A to Z Blogging Challenge – done and done (reflective)

Today’s bonus post is about my recent experiences with the A to Z Blogging Challenge, so please skip over if you wish. Be sure to visit BooksYALove tomorrow to see why Myra firmly believes that Girls Don’t Fly.

cartoon of woman chained to teacher desk stacked with papers
Clip art  © 1998 Mark A. Hicks*

Questions in bold were asked by the A to Z Challenge organizers (bless their hearts for putting up with hundreds and hundreds of random bloggers), with my reflections following each one.

How did your journey through the alphabet go? Doing 26 posts in April was difficult because I promised all-new content and didn’t fudge along the way, despite hectic travel and conference schedule.

Did you meet new bloggers with similar interests? Not really, because there was no categorization of the blogs in the challenge & finding potentially worthwhile blogs was very hit-or-miss, based often on how well the blog name reflected its content and focus.

What were the highlights for you? (lowlights too…we want to hear it all) By posting all-new content twice as often as usual, I went through my To-Be-Reviewed shelf of books twice as fast as normal, but received fewer subscribers/followers than during other challenges. Many visitors were “drive-by” commenters who (like me) had landed on my blog even though it wasn’t in their interest area. A glitch in Google Analytics wiped out my statistics for 3 weeks of the Challenge, so I couldn’t even see if people visited other posts on my blog after landing there.

Did you enjoy posting daily? I wish that I hadn’t chosen to do this Challenge during a hectic travel and conference month for me – I was delighted when April was over.
What was your biggest hurdle? Staying true to my commitment to provide 26 new book recommendations in April when I saw that others had opted for a different level and could use repeat posts, cute photos, short poems, and still feel satisfied.
What was your easiest task? The writing itself.

Was time management an issue? (I know, silly question, when isn’t time management an issue – but, it is worth reflecting on) Having to pre-schedule and write 10 days of posts in advance prior to travel and conference was stressful.

And what about your content – did you have a theme or did you wing it? BooksYALove is recommendations of young adult books beyond the bestsellers; A to Z Challenge didn’t change that.
Was it easy to come up with ideas for each letter, or were some harder? Finding the right book for each letter was a pain. Being stuck weeks in advance with writing about those particular books when others came along – but didn’t fit the alphabetic pattern – was an even bigger pain.

How about commenting – did you stumble upon lots of sites still using word verification? yes.
Did this prevent you from leaving a comment? Absolutely yes. If your blog is so popular that you insist on having word verification enabled to protect yourself from a spam deluge, then why are you in a blog challenge?
What worked for your blog? I don’t use word verification or other sign-in stuff. Oddly, the first comment-spam that I ever received came during A to Z Challenge.

What will you do different next year? (Yes, you are doing this next year, you know you are, even if your brain is telling you to run for the hills – it appreciates the exercise) IF (big if) I decide to do A to Z next year, I will recycle some content instead of doing 26 new books. And I will be very, very selective about which personal creative writing blogs to follow.

What pearls of wisdom do you want to share with the Co-Hosts of this event? (We would love to hear from you and know what you think would make this awesome event even better) – (1) Have bloggers self-select into a category & list blogs under those categories (crafts, kids, health, books, writing, personal creative writing, art, etc) at A to Z.
(2) Provide brief description of each blog (written by submitting blogger) so we know what it’s about! For instance, Michelle Rafter (WordCount Blogathon sponsor) had Jan Udlock help her make this useful list of 2012 Blogathon participants.

I know that it’s TONS of work to organize and run a blog challenge, and I appreciate the A to Z folks for freely providing this opportunity to bloggers. For me, it was probably just not the right time to lock myself into such a rigid structure.

*Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com – clip art image of woman chained to desk Copyright © 1998 Mark A. Hicks

5 thoughts on “A to Z Blogging Challenge – done and done (reflective)

  1. sounds like a challenge I would enjoy! have you ever tried A-Z Reading Challenge?
    btw, the mail subscription is working now. I love your blog design and you have a lot of interesting posts.

  2. Masa- It’s an annual event, so start looking for information about it in March, then blog A to Z for April.

    I should look into A to Z reading challenge, too. And I’ll visit your blog again to subscribe by e-mail.

    Thanks for visiting!

  3. I have to agree that I wasn’t always sure what I would get when I clicked on a blogs title. I found your blog though!!! Which I get in my email box now so while I don’t always comment on every post I do read more than I otherwise would.(I love the email option follow, I wish more blogs had it.)
    I’m one of the bloggers that didn’t have so rigid a theme. (Bad me I know, I made my theme random in my introductory post. lol. at least for my book review blog) My other blog was a bit easier because I did have a theme. (schools and volunteering)So I found it kept me from wandering too off track.
    I am glad you decided to participate this year, and even if you don’t participate next year, I want you to know I still plan on reading your blog in the meantime and beyond!

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