A to Z Reflections Post

Today is the official Blogging from A to Z April Challenge reflections post day. Those of us who took part in the challenge get to talk a little about what we did and didn’t like about this year’s challenge, give feedback, and reflect on our posts. So, here we go!

This was my third year doing the challenge. Like previous years, I wrote all my posts way ahead of time in February, got them queued up in March, and didn’t have to do much in April. I know if I tried to write the posts daily or weekly in April I would fail, so I always make sure to get them up way ahead of time. That being said, just like the past two years, I experienced a pattern. The days leading up to the challenge and the first week was full of excitement and enthusiasm and fun, but after that it became kind of tedious and grueling, and fitting it into my daily life was a concerted task. Somehow, I always forget that fact!

This year my theme was 26 Things To Hate About Writing. The theme was tongue-in-cheek, and meant to be a humorous, satirical way to deal with my own writing frustrations. In a similar vein of trying to be funny, last year my theme was Pandora’s Tacklebox: The Worst Romance Novel Ever Written In 26 Days (which you can now get as a free e-book!), a humorous romp that explored the various mechanics of writing and the worst possible ways to execute them.

I think people enjoyed my theme this year. I got a lot of comments and laughs, and quite a few new followers. I try hard to be, if not as funny as I think I am, at least entertaining!

Now, onto the things I liked and didn’t like about this year’s challenge:

LIKES:

  • As always, the challenge is a great way to make new friends and find new blogs to follow. I meet new people every year and it’s always a blast!
  • I learned some new things from the blogs I checked out.
  • I got some new followers.

DISLIKES:

  • I was not a huge fan of the new way of sharing our posts each day. I understand the co-hosts have a huge job with the Linky List, but I’m not sure adding our links to individual blog posts was the right answer. The main problems I found with it were time zone issues, so many comments it was hard to sort through them, and that there was no standard format for presenting links. If we’re going with the blog posts next year, I would suggest offering a comment template that would give more information about the poster’s link. For example, about half the comments each day, I had no idea what the blog or post was about, since the commenter didn’t offer much information. Not everyone is necessarily good at selling themselves, so maybe a standard format for information about the linked post would help.
  • We could also get more co-hosts and go back to the Linky List. I for one would have no problem being a co-host next year!
  • Things seemed a bit disorganized and delayed this year. Usually our graphics and all the information is/are available way ahead of time.

All in all, it was a pretty positive experience, even with the changes this year. It’s always a relief to get to May, though!

29 comments

  1. Good ideas. I didn’t find many new blogs this year because of not knowing what the blog was about. Also, since I posted my link around the same time every day, I tried to read the five blogs that posted before me, and they seemed to be mostly the same. And I completely missed the Facebook page. I like the idea of a standard format of how to post so that we know ahead of time what the blog is about.

    Additionally, I nominate you for the Mystery Blogger award. I was nominated, and one of the qualifications is to nominate others. You don’t have to accept if you don’t want to, but it was fun to do. You can read about it on my blog, if you’re interested.
    Doree Weller

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  2. Yours was one of the best themes out there this year – thoroughly entertaining. I admire you for being so organised ahead of time. I always have those intentions, but it hasn’t worked out yet – my last few posts were done last minute! Oh well, never mind. The daily link comments seem to be what most people have a gripe with this year. I would often start from the bottom of the list or some point halfway through to avoid running into the same people. A template form sounds like a good idea – the hosts did advise on what to include in your comment, but I think a lot of people forgot. And I would welcome the return of category codes.

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  3. It was a great challenge, Megan. I wish I could manage to write my posts ahead of time like you. I always plan to, but somehow, it never works out 😦

    I agree with all your thoughts about the organization this year. I was particularly bothered by the lack of things which have been there the other two years I’ve partecipated, like – as you said – the graphics. I too had the impression something was going on behind the scenes, but I’m not judging the co-hosts for that.
    I particulalry missed the twitter chats…

    There was actually a template for commentes, I know because I used it. But I’ve noticed not many did, which is something else to puzzle about the comment metode: the co-hosts offered the template to use, but bloggers didn’t. To me, this means something more easy and immediate is needed… though I’m sorry to say I wouldn’t know what.

    But anyway. There always comes a time where things need to be change and chinging is not always easy. I’m confident a solution will be found 😉

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    1. It’s not always easy to write the posts ahead of time, trust me. I have to make myself do it and be diligent!

      I definitely know what you’re saying. I felt like the posts were just kind of put up and we were left on our own for the rest of the challenge. There wasn’t the usual hype and excitement around things, or the involvement from the co-hosts. I hope things will be better next year!

      And whoops, I missed the comment template. I guess it needed to be more prominent!

      Like

  4. I m glad I found you through he challenge Megan. All jokes aside, which is a rarity for me, I am glad to know the thoughts running through my head are common with other writers. So much of a writer’s life is spent in solitude tapping away at our keyboards. Having the chance to share and connect, or be human, is great. Your humor was definitely one of my favorite parts of the challenge.

    I agree that the organization of this year’s challenge lacked the cohesiveness I have come to enjoy from the A to Z gang. It is surely difficult to round up enough volunteers for something that can require so much of your already limited time. Perhaps eleven months of though and planning will figure a way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, thank you! 🙂 That’s really the best thing about the writing community, is discovering that you’re not alone. We all have the same frustrations and worries constantly running through our heads!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I mostly like finding new blogs as I think that is pretty much the best part of the a-z challenge.

    honestly, I don’t care either way – linky list or not, I still think it’s a success if you find new blogs and learn new things and make a few friends.

    congrats on finishing the challenge.

    have a lovely day.

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  6. I love your theme, as you know from my comments. Very funny, and I nice twist on the “writing tips’ blog. I agree about the daily comments not having info about the blog other than a link. I included the theme and the title of each post each time. I didn’t visit blogs which were just links. Maybe people who do so were relying on people finding them once and simply returning. I made no such assumptions.
    I’ve read a lot of dissatisfaction about the new system, but I liked it. I don’t really understand the problems, but it doesn’t matter. Whichever system is used I will continue to participate because I like it. All the best, funny lady.

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  7. Wow you are super organised to have compiled your posts that early. I could only schedule 4 posts and after that was just writing daily!! Congratulations on completing the challenge!!

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  8. This was my first year for doing the challenge, so I have no basis for comparison and didn’t really care one way or the other how it was done, other than having to remember to come to the site to post my link every day. The first week I didn’t want to give away what my theme was, I wanted to see who could figure it out, figuring that after the first week if the same people kept reading it they would catch on. Apparently though some people still didn’t catch on by the end of the month, because I got some comments from people who acted like I was writing about real people and events, instead of it being fictional (and the first line, always in quotes, being someone else’s work anyway). And since I even said in my first post that I was talking about Ed Gorey’s book, you’d think that would have been a big clue for people, but once again I was giving humans too much credit. 😛

    It really was a disorganized mess, wasn’t it? I had to search through the entire list of comments every day just to find the people I was trying to follow, and some days I couldn’t find their posts in the mess so wound up falling way behind, like the one who was writing a mystery based on a children’s block quilt. I missed a few days because I couldn’t find his posts, and even though I was following his blog during the challenge, most of the time I wouldn’t get notified that he had posted the next day’s entry, so I had no way of finding him again till the next time I found him on the challenge site. Frustrating doesn’t begin to cover it! Luckily I got notified of your posts every day, but a lot of them wouldn’t show up in my inbox till halfway through the day, when I was already doing other things online.

    I don’t have any viable suggestions for how they should do things next year, however, so I guess I don’t really have a lot of room to complain. Then again, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea on how to begin organizing something like this challenge anyway, so I’m glad I don’t have to worry about it. 😛 I guess we’ll just have to hope they take everyone’s suggestions and actually try to use them next year, and things will go a lot more smoothly.

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    1. Ha! It’s funny that people would think you were talking about real people. Maybe they thought you were some kind of crazy murderer, killing all these poor kids in strange ways? 😀

      I really found the comment thing to be a mess. It’s even harder when people didn’t always give any clue as to what their post was about or what their theme was. There has to be an easier way to do this, but I don’t know. I think bringing a little more order to it is definitely needed, though.

      The co-hosts really do a great job, no matter what. Kudos to them!

      Congrats on finishing your first challenge!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I only wanted to be secretive about my theme for the first week, just to see who caught on, but then I at least started putting the names of the entries in my links after that. I guess I could have given more descriptive posts on the site, but was trying to get it done so I could move on to other things, like trying to find all the blogs I was following in that mess of a list and get them all read and commented on (when possible).

        Hopefully they actually use some of our suggestions next year, I’ve seen some really good ideas but who knows if they’ll actually do any of them or not. Guess we’ll have to wait a year to see!

        Like

  9. I didn’t get to participate this year, but when I did, I got all my posts done in February so I could enjoy the visiting and make sure I answered all comments during April. I think people get discouraged when they take the time to comment and the blogger doesn’t answer or acknowledge them in any way.

    I found two blogs to follow this year, and one of them was yours, so I consider that time well spent! I think your observations were spot-on and I like the idea of a comment form, or at least a format for people to follow, so it makes the links easier to negotiate. I think your theme was terrific, since I’m a huge fan of nicely done sarcasm, and you actually did have a lot of great writing advice in there. Good job!

    Like

    1. I feel the same way, I definitely try to answer ALL my comments and it can be a bit daunting at times. Sometimes I have to go back and catch up on them, but I do answer them all.

      Awww, thank you so much! I’m so glad you’re going to be sticking around! 🙂

      Like

  10. I loved your theme (and last year’s too). I wasn’t a fan of the new system at all – it definitely felt disorganised!
    Debbie

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  11. I’m so happy to have found you through Nick Wilford’s post today. I look forward to reading your April posts.

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  12. I agree, the posting was tedious every day. Then trying to look through all the comment, most of the time I had no idea what it was going to be about. I’m tempted to volunteer next year. We’ll see how life is faring for me then.

    Enjoys your AtoZ this year. I tend to favor those when I can really learn something, or have a good laugh. Yours was somewhere in between. 😛

    Like

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