Reflections on A to Z

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge for the first time this year and I can proudly say I completed the challenge! Shhh! We won’t mention those few posts that were a day or two late.

The challenge started in 2010 and is open to anyone who wants to take part. All you need to do is post about literally any topic in alphabetical order during the month of April with Sundays off for good behavior. Okay, maybe that’s not all you need. If you failed to pre-schedule all 26 posts as I did, you should toss in mega doses of caffeine for the sleep deprivation you’ll suffer from trying to compose a post worthy of the challenge and visiting the blogs of all 2,000 plus participants. Whew! It was challenging indeed.

The good team at A to Z knew we’d need some time to recuperate so they didn’t schedule the reflection posts until the week of May 5th. I think I’m still recuperating, though. I can’t seem to compose an intelligible thought and the deadline for posting is almost here.

First, let’s talk about what I didn’t like or what didn’t work for me. These issues are no fault of the hosts. I only mention them in the hopes that others might share possible solutions. Here they are (it’s actually quite boring so feel free to skip this part):

  • I can no longer access my blog through Internet Explorer. One day {poof!} my login just stopped working. I contacted WP Support and after trying several possible fixes was told to use Firefox.
  • In the past, I had WP notify me of blog posts via e-mail, but clicking on the link in the e-mail directed me to IE. Since I can’t login to WP via IE, I can’t comment directly from the e-mail. I had to click on the link which would open IE and then copy the blog’s URL into Firefox and comment from there. Pain in the arse! I tried to change the default browser to Firefox to resolve the issue, but couldn’t get it to work.
  • Due to the issues above, the easiest way to read posts of another A to Z’r was via the WP reader and it didn’t seem like all participants tagged their posts with A to Z, so I know I still have a lot of catching up to do. I’ll be revisiting the sign-up lists over the coming weeks to see which ones I missed.
  • The disconnect between blogging platforms (e.g., Blogger vs. WordPress) is annoying, but this has already been mentioned by several other participants so I won’t belabor the point here.

Skipped it, didn’t ya? I don’t blame you, considering the glowing introduction I gave it. So, on to the good stuff!

Overall, I enjoyed participating in the A to Z Challenge and will definitely participate next year. It’s good to step away from the routine (in my case, the novel) and write about something different. It’s even better when you know you must publish something even when you’re not feeling inspired. It forces you to sit down and get to work. Before you know it, inspiration hits.

Participating in a challenge like A to Z gives us the opportunity to visit blogs we may not come across otherwise. I mean, there’s only like 152 million blogs on the internet. Over forty million posts are published every month on WordPress alone! I’m not kidding. Click here to check the stats. See that blinking light in central Texas? That’s me! Okay, most likely not, but we can pretend I’m a prolific blogger.

The most beneficial aspect of the challenge is the connections you make. There is so much wisdom to be gained from visiting other blogs. You get to view life from a different perspective. It’s something I’ve been blogging about lately: feeding the muse. Here are just a few of the things that I did during my A to Z journey. I:

• Searched for truth
• Re-imagined beauty
• Learned how to meditate
• Acquired new writing tips
• Explored beautiful and exotic gardens
• Marveled at wisdom on aging gracefully
• Uncovered new ways to release my creativity
• Read about other writer’s novels, published and unpublished
• Encountered some amazing writers with wonderfully unique voices
• Discovered faraway places that have cool things like Green Dragon pubs
• Reminisced about favorite characters, authors, quotes, movies, books, poems, and more.

I expanded my mind. I fed the muse. I made new friends.

Thank you to the A to Z team for hosting an event that allowed me to connect with so many brilliant bloggers. To see what other A to Z participants blogged about, please click here to link to their blogs.

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16 thoughts on “Reflections on A to Z”

  1. Wow! It sounds like you got a lot out of the experience. Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with a post every week. I can’t imagine blogging every single day. I’m proud of you for completing the challenge. Ready for next year?

    1. Thank you Tricia! Yes, I did. I will definitely participate again, but as for a theme, I have no idea at this point. Good thing I have a year to figure it out. 🙂

  2. I started my blog right before A-Z, and had no idea it existed until I was going through April wondering why all of the alphabet posts! 🙂 So I missed out this year, although writing once a week is a big enough challenge for me right now. I’m so glad I came in at this time, though, because I have found some great blogs (like yours!) through A-Z. It’s been a fantastic experience for someone who is new to blogging and looking to find my place in the blogging community. I’m glad you got a lot out of it, too!

    1. I was in those same shoes last year (new to blogging and clueless about A to Z). Blogging will get easier. I used to spend hours on a post. Now I can whip one up in no time. I don’t try to be perfect anymore–because that’s a losing battle! LOL. I just try to be authentic. I hope you participate next year!

  3. Congrats on making it to the end! As you said, there’s nothing like a deadline to make you sit down and work. I didn’t have them all prescheduled, but I was ahead until the last week. Those I had to write the day they were due, but I kept everything short and simple, so as not to overwhelm myself. Now to come up with a theme for next year that will be as much fun as this year’s…

    1. Thanks Lori! I hope to improve on that next year (prescheduling ALL of them). I had about 1/2 prescheduled and most were in the first half of the alphabet which made the latter part really challenging.

  4. Great post. I had some warnings on the IE stuff and had already switched to Chrome. I turned off a lot of its services and so far no problems. I do love challenges and A-Z really is a beneficial one.
    Best part, I have met new people and found new blogs. Congratulations on finishing.

  5. Hi Melissa, I’m so pleased to hear all the good things you experienced with the challenge. It does grow on you and visiting lots of other people’s blogs really does open the world up to the possibilities in life. Pre-writing the posts really does take the weight and stress off you and lets you enjoy the challenge. I really loved your posts they taught me lots about writing. Have a well earned rest and be proud of what you achieved.

  6. Great reflections post – I am so grateful fir the wide variety of experinces gleaned from following such talented bloggers. Congrats on finishing in spite of those god-awful technical glitches. I had some weird stuff happen, too!

    1. Thanks Sammy! The glitches are frustrating. I don’t know how it can just stop working one day. I no longer get suggestions for hyperlinks, photos or similar posts to link to either and when I try to link a YouTube video it doesn’t work properly half the time. Ugh!

      1. Arghhhh I actually use two computers and an I-Pad because none of them work for everything! There are I’net Explorer & WP bugs. But still, we press on 🙂

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