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Blogging From A to Z..."Reflections"

The 2013 Edition of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is over, and what a month it was! The A-Z Team has asked for our reflections and feedback, so here are my thoughts...

Sticking with my commitment to follow through to the finish, I ended up feeling very good about the entire effort.  I think what made it more fun this time than when I did it two years ago was choosing a good theme that I knew I could enjoy working on for twenty-six posts in succession without getting weary, using a list format simplified the writing process too. 
 
In the months leading up to the Challenge I'd been hit by a bad case of post-winter doldrums and felt myself slipping into old negative ways of thinking.  (I wrote about that here.)  Then I started reading Lena's 30 Days of Appreciation posts on her blog My Personal Lens, and found myself enjoying how she was able to find the bright spots in each day with just a little concentrated effort.  Her posts made me smile too, and I loved the concept.
I knew I could benefit from that, and thus my theme was born... "An Attitude of Gratitude".  It turned out be just what I needed to refocus on all the things I have to be thankful for in my life, and coming up with lists to match the alphabet letter of the day was actually fun!  By the end of the month I'd listed over two-hundred blessings in my life... WOW, and it's not going to end there, I plan to continue the concept in a shorter version of on going daily posts, just to ensure that I keep my heart focused on all that is good in my life!

 Not only did the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge improve my outlook, but I gained a few new followers, and more importantly made a few new friends - that's what I enjoy most about blogging!  I did notice that after the initial excitement wears down the number of new visitors dropping by diminished, and for the second half of the month I had very few new faces showing up in my comments.  I was away on vacation for one entire week of the Challenge, and didn't have the time to check out new blogs or do much commenting then, so I was grateful for those who stuck with me and dropped by to read my Challenge posts each day.  One thing I would probably do next time is shorten the length of my posts a bit, I know some readers turn and run when they see something that will take longer to read.  I could have achieved my purpose with listing just five items each day.

The only issue I have is with the Challenge List of Participants, and I know this isn't a new problem - that being that I have only limited time for blogging each day and often I would check out a dozen or so new blogs, only to discover that all but one or two dealt with content that didn't hold a great deal of interest for me.  I know that we were given the opportunity to identify our blogs with a category this year - and I did, marking mine as personal (I'm not sure if that encouraged or discouraged visits), but most folks chose not to pick a category, so after going thru the others that were also marked personal, it was very much hit and miss, and I grew frustrated with not finding the kind of posts I most enjoy - about everyday life and such.  I was thinking how great it would be if every participant was required to give a very short description of their blog (not more than ten words) on the sign-up list.  This would make it easier to identify blogs that I might enjoy visiting and be interested in following, since the list is so very long. 

Now it's time to get back into my regular weekly blogging routines; the month long break from my usual fare was re-energizing.  I'll definitely be back for next year's Challenge - in fact I already have a theme in mind. :-)  There are still many A-Z posts written while I was on vacation that I will get around to read within the next few days.  I don't want to miss all the good stuff my fellow-bloggers had to say in my absence!  

My thanks to everyone, old friends and new, who visited my blog during the month of April and left such positive comments - it definitely motivated me to keep going and reminded me that our attitudes are contagious... we have the power to encourage and uplift each other, let's use it!!!

18 comments:

  1. I'm going to try to do this next year. I so enjoyed the few folks that I visited last month that participated, and especially you. You really did a fantastic job putting together your post.

    Have a terrific day. ☺

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    1. Thank you so much Sandee, I really appreciated your faithfulness in stopping by to read and your wonderful comments each day, return visits make me smile! I definitely encourage you to give a go next year, choose a simple theme about something you enjoy, that won't require lots of brainstorming to match a letter (though you note I cheated a bit on X, hehe - my blog, my rules)! Now that it's over I hope to participate more in the fun things you share each week on your blog too, see you there!

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  2. A-Z has been a lot of fun. It sounds like it turned out to be quite the positive experience for you. Your theme is perfect. :)

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    1. It has been fun Jessica, the first time I did it I was glad to see it end, this time I found it to be a really nice change of pace. I'm glad you liked my theme, it's an easy one that anyone can do, and is welcome to borrow for next year!

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  3. I agree with you that the A to Z challenge was great fun. I also agree with you about how much fun it is to connect with new friends though blogs. Who woulda' thunk?!

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    1. Absolutely! For me the friendships formed are the heart of blogging, if the interactions didn't matter we'd all be journaling in private! Here in the blogsphere I find people with open minds and hearts who share a love for communication and the written word!

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  4. Delightful post, Josie. I kept trying to find you during A-Z, but hunting through 1,700+ blogs was a bit more of a challenge than I could successfully accomplish. Now I know where you are, and I'll be back.

    I understand about not finding blog posts that interested me. There were lots of those. But I found some bloggers who continually interested me, and those I will follow.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting
    Life in the Urban Forest (poetry)

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    1. Hi Rob-Bear! Same here, it was worth sorting thru the haystack of Challenge participants to find a few golden needles that I know I'm going to enjoy reading and sharing with in the months and years to come! Thank you for dropping back by to say hi!

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  5. I'm impressed that you finished your reflections post already. I'm so burned out I'm not sure when mine will get done. :)

    I agree that the challenge this year was great! I met a lot of new people and had a lot of fun visiting those I already know. Your blog was one of the ones I looked forward to each day. Your attitude of gratitude is infectious, and I think that's wonderful! Your posts reminded me of many things I'm also thankful for, and I'm grateful for that. Thank you! :)

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    1. With me, it's always do it NOW or it isn't going to happen, Dana. I am the poster child for procrastination, which has evolved over the years into things never getting done. The first time I did the A-Z a couple years ago, I was so burned out by the time it ended that I didn't feel like posting for the next several weeks! That's why this year I was determined to find a way to approach it that didn't feel so burdensome. In the end, I posted 29 of the 30 days in April, tossing in a few random Sunday posts, so I met my personal goal of posting 25 or more times each month this year. Now I'm kind of bumbling around, trying to shift gears back into regular posts! I really appreciated you dropping by every day during the Challenge to encourage me, it helped a lot! I loved your video posts, every day brought something fun and interesting, and it was different from what other folks did... great idea! And look... we made it! :-)

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  6. Thanks to the A-Z Challenge, we got the brilliant opportunity of seeing each other's blogs and becoming Friends. Co-incidentally our blogs were one after the other in the list so I think even God wanted us to meet :) Your wonderful posts made my day :)

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    1. What a wonderful occurrence that we both were inspired to join the Challenge at the same time, and ended up side by side on the list, Judygirl! I agree with you, God has a wonderful way of bringing people into our lives that we would never meet on the street! You are a true delight, you give me hope for the young people of your generation, there are still some who care, and who are inspired to be the change this world badly needs. I pray for you every day, and I know God is going to bless your life abundantly!

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  7. I also found so much enjoyment from this challenge. Your blog theme was one of my favorites. It was a great way to start each day.
    Now that the challenge is over, I'm excited to see what normal is for all of you new-to-me bloggers.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, it will be fun to see what everyone does from here on out, I can't wait to see what the weeks ahead bring, getting to know new bloggers is fun!

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  8. From one AtoZ cohort to another ~ cheers!

    thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

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    1. we did it Tami, we did the whole thing! Congrats to you too! :-)

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  9. Your Reflections post is a good one to read. Thank you for it and congratulations on finishing the Challenge. Someday we'll get the list concept right. I'm not thrilled with the way it is now, but it will take some talented programmer to get it the way I'd like to see it.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thank you Lee! I was so glad that I decided to be a part of the Challenge this year, it was such a positive experience! I know it can't be easy to manage something that has grown to such an unbelievable level of participation, but that speaks to how much participants enjoy the process, as they return year after year!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)