Thursday, May 2, 2013

What I learned as I made my way through the A to Z Challenge



I am a survivor!




The A to Z Blogging Challenge is over!  I DID enjoy it. But it sure did not meet up to the expectations of what  I had felt was going to happen. There was NOT a surge of new visitors to my blog. In fact there were days that No one from the A to Z Blogging  visited me. That did not stop me, however, from making it all the way to the finish line. I hate to leave things un-done.When I start something I usually finish.  But I did not start this challenge to increase visitors to my blog. That would have been nice. We all like to know that people are reading what we have to say and making comments.  I think the challenge is probably mostly for REAL writers, of which I am not. Maybe it was my topic. I wrote about places that I have visited in the past. Maybe people just don't find that all that interesting  But I DID follow the rules. And I am proud of that. And I have started following a lot of blogs that I did not read before. And some I will even stay with because I found them to be so much fun. I stepped out of my comfort zone and that was my goal for this challenge.

What DID I LOVE?

I loved reading all about Scottish words at A Daft Scot Lass' blog She is a hoot! If you didn't follow her, then you must go now and read her posts. I also fell in love with Adventure's in the Ballpark and will go back and read her blog from the beginning (because sometimes you just need to do this.) I also totally liked Raindrops on Roses because her writing was simple and easy to read. I feel as if I have found a new friend in Monique over at Freckles and a Pink Tiara (even though she has moved, this is where I read most of her A to Z).Her new blog is called a life beautifully imperfect I have fallen in love with a book named BlackFeather from Nel Ashley that I will have to soon purchase and read for myself. I am not at all a huge fan of that type of book but she made it sound so fascinating through her daily posts that I just might be a convert. I found it so interesting how Random Guy came up with his post prompts that I just had to jump there daily and read. I found a new friend in Cat at Cat's Meow. She was my biggest commenter (is that a word?). Others who visited me quite a bit and left such nice comments were Me At Scribblings, Udita Banerjee at Shreds and Shards , where  I loved reading  posts about Scotland; ,  Nina Gray at Nothing, and Jen at We're living a full life. I followed their blogs and commented on their posts and I found new friends.   I could go on and on. But you get my point. I left comments everywhere I went. Some answered and some did not. But I didn't let that stop me. I added  a few new blogs to my Bloglovin' feed.

What BOTHERED me about the challenge?

I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't say that I was disappointed that I didn't get a lot of new comments on my blog. My stats showed that there were a lot of new viewers. People just didn't leave comments. I don't know why people do that. I always leave a comment, even if I don't have much to say about the topic. Just to let people know that I was there. I don't think I even had a visit from one of the hosts(there many have been one host, I wasn't sure but clicking on their name always just took me to the A to Z Blog)  which I thought was a bit odd. But like I said before, this was not the reason that I did the challenge. My goal was to post everyday and visit at least 5 new blogs every day. And I met my goal.

What did I LEARN along the way?

I found new books to read. Like Blackfeather. I discovered new recipes. Like the Pistachio Pudding Cake  that I found at Coming Down the Mountain. I found interesting crafts. Check out the  post on Mosaic Turtle Plant stakes at Spark My Creativity. In fact, I like how she did the whole alphabet dedicated to crafty-type letters. As I have mentioned before I learned things about Scotland by visiting A Daft Scots Lass and Shreds and Shards. I have never been to Scotland, but I would like to one day visit. I learned the Value of a Woman from Scribblings. One of my favorite posts was called Facebook Lies written by
The Procrastinating Mommy which hit the nail on the head to how I feel about most Facebook statuses.

Do I have SUGGESTIONS for next year?

I will plan to do this again next year. Why? Because overall I did enjoy it. I planned my posts and wrote them ahead of time so I did not feel stressed or pressured. Now I have a full year to decide what I will write about. My suggestions to those who do the challenge next year is to try to visit more blogs. Visit ones that don't have very many visitors maybe. They are the ones who will read and take in every morsel of your comment. And appreciate it. And you might even find a new blog to follow. Someone who has something interesting to say.  And make finding your blog easy! Sometimes I just simply could not find the blog.  I hope that I have not stepped on any toes with my comments. Feel free to let me know what you thought of the challenge.



See you next year!








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38 comments:

  1. Thanks for the shout out! I will be doing my Reflections post later tonight. Its a vlog!

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  2. Congratulations on the completion and you also noted the good and not so good things. I'm sure they will be noted.

    Yvonne.
    A TO Z AMBASSADOR.

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  3. Oh, thank you! You are a kind person. And I'm glad you enjoyed it because I enjoyed reading your posts too. And you're on my Blogroll now, so we'll bump into each other :)
    Best of luck for you next challenge!
    xxx

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  4. Nice reflections! I had similar expectations at the beginning, but I realize that I am not a "real writer" either, and that my blog is just a random collection of things that happen in my life from day to day. I was actually OK with only having three followers at the beginning of the challenge, but I am happy with the number I gleaned as well. Meanwhile, I have had so much fun getting to know so many people through their writing, and count you among that number. :) I look forward to continuing to read your journey and wish you the best!
    tm

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    1. Thank you! That is how I felt about it also. You are on my reader now, as well.

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  5. Enjoyed reading your reflection post. The discrepancy between visits and comments was huge at my blog as well ... not sure why. But I'm glad to see the positive comments here. Nice to meet you!

    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

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    1. I agree! I tried to make it as easy as possible for lots of comments but there just wasn't that many from the A to Z people! I am not sure why either.

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  6. From one AtoZ cohort to another ~ cheers!

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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  7. Just giving you a shout out so you knew I dropped by, read your post and enjoyed it :)

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  8. I think you are very kind to highlight by name blogs and bloggers you've enjoyed and I thank you for including me along with the other blogs you've enjoyed this challenge. Once I get my laptop back from repair I'd love to visit the others you've listed in this post.

    I agree that A-Z can be in some cases a mixed bag with visits and comments and I too saw that on my blog. So you know what I devised a personal strategy that works for me. Any blogs that I didn't get a chance to visit I'll get to in May. I did my best.

    This is what I did.

    Personally in the first few days I zero in on about 60 or so blogs that I visit/comment frequently. Then in addition to them I visit an additional 5-10 daily from the A-Z list- return visits from A-Z visitors too, but those 60 are my core list (adding as I went along). Out of those I tend like the content and the bloggers, some I click with more than others...all I like.

    This year I was pleased to have met a pretty active group of bloggers who read and commented and I loved their blogs yours included. This strategy worked for me. I have my friends from last years A-Z as well still visiting my blog too and I do the same on their blog. And I hope to cultivate friendships with these new bloggers over the next year as well.

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    1. That sounds like a good plan Jen. I tried to visit 10 new blogs each day and still keep up with the ones who were visiting mine. And I added new blogs to my reader as I found the ones that I want to visit more afterwards (like yours)

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  9. I like how you named the blogs you liked! Great idea.I also tried to visit some lesser-visited blogs to comment. The A to Z host did a post midway through the month with a link of blogs with few followers, so that was helpful. Congrats on finishing!

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  10. So here I am finding your blog after the Challenge is over. I too wrote about my past travels and also did not find a lot of new visitors. But some of the ones I did find were great. I also will be back next year. Congratulations on finishing.

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    1. Thank you. And yes I will do it again also. I did the posts for me anyway not to increase my visitors. That would have just been icing on the cake. Thanks for visiting me

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  11. I didn't get to your blog from the list, but am here now. :)

    I agree on the commenting, but I guess we can't make them.

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    1. Glad you made it! It's never too late!

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  12. Hi - thanks for leaving a comment over at my blog! I agree with you regarding the number of visitors compared to those who leave a message - I don't understand it, either! I had a few comments each day but visiting others who seemed to have scores on theirs.....guess my blog wasn't quite so interesting! Still, there's always next year.

    Sorry I didn't get to you during the challenge, with the best will in the world it's hard to get round more than a handful of other blogs out of the 1650+ that took part!

    Nice to meet you, anyway!

    SueH at I refuse to go quietly!

    Twitter - @Librarymaid

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  13. Congrats on getting though it! I didn't find your blog until later, but I really enjoy it. It's great that you are also doing the May challenge. I will get around to viewing your A to Z posts as well. :)

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog: kristenhead.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Kristen. I will have to try to get around to more of the A to Z blogs. Right now I have my hands full getting around the May challenge blogs. This thing is turning out to be huge!

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  14. What an awesome reflection post! I love that you gave shout outs! I will remember to do that for next year.
    I'm a new follower.
    Connie
    Peanut Butter and Whine

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    1. Thank you Connie. I followed you through the challenge also!

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  15. I'm a writer but my theme was music videos, so...yeah. :P There are definitely a large number of writers who participate each year though, and probably a lot of those people have writing-esque themes.

    I know that in order to get more than a couple of comments I had to visit quite a few blogs each day. I didn't manage to visit nearly as many as I wanted during April (I wanted to visit all of them!) but at least I tried! ;) I think scheduling posts is a great idea & the best way to make the most of this challenge. But I usually don't do it, as I'm a pantser at heart. :D

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    1. I did visit a lot of blogs. And I met some great bloggers. I will do it again next year.

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  16. Hi Paula,
    That was a great post. Thanks for all your feedback and honesty. As co-hosts, we really appreciate that. I'm sorry that none of us made it over to your place during the Challenge, but please don't take that personally. Even with the list divided, the numbers kept changing as we kicked out ads and other offenders, so our original list of "babies" changed a lot. I think it's great that despite all that, you're still considering next year. Thank you.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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    1. Not a problem Tina. It is what it is! thanks for visiting me today. And yep, I loved doing it so I will do it again

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  17. Yes, planning ahead makes a huge difference. I feel the same way you did about the comments, and I, too, followed the rules, Paula! Hope to see you around next year. . .


    MakingtheWriteConnections

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  18. I'm moving at turtle speed through the list of A to Z challenge blogs, and just wanted to let you know that even though I'm late, I'm enjoying your blog! I admire you for taking on so many challenges back-to-back...and two in June no less! I'm thinking of jumping onboard the June photo challenge...thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Thank you for coming. It will be fun to do the Photo challenge!

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  19. I'm sorry the amount of comments was disappointing, and that we co-hosts must not have made it by. I agree with what Tina said above. I'm glad you mentioned it, though, as this lets us know we need to find a way to keep that from happening. It's a whirlwind, our numbers change constantly, and I imagine there were other blogs that fell into that crevasse.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. I am sure there were more than plenty that fell through the crevices. We are the blogs that make the A to Z challenge so big. We, the forgotten blogs! But I write for me, not for my commenters . Thanks for stopping by

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