Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 Blogging A-Z Challenge Reflections Post

First of all, for all my fellow Star Wars fans, May the Fourth Be With You!!!

Another year, and another A-Z Challenge met! It's never easy, but like all things that are difficult, there's a lot of good, bad, and ugly.

Here's the good: It was great visiting new blogs. I purposely sought non-writing blogs this year check out. As a longtime blogger, I feel a little more reassured about being reminded that not all blogs are written by authors and writers. It's nice to see people still using blogs as how they were originally intended: online diaries.

On the other side, it's been wonderful having new visitors come by my little corner of the blogosphere. It's one of my most favorite aspects of the A-Z Challenge. In fact, it's probably my driving force behind doing it.

The bad: In visiting non-writer blogs, I'm also reminded as to why traditional bloggers are pretty much invisible. They don't visit back. Blogging has become an interactive activity the last few years, and so many bloggers don't keep the communication and visiting a two way street. Not one of the 20 or so non-writer blogs ever left me a quick "hello" or anything. Maybe they visited without commenting. Not a bad thing by itself, but it's hard to establish a blog-relationship otherwise.

The ugly: Several of my blogging friends commented that the A-Z Challenge participant list has gotten TOO big. With so many bloggers doing it, it's become pretty daunting. I tend to disagree. I feel growth is great, and having a variety of blogs participating is a important. But I can understand how the massive list can be overwhelming. You can't visit everyone, and visiting every blog was never the intention of the A-Z Challenge in the first place.

Also, I know many bloggers who complete all 26 posts ahead of time. I think that's a pretty darn efficient thing, and there's so many advantages of doing that. Namely, you can spend your time visiting others. It definitely cuts down on the stress. It also eliminates blogging burnout when April is over.

On the other hand, it's an A-Z CHALLENGE. To me, it's similar to NaNoWriMo in that it should be an uphill battle to complete. That's why I never get more than a week ahead. I think having all 26 posts done prior to April diminishes the challenge aspect of this. At the very least, it loses a bit of its luster. It's like finishing a 50,000 words manuscript prior to November for NaNo, but then going back and editing all 50,000 words and waving the checkered flag at the end of the month.

I know a lot of you will disagree, but hey, these are my reflections!

So there it is. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I'm even less certain I will participate in 2016, as the time commitment is a tough one to keep. I'll just play it by ear and see how I feel next March.

47 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I found a lot of bloggers didn't return comments, which is sad. Blogging is interactive.
My posts took four to five hours to put together, so I had to have them prepared before the Challenge began. Of course, I was adding news to each one and scheduling it the night before.
Your theme was fun and thanks again for letting me invade you on one of those days.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Interesting observation about the non-writer bloggers in particular not commenting back. Blogging really has become so interactive!

Congrats on completing the Challenge!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I disagree with everything. JUST KIDDING. (You said we might disagree.) I actually mirror your thoughts in this. I don't think the A-Z is too big, it's just how you look at it. If you try to visit everyone the first year (or any year) that is too big of expectation. I also would have appreciated a comment back when I visited someone. My expectation wasn't high on this one, but surprisingly I did get a comments back. Finally, I love visiting everyone, writer or non. Love making new friends.

Christine Rains said...

I visited five new bloggers every day, and I was lucky if one of them commented back. A couple of the blogs felt like they were just trying to sell things too. Congratulations on completing the Challenge! Have a great week. :)

Melissa said...

These reflections posts are very interesting.
Congrats for making it through to the end. :)

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I think writers naturally crave that two-way street blogging can provide.

Madeline: You're right on!

Teresa: It's impossible to get to even half of all those blogs. I like the idea of picking a several up and below where you sit on the linky list.

Christine: I don't think any of the non-writer blogs commented at all. I went through my posts to catch other bloggers I might have missed. Oh well!

Chrys Fey said...

I was a co-co-host so I especially tried to look for a lot of other (non-writing) blogs as well and I noticed the same thing. No one, but maybe a few, actually returned comments. This was discouraging. The list is very big and it can be daunting, but that's when you pick a spot anywhere on the list and start visiting those blogs and keep going down or up. I like to visit the top of the list and the very bottom as well as the middle. I feel I get a little of everything that way. But it is awesome to see the list so long. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I was a co-co-host so I especially tried to look for a lot of other (non-writing) blogs as well and I noticed the same thing. No one, but maybe a few, actually returned comments. This was discouraging. The list is very big and it can be daunting, but that's when you pick a spot anywhere on the list and start visiting those blogs and keep going down or up. I like to visit the top of the list and the very bottom as well as the middle. I feel I get a little of everything that way. But it is awesome to see the list so long. :)

Stepheny Houghtlin said...

I became a strong voice for getting your posts researched, photo supported, written ahead of time, and in the queue, tweaking just before publication. BECAUSE it frees you up to go blog traveling, the point of participating. I don't think of it as cheating, but hoping to put my best foot forward as people begin to visit. I learned the first year how stressful it can be to keep up. Only the strong survive...and my strength comes from preparation. I love the challenge!

Pat Hatt said...

What? Not being ahead? So having them done in October isn't a good thing? Pffft says the cat lol

Many don't return comments indeed, noticed that a lot

Cathy Kennedy said...

First off, let me say, Congrats on finishing the A2Z race. Next up, I like add that the idea of scheduling the A2Z posts ahead is a wonderful idea. I managed to get about half of them done before April 1st, and then was able to keep myself ahead of the game by a week until the alpha prompt caught up with me. lol That made the challenge all the greater and I was not able to seek out new bloggers from that point forward. I did quite well commenting on the comments and return visits where I always left a comment. You're so right, blogging has grown into an inactive platform and not everyone wishes to keep the communications flowing two ways. I will admit this, it hasn't been until recent months that I've taken a more active approach with commenting on the comments. And, just within the past few days I decided once again to try the "Notify me" option so to not miss a thing. Perhaps, in time I'll get the whole thing down to a science. It's definitely nice to meet you in the post A2Z challenge and perhaps our paths will cross again. Have a funtastic week!

Visit iTunes Weekly Top 50 Pop Music #AprilA2Z Afterthoughts

Pat Dilloway said...

I should have visited more other blogs but I am just too lazy.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Visiting every blog on the list would take months.

I really enjoyed being a Minion but without the added pressure of posting for the A to Z.

Robin said...

That person who seems to think visiting every blog is a requirement has set their sights beyond capacity. Maybe they participated that first year when the list was smaller???? I don't think anyone expects that.

I enjoyed the A to Z when I did it. I may very well do it again. There are so many good things that come from it:)

cleemckenzie said...

I just do the best I can and try for better next time. The list is long, but there are some bloggers I discovered that I treasure, so the more the merrier!

cleemckenzie said...

I just do the best I can and try for better next time. The list is long, but there are some bloggers I discovered that I treasure, so the more the merrier!

Sarah Foster said...

I don't think the A to Z getting too big could ever really be a bad thing. Of course, it's impossible to visit every blog but it's important just to visit as many as you can or can handle, at least. I didn't get to visit as many new blogs as I wanted this year.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

The not visiting back or returning comments is a common complaint I'm seeing today. That's an interesting take on keeping it a challenge by staying only a week ahead.

Intangible Hearts said...

Daunting is a good word. Somehow I received less comments than usual but my theme may not have been exciting for new readers.

Stephen Tremp said...

Jay, there were a lot of blogs I passed on for various reasons. They were selling something. Personal rants and raves. Adult content I did not want to see. There are some things you cannot unsee.

But overall I'm glad to see so many people participate.

Denise Dobkowski Hammond said...

We all want visitors and we all want comments, but sometimes it is hard to find anything to say. I think commenting is harder than blogging when the post is not something you have any remote interest in reading, which often happens when you visit lots of blogs.

Patricia Lynne said...

I'm one of the bloggers who likes having the posts done before April. But each their own. I have my reasons for it and you have yours for doing it your way. =) I enjoyed your posts.

Anne Marie Schlueter said...

These are all really good points...I'm so torn about whether or not I want to write everything ahead of time next year. Just like you said, it will leave more time for visiting blogs...but then again, it's hardly as challenging. I guess I have a whole year to decide.

Great post, have really enjoyed all of your A-Z's!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Excellent analysis. It should be a challenge, and yeah I think that some writers don't really want a relationship with their readers. If that's the case, they should at least tell you. Sometimes I think that too many people get into writing seeking fame and to satisfy that inner narcissist so they view getting "followers" as validation of that fame and that a relationship is really a one way street.

Jo said...

Excuse me. I am a non-writer and I certainly commented back on your blog as I did with anyone else who visited me whether new or regular. I loved your theme for A to Z this year and hoped you will decide to continue with it next year.

Haneen I. Adam said...

I'm weary of mythological creatures but you sure let me see them in a different light, especially that you introduced many I've never heard of before so thank you very much. Yup! I suffered from bloggers not commenting back, yet again it's during the challenge that I get the most comments in the whole year! so whose complaining :D It was fun finding your blog this year, great gain for me, good luck.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I appreciate you thoughts, Jay! I tried to get my posts done ahead of time, but it bugged me to work on them like that, and so, I only had a week's worth done and an outline for the rest. I made changes along the way, and definitely wrote a few of my posts by the seat of my pants. I think the "Challenge" to write 26 posts is a great daily challenge, and then the "challenge" to visit is piled on top of that, which makes it doubly daunting - but if it isn't daunting, then it isn't a true challenge.

betty said...

Interesting to read your reflections because I'm a non-writer blog and 99% of the time I return comments to new people that visit my blog. Lately, I don't always get the email notice that someone did comment and I try to go back and read comments, but with the challenge, I could have missed someone, but I'm pretty good about commenting back. But I do agree, I visited a lot of blogs and I'm thinking I got 20% back with people commenting on my blog and that was a wide variety of blogs. I did pre-write my posts, first year I didn't and that created a lot of stress to try to get everything done. All in all I think it was a good challenge :)

betty

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

Thank you for all the comments and visits! I really enjoyed your theme and your blog. And thank you for the feedback! I agree with the lack of visiting back, I think that should be pressed as part of challenge etiquette in the future.
I have also seen other people mention the "challenge" aspect of the challenge. I think it depends on what your theme is. For me, for example, reading the 26 epics expanded the challenge to February and March, but I still barely finished all my posts on time :) On the MopDog I was writing day to day, which is more "classic challenge" and both of them turned out fun :)
Cheers!

@TarkabarkaHolgy from
Multicolored Diary
MopDog

Entrepreneurial Goddess said...

Hello there.
Congratulations on completing the challenge!
I am one of those who had to pre-write my posts just to maintain my sanity and complete the challenge during crazy April. Some of them I even completely re-wrote...that's just my preference. I agree with you about the comments or lack thereof and it's something I griped about in my reflections post. It seems to me that a lot of bloggers signed up for the challenge with no intention of ever visiting or commenting. I'm slowly making my around the original list. It is long, but it got whittled down from 1800+ to 1500+. I've managed to visit 450+ so far but not everyone of those received a comment for various reasons mentioned in my reflections post. I've definitely given a lot more comments than I've received in return and I always make sure to respond to commenters on my blog and visit them if I've not already done so. Many of the blogs I've come across are writing blogs. I'm not a writer. I'm one of those invisible bloggers who just uses her blog as a personal outlet to share her musings and secrets. As it's already been mentioned, it's not always easy to comment on a particular topic so out of courtesy, I just say hello and thank the person for sharing.
Thanks for your reflections.

Entrepreneurial Goddess

Mary Burris said...

Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! Looking forward to next year! See you on the Road Trip!

Mary @ Jingle Jangle Jungle

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