Friday, May 3, 2013

A to Z Challenge Wrap-Up




Although I did not make as many connections as last year, I'm glad I decided to join the A to Z Challenge again this year. . . twenty-six posts during the month of April (except Sundays).


Last year, each post was on an entirely different topic....with photos. I honestly don't know how I did it! To see them, go to this link.


I'M GLAD I PARTICIPATED!

This year, since I absolutely LOVED "Les Mis" (saw it twice), I decided to concentrate on different characters and facets of the production for the Challenge. I found so many spiritual applications for life in the almost-completely-sung movie. The main theme of Les Misérables? Redemption! Hard to miss, no matter who you are...

To see my posts, if you missed them, click here.


Photo Source

The A to Z Challenge helped me to hone my writing, and discover my passion: interpreting life through Biblical glasses. It could be a movie, or an event, a piece of literature or a "day in the life of". Many things spark my thinking.


LOOKING BACK

To be honest, looking back at the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I was frustrated to find very few people reading and commenting on at least five blogs a day. And very few commented back. Not sure if there is any way to resolve that. I did like the idea of labeling our links with a code that reflected the subject matter. I did not do that, only because, although I blogged about Les Misérables, my posts generally are varied.

I did not find any "kindred spirits" to follow, because I faithfully made my way down the list of links, beginning with mine, commenting on at least five a day. I think if I would have specifically chosen writer's or traveler's blogs, I would have found a few. So, I suggest that next year, we be allowed to choose categories, as long as we visit and comment on at least five.

Last year, almost 75 folks chose to follow me. This year, there were about 20.  I do not fault anyone for that, nor am I discouraged. For one, choosing to follow a blog is a personal thing. My blog posts and topics do not resonate with everyone. Why clutter your inbox or feed with posts that do not interest you, just to be nice to me?

I was encouraged by everyone's comments, tho', which was a highlight for me. There were only one or two blogs on which I could not comment, because I had no idea what to say. By the way, I am very thankful you requested the label of AC for those blogs which were "adult content". I purposely avoided those.


STILL DECIDING ABOUT NEXT YEAR

I was faithful to follow the rules, and I did benefit from the Challenge. It kept me writing on schedule. But, because few read and commented on my blog (I'm very thankful for those who did!), and because it distracts me from my writing of articles and children's/Middle Grade books, I have not decided if I will participate next year.


BUT, TRY IT FOR YOURSELF. . . SO MANY REASONS TO JOIN IN 2014!

All that said, I do not want to discourage my readers. If this is your first time with the Challenge, or, you have never tried the Challenge, I definitely suggest you do. It gets you writing, and helps you find your strengths and passions.


THANKS TO THE TEAM!


I do admire and want to thank all the faithful folks who worked so hard to monitor the A to Z Challenge this year. . . Kudos to you!!

Find the list of the co-hosts here.  And visit their blogs!



24 comments:

  1. Having such a specific theme may limit comments and followers because people often don't have knowledge of your theme or interest in it. That was often the case for me when I came across blogs on TV shows, popular books or movies--I am just not into those things!

    I think I came by here once during April and glanced around, but having never seen Les Miserables I didn't think I would relate.

    Please don't think I am criticizing you for your choice, but that may have been one reason for a lesser following than before. A random blog where I might be able to pick out at least one post to comment on is more likely to get my attention and return visits.

    I have been going through the reflections posts all day and have noted a similar complaint (?) in that several expected a higher quantity and quality of comments than they got. I have also noted the number of bloggers who signed up before they realized how busy their month would be--I am one of those!

    Congratulations on completing the challenge, and best wishes with your homeschooling... now THAT is a challenge!
    tm

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    1. Thanks for your honest appraisal, TM. I realized that my topic would narrow the field for comments. When I came across something similar, I just said that I wasn't familiar with their topic of choice, but encouraged them to enjoy the challenge.
      I sure do appreciate your input, and glad you stopped by!

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  2. I missed your blog the first time around, but glad I caught it on the reflections post. I know it shouldn't be about the numbers, but I also noticed fewer people commented and followed. I figured maybe my chosen topics didn't spark the interest, but it does seem to be a theme based on the reflection posts I'm reading.

    Like you, I'll decide next year if I have the time for this. :)

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    1. Thanks for your insights, Stephsco. We will see what next year brings!

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  3. I'm also still deciding whether I'll join again next year. Congrats on finishing the challenge! :-)

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    1. Thanks, Misha! We each need to evaluate the challenge in light of our priorities. Maybe we will meet again!

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  4. Hope you do come back next year. Not sure what the deal was with following this year. I've heard several participants say their gains were down. I'm sure my biggest problem was not doing enough visiting and commenting. Maybe we didn't promote the following aspect enough. I hope we can address the networking aspect better next year and improve the list experience. The big list can be very intimidating I know. Hopefully we will eventually have a more flexible list that adapts to the various needs and wants of participants.

    Thanks for being a part of the 2013 Challenge!

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thanks, Arlee. You guys have done an excellent job each time, and continue to update and revise. I hope I will be in a position next year to have more time to write for the challenge. I sure have benefitted greatly from it!!

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  5. Right after the challenge I'm never decided whether or not I'll do it again the following year. I always do though ;)

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    1. Good to know, Lynda. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will see you there in 2014!

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  6. I like reading people's comments regarding the challenge. I've posted stuff but I'd still say I'm a novice blogger. Thanks for the honest feedback. You've given me things to think about to encourage for next year but also for the road trip.

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    1. Yes, I need to get going on that trip. There are just a few things to attend to before I take off!

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  7. I wish I'd found you sooner! Unfortunately, I was one of those people who didn't comment on five or more blogs a day. Some days I visited several. A lot of days, none at all. I wanted to--but I'm a full-time college student, wife and homemaker, and it was a crazy month. I hope to do a lot better next year, and to pre-schedule ALL my posts so I'll have time to do more visiting!

    Now that I HAVE found you, I'm following and looking forward to reading your posts from the Challenge!! I LOVE Les Mis. :) :)

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    1. Good to meet another Les Mis fan, Jaimie! I was busy, too, which made for a very hectic month. I certainly understand. Thanks for taking the time to stop by to comment.

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  8. Hello! I apologize as this is off topic from your blog post, but I came to your site from TOS. I just wanted to stop by and comment on your article, "Looking Back On Homeschooling."

    As I am still near the beginning of my journey, I have a lot of doubts if what I am doing is right, will be the most effective route to win my children for Christ, will provide them with the best education, etc...

    Not meaning to boast, as I have my own list of things that I am not doing that I should, or that I should have done already, but it was refreshing and relieving to see that I have implemented (albeit not perfectly) many of the things you put on our "I wish I had done differently list." Thank you for putting yourself out there with that.

    If this isn't too self-promoting of me, I did want to share that one of my areas that I have been doing since my children were very little, was to get in the kitchen with them and let them cook along side of me. I am in the process of writing a Home Ec Cooking Curriculum that will hopefully encourage others to do so.

    Blessings,
    April

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    1. Thanks for contacting me, April! I'm glad you were encouraged by my TOS article. What a great idea to write a cookbook. That is one area in which I had little patience. ;-/ I hope it goes well for you!

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  9. Hi Jarm .. I too had fewer followers this year - but perhaps people aren't following for the sake of following, also there's Google+ and all the other social media ...

    However once again I did meet some wonderful new bloggers whom I instantly related to ... and we had fun. I certainly didn't do as much as I should have done ... I don't always relate to the posts - and that is something I have considered on each of the three years I've done the Challenge ...

    Some people have the most incredible themes and posts - and quite often I needed time to consolidate what they were writing about! Got there eventually!!

    It's horses for courses isn't it - and I enjoy what I blog about, the bonus is people's interest, and then that repartee that can so often build, which can hang loose if necessary and the pieces picked up as and when.

    Cheers - it's such a worthwhile 'challenge' .. and I'm very grateful for Tina and Shannon organising the road trip - which I need to start on!!! Thanks for the visit and comment. Hilary

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    1. Thanks so much for your input, Hilary! Yes, we should follow other blogs because they resonate, not just to collect them.

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  10. I visited a lot of blogs, though by no means all of them. Some I visited often, because they resonated with me and my objective was to grow my own subscriptions and I believe that works by reciprocating. This was the first time I participated, so I'm relatively happy with my gains. I'm sorry I didn't hit on yours, because we share a love for travel and we're both writers.

    Overall, I found the long list very overwhelming, though I quickly learned which blogs I did not care for, in which case I would not stop to read or comment. Time is a precious commodity.

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    1. You were smart to bypass those that did not interest you. I followed them in order. Next year, I will follow your suggestion. Thanks for stopping by!


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  11. I did visit a lot, but I commented only when I felt I genuinely had something to say.

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    1. That is probably the most honest way, Sue!

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  12. As others have said, the danger of picking a very specific theme is some people may click on your site and decide to leave without even giving your writing a chance if the theme doesn't grab them. I know I did this on some sites I visited. On the flip side, last year I noticed a few times that I really liked a person's theme but when the challenge ended and they returned to "regular programming" I was disappointed.

    I just look at it as a way to get exposure and hopefully pick up a few new followers of my blog and find a few new blogs to enjoy in return.

    I tried to visit as many sites as I could. But one day I visited 50 and I didn't notice a substantial increase in return visits. But, I did see new people visiting me throughout the month and by the end instead of visiting new sites, I just visited those who had commented on mine that day.

    There was a much larger list this year and I think it's grown enough that most people don't even attempt to try to visit them all. When you admit you can't visit them all, maybe it puts less pressure on you to even try?

    I hope you'll be back next year!

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    1. Good observations, Cindy. Yes, it's impossible to visit them all, but five a day is doable. The more I think about it, the more I want to come back next year. Hope to see you then!

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I would love to have you comment...thanks!

Journey into the Promised Land

Journey into the Promised Land
From Egypt to Israel