This was the first year I’d ever participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge, but it won’t be my last. First, I’d like to thank all of the co-hosts who created and organized this challenge, because without you, I would’ve never found so many interesting blogs, nor met so many wonderful people.
I’m a writer, and with that title comes not only a yearning to explore new subjects for future work, but a responsibility to continually strive to better the writing I put out. I think it would be impossible for a writer to walk away from this challenge without having gained incredible resources for almost any topic. If I wanted to create a realistic setting for a story that takes place in a part of the world I’ve never been, I’d visit the travel blogs I came across through the Challenge, and I’d find the fuel I needed to flesh out my story. Likewise, I would know who to go to if I wanted to create a character who’s a medium, a character who’s big on games, a character who can cook anything. So what I’m saying is, I’ve learned about a wealth of topics, and I’ve noted the blogs that would prove useful resources should I need to research those topics further.
But I’ve gained a lot more than that. I didn’t learn only about topics. I’ve learned more about people. I’ve made friendships. I’ve gained a sense of community with other bloggers in a diverse world that sometimes seems too large. This challenge has opened the world to me in a way I would have never imagined. I feel as though I know many of the people I’ve met through this challenge, and my new challenge will be to try and keep up with visiting all of them from time to time.
Silvia Villalobos urged me to join this challenge, so along with the co-hosts, I owe her a debt of gratitude.
My goal in joining this challenge was to increase my blog readership. I was hoping to bring my 33 or so followers up to 101 followers, so that I could say I had over 100. I now have 215 blog-roll followers, a few dozen e-mail subscribers, and I don’t even know how many bloggers following through RSS feeds. So, I made my goal, and a whole lot more. Most important are the friends I’ve made and the many blogs I joined to follow. Blogs that will continue to teach me through this learning experience called life until the end of mine. I couldn’t be more grateful.
I wasn’t really prepared for the 40 and 50 daily comments left on my blog–though I appreciated them – because I found it difficult to get back to the sites of each of those bloggers, read their posts, and say something, as well as visit five new blogs each day and write my daily post–but I did it. I had the flu two days and computer problems one day, and I missed returning a comment or two then, but I did get to those blogs the following day.
Next year, I’d like to promise I’ll get smart and write my posts out well in advance, but I’m going to be honest. My life is always busy. I write five days a week, I’m a copy editor for other writers, and my entire summers are busy with painting. Those weeks that my husband and I are preparing exhibits for an art/craft show, it’s all I can do to manage my self-mandated one paragraph to one page of writing per day (I write more during the other seasons.)
It’d be easy during those busy times to tell myself as soon as life slows down, I’ll write those posts. But sometimes life doesn’t slow down, and in case this year proves to be one of those hectic ones, I’ll be writing on the fly again for The Challenge next April. But I’ll make it, and I know that now. (I also now know that should a publisher ever ask me to skimp on sleep for a few weeks to meet a commitment, I could do it.)
As far as suggested changes for the overall challenge, I really didn’t see much that could be improved upon. One thing I did find frustrating was when someone would leave a comment on my blog, and I’d click on his or her name in hopes of being routed to his or her blog, and instead I was taken to a Google page. On the Google page there would be a number of blog addresses, and I wouldn’t know which one belonged to the original commenter I was trying to find.
I often spent ten and even fifteen minutes tracking down someone’s blog so I could return a comment. By the time I got to the letter X in The Challenge, if I clicked on somebody’s name and it took me to a Google page instead of a blog, I clicked right out of it. I just didn’t have the time to check five blog addresses in comments to find the right one.
When Silvia gave me tips on signing up for this challenge, she did mention I should make sure I had my blog URL in a signature in every comment I left. I’m glad she told me of this, because it made my blog easy to find.
I’m going to miss everybody, even though I’ll be visiting them often. There is no way I can visit fifty blogs every day of the week for an entire year. I’d never get my regular writing done, and I do give myself a strict schedule. But I’m grateful I now know where to go when I want to listen to good music, and I where to go when I want to be visually inspired by top-notch photography or to get my husband a new recipe (hee!). I know where to good books to put on my TBR list, and where to go if I simply want to read a good story. I also know that throughout the year, I’ll be getting to know the friends I’ve made even better, and hopefully I’ll be meeting a few more.
If you leave a comment on my blog this week (while I’m preparing for an art show), please know that I may be day or two late in getting to your blog, but I will get there.
My best to you all, and I’ll see you soon.