Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reflections on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, April 2012...

Click here to read others' reflections.
...how do you like that for a clunky title? ;-)

Man, did April 2012 kick my ass. My full-time gig demanded all of my energy and head-space (and then some). My Kid's college hunt hit the fever pitch of acceptances and rejections, financial aid worries, and Admitted Students' Dayz Days to attend. And then there was the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Dudes - I'm beat.

I first learned about the Challenge in February and, in my reckless way, signed up almost immediately. I posited in another post that I must be crazy, insane. But maybe a bit of lunacy (OK, a LOT of lunacy) is required to survive the Challenge.

I knew I'd never make it through posting a blog nearly every day in the month of April without a plan. So I first settled on the "Dark Romance of Music" theme. Then I spent the few free moments I had in March picking songs/bands/albums for each letter. I'd hoped to write/schedule some blogs in what was left of of the month by the time I'd selected all the songs, but wound up having just Saturday, March 31 to work with. That weekend, and every other in April, I wrote the following week's blog posts.

I thought writing shorter (for me) posts would be a cinch, but nuh-uh, honey; digging up info on the songs/bands, writing, formatting, and uploading videos took from 45 minutes to an hour, for each post. And then, of course, there was the other part of the Challenge - clicking through the linky-list to visit/read/comment/and sometimes follow other participants' blogs, at least five a day. I did enjoy this part and averaged 15 to 30 blogs a night (I didn't comment on all, but did read at least one post from each). Also, as much as I could, I replied to all the kind comments visitors left on my blog and aimed to visit them all in return.

Did I mention that I was beat?

My Final Thoughts on the Blogging from  A to Z Challenge

Pros
  • I learned a lot about self-discipline and sticking to a schedule, both of which aided in increasing my creative output.
  • I've made some new blog buddies, with whom I had a great time (and look forward to hanging with in the Blogosphere in future).
  • My bloggy-blog got WAY more hits than it had previously, and picked up a slew of followers! (Huzzah!)
Cons
  • I averaged about 4 - 5 hours of sleep every week night (but, to be fair, that's not just the Challenge's fault).
  • I lost a lot of time visiting folks who weren't doing their part of the A to Z Challenge and yet left their blogs' URLs active on the linky-list. (There; I said it.) (OK, I wrote it, gimme a break.)

Overall impression: I loved it. I'm proud of myself for seeing it through when so much in my life conspired against me (and I'm proud of my fellow bloggers who went through their own crap and still completed the Challenge - kudos, y'all!). I'm stoked about all of my new pals and I'm really glad I did this nutty thing. Will I do it again next year? Well, that depends on whether:
  1. The Mayans (and/or their interpreters) were right, and
  2. I'm still out of my mind.
Which means chances are good that I'll do it again - but I make no promises!

MEANWHILE, because my day job has me on the verge of acute alcoholism, I'd like to propose an official Blogging From A to Z Drinking Game®! (DISCLAIMER: this is NOT a real game. Readers are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED from actually doing this. Please drink responsibly, for heaven's sake!!!!!)

Anyway, as I made my way through the linky-list, I noticed some trends which, I felt, would have been more entertaining with a bit of booze to accompany them. (Or, at least, more tolerable.)

The rules of the Blogging From A to Z Drinking Game® (which is totally NOT a real game) are simple; as you make your way through the linky-list, take a shot of your preferred liquor every time you come across:
  • A blog that’s got Random, Rants, Ramblings, or Musings in its title (or subtitle). (Titles/subtitles with more than one of those words are worth 2 shots. If, God help you, you find one with all four, just keep drinking.)
  • A blogger still requesting word verification of commenters. (For the record, I coulda sworn I’d turned mine off, but…ooops! As soon as I saw it was still on, I axed it. Sorry, y'all. Have a shot on me.)
  • A C entry that’s for Cats, D entry that’s Dogs, X entry that's Xylophone, and/or Z entry that's Zoo.
  • Every H entry that’s for Haiku, only the blogger totally got the basic haiku form wrong.
  • A blogger goes days without posting (or forgets the event’s begun and chimes in well into the alphabet, OR stops posting mid-stream and returns, OR just craps out altogether), saying it's 'cause s/he “got super busy,” BUT TOOK NO STEPS TO REMOVE HIS/HER BLOG LINK FROM THE LIST. (Also worth 2 shots.)
More seriously, folks; I respect the bloggers who simply apologized for being unable to get through the Challenge without reciting a litany of reasons why - they just couldn't do it, and that's that. Fair enough. I know the Challenge hosts were hella busy and made heroic efforts to clean up the linky-list, for which I thank them. The only suggestion I have is to maybe deputize trusted past-Challenge participants and let them aid in the clean up. (Not me!)  ;-)

40 comments:

  1. I know what you're saying about the weariness. I'm beat too. We tried to stay on top of those blogs that fell behind or didn't post or whatever--during the course of the Challenge we did manage to remove over 200 bad links, but I know there were still a few that we missed.

    In any case, thanks for your Reflections post and if one were to start playing that drinking game, one would be totally wasted after just a few blog visits.


    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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  2. Great post! It's amazing how long it took to prepare each post. For me it was uploading photos for the most part, and looking up tidbits of info to go along w/ some of them (ie, Yonkers took some research!). I also cited the problem w/ people who said they'd participate and then didn't.

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    1. Thanks, JoJo! Congrats on your new couch! :-)

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  3. Great thoughts Mina. Your drinking game (not a real drinking game) would make me drunk in about 15 minutes. I admit, I mailed in a couple of posts as well, but I finished. Congrats to us all.

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    1. That's why you've gotta play the game (not a real game) just before you're ready for bed! ;-)

      My enthusiasm for the challenged waxed and waned. But I'm glad we got through it.

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  4. Lovely post, Mina. Thanks for your comments on my A-Z posts, and I sure as hell enjoyed yours!

    We'll have to figure out the bad links thing better---one way would be to have them reported to us for removal, we're definitely looking into doing this better.

    Damyanti
    #atozchallenge co-host 2012

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    1. Thanks, Damyanti! You crafted some clever, creepy, and quirky tales, which impresses me greatly. I don't know that I could've done that under the gun!

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  5. This was a great reflection post. I'd definitely be beyond wasted very quick if I played that game :p

    I missed your blog during the challenge, so I'm going to check out your posts. :)

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Kela - I'm still making my way through the original sign-up linky list. I want to make sure I visit, at least once, every person who signed up for the Challenge.

      I noticed from your profile you like Lynsay Sands' vampire series - me too! :-)

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  6. Yay for you! I, too, sign up for stuff only to regret it later. This often happens after a glass of wine when I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy. I'm still trying to learn to keep my big trap shut, particularly when I'm at least one sheet to the wind. Good for you for sticking it out! - Katy O

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    1. Wine and promises shouldn't mix (I've learned this the hard way). ;-)

      And thank you, my Dear Friend Katy O, for your help in coming up with tuneage for some of those peskier letters!

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  7. still beat...

    Reflection is a good thing, You have done a great job on the A to Z Challenge...

    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    A to Z Co-Host
    My New Book:
    Retro-Zombie: Art and Words

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dude! I'm still beat, too...feel it in my knees, a lot. Or maybe that's just being middle-aged. :-)

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  8. LOL! I love the drinking game (not a real drinking game) idea.
    I also agree with your point on the 'non-participating' blogs. They took up valuable visiting time. (That could be why I missed your blog during the challenge (although I'm still trying to get through the list).
    I want to see more so I'm a new follower. :)

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    1. Yay! Thanks, Janyce! I checked your profile but don't see a link to your blog - please to be giving it?

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  9. I think there are actually spammers that put their blogs up to get hits, but don't participate. I always come across those blogs for every blogfest/hop I've participated in.

    A to Z was too much for me too. Glad it's over!

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    1. Me too! Though I did learn a lot from the whole process.

      Where do you get info on blogfests/hops and whatnot? I dunno how I happened to learn of A to Z, but would be interested in learning about other such (hopefully of shorter duration) events.

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  10. I love the drinking game!! So much that I've linked it from my blog!

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    1. LOL - don't forget the disclaimer! ;-)

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  11. Mina,

    mon cherrie, this is possibly the best post you've done since the A - Z began, and no, I'm not being cruel, my little goth-pie. Seriously, I didn't even contemplate an A-Z review/round-up... damn you, now I might just have to write one... grrr!

    Sadly, I'll be hanging around from now on, as I like it here. Might just look for a quiet corner somewhere and set up camp, who knows? ;)

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    Replies
    1. While you're setting up, would put a pot of cocoa on? OK, you can have a pot of tea brewing as well. ;-)

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  12. Your blog is awesome Mina! I know that whole drained of energy after the challenge feeling...almost like spending a few nights with the Vampire Lestat lol.

    The non participating entries were a frustration for sure...wastes a lot of valuable time, which you barely have enough of during the challenge anyway. Would be awfully considerate of the wankers to remove their links from the list wouldn't it? The hosts are spread so thin that one would think that the blogger could take a few precious seconds to do so. I digress. Can you tell it was annoying to me? lol

    So glad you did the challenge and that we got to connect. I'll definitely be back here...for sure. Ahhh The Drinking Game (which really isn't) Ha! I would have been completely off my ass well before noon on many days. ;)

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    1. I LOL reading your use of the word "wankers." Hahaha! Loved it! :-D

      Ditto on the connecting bit; definitely felt you and some other bloggers were kindred spirits, so it was pretty awesome running into y'all.

      As for the (not a real) drinking game: my ability to continue reading/commenting on blogs would largely depend on the strength of the booze. If we were talking vodka then "X" would be for the Xs over my eyes as I passed out after the first few shots. BUT, if we were using something lighter, like Baileys, I think I could make it through ok. :-D

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  13. I loved your challenge posts! Clever, and I enjoyed going down memory lane with some of those songs! :D
    I mentioned you in my A to Z reflections post because, well, you rock!
    Glad to have met you through this challenge.

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    1. Jackie, thanks and likewise! That is so cool of you to drop my bloggy's name - I'm gonna head right on over and check it out!

      I look forward to "stalking" you more in future!!! ;-)

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  14. Congratulations on finishing the challenge, hopefully we will do it again next April!

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    1. Thanks, EvalinaMaria - and congratulations to you as well!

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  15. you were impressively organized - there were days when I was hanging in there but it was fun

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    1. Thanks, David. I did notice, though, that by the time I'd get to the last post of the week, I found myself less than enthusiastic. Maybe posting exactly one a day helps folks stay fresh(er)?

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  16. Congratulations on finishing the A-Z challenge! That must have been some hard work. Also, thank you for checking out my site. I have updated the "find a critique partner" list in case you may be interested. I am looking forward to checking out your site more in depth. I LOVE the wolves, they are making my laugh. :)

    Andrea

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    1. Awesome, thanks for letting me know! And the wolves love you too! :-)

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  17. I ADORE your idea for an A to Z Challenge and I'm guessing many players would end up the list with an advance cirrhosis. LOL. I, too, think that cleaning the chain is a titanic work that needs more people helping. I found out a couple of blogs close to the end that simply had stopped posting midway (we were on Q or R and they had stopped on C or H) without a word. Nothing but silence and it made me mad. But most bloggers did a hell of a job, like you. Congrats on surviving it!

    From Diary of a Writer in Progress

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    1. And you! I'm so glad work's (finally!!!!!) beginning to calm down for me, so I can catch up on fellow A to Z bloggers' sites and get to know them better. As other folks have mentioned in their reflections, one of the great benefits to this Challenge was the forging of social connections with fellow writers, for which I really am grateful (and excited!).

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  18. Okay, the A-Z drinking game is hilarious! Still laughing. This should be posted as a guest post on the A-Z blog, don't you think? And I think your Pros & Cons list was spot on too!

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    1. Merci, mademoiselle! Maybe...I feel I might need to tweak it, just a wee bit, but I'm certainly not averse to putting my wee bit of snark out into the world (clearly!). ;-)

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  19. Mina,

    I agree that it was frustrating to stumble upon a blog where they were several letters behind and I wondered if they were still with the program at all or not. I tended not to comment unless the subject matter was interesting to me. My other frustration was when I tried to comment on a Wordpress blog as A 'Blogspot' blogger and I had to log in to my wordpress account in order to do that. Assuming I even had one. So I opened one in order to comment. That part was a bit annoying, though I am sure that is a Wordpress issue rather than a blogger issue.

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    1. Yeah, that's a good point about Wordpress. Blogger users can allow anonymous posts, if they want, but can users of Wordpress do the same?

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  20. Congrats on finishing despite your hectic schedule. I like the idea of doing the posts at the start of the week - sounds much more doable than doing all of them before the month begins.

    And I love the idea of the drinking game!!

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    1. Thanks, and congrats to you as well! (Holy crap - zeitgeber!) :-)

      And yeah, the drinking game's proved more popular than I'd anticipated, LOL!

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