Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

A – Z Blogging Challenge Reflections

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

Yes, I know, you probably have had enough of the whole A-Z thing after being exposed to it almost every day of April. Yet, a conclusion is a good way to find closure, even when blogging daily and following a theme.

Why did I participate?

Honestly, I had never heard of the A-Z Blogging Challenge, until my good cruising friend Rosie mentioned it on the phone. Since I work from home and thought it would be a good way to expose my new blog, and create an audience on top of a healthy writing habit, I joined. I also like a good challenge and enjoy writing about a theme. I decided to write 26 posts – one every day in April except on Sundays – on “Thoughts about being a nomad”.

How did I approach the challenge?

I had learned from the A-Z website and from repeat participants that it would be wise to write some or all the blog posts ahead of time. I did not do that, for three reasons: 1) I joined way too late to plan ahead 2) I have so much to do every day that I could not fit extensive blog writing in, and 3) How is it a blogging challenge in April, if you write everything ahead of time?

So, I excitingly started the challenge and wrote a blog a day about my topic. The posts turned out much longer than I anticipated. Once I start writing… I should have known by now. Instead of adding one photo to each thought (which was my intention), I got carried away again and added several. The thinking, writing, revising, linking, sourcing photos out of my massive archive, resizing, adding watermarks, writing captions, posting and making sure it all looked good online took two-three hours every day. Then, I wanted to read some other blogs, add comments and reply to the comments on my blog. These fun activities added another 1-2 hours to my day. On Sundays, I took a break, except for catching up with other blogs.

During the second weekend of the challenge, I wizened up. I wrote two blogs that weekend, setting me ahead one blog for the rest of the challenge. A great idea, since I felt less pressure and stress to keep writing and posting every day. I had one in store in case I had to skip a day. I never skipped a day – despite only having one typing hand left towards the end – and I completed the challenge. Yay!

What have I learned?

For sure, writing (and pre-scheduling) blog posts ahead of time will make the whole challenge incredibly easier. But, as I said before, the challenge is gone then, in my eyes. Although, if you work full-time and/or have children at home, it would be the only way to participate, I think. The good thing about pre-writing is the extra time available to get immersed in other blogs. Now, I initially checked out the blogs of people who left comments on Roaming About and kept following the ones I was interested in. This boiled down to about ten blogs I read and commented on every day. Usually the same ones. Most of my favorites are mentioned in my blog post S is for Sailing. Other blogs I particularly enjoyed and discovered through the challenge are: Residuals, ‘Till the butter Melts, Ramblings of K, Beth Camp, Black Boots Long Legs, Empty Nesters on a Green Global Trek, and I am sure there were a few more.

I have learned that there are a lot of fun, exciting and interesting blogs out there. I would love to explore more of them, but one really needs a lot of time to pursue all the browsing, reading and commenting!

Did I enjoy the challenge?

I find this question hard to answer.  I enjoy writing. But, I write every day as it is. And, I don’t really like the pressure of “needing” to do it every day. On the other hand, it is because this pressure that I get things done. So, in general, I liked the challenge, because I like writing about my passion, which is travel, and I like to share my thoughts – and inspire – about this topic. But, I feel I can do that any time with my blog. My biggest problem was the time consumption of writing 26 blog posts. That was a lot of invested time that I could have put into making money writing articles or working on my book. According to not only my husband, a better use of my time.

Conclusion

My mind says the A-Z Blogging Challenge was a waste of time. But, my heart cannot be so crude. I enjoyed the writing process and I enjoyed meeting all my new blogging buddies, something that would not have happened without this challenge. My stats went slightly up, but that might have happened otherwise as well, since the blog is still growing. The biggest difference in regards to the popularity of my blog is the amount of comments. They skyrocketed in comparison to before. The reason is that the new readers of my blog are more active. And, it helps to visit their sites and leave comments as well. All in all, a very nice thing. I also know that a lot of my initial readers don’t care about reading a blog a day. For many, this is too much. I hope they will be back now!

Will I participate again next year?

I am not sure. Although I have already given thought to a new topic… The only way I see it happen, is if I make my posts much shorter, about one paragraph ideally, create some of them ahead of time, and find a way to add photos to my posts in a quicker manner. For example, I could write short summaries of amazing places I have visited and add a handful of captivating photos to each post. These photos are much easier to find in my archives, because they are filed under their location. If I could reduce my A-Z blogging time to one hour for the writing and posting and one hour for discovering and following other blogs, I could manage. There are other things in life than sitting behind a computer all day long! Also important to become a participant again for me, is that I will have to be “settled” somewhere with not much else to do. If I am on the road once more, I will be too busy experiencing new adventures to be able to write about them daily! 🙂

22 Comments

  1. Hmm, I’m really keying on your take on this, that it’s not a challenge unless you’re actually writing every day. I *thought* that I was just a procrastinator and therefore didn’t get anything done until I had the pressure of a deadline. While that’s certainly the case, you’ve given me an additional way to think about it!

    • Deadlines work best for me to accomplish things as well. I’m just looking at this again from an other angle. We have to write 26 posts. There is no way I could have written two a day at any point. So, if we write all the posts ahead of time, that would take at least a month as well. Which means the challenge lasts at least two months. So.. we might as well write one a day in April and stick to the one month! 🙂

  2. Great reflections post! I found that the challenge takes a lot of time, especially when it comes to comments. I like your idea of short posts on places you’ve visited. That could be a lot of fun and potentially more manageable. Glad you joined in this year.

    • Thanks, Ellen. I really liked your contributions as well. You put so much thought, creativity and time in it! Without complaining. 🙂 Respect!

  3. It’s been really interesting to read everyone’s reflection post. Clearly I’m not the only one who struggled with how time-consuming the challenge was. I was prepared for the blogging aspect of it, but I had no idea how long it would take to read other people’s blogs and comment. With that said, I hope you do it again next year. It was really doing the challenge with you!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    • If enough people encourage me to join again, I might get really tempted! 🙂 In a way, I prefer to just write and post, but the reading and commenting is the “relaxing” and fun part!

  4. I enjoyed your posts, but I can see why they would be time consuming! When I did the challenge in the last 2 years I restricted myself to under 300 words and that was easier.

    • I think that is a great idea, to keep the posts really short. 300 words is very manageable. I actually find that the writing is the least time consuming aspect, even with longer posts, because that stuff flows. It is all the editing and other “decoration” of the posts that take so much time. I hope you join the A-Z challenge again next year, Anabel!

  5. Liesbet I think it is wise to reflect on such a challenge. As I believe I mentioned before I don’t think I could manage such a task. I can see the benefits of building audience, discovering other blogs and the habit of writing and I commend you again for completing it. Wishing you a happy day!

    • Thank you, Sue. You of all people know of many other interesting ways to build an audience and I am planning to follow some of your advice!

  6. It’s not for me, Liesbet. I too love writing, but I never find time to pre-write and schedule (the Mertola walk was an exception- I very much wanted to write that and put pressure on myself to make time). It’s got to be a pleasure more than a chore and I like to be spontaneous. I understand that it’s a discipline and I also know that there are many wonderful bloggers out there that I will never meet. I can’t keep up with everyone as it is. We each have our own way, don’t we? 🙂 Hope you’re having a great weekend.

    • I had a pretty nice and social weekend with family, thank you, Jo. I love spontaneity as well and I totally agree with the pleasure as opposed to the chore of writing and posting. I so understand about your hard time keeping up with other people’s blogs and comments! Your audience keeps growing and you are doing such an amazing job with your blog. No need for an A-Z challenge! 🙂

    • Thanks for that, Liesbet. 🙂 I could do with a fairy helper to tackle my Inbox right now but I’ll get there.

  7. I am impressed that you had the stamina to create such great and beautiful posts consistently, but then really, it is not a surprise. I actually think it was a good thing because you really developed the voice for your new blog here and got to meet so many great bloggers. Perhaps once is enough, but I am glad that you did it. Congratulations!

    • Thanks, Lisa. I am glad I did it as well. And, you are right, it was nice to write about a theme I enjoy and create a voice for the blog. Meeting other bloggers was a highlight.

  8. blkbtslonglegs

    May 17, 2016 at 19:56

    When I first signed up for the challenge, I also thought that if you weren’t actually writing every day in April then you weren’t properly taking part in the challenge! Although, I was happy to find out that I wouldn’t be disqualified for prewriting posts. Since I am not usually a daily blogger, I approached the challenge more from the perspective of finding a meaningful topic in my theme for each letter, and posting them daily was really to spread out the fun of the reveal 😉 But I am absolutely in awe of people who manage to write their posts every day and keep up with it through April!

    I hope that you decide to do the challenge again next year as I truly enjoyed your posts about your travels! And thank you for mentioning my blog, I am glad that you enjoyed my series too (and I hope that you aren’t too disappointed that I prewrote my posts ;)) I definitely would not have been able to participate if they rules stipulated that you needed to write each post in a day during the challenge.

    • I am very glad you prewrote your posts, Tracy! Otherwise, I would have never been able to read them, since you wouldn’t have joined and/or finished! I do think it is the way to go to “leisurely” participate in the A-Z challenge and, if I join again next year, I’m sure I will prewrite some as well! 🙂

  9. Nice overview and reflections. The only thing that makes me want to participate again next year is the blogging friends I made this year. Like you, I write all the time, and having the blog as something else I had to write sometimes was frustrating for me. Maybe a more concentrated and focused theme would help.

    • A theme definitely helps, I think, since you have a starting point and can just focus on that topic for the posts. I did make the A-Z list of words ahead of time, which I found fun. I hope you join again next year, Ryan. Maybe, we can encourage each other and somehow make it a bit easier for ourselves next April!? 🙂

  10. I for one am super glad you took the challenge as that led me to discover your blog which I really enjoy reading. i can truly appreciate just how much effort went into posting for that challenge ~ impressive! A lot of work, time and energy. Well done!

    Thanks for the shout out for our blog Empty Nesters on a Green Global Trek.

    Gratitude !

    Peta

Your thoughts and suggestions matter to us! Feel free to leave a comment or "like" us on Facebook.

© 2017 Roaming About

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: