then we got some backlash thinking we were “picking on them” by singling them out. So we decided the labels for everyone might be appropriate. It was voluntary though we did feel the AC content warning was necessary. I’m not a fan of the labeling as we did it and didn’t use it as such, but I would like some sort of effective process of categorization to cater to everyone’s needs as best as possible without trying to remember a long list of codes.

    Thanks for the Reflections!

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Arlee, thanks for explaining the categorisation subject. It was interesting how this became the picked up subject out of my reflections post.

      Still slowly travelling around the other participants, and very much enjoyed the challenge this year.

  6. This is a great reflection post! I am Australian, too, but I purposefully left my blog posting until night so I could be more in sync with most of the participants in the northern hemisphere 🙂

    I didn’t have a blog category either because I decided on my theme SO VERY late. The only way I can see to make compulsory use of categories is to have people not allowed to sign up until they have picked a theme.

    Also, I am a writer and that’s mostly what my blog is about, but my theme was about music, so if I had had that category on my blog, people who were looking specifically for writer blogs wouldn’t have found mine. But then if they were just looking for writing A-Z themes, then the category would have worked just fine for them. 🙂

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