A – Z Challenge 2015 Reflection

A-to-Z Reflection [2015] - Lg

Four days since the final post for the A – Z Challenge was due and 1, 516 fellow participants have emerged from the rabbit hole that was April.  So much energy, writing, visiting, commenting and scurrying as we polished draft posts before hitting the publish button.

And now the Selah, the pause and reflection:  time to take our hands off the keyboard and think about what was good, what was uplifting, what was surprising and take a look at the good, the bad and the excellence of the challenge

The Good:  Having over one and a half thousand writers from which to choose to visit made it easy to visit a few each day.  Because there are so many blogs I did not get to I am considering stepping on board the A – Z Road Trip.

My loosely-wound theme was the different places to which I had travelled as well as a number of unrelated-to-travel posts, well, just because.  Nonetheless, I covered the alphabet as required by the challenge and posted twenty-six days – one post for each letter of the alphabet.  Sunday was on our own agenda when I surfaced for breath, drank fresh coffee and chocolate-chomped my way through the Easter stash.

Although I try to have some kind of editorial calendar as a rule, I knew I couldn’t repeat last year’s night before stressors.  This year I started planning in March and scheduled as many posts as possible.  That was gold.  Anyone who has written travel posts will know how tricky it can be finding that perfect photo on the hard drive, somewhere.  Having that information at my fingertips before settling down to write was a testimony to focussed organisation. Yes, I have kept editorial calendars in the past, although this was the first time I had really done my homework and research in advance (can I keep it up).  It kept the pressure at manageable levels and helped to maintain focus for each piece. When I didn’t feel like writing, I could spend time finding appropriate images.  I loved that.

This year’s challenge was more enjoyable than last year’s for a number of reasons.  The most important being the diligent approach to the editorial calendar and the knock-on benefits.  The other reason -I lowered the bar and posted shorter pieces and used photos.  I also gave myself permission to occasionall post something quite unrelated to travel … it worked.

General readership was up by 16% over the month with the first two weeks indicating a 23% increase in readership.  However, this momentum dropped over the next fortnight while the final week was abysmal – which pulled the average down to 16% – still an increase.  I think that is probably how many sites fared during the challenge.  Expecting folk to maintain that high level of enthusiasm – in the midst of life – is unrealistic, I feel.

Would I take part in the challenge again?  Yes.  While stats are interesting they are not the reason I write.  I enjoy reading other bloggers’ work and contributing to their readership.  The exposure works in both directions.  As I visit and read, my horizons are broadened and the feedback provided on this site helps me improve my writing skills.

The busiest day was Tuesday 23rd April when the Topkapi Palace post was published.  Readership seemed to enjoy the travel content over other topics covered in the month.  I would love to be travelling more but thems the breaks and work does interfere with adventure.

The Not So Good:  When I think of the effort in setting the posts up, time spent visiting and commenting on other blogs it is a disappointing result.  On the up side, if I am looking for some zombie-centric information, I know where to go; or something for that difficult to buy for person – got that covered too and for the young punks who want to set up their own garage studio I’m in the know there as well.  I was surprised by the number of blogs devoted to vampires, witches and extra-terrestrial beings.

A Suggestion: Perhaps having one well publicised site for the year’s challenge might lessen confusion.  I found it difficult to know who was doing what and where to find information.  Maybe one site with different menus on the side bar for each stage of the challenge.

Some Thank Yous:  First of all a big thank you to the organisers and associate behind-the-scene gurus.  I cannot image the work that goes into organising such an epic gig but it doesn’t stop me appreciating your efforts on our behalf.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Also you visited my blog a few times and even left comments.  I am humbled and elated that you took time to do that for me (and for everyone else too,  but I felt noticed).  Secondly thank you to the faithful readers who have stopped by to read and comment, I appreciate you.

My Highlights:  There are so many excellent bloggers who participated in the A – Z Challenge in April that I cannot hope to mention them all.  However, I did enjoy the contributions made by:

  •  Wangi Writer who challenged herself to a poem each day; wonderful poetry in many forms, well worth the time to browse
  • Thoughts and Entanglements combined poetry and her quest to be more knowledgeable about particular artists in her theme for the month.  Loved the paintings chosen to accompany the posts.
  • Praise, Prayers and Observations is the blogging home of Jess Ferguson who spent April blogging through the alphabet while she shared the journey of on-going home renovations.
  • The Old Shelter: Sarah posted he way through the alphabet with the roaring twenties as her theme.  The twenties were the ‘flapper’ years, I loved the clothing, elegance and audacity of that era.  I remember seeing the movie Thoroughly Modern Millie and being impressed by the vitality, oomph and pizzaz of the times.

ATOZ-2015

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12 thoughts on “A – Z Challenge 2015 Reflection

  1. A nice reflection. I did not make it around to near as many blogs as I wanted. I agree with you about the vampire blogs. Something I have never found interesting is vampires. But that is just me. I am here today catching blogs I missed on the Road Trip. Hope to see you around!

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  2. A great reflection for the A to Z Challenge! 🙂 i still need some time to let everything settle down and go back to my normal writing habbits… Were there so many blogs about zombies? i did not find one…but then i did not visit more than maybe 100 of the list? So this month i will be reading more of all the awesome posts of the challenge 🙂

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  3. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! And glad to see you had fun, especially with the visiting! That’s the upside of scheduling ahead, it gives you more time to read others, and it sounds like you took advantage of that! 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

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  4. Great reflections post Linda! I agree wholeheartedly about writing ahead of time and scheduling the posts to publish. No way could I have dealt with that and visited and commented on as many blogs as I did. I too experienced less reciprocity in the visits and commenting which was disappointing: I spent a great deal of time visiting others blogs and READING them while I was there, not just leaving a drive-by comment; I averaged 10-12 blogs per day and sometimes more. There were a few days where I only did 5 or 6 but that was not the norm. So I expected to get a lot more comments than I did, which would’ve been nice considering the amount of time I put into each post. That said, I am so appreciative of all those who did come check me out and who took the time to leave comments. Of those, I have some great new friends!
    I’ll definitely be back to check out more of your A-Zs: I love getting to travel vicariously. 🙂
    Hope to see you on the A-Z Road Trip!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    • Reading the first few reflections others have had similar experiences. I think the reflections and road trip narrows the cohort to those who intend to engage with each other rather than seeking to increase traffic. Having said that increased views and comments are encouraging. See you on the road …

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  5. Thank you for your interesting and thoughtful reflection. I can find myself in some of the points you’ve mentioned. I wished I had prewritten my posts, and I’ll definitely do this for next year’s challenge. I also understand you thoughts about the time and effort you spent on your and other blogs versus the outcome. I found that I needed a break from my blog to regain the fun part of it.

    All the best and my congrats on making it through!

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  6. What a wonderful reflection on your A to Z, Linda!
    I have written mine, but haven’t posted it yet – probably tomorrow when I’ve gone over it again.
    Many thanks for mentioning my blog (I’ve done the same for yours) and your lovely comment on it.
    You really did well. I found getting to more blogs was difficult, especially with the comments I made on other blogs and they made on mine took up a bit of time. However I too found some great blogs to keep in contact with.
    Congratulations on your great effort with the Challenge. 🙂

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    • Hi Rosanna, thank you for the wonderful compliment in sharing my post. You can either do it from your reader where there are three buttons at the end of the post: reblog, comment and like or from the top left hand side of your screen when viewing the post in your web browser. Hope that helps 🙂 Linda

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