Monday, May 8, 2017

A to Z Blog Challenge . . . Reflections

Today is the A to Z Blog Challenge Reflections post, a chance to celebrate our success, wail about our failures, and tell the hosts what we really think about the missing linky list. So with no further ado, here we go!

Things I liked about the 2017 A to Z challenge:

1. My theme.

I loved researching and writing about conspiracies. It was a little tough to get the letters and conspiracy themes matched, but I could easily use this theme again and not repeat a topic.

(Chem Trails would have made an excellent C-conspiracy. Maybe next time.)

2. The new posting method.

Picking which topics to read about rocked, since most people included this information in their comment.

I was able to figure out how to leave an active link in the comments to my blog without too much trouble, but left a simple (www.blahblah) link as well just in case.

(I'm sorry ma'am, you skipped P and Q. Drop that mouse and step away from the computer. You're under arrest.)

I liked that there weren't any A to Z "police" out there ready to drop my name if I happened to miss a few days. Participation wasn't mandatory. You could do as much or as little as you wanted.

I also didn't miss being one of the blog police as I did in the last two years. I could spend my time visiting who I wanted instead of an assigned set of blogs.

3. Success!

I posted every day, got a ton of comments, got several new followers, and met some awesome bloggers that were new to me. My favorite posts were the funny ones, like my A (Apollo landing) and D (Denver airport) posts.

Image: tonynetone

(Remember Mankind, who leaps extra high for bacon?)

Things I did not like about the 2017 A to Z challenge:

1. I failed to write my posts beforehand and was always under the gun to get things posted. My bad.

2. My daughter was sick the entire second week with the flu. Both kids were home the entire third week for Spring Break. I couldn't keep up with comments or visiting. I didn't have time to infuse humor into my posts the way I did the first week.

(Hang on, Sweetie. Just one more image to find before I get your medicine, I promise.) 

3. Second guessing. I have a ton of writing projects that were completely neglected during the month of April. I wondered why I was spending so much time on something "just for fun". I wasn't even using this challenge to promote anything.

Suggestions for future challenges:

1. If a lot of people are upset about the missing linky list, include it, but don't monitor it. That way, it's there as a resource, but no one has to spend time keeping it "clean".

2. This is for me personally: Make an effort to write posts beforehand, so when things go wrong (like sick kids) you don't get overwhelmed and frustrated. Have something to promote, so you feel the time is well spent. If you fail on one or both of those, then drop out or cut back. It's okay to stop or skip days, especially with the "new" posting method.

How did the challenge go for you this year? Do you think you will do it again in 2018?


  1. It's tough when you don't have the posts pre-scheduled! But it sounds like you got through it and had some fun too.

    I didn't do the challenge this year (for the first time) and didn't really miss it. Maybe next year.

  2. Didn't think about the benefit of being able to skip days.
    We policed the list because people screamed bloody murder if we didn't. If everyone is cool with not policing it, then leaving it as-is would work.

  3. You had a great theme and it sounds like you had your hands full with your daughter's illness. I hope she is better and you've recovered. Although I published "on time" the last two years, I never knew there were A-Z police out there and would have probably been less likely to play had I know that!

  4. I love the way you wrote out your reflections post. Mine is going to go live tomorrow since I was struggling with hashing it out. I think I'm still recovering from A-Z.

    I very much missed the list of bloggers this year. In years past, I would break up the list into sections and comment on a certain number of people in each section, whether I thought I was interested in their topic or not. I'd definitely be interested in the linky returning next year, even if the list wasn't "policed". I found, with the way commenting worked, I was responding to the same blogs and topics every time and not really expanding myself too much or getting to know too many other bloggers.

    I definitely think you picked a fun topic this year and can imagine how it would provide even more variety if you wanted to continue that theme throughout this year or even during A-Z next year. :)

    With Love,

  5. I loved your theme and every post I saw. Sorry I didn't get to all of them--I meant to. But with StokerCon and the upcoming launch, it's been a madhouse around here.

    I've never managed to prewrite my posts either. I'm in awe of those who do.

  6. I didn't do the challenge this year though I heard some good things about the new way of doing things. Except for the first year, I always did my posts ahead. It's brutal to try to keep up on the fly and with kids.

  7. Sorry to hear about the illness in the family! Not a serene situation but you managed to stay on top - kudos! I enjoyed your theme and posts a lot, loved the scary bit and the humour too... totally in awe of your ability to post as you go! I have always scheduled mine except for the first year, which was mayhem with me trying to wing it

    I am kind of addicted to the A-Z so I'll probably be doing it again. List-free turned out great, not a life and death matter :) except for the bit about being limited to the same bloggers posting at about the same time, agree with poster above.


  8. Loved your theme. That must have been hard with your kids home for two weeks of the challenge. Glad you got a lot out of it, but I think your points about improvements are good ones. I think we all wonder about why we are blogging sometimes.

  9. Congrats on finishing! Every year I did it, I always said I would get my posts done ahead of time. Never happened. The best I did was the day before. If I ever do it again, I don't think I'd do any better.

  10. It sounds as if you had a very successful April! And you got from A to Z. Huge congrats on that and on a great theme.

  11. A less work model is a bonus. I was thinking the new list idea would be more work. I never thought of it being less work.

  12. I loved your theme. And you got it done with sick kids? Wow, that's so hard.

    That is a great idea about only posting for some of the Challenge. That might make it easier for some to participate.

  13. Nobody wants to be the blog police.

    Your theme was fun and you had a good time with it and the A to Z.

  14. You had a fun theme and I enjoyed it.
    I'd be fine with a linky list that wasn't policed. With blog hops I expect people to not post or drop out, so it wouldn't bug me.

  15. That is cool that you could come in and out of the challenge as you wanted. It was a huge commitment the way it was before because you knew you'd be dropped if you didn't keep up that daily pace!

  16. I loved your theme and this is a thoughtful reflection. I didn't pre-write this year either and agree it makes a huge difference!

  17. Yeah those moon conspiracies just won't stop. I think we did make it there. Eventually.

  18. I'll be writing my reflection post next week when it's my day for "whatever topic you want to write about". I think a daily linky would be better than the leaving a link in the comments. That way you still only get active bloggers, but it isn't as messy. It was difficult to find links or keep up with who I'd visited and who I hadn't. I'm still visiting blogs that I missed and to discover new bloggers. Girl Who Reads

  19. oh well congrats! You almost got arrested but you still posted everyday despite sickness and kids and spring break and all those challenges we moms face [seriously?? what is it with kids?? why do they need attention every day? couldn't they like fast for a day or two??? eating everyday is overrated! and get's in the middle of important things like blogging ;-) ] hahaha love the moony doggy :)

  20. Very thoughtful reflections. I am impressed you made it through the whole challenge because I would have a hard time. I can definitely see how writing the posts ahead of the time would be a huge help- especially when you or people in your family are sick.

    Glad it was such a success and I love the idea about using the challenge to promote your writing. :)

  21. Interesting reflections. I enjoyed reading all the posts.

  22. I didn’t join in with the challenge, but I enjoyed reading lots and lots of posts. I’m with you about writing posts beforehand it’s important even without the added pressure of challenges. I keep promising myself I will do it but in the event I never do. It’s Friday, and I still don’t have a post ready for next week, saying that I must away and get on with it. :)

  23. I enjoyed your posts. You could do it again with as much success. If I do the challenge again, I will have to pre-write posts. I get burned out as well as everything happens that I have to deal with during the challenge. I too got behind. But, I've done so during past challenges.

  24. Writing posts ahead of time helps make things easier--I didn't do this so good this year. Having a theme that you like makes the Challenge much more of a pleasant experience. Someday I want to come up with a list that doesn't require manual maintenance, but stays relevant.

    Thanks for your upbeat Reflections--refreshing to hear your positive take on things. So glad you could be a part of the 2017 Challenge.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  25. Tamara,

    I like the idea of a daily linky list with a theme code like used in the master sign up list. This will do the same thing as adding one's URL in comments except it's easier to see and feels more organized somehow. Call me crazy! I think the daily linky will be those who are actively participating and even if not, no policing is needed unless someone complains that they stumbled upon an obvious spammer or advertiser who's clearly not doing the A to Z Challenge. That can be fixed by people adding a comment that says, "Warning XYZ is a spammer/ad link" or something along that line. I don't think this challenge should be a headache for you or the others. It's meant to be fun, fun, fun! You certainly had your hands full during the challenge sick kids, spring break, and writing your posts. Regardless of the direction the A2Z Team takes in 2018, I will happily support whatever y'all do because I'm in to it for the fun! Thanks for joining me throughout April, dear friend - you rock!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    Art Sketching Through the Alphabet Reflections


I will do everything in my power to visit commenter's blogs unless I've been abducted by aliens or my children get sick. (If my children get abducted by aliens, I will be very busy, of course, catching up on my sleep.)