The A to Z challenge is done and dusted for the year, 2017.
30 days, 26 posts and my third attempt at this blogging marathon and the twin feelings I have today as I look back at April are peace and joy.
What was different about this year, as compared to the last two times that I attempted this challenge? Let’s have a look.
Change in my blogging schedule
I usually plan everything, down to the last detail. I’ve actually written posts about this exact thing and still champion the concept every year. It makes sense to plan and write the posts ahead of time. Why? It leaves you with more time to blog hop, visit other bloggers and do more reading during the challenge.
This time, though, I’d only scheduled and pre-written posts for the first six letters. Every other letter, I came up with the oxymoron, the story to go with it and the image from Shutterstock, the night before it was due to go live. That’s right. I surprised myself by doing this! The only exception was when I had to go out of town for 2 days, so I wrote two of those posts back to back and scheduled them on the respective days.
In other words, I dealt well with change. Who knew?
At peace with visits/stats/comments
I love blogging challenges because they are a great way to build community and for us to get to know other bloggers. I even tried and managed to visit 45 blogs on the very first day.
But I couldn’t keep that up. I let go and started focusing on writing well and visiting the ones I could manage. On some days, that number was under 10 blogs. On other days, it shot up to 30. I didn’t set too hard a goal, because I was enjoying myself too much.
Since there was no master link-up list, I created my own using an excel sheet on Google Drive. I then shared this on twitter, asking people to let me know so I could add them to it. This was a great way for me to keep track of blogs without having to check social media for updates.
The good news? The sheet has all the blogs I followed and I can continue to update it. *Let me know if you did the A to Z challenge and I will add your blog in there too!
Managing my full-time job plus blogging
This was the first year that I had to juggle a full-time paying job and a blogging challenge. Man, it was not easy! But you know what? I did it! Primarily, I think what helped were two crucial things: Good use of time everyday and not wasting time on social media.
I’ve been known to fritter away minutes and hours on social media but a job doesn’t give you that much luxury, thank God for it! I told myself that I would blog every night at 9.30 pm come what may and I did it!
Keeping the posts short really helped as did my resolution to only use social media for sharing blog posts and engaging with other bloggers during the A to Z. I stayed away from mindless scrolling and outraging on issues.
I went into this challenge for one reason: The idea of getting back to fiction writing. That’s exactly what I achieved. The thrill of writing flash fiction is quite unparalleled. Considering I began this blog only in May 2014 (YES! Blog anniversary coming up soon!), I was gratified at the response this has generated.
But I also know how much people need to do things offline/ online. I was grateful for the ones who made it and of course, for the wonderful friendships I have made this year as well. I stayed away from ranting/raving on social media too because, frankly, it’s counterproductive.
People have lives of their own and if they chose not to visit my blog, it’s completely understandable. I went through a terrible physical illness in February and March and it changed me in ways I couldn’t imagine.
Among other things, it’s made me more empathetic towards people, especially online. We have no way of knowing what’s going on with people and how they are managing blogging too. The least we can do is be kind in any way we can.
Top 5 posts in April
Not surprisingly, the post for ‘A- Abundant’ was the highest-viewed during April. Other posts that people loved were:
A list of all 26 A to Z Posts where I wrote 100-word flash fiction pieces for each letter can be found here.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge. Will I do it in 2018? It’s too soon to confirm but let’s just say I wouldn’t mind doing it all over again.
Did you write a Reflections post?
Did you complete the A to Z Challenge?
Drop me a link in the comments below
I will hop back and say hello 🙂
*Featured image courtesy: Shutterstock