There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Monday, May 7, 2012

A to Z Blogging Challenge Reflection

A to Z Reflections Linky List
I post writing quotes on Monday, but today’s has been moved to tomorrow. So if you’re here for the quotes, please check back tomorrow for your weekly fill of inspiration from some wise and wacky writers!
How did your journey through the alphabet go? Did you meet new bloggers with similar interests? Are there any you would like to feature and share with others?
This was my second year participating, and I was much more successful! Last year was so daunting; not the posting, but visiting other blogs and responding to the influx of comments had me overwhelmed. This year I knew exactly what to expect, and not only did I plan my posts and schedule them ahead of time like last year, I also planned a visiting schedule.
I met so many wonderful bloggers!!! It would make this post much too long to list them all, but I’ll mention two in particular: Kyra Lennon @ Write Here Write Now followed early on in the challenge. She consistently left thoughtful comments on my A to Z posts even though I know she had many other blogs to comment on, too. I was very impressed by that! Head on over and say hello if you didn’t make it to Kyra’s blog yet! 

Crime writer Clarissa Draper @ Listening to the Voices had one of the most unique themes–unusual and bizarre deaths in history. She wrote a series of flash stories based on a way someone died or a tragic event, and we had to guess who or what it was. Also, Clarissa's e-book The Sholes Key released May 1 (paperback edition releasing soon) so be sure to check it out! Congratulations, Clarissa!!!
What were the highlights and lowlights for you?
Highlights: Best of all about the blogfest was YOU! Thank you so much to my new followers and to everyone who stopped by and commented. I appreciated every single thoughtful comment and enjoyed visiting your blogs and getting to know you. Congratulations to all of you who participated! 
I really liked the suggestion to start visiting blogs with the one after yours on the link list. I got around to so many more blogs this year than last year and was able to easily keep track of the blogs I’d already visited.
Lowlights: The time it takes to find other bloggers with your interests is a bummer. I noticed that very few, if any, non-writing blogs I commented on returned to my blog. And why should they? Why would a mommy blogger (or medical blogger or pet blogger or any other non-writing blogger) waste time on a writing blog when she’d rather spend time finding other bloggers who can share her experiences? It’s a hodgepodge of blogs, and not every blog is about something I’m interested in, just like my writing blog is not one everybody is interested in. So I wish there was a way we could categorize and group our blogs when we sign up for the Challenge!
Did you enjoy posting daily? What was your biggest hurdle? 
I planned and scheduled my posts ahead of time, so posting daily wasn’t an issue for me. My biggest hurdle was, after already visiting and commenting on many, many blogs, I still had to respond to my blog’s comments and return visits to bloggers who had visited my blog first. I tried keeping up with visiting all of you who commented; if I missed you, please please let me know in the comments so I can stop by your blog and say hello!

Did you stumble upon lots of sites still using word verification? Did this prevent you from leaving a comment?  
Unfortunately, yes. Though it was super annoying, I still submitted my comment.
What will you do different next year?
I think I might try a theme next year! I was really impressed with those of you who stuck with a theme throughout the entire Challenge, and I enjoyed reading your themed posts.
What pearls of wisdom do you want to share with the co-hosts of this event?
I think there should be a way to categorize what kind of blog we have when we sign up! I don’t know if it can be done, but it’d be fantastic if there was an easier way for parents, doctors, caregivers, knitters, ministers, writers, artists, fashionistas, travelers, photographers, chefs etc. etc. etc. to find other blog buddies within their specific interests. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it? I think if they were grouped by type of blog, I could’ve read the writing blogs during my scheduled blogging time and then visited blogs within my other interests during extra time, too.
The 2012 A to Z Challenge was a lot of fun! The co-hosts did a super awesome job. Thank you SO MUCH to all of you who visited and commented on my blog posts! I hope you enjoyed them as much I did writing them. I discovered many wonderful new blogs and writing buddies, and I hope you like the posts I have in store for you now that the blogfest is over!
What are your thoughts on the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge? Will you be participating next year?
Have a wonderful week, Zigzaggers, and remember to stop by tomorrow for the postponed Monday Quote Day post!


mooderino said...

I think they didn't put blogs in categories because they want people to stumble onto blogs they wouldn't normally visit. Which is fair enough, but I rarely found a non-writing blog interesting, and like you would have preferred the option to visit them in my free time. Maybe next year.

Moody Writing
The Funnily Enough

Kyra Lennon said...

Oh my goodness! I totally didn't expect a shoutout, but I really appreciate it! I know I said this before, but yours was absolutely my favourite blog find of the challenge. I always love your posts, whether they are quotes or helpful tips.

I'm glad you didn't find A-Z as overwhelming thus year. It's not as scary the second time around! :D

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Good points, Laura. Categorizing blogs is a good idea, I think. (And if you need some mommy-writer blogs to visit, let me know--I've got some in my Google Reader....elizabethspanncraig (at) gmail (dot) com.

Laura Pauling said...

I didn't participate this year but I remember how hard it was to visit blogs. And I remember feeling frustrated at blogs that I had no interest in. I wouldn't mind finding a non-writing blog but I'd want to find blogs that I would continue to visit, not just follow and comment once.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I had no problem with the posts, as I had them all scheduled and ready to go by the middle of March. I just couldn't keep up with the comments.

I will do it again next year though.

Journaling Woman said...

I think visiting the blogs was the most difficult for me. I wanted to get through all of them and obsessed about it. AND I didn't get through many at all.


Tara Tyler said...

kyra is great! and i may bow out next year & just relax watching & reading you all's scramblings =)
sip, ahhh

Dana said...

Visiting all the blogs was a real challenge. I managed to do it, but not without missing many, many, many hours of sleep. LOL I enjoyed your blog--loved the writing quotes--and as I'm a mommy and writer, I'll definitely be back!

Julie Dao said...

I'm so proud of you for finishing the challenge!! I'm surprised there isn't a way to categorize blogs when you participate though... totally makes sense that a mommy blogger wouldn't be interested in a site about writing/publication and vice versa. Oh well!

Margaret Almon said...

Actually, both last year and this year, a writing blog became my favorite of the challenge! I write an art blog, but artists and writers often have creative resonances.

Susanne Drazic said...

Great reflections post. Scheduling posts ahead of time is definitely something I'll do next year.

Margo Berendsen said...

I agree with what you said about other non-writing blogs, even though I purposefully geared my posts to be broader, beyond writing, and was hoping to connect with people with other interests of mine. I think I succeeded with only a couple! - I might have had better luck googling instead.... oh well I don't regret the experience at all. It was wonderful and creative, if I have enough energy I will do it again next year!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

You're braver than I am, Laura. I've shied away from the commitment each year. I do enjoy visiting everyone else's posts, though. :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I actually found the non-writing blogs quite refreshing. Some returned the visit, some didn't - but that was the same with the writing blogs, so I didn't mind. Some people seemed to join the challenge to just find followers without returning the favour, but you have to accept a certain amount of that!

Rebecca Bradley said...

I think that's a great point about the different types of blogs out there, but I'm not sure if it would be possible to complete the category thing. I'd actually really like it if they could. There is a lot of participation in A to Z and there is no way most people can visit all participants, so to get the most out of it, targeting the right kind of blogs would be useful.

A great reflections post!

Laura Marcella said...

Mood- You’re right. I suggested categorizing blogs last year and that’s the reason the hosts gave me. I understand what they mean, but I still think we should categorize them!

Kyra- Thanks for your kind words! I’m glad you like my blog and I love seeing your happy comments here each day! Hope you had a great weekend and happy writing this week!

Elizabeth- Thanks for the offer, but what I meant was that since I don’t have children, parent bloggers won’t get anything out of my blog (nor me from theirs). I have no experiences or advice to share with them. That was just an example; there were lots of other blogs out there I couldn’t relate to and who wouldn’t be able to relate to me either because our blog subject matters are completely different!

Laura- I found some non-writing blogs I really enjoyed, but I was mostly interested in finding other writing buddies. Since there are sooo many participants, I wish there was an easier way to find the blogs we’d get the most out of.

Diane- Same here! It makes it so much better writing posts easily and scheduling them ahead of time.

Teresa- I got through a lot more this year than last year because I knew what to expect this time around! I made a visiting blog schedule and it worked out fantastic.

Tara- I’ll be doing it again next year! It’s a fun blogfest. :)

Dana- Wow, good for you!! Thanks for your kind comments. I enjoy your blog very much, too!!

Laura Marcella said...

Julie- Thank you!! Hopefully next year there will be a way to categorize them. Fingers crossed!*

Margaret- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I follow several non-writing blogs! I have nothing against them; I just like finding other writer buddies and wish there was an easier way to do so during the Challenge! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

Susanne- It helped a lot! It was nice not having to worry about that each day and just focus on visiting other bloggers.

Margo- That was a great idea. I loved your theme!!

Shannon- You should try it next year!!! Plan them ahead of time, starting after the holidays. Write one a day, or perhaps only two a week and you’ll have them done before April!

Annalisa- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I enjoyed many non-writing blogs! I have nothing against them, and follow several non-writing blogs (my interests do go beyond writing, afterall!). But I wanted to mostly find more writing buddies, since writing is what my blog is about, and wish there was an easier way to do that during the Challenge. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Rebecca- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I’m sure there is a way to categorize them. I have no idea how to do it, though. Computer saavy people know how to do these things! I think it’d be great for finding those blogs we’re most interested in, and then checking out blogs of other things we’re interested in. I think it would make the experience more rewarding because we’d be visiting blogs again and again, rather than just commenting once and done. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

M. J. Joachim said...

I had a great time discovering new things when I visited blogs. I'm glad you mentioned the daunting task of visiting so many blogs. This was my 1st challenge, and I did the best I could, but I'm still making my way through the list. It's a challenge in itself, I'm afraid, isn't it?

I'm doing better making it through the reflection post list - shorter and far...

Sounds like you had a wonderful and successful challenge! Cheers:)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I did the same as you - started with the link after mine and went from there - and I think it worked great because then most people in the middle of the list got some visitors, too.

And I like your thoughts on the categories - visit blogs in your field (writing/books) first, then expand out to other interests.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Great post.
Sounds like you have things pretty well in hand for the next one!
Congrats on the challenge and thanks for your support.

Clarissa Draper said...

Actually, I really do like your idea about putting the blogs in categories. I think we will, in the end, go back to the ones we like but I would have liked to read more with themes.

Thanks for the mention! You're awesome.

Carrie-Anne said...

I also agree blogs should be put in categories. I was most interested in discovering other writing blogs, but I would've liked finding if some of the other blogs had content relating to some of my other passions, like silent film, without having to click on each one in a huge list.

I hate captchas, as well as moderated comments. My site used to have moderation for first-time commenters, but I finally turned it off, since it was annoying having to approve each comment. If something's spam or abusive, a blogger can just delete and/or report it when it's discovered.

Lauren said...

Keeping up with comments was hard for me, too, and I didn't schedule my posts ahead of time so I had less time to visit blogs. I think next year I will definitely plan ahead!

I think putting blogs into categories is a good idea. That doesn't mean we wouldn't come upon blogs in different niches - I think it would be fun to go looking through the different categories to find the kind of blogs I don't normally read.

Donna B. McNicol said...

I think at least 50% of the reflections posts I've read today have mentioned the categorization idea. I completely agree and hope they act on it.

I'll still try blogs outside my norm but I won't have to waste time on things that are way out of my interests.

I look forward to your future posts...glad to have found you!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Categorizing blogs would definitely be a good idea.
I didn't do it this year, but I might do it next year.
Glad you survived!

Laura Marcella said...

M.J.- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Visiting all of the blogs is difficult. But it's great meeting so many wonderful new people! Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!!

Madeline- I really liked that suggestion, too. I was able to keep track of the blogs so much better.

Heather- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! It definitely was a little easier this year since I knew what to expect. Hopefully next year will be even more productive! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Clarissa- You're welcome!!! And I hope next year they categorize the blogs. Others have suggested the same thing in their reflection posts, too!

Carrie-Anne- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Yes, I agree. It'd be nice to have categories so we know what else is out there. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

Lauren- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I agree. Putting the blogs in categories will make it even easier to visit blogs, I think. Also people will probably get more comments and visitors. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

Donna- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Ooo, that's great!! I've seen abunch mention that, too. I hope the hosts take notice for next year!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

Jennifer- I hope you do it next year! It's a fun time. :)

a.eye said...

I think I like and dislike the blogs not being categorized. Like because I came across many I would likely not have seen if they were in categories I'm not really interested in. Dislike because I came across some that were of no big interest to me. But some of the ones that I thought would be of no interest turned out to be ones I really enjoyed.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Laura .. congratulations .. I would prefer not to be put into a category .. and I like getting out there into the Blogging University of Life within the A - Z ..

As Moody says - stumbling across other fun, stimulating and interesting bloggers ..

Blog etiquette is a challenge though ..

Cheers Hilary

Laura Marcella said...

A.Eye- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Maybe there can still be a Surprise Me widget for people who don't want to be categorized. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!

Hilary- I'm sure there are others who agree with you! Maybe there could be a Surprise Me widget for people who want to visit blogs without knowing what kind it is.

EvalinaMaria said...

Congratulation on finishing the challenge. During the challenge I didn't visit as many blogs as I would like to but, cross my heart, I'm visiting every single one with the reflection post! I am so glad my journey brought me here.

Evalina, This and that...

Laura Marcella said...

Evalina- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Good luck visiting all of the reflection posts! Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I hope you have a wonderful week!

Brian Labrom said...

Just catching up with my a-z comments, and it appears you swung by when I was talking about sloths. I am a little late, much like a sloth would be I imagine.

As I am catching up with a lot of blogs, I have stumbled upon many variants of the reflections post, nearly all would like to categorise in the future the type of blog they write.

I am hoping my work has a category.

Nice blog, nice zebra.

Laura Marcella said...

Brian- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Good for you for making it to all the Reflections post. I also noticed a lot of people want to have a categorizing option. I hope it happens next year! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!!