Sunday, 3 May 2015

Reflections on the 2015 A-Z Challenge



The 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge has come to an end, and right now, it is time for participants to share their experiences with one another in the form of a reflections post. This was my fourth straight A to Z Challenge, and my first one as a minion to one of the amazing co-hosts. So unlike previous years, I was determined to have all my posts scheduled ahead of the start of the Challenge, to enable me devote enough time to my duties as a minion.

Doing so has left me with one burning question though: is it still a "challenge" if the actual challenge of blogging everyday has been taken out of the equation? I mean, I know the point of it all is for participants to discover new blogs, but isn't the act of writing your posts on a daily basis an important part of the overall experience? Well, whatever the answer may be, I am still glad I was able to schedule my posts as planned, because it really allowed me to visit more blogs than ever.

There were many great themes on display this year. I especially loved those bloggers like Annalisa Crawford and Nick Wilford who chose to write flash fiction, mainly because I didn't know what to expect from them each day. I equally enjoyed voting on S.L. Hennessy's movie smackdowns. Then there was Keren Amaechi's medical-themed posts, which were not only informative, but loads of fun to read. But I think of all the themes I encountered this year, my favorite one has got to be Mithila Menezes' Harry Potter and Hogwarts theme.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank all the co-hosts for making the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge a resounding success. I would also like to thank everyone that visited my blog during the Challenge, especially those that left a comment on one of my music-themed posts. You guys are the very definition of awesomeness, and to you all I dedicate one of my favorite songs of the moment. Enjoy.

53 comments:

  1. Congratulations on completing the challenge! Glad it was a success!

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    1. Thanks, Sherry. I am glad it was too. :)

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  2. Whether you write them in advance or not, it's still a challenge. And half of the Challenge is meeting new bloggers and making friends. If you can do those two thing, that's winning the Challenge.

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    1. That makes sense, Alex. Visiting other blogs and responding to comments is a challenge in its own right. :)

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  3. Hmm, interesting question you posed! This is the second year of participating in the A-Z Challenge and both years I completed my posts ahead of time. This year I did a theme (music) and it would've been impossible to leave that to the last minute. I spent all my days visiting and commenting on other blogs, I can't imagine having to compose posts too. But I do know some folks who did "wing it" -- that kind of challenge has to be a personal preference though. I think I'd lose my mind if I didn't have all my posts already prepped and scheduled to publish.
    Hey, I like the song you posted here. Good stuff!
    Congrats on a successful A-Z. And thanks for all your hard work in your minion duties!
    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Thanks, Michele. Glad to hear you're digging the song. :D

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  4. Even though I didn't know a bunch of the artists you featured, you were once again an A to Z highlight for me.

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    1. Gee, thanks, Tony. That means a lot to me, coming from you. :)

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  5. It's a good question regarding whether a challenge is still a challenge if you can do all the legwork before the start line. I think it depends on the definitions of the challenge that you give yourself. For me, April was all about building my network. Meeting people. Consistently doing better than the year before... and in that respect, it worked perfectly.

    Great reflections, and thank you for all of your effort!

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

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    1. You're welcome, Alex, and I think I like your definition of the challenge a whole lot. :)

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  6. A great challenge indeed! Loved every minute of it!

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  7. Regardless, if you post every day or do them ahead (like many of us) it's still a challenge. I found it hard to comment on the comments and do return visits. The thing I wish I had done more was to find new bloggers to connect with. Having posts done up in advance makes it a lot easier to check out the other players, so this will be a goal of mine next year. Congrats on finishing the A2Z race, Michael. I'll see you around the Blogosphere block!

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    1. Thanks, Cathy. Congrats to you too. :)

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  8. Michael, Congrats! on finishing A to Z! Pre-posting is key. It allows you to spend time visiting new people and having fun with the event.

    www.stephentremp.com

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    1. Yes, Stephen, I have come to understand that now. :)

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  9. Oh my! A special mention! *blushes. Here's a short poem, for you:
    I too enjoyed your Music and Artists theme a lot..
    I ended up downloading a few tracks that I had forgotten about ..
    Truly, the music helped me write a wonderful series of blog post,
    Symbiotic relationship, continuing it is a must!

    Congratulations on completing the #AtoZChallenge! Maybe we boosted each other's morale? Yeah! You surely kept me motivated by commenting on blog posts as a daily ritual!

    You earned a dedicated blog follower!
    Mithila @Fabulus1710

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    1. Awww, shucks, now I am the one that is blushing. You hit the nail on the head there, about boosting each others morale. Here's me looking forward to us doing that for many years to comes. :D

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  10. Just like last year and the year before, your blog was one of my favorites this challenge. You're one of the bloggers I connected with through this challenge, and I love that that connection lasted. You were an AWESOME Minion, and I seriously could not have made it through the challenge without your help. Thank you so much Michael!

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    1. You're welcome, Lauren. I'm kinda amazed by the fact that it's been more than three years since you dropped that first comment on my blog, during the 2012 Challenge. Feels like we've known each for a lifetime now. It was a pleasure serving with you this year. :)

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  11. Congrats on making it through the Challenge! Your blog was one of the gems I discovered this time. Great posts all month long.

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    1. Thanks, Timothy. It was nice reading your comments on my posts, and you even went the extra mile to comment on those posts you'd missed, which I truly appreciate. :)

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  12. Not sure if I made it to your blog during the challenge, LOL; I tried to visit a lot and leave comments but didn't make it to all of them so I'm reading everyone's reflection posts :)

    I followed some of the same blogs you did during the challenge like Nick's and the movie smackdown; both were great themes!

    First year I participated I didn't write my posts beforehead and that was stressful; writing beforehand definitely like you said opens up opportunities to visit more blogs :)

    Now on to next year!

    betty

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    1. I tried to visit as many blogs as I could too, Betty, but alas, there weren't enough hours in the day. I'll be playing catchup with the reflections posts as well. :)

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  13. Infact, that is one question I am asking on my reflections post. When I entered for the challenge, I thought it was blogging everyday that the real challenge. If I schedule all my posts ahead of time then it's no longer a challenge (at least for me)
    Thanks for the mention Michael, I appreciate.
    Cheers

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    1. I guess the Challenge goes beyond writing your posts, to connecting with fellow bloggers and of course having fun while you're at it. However you choose to achieve that (scheduled posts or daily posts) is simply a means to an end. :)

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  14. Congratulations on completing the challenge!

    I'd say it's still a challenge because even if you're not writing them on the day they're being posted, you're still writing twenty-six blog posts that you might not have otherwise written. And that's quite a challenge. ;-)

    Cait @ Click's Clan

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    1. That's quite true, Cait. I never considered it like that. :)

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  15. Happy to hear you had fun! It was my 4th year too! :) And good question about the challenge. I think a huge part of A to Z is the writing, regardless of whether you do it in advance or on the spot; but another part is the visiting and building connections, and that takes up more time during April than one would expect. It is nice to find time for both, and if one needs to "cheat" and schedule ahead, I don't think that's a problem ;)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

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    1. You're right. Having done it both ways now, I think I can see the clear advantage scheduling your posts affords. Congrats for earning your fourth survivors badge. :D

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  16. Thanks for the shout! I gave you one too, some of my favourite bands were here. I had the first half of my posts prewritten, didn't do any more during those two weeks, then winged the rest on the day, so I was half and half. I'm always halfway between a pantser and a planner! I think it's a challenge whichever way you cut it, with all the networking to do. Having fun is what counts.

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    1. You're right, Nick, having fun is what makes the whole experience worthwhile. :)

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  17. It wasn't until I read some of these reflection posts that I discovered how many people pre-write their posts. I did plan my topics, but I changed several of them on the way through. I will have to think about pre-writing some; I tried to write several on each Sunday.

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    1. That's basically how I'd tackled my first three Challenges, with a plan and sometimes trying to schedule my posts one day ahead. It worked out okay, but not as great as having everything scheduled from the very beginning. :)

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  18. Your enthusiasm just soaks through every word of your Reflections post! So glad 2015 was a great year for you Michael!
    ~ We made it!!! ~
    Stopping in from Life & Faith in Caneyhead.
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    Don't forget to snag the Survivor Badge for your sidebar at A to Z Challenge!

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  19. It was a trip, those who get it and those who freak out... the finish line is a great place.

    We made it...Hope you had a great time, thank you for your Reflection!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood... is Nuts?

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    1. Thanks, Jeremy. I did have a great time, thanks to awesome co-hosts like yourself. :)

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  20. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! I didn't get to visit your blog during the crazy month of April, but I want to thank you for your help as minion. As participants, we have no idea of the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes so to speak, so your help was greatly appreciated. I'm popping over today from the Road Trip/Reflections linky.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

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