Monday, May 7, 2012

Looking Back: the A-Z Challenge

Thought for the day:  No job's over 'til the paperwork's done.

Hmmm, so what do I think...?
Okay, so technically, it isn't  paperwork, but the organizers of the A-Z Challenge did ask us to dish up some feedback about our experiences with the challenge. So, here goes:

Overall, the challenge was ... what can I say? ... challenging.  (Go figure.) I completed all my A-Z posts in advance, and had the foolish notion that I'd be able to skate through the month with only minimal time on Blogger, and thus, would have a lot more time to spend on my real writing. (i.e. the long-suffering WIP)

HA! NOT!!!

I also had the rather deranged delusion that I'd have plenty of time to make a quick fly-by in-and-out visit to all of the participating blogs.

Again, HA! Not even CLOSE. I ended up visiting maybe half of them.

But both of these issues are on me. My fault. Turns out, I'm lousy at making in-and-out visits. If my initial reaction to a blog was favorable, I'd fiddle-fart around and read the blogger's profile and a bunch of earlier posts to see if I wanted to sign on as a follower. That took time, but on the plus side, all the blogs I did sign onto are ones I will truly enjoy re-visiting.

So, in a nutshell:

  • I learned to write shorter, to-the-point blog posts. (Caveat: It's unlikely the lesson will stick.)
  • I had FUN writing all those posts about amateur radio.
  • Evidently, some people had fun reading them, too. 
  • I picked up a bunch of new followers, some of whom may actually come back to visit again. Some day. This decade. Maybe.
  • Some of the themes followed by other bloggers were downright entertaining, clever, and informative. (Which, of course, meant I had to go back to them again and again. WHAT? I couldn't risk missing something, now, could I?)
  • I connected with some truly awesome bloggers. Dare I say, made a friend or two?
  • I didn't have enough hours in a day. (Believe it or not, my husband still expected three meals a day, clean laundry, and all that jazz. I KNOW. How cavalier, huh?)
  • A number (don't ask me how many) of bloggers who signed up to participate weren't doing the A-Z at all. And some blogs (i.e. websites) were more or less advertisements for some product or service.
  • Some blogs warned ahead of time about adult content, and that's fine. However, some others didn't offer the courtesy of a warning, but immediately went into dropping F-bombs and other colorful expressions. My ears and eyes have been around the block a time or two, so it didn't offend me, but there were some very sweet youngsters participating in the challenge, too. Seems to me, if you're gonna participate in a challenge of this magnitude, essentially holding an open house at your blog, you should clean the dirt up a bit, ya know?
  • Some of the blogs I visited received little or no comments on post after post after post, so I'm thinking they probably received little traffic. They were good blogs, too, and terrific posts. All that time and effort to write all those posts, and then little to show for it? That must have been very discouraging. 
  • Yep.
  • Not sure, but just in case, I DO already have a couple themes in mind ...
[One thing is certain: I am definitely glad it's over! How about you?]

            Ooops! Time to run. Looks like my cats want some attention...

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. Susan, you did really well with the A-Z challenge. I learned so much from it I'm surprised you only covered 26 letters.

  2. My sentiments exactly.
    I did enjoy all of your posts.

  3. Before I discuss A to Z eith you, Susan, I have to say that my two cats want to know if they too can use that poster. They approve whole-heartedly.

    Now to A to Z - it looks as if lots of us found the long list overwhelming but you've made a few comments that have got me thinking. Yes, you're quite right that some of the blogs weren't appropriate for 'mixed company' and they should consider their content and I do feel that some people just click Follow without ever intending to return. I too spend time looking through biogs etc before following. I want to follow people who I'm going to get to know. Also your comment about those who received little traffic highlighted a BIG issue that I now wished I'd mentioned on my post. If I commented on other people's they commented back. If I had a busy day the number of comments on my blog was lower because I hadn't commented on many other people's. It's almost like a 'I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine' activity which isn't quite right. Thanks for highlighting this. [I'll stop rambling on now!]

  4. I really enjoyed reading your posts and also those of people I follow. Even though I did not participate (too much of a commitment), I tried to comment on all the daily posts. There are so many interesting blogs out there and I also found some new ones to follow. However, I kept it to a minimum, as there are just so many hours in the day and I like to spend more time outside this time of year.

    A job well done, Susan.

  5. I really enjoyed your posts about ham radio...learned lots.
    Love the kitty intervention.

  6. Heck, I found the A to Z Challenge daunting, and I didn't even participate officially. *grin* But it was tough to keep up with all my regular blog-stops during April. I enjoyed the ones I had the opportunity to read, though. :)

  7. I enjoyed your posts! :)

    I had a lot of fun with the challenge and definitely plan on participating again.

  8. Visiting from A/Z post reflection thoughts, LOL. I tried to visit as many as I could during the challenge, but that became daunting indeed! Good final thoughts about it; I have to agree with a lot of your thoughts. I do admire you for having all them written before the month began! I'm with you, not sure if I'm going to participate next year or not, but it was fun at least once to do :)

    enjoy the day!


  9. I had way too much fun in the A - Z Challenge (my first one, btw) and ended up revamping an old blog because of it. Haven't stopped writing since and can't wait for the next one:) Hope you'll be there as well...and Ya! I know what you mean about taking care of the family and juggling life...that was a bit frazzling at times...oh my! Happy Monday to you:)

  10. Maybe when Roz is older and has left home... and my brain is less mushy... I could attempt something like this. But I get overwhelmed easily and it would probably stress me out. I don't know how any of you kept up, and I think the fact that you even tried is commendable!

    Hahahaha! That's exactly what my cat does.

  11. The cat pic at the end made me chuckle.

    Well, all I can say is that your blog was among my absolute faves of the Challenge. Thanks for your participation, Sus!

  12. Geo- Thanks. It sure FELT like more than twenty-six, too!

    Rubye- Thanks. I enjoyed your posts, too, and am really glad to have found your blog during the challenge. (Um, was it lost ...?)

    Rosalind- Absolutely, you and your cats are more than welcome to use the poster. (As I type this, our tabby is sprawled out smack dab in front of the monitor. I reckon she'll let me know when "I'm done"...) I think you're right about the challenge turning into a "you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours" kinda thing, but that may be the only way some people were able to manage such an UN-manageable list of blogs. If their time was limited, it was probably easier for them to stick to a "quid pro quo" approach rather than try to tackle that long list. Still, it's unfortunate that some blogs were pretty much ignored. By the way, I really LOVED your theme. Very entertaining, and filled with feel-good memories and music.

    Arleen- I appreciate you sticking with me throughout the challenge, and really admire your balanced approach to blogging. I need to follow suit.

    Delores- Thanks. I enjoyed your posts about the food, too. You set up quite a challenge for yourself, but by golly, you did it!

    Linda- I knew you were otherwise occupied, so your visits were particularly appreciated.

    Dana- Thanks. I enjoyed your posts, too. Eclectic, but always entertaining.

    Betty- Thanks for stopping by. I know the organizers don't want to limit the number of participants, but it was, as you say, quite daunting, and even a tad discouraging, to be confronted with diving into such a large pool of new blogs. (I'm a VERY slow swimmer!) You have a wonderful day, too.

  13. M.J.- I'm glad to hear the challenge succeeded in giving you the impetus to keep writing. Sounds like a best possible outcome to me. Happy Monday to you, too.

    Carrie- I wouldn't even have considered participating in something like this when my kids were that young. (The fact that the Internet wasn't even a blip on the radar then is totally beside the point.) As for our cats, I think we should call 'em "pushy" cats instead of "pussy" cats.

    Suze- Thanks. Yours was my fave, too. And you're who I had in mind when I said I'd made one or two friends. No kidding, I look forward to all your posts and comments, and am truly glad that we "met".

  14. There were so many people signed up and I clicked on countless blogs that weren't doing the challenge. Getting to the ones that were participating was definitely a challenge in itself.

    I didn't have enough time to get through all the blogs, in fact, I missed yours. Glad I found it now and I'm looking forward to reading your posts in the future. Nice to meet you and love the cat pic :)

  15. Kela- Thanks so much for stopping by. (And thanks to Suze for "sending" ya.) I do appreciate it. You're right; it was impossible to get through all of the blogs, but I'll be going over to visit YOURS right now. Welcome aboard.

  16. Woohoo!!! It's done. You are to be commended for goin' though with it, it's quite a commitment for sure.

    God bless ya sweetie and have a magnificent week! :o) ya can breathe a bit!

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

  18. Nezzy- Right back atcha! I'm very pleased to have met you through the challenge.

    Evalina- What a gorgeous name! Thank you so much for stopping by. Congratulations to you for making it the distance, too. Sorry I didn't visit your blog during the challenge, but I'm gonna go rectify that right now. Welcome aboard!

  19. Your A - Z posts were excellent. I learned so much. And now I know you say fiddle fart, while I say piddle fart. Together we can be fiddle and piddle. My blog is public again, and Lola is helping with the writing. She wrote today's What? Monday question, and I'm writing a book review for tomorrow.

    Janie Lola

  20. Glad you found it a good experience. I know it's not for me, for a number of reasons. But it gave me a good excuse to take a month off -- something I probably wouldn't have done otherwise.

  21. Janie- Thanks. Glad you enjoyed them. Oh, fiddle-piddle, I'll be over to check out your post asap.

    Dianne- You changed your picture! Looking good, kid. I know what you mean about taking a month off. That's sounding reeeeeal good to me about now.

  22. I am torn on the a-z. I enjoyed it, but I am just not the everyday blogger.

    I am happy for the new pen pals I've found. And that has made it all worth it.

  23. Juli- You and me both! Daily posting is a little too much for me.

  24. Great follow up post on the challenge. I now what you mean about the ones not really participating! It really slowed things down with trying to visit other challenger's blogs. A bit annoying...time consuming. It was great connecting with you on the challenge. :)

  25. Haha, glad to see I'm not the only one already thinking of themes for next year. But like you, I'm not entirely sure I'll do it again - depends what the rest of my schedule looks like.

    But I'm glad to know you got some good things out of it!

  26. They weren't lying when they said it would be a challenge. Congratulations on finishing the A to Z challenge. I hope to read more of your posts

  27. Hi Susan .. I loved your Amateur Radio posts and really need to read through from A - Z to 'completely grasp the concept' .. but it's great that you're doing it and we get to learn about what goes on.

    Such is life - it's a challenge and this year I just decided to relax - I really wanted quality over quantity and met some new bloggers too - which is absolutely great.

    Cheers Hilary

  28. Yes, I had similar observations when I did it a few years ago.
    It was definitely challenging, but cool too.
    I just wasn't mentally or physically ready for it this year. LOL

  29. Love the poster. What would we do without our cats?

    Like you, I ended up spending a lot of time on the blogs I visited during the challenge, reading multiple posts, etc. That sure ate up the time, and therefore I did not visit as many blogs as I would have liked to. I do think that is a key segment of the challenge, however, so I may try to visit more next year.

    Glad I met you and found your blog, along with a couple of other new cyber friends, so in that way this was successful for me.

  30. Well done. I enjoyed it and... actually learned something as well!

  31. Susan,
    Great thoughts about the language...yes, when I went on some younger folks blog; still in high school I'd wonder if they'd 'dropped by' those that had more un-flattering words.

  32. Tracy- Thanks. Seems like everything about this challenge was time-consuming, but hey! If we hadn't participated, the same amount of time would still have passed. Good to have met up with you during the A-Z, too.

    Nicki- Yeah, I did get some good things out of it, and I hope you did, too.

    Jeremy- You're right; at least nobody lied to us about it. A challenge it was.

    Hilary- Thanks. I enjoyed your castle posts, too, but if what you did with those posts is what you call "relaxing", I don't wanta see what you accomplish when you're working hard!

    Jennifer- HA! I'm not sure I was mentally or physically ready for it this year, either! But at least I have a better idea of what's involved to make a more informed decision about whether to dive into the pool again next time around. (Kinda like giving birth ... after a while, you forget the pain and are ready to do it all over again.)

    Maryann- I don't know what we'd do without our cats! Some days, they're our main source of entertainment around here. I'm really glad we met each other during the challenge.

    Mr. C- Thank you, good sir.

    Tracy- Hopefully, those folks will put on their "Sunday manners" for next year's challenge.

  33. I love the cat picture. Nice that the cats are so nice to just put their paw on the keyboard, not their whole body like my 11 pound, 8 month old kitten.
    I love how you described the A-Z experience. It was spot-on. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Susan you had a wonderful series with the A-to-Z. I leared a lot about ham radio!

    But you're right -- the A-to-Z took a tremendous amount of time! I was so busy blogging I never had time to do any real writing. And a blog about my writing is kinda pointless if I'm not doing any writing, lol!

    Maybe next year - IF I do it again - I'll have everything pre-written in March or something and just focus on visitng and commenting...

    We'll see...

    But A-to-Z or not, I love your blog!

  35. I still have to refer back to your ham radio codes, so I can start talking in amateur radio speak from time to time! Thanks for making the challenge fun! Julie

  36. Jessica- Our tabby is sprawled on the desk right in front of the monitor at the moment, and when she sprawls, she SPRAWLS. (She's almost nineteen pounds.) Thanks for stopping by.

    Chris- Thank you so much for all your sweet comments. I always look forward to what you have to say, both in your blog, and in your comments. I reckon we both have to learn how to better balance our time between writing on Blogger and writing on the Real Thing. (HA! Delusions of grandeur creeping in there.)

    Julie- Thanks for being such an awesome supporter, even when you were up to your nose in dealing with your own posts and commenters. Seeing's as we met through last year's challenge, it just goes to show you some of the new followers we picked up this year may still be hanging around our blogs next year. I'm so glad we met. (Two thumbs up for the A-Z!)

  37. Just finding you through a-Z reflections. Yes, there were too many blogs to get through in a month. I'm going through the reflections list and seeing a light at the end of the tunnel on that one. ;-) I, too, was disappointed by the foul content on some blogs. I think having blogs categorized would be helpful. Maybe next year. follower here. :-)

  38. Mare- Hi-ya. Thank you so much for stopping by and for signing on as a follower. Welcome aboard! A number of other (smart) people have suggested the idea of categorizing next year, so I hope the organizers take note. Put on the tea kettle ... I'll be dropping in at your place asap.

  39. Susan, your posts were extensive and informative. I only wish I had discovered your space sooner. I plan on staying connected and I too, will join up for the challenge next year. Be in touch. Cheers!

  40. Archna- Thanks. I hope you do stay connected, and participate again next year. Cheers back atcha!

  41. I agree that it's time consuming but fun. Your plus and minus comments were spot on. Congrats on finishing.

  42. Joanne- In retrospect, it was worth it, I suppose, but as you said on your summary post, it wasn't easy as 1-2-3.

  43. Can I steal this and post it on my blog? Cuz you hit the nail on the head, perfectly. And I was thinking by the end there was no way I'd do a-z again but then this theme popped into my'll see :)