Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reflections of a Novice A to Z ' er





A to Z Blog Challenge 2012


First, thanks to the A to Z Team for the 2012 Blog Challenge! That’s all of the Co-Hosts listed on the A to Z Challenge page (Arlee, Alex, Stephen, Matthew, Jeremy, Tina, Jenny, D.L., Shannon, Elizabeth, Damyanti, Karen, and Konstanz.)


Special Thanks to Arlee (Lee) from Tossing it Out for initiating a fun event for writers to get to know other bloggers.   It's a trade show for blogs.


This was a month in which I forced myself to stick to deadlines and produce a mini-series of posts. My theme was Paris, Etc. - Art, Film, Places and People in France.

2012 was my first time participating in the A to Z Challenge. I considered it a project. I enjoyed the research of the topics, and I hope I introduced you to some things you didn’t know about the city of Paris, and stirred the memories of those of you who have been there.


The A to Z Blog Challenge works well, when the list of participants is monitored. My follower count grew and so did my comment count, for which I’m pleased. Some days I visited more of the blogs than others, but I’m not finished visiting yet.


What worked - for me:

  • Word Verification disabled.  Comment approval ok.
  • Blogs with an ‘About’ page
  • Calm blogs, with less animation.
  • Interesting titles
  • Photos to enhance subject post


What caused problems - for me:

  • Word Verification
  • Blogger
  • Bogus blogs, with no mention of A to Z, using the list as a lure.

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Tips From a First-timer:
  • Print the calendar month of April or use a monthly calendar page to plot out the letter for each day, allowing for 'rest' Sundays. 
  • Do advance research, if required.
  • Schedule posts.
  • Respond to those who make the effort to stop by your blog. 
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Did you learn something about yourself and your writing via the A to Z Challenge?  Do you think it was worth the effort?  Have you claimed your survivor badge?  Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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39 comments:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed your first Challenge! A theme and scheduled posts is a big help - my first year I winged it, and it was not a pretty sight.
    We were trying to remove as many inactive and ad sites as possible and hope to do better next year.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks, Alex. You guys did a great job of combing through that list. I know, I saw the numbers change.

      It was fun, once I was organized. I'm an outliner after all.

      Delete
  2. I enjoyed the challenge, too. I wish I would have had the opportunity to visit more blogs proactively. I did try to reach back out to everyone who stopped by mine, and I did make it to many on my own.

    I sketched out my list of movie titles before I committed to the challenge. It didn't take long, and once I had the list I know I could conjure a post for each title. I think my topic was very flexible and forgiving...it lessened the challenge for me.

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    1. The confidence level increases when you at least know the subject you want to write about.

      I liked your series on movies, and was pleased that I had actually seen some of them.

      Delete
  3. I enjoyed the challenge. Word verification sucks though. I wish people would turn it off.

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    1. Why Blogger had to make it so unreadable is half the problem.

      Thanks for dropping by, Michael.

      Delete
  4. This was my second A to Z, and it was again worth it! I found that because there were so many blogs to visit, I didn't have the patience to read long posts. I think mine were too long last year, so I tried to shorten them up for this challenge.

    Pictures are great and add so much to a post.

    Best wishes for continued blogging!

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. I'll remember that about shorter blog posts, especially if I attempt this again next year.

      Delete
  5. Blogger loves plaguing us. I have more & more difficulty following. I've had to resort to signing in w/ Twitter.

    There's always a lot of blogs that don't return the favor, but meeting new friends makes up for it. I think.

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    1. Blogger wants control, Google wants control, all systems want control.

      One blog I follow on Google reader is a wordpress blog and the owner suggested we do that if we didn't want to subscribe. That seems to work.

      Delete
    2. Hi DG .. I put all my subscriptions through Google Reader ... and get all the posts; what happens to the comments is beyond me! At least they drop into blogger spam ...

      Cheers Hilary

      Delete
  6. Thanks for this, and I hope you'll add the link to this post once the reflections post linky list is up on the 7th.

    We did try our best to weed out bad links-- we'll try to do better next year.

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    1. Yes, I will, Damyanti. I needed to post mine early, rather than on the 7th, and I definitely was going to add it to the list on Monday.

      Thanks for stopping by to see my take on the A to Z. I did really enjoy seeing if I could make it to the end.

      Delete
  7. Hi DG .. well done and some interesting relevant comments.

    I loved your Paris - France series and wouldn't consider them too long; if you're posting 'serious' information then there has to be some article content - and your photos were exquisite.

    It's great connecting with people that have the same ideals .. the A - Z is a wonderful way to meet other bloggers (a challenge to get through last year's 1,200, which I failed, and did so again this year when the numbers were way more).

    Cheers and have a great weekend .. Hilary

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks Hilary, you've made my day!
      I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

      Meeting like-minded bloggers and writers helps make this challenge worthwhile. A good team makes it a better experience.

      Delete
  8. Those are some great observations. I do loathe word verification--and the bogus blogs! I managed to visit all 1722 and I have to tell you encountering those two things did not make my life any easier:)congrats on finishing the A-Z!
    Happy weekend!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Thanks nutschell, and I'm impressed! I'm still getting through some of the list.

      Congrats to you, too, for finishing this Challenge.

      Delete
  9. Hello D.G. Congrats on finishing the A-Z Challenge! I wanted to do it this year but we just moved and now I'm babysitting grandbaby 9 hrs. a day and trying to keep up with blogging once or twice a week and getting a little writing in here and there. We're still living with the Early American cardboard look and it's been months. Just too tired to unpack boxes when I get home! So I knew there was no way I could handle such a challenge, but I hope I can work on posts throughout the year so I'll be ready for 2013's challenge. Your comments are super helpful. I can't believe people sign up and don't participate just to get traffic to their site. Unbelievable! And word verification can drive us nuts, especially when we're tired and our eyes are doing strange things!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You do what you have to do.

      I had to tackle our boxes after we moved and it took a few months to get them all done. Relax a bit over the weekend and do something for you.

      Delete
  10. Making the rounds after the A to Z Challenge to say hello!

    This was my first year participating in the challenge. I'm looking forward to checking out everyone's reflection posts next week.

    Susanne
    PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

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    1. Thanks Susanne for stopping by. I'll be by your blog to check out your reflections post, too.

      My first year, too, and I'm happy with the results.

      Delete
  11. I had problems with the same things, as well a few others. It was an interesting challenge though. And I did meet a lot of cool folks. If the list gets organized next year, I'm thinking I might do it again. Maybe.

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    1. I'd like to participate again but I'll have to have a new theme.

      Delete
  12. Congratulations on finishing the challenge and sharing your reflections. I’m following you now and hopefully, next year, we will do it again!

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    1. Sounds good to me. Thanks for the follow, EvalinaMaria! I'll hop over to your blog to check on reflections.

      Delete
  13. I loved your posts and theme! I mentioned your blog on my reflections post. I loved reading your entries. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Julie, it's hard not to like Paris. . . and it was fresh in my mind.

      That's really nice that you mentioned my blogposts for the challenge. Much, much appreciated.

      See you at your blog.

      Delete
  14. D.G., Congratulations and a BIG "Thank You!" from me for your great Paris posts, sharing your reflections here, your always insightful and encouraging comments, and sharing the knowledge of the A to Z Challenge with me! I would not have known about it or set about it myself without you. The importance of good writing friends is key. I'm glad you're one of mine.

    I was hoping the sticking to deadlines, theme and a word count roughly in mind would help me develop a routine for my writing, but ultimately ended up running around like crazy anyway. I DID learn how to schedule posts.

    I kept a document (well, two - one for each of my two participating blogs) starting about two weeks before the Challenge with the letters and dates listed in bold. I was constantly making notes and drafting. Now each document as the title and date posted in bold with a copy of the posts for safekeeping.

    Having done one of each, I can argue for either having a theme (more specific than just the letters of the alphabet; like Paris or dog training commands) or not.

    The Challenge was very well run. I do wish I had had more time to read more! I am not done reading yet! Ha, maybe it should be divided into two months: one month of writing and one month of reading.

    Thanks again and job well done!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm glad you took part in the A to Z Challenge, J., and that you found it fun to do. Your posts, on training dogs with commands, were very well done, and almost made me want to get a dog, so I could practice. Almost.

      Thanks for making my day, and thanks for being there, I'm glad we decided to keep in touch after that class!

      Delete
  15. A great summary of the benefits and a couple of hazards of the series. I like that you put blogger because it can be a challenge.

    I too raised my visitors but as it's a "specialised"/focused site, I don't know how many will continue. I read mainly family history blogs so it's been good to get "out there". Your Paris posts are my reading list for today. Thanks

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  16. Glad you enjoyed AtoZ and was glad to meet you as well! I totally agree with the things you pointed out, both the good and the bad, and the blogger...

    I'm passing the Kreativ Blogger award on to you today (Friday) at my blog, for all your awesomeness during April - Paris was a fun theme to read! Stop by and grab the button when you can.

    And have a great weekend!
    http://katieosullivan.blogspot.com/

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  17. Excellent lists! And I love that you did a first timer suggestion. Great idea and very helpful. Awesome job. :)

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  18. Congrats on finishing the challenge! I agree with the points you made, especially about word verification. Ugh.

    Have a nice weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I enjoyed your lists on this reflection. I'm new to blogging and have found this experience useful. I've already thought of so many ways to improve my own blog.

    I'm glad to have stopped by.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Glad you liked the lists. Browsing is a good way to see what others do.

      Hope you'll visit again.

      Delete
  20. I did not know about the survivor badge except for your post. Where do I get one?

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    1. Hi, J., the survivor badge is on the A to Z Blog Challenge homepage. (Two sizes.)

      Left a comment on your Mother's Day post.

      Delete
  21. Welcome, Darrelyn, and thanks for the follow.

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  22. I was a first timer this year too and I missed you during the challenge but now I know where to come for all things Paris!

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