Monday, May 5, 2014

Reflections on the A to Z Challenge



I survived! Not only did I survive, but I thrived. 

Yes, I felt exhausted. It was overwhelming at times. I felt as if the month was experiencing a rip in the time-space continuum, alternately flying by and dragging its way along.

You know what, though? When all was said and done, I really enjoyed myself. I set about the whole thing in the smartest way I knew how, accounting for my time limits and tendency to procrastinate: I wrote and scheduled all twenty-six of my posts ahead of time. In fact, I was almost in a panic because I didn't finish getting them all ready until mid-March.

It turns out I was wise to prepare in that way, because visiting blogs, commenting, and answering comments on my own blog took a LOT more time than I thought it would. I had tried to pre-screen a few dozen blogs prior to the challenge so I could bookmark the ones I wanted to visit, but I soon found out that staying caught up was easier said than done. Still, I tried my best and felt I succeeded on many levels.

I managed to visit the bloggers I was already following, and found at least two dozen more that I liked enough to add. I never made it back to the master list of participants, because I mostly tried to keep up with those visiting me, those I followed, and maybe a few new people here and there if I thought their comments elsewhere were interesting.

I didn't really have goals set; I just wanted to get to know some new people and maybe find some new readers. On that front, the results exceeded any expectations I could have had. My number of blog followers more than doubled (which wasn't difficult, considering the number I started with), and with that, the number of comments increased.

And oh, the comments! I have to hand it to my blog visitors. Not only did they provide some terrific comments, they did something that made me smile: they talked to each other. It was like throwing a party with a variety of friend groups and having them successfully mingle. I really loved the fact that they felt comfortable replying to anyone's comments as well as leaving their own. There were a few days where I just sat back and laughed, and wondered if I had anything to even add by replying. And I'm not going to lie, the comments on my "X" day were my favorite, though I will never look at poor Captain America in the same way.

THANK YOU to all those who took the time to visit, comment, and follow, and to those who worked so hard to organize the whole thing!

53 comments:

  1. No comments, yet?

    I enjoyed commenting on your blog, Lynda. I was a bit late for the challenge, but I don't think the posts are time sensitive, so they can be enjoyed by future readers scrolling back through your posts.

    Ah, immortality, just within your grasp...

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    1. Martyn, you were stellar about making up for lost time. I should have realized you'd either be the first to comment today or you'd be so burnt out on my words that you'd never read my blog again.

      I do like that bit about immortality . . .

      Hey, wait a minute. You said you enjoyed commenting, not that you enjoyed *reading* it. ;)

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    2. "Hey, wait a minute. You said you enjoyed commenting, not that you enjoyed *reading* it. ;)"

      I wondered if/when you'd notice that. *grin*

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  2. Hi Lynda .. I didn't find you during the A-Z ... but I'll be back to look through your posts .. and am delighted you enjoyed yourself .. it's a great opportunity ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hello there, Hilary! Somehow I missed your posts as well. I suppose May will find me catching up.

      I certainly did enjoy the opportunity and plan on participation again next year.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

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  3. I was still writing a few posts during April but they were the letters at the end of the alphabet so I wasn't too worried. :)

    It was nice to "meet" you during the Challenge!

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

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    1. Nice to meet you as well, Madeline! I'm looking forward to more of your posts. Glad you stayed caught up!

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  4. Glad you enjoyed the challenge. I did too, and yours was one of my favorite reads.

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    1. I think I managed to catch two of every three of your beautiful photos, Rhonda, and am certainly planning on going back to see the ones I missed. I'm envious of the great places you've been to! (Or should I say AmaZing places)

      Thank you for being a "regular" here! I appreciate it.

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  5. Glad you had a good time and made some new friends! Keeping up with your favorites and your comments is often all you can do. Trust me...

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    1. I have NO idea how you do it! But I'm glad you've made the effort to come here. Thanks for setting a great example, Alex.

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  6. I think the best thing about the A-Z challenge is interacting with the other bloggers. It's a great community!

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    1. I really did get that feeling of community almost everywhere I went. I liked seeing so many of the same names in the comments.

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  7. I picked up a few followers and added some blogs to follow as well. It was worth all the effort!

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    1. Success for you! I'm glad it was worth your time.

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  8. I always enjoy comments, too. And it is wonderful when these "conversations" begin to happen among your friends. What fun!

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    1. It WAS fun, Robin. I love seeing how people play off the responses of others. That made it even better for me.

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  9. I love when comments get interactive and a conversation starts. So much more gratifying than the empty calories of "great post!"

    Also, commenting is hard enough without the A-Z challenge raging on. I couldn't imagine keeping up with comments while actually being part of the challenge. I'd probably just shut down mentally and start having conversations with my houseplants about what clothes I should buy for my 16 cats.

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    1. Fifteen cats, thank you, and the nurse aides—I mean, servants—promised not to discuss my daily withdrawal into the fetal position. Heads are gonna roll around here.

      You guys started my "X" post on a path that still has me laughing. Once that horse was out of the barn, there was no getting it back.

      I'm so thankful you make the effort to come over and comment on a regular basis, and especially so during the A to Z mayhem!

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  10. Yay...your Challenge Theme and Comments were a Blogland Hit...a favorite of mine, for sure. Thanks to you I can now say I've been published. Thanks for a great time, your visits and comments on my blog.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

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    1. Thanks, Sue! I'm slowly but surely recovering, as I'm sure you are. A blogland hit, eh? If that's true in any way, you know it's all because of the comments. I'm still laughing.

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  11. I picked up about 20-something new followers during the challenge.
    Yours was one of the new blogs I discovered. I love the buzz here at your place!

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    1. I'm one of that 20-something! I enjoyed your theme and your humor.

      I always have fun here, and hope others do, too.

      Now I have to come up with ideas for the rest of the year. Yikes!

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  12. "...throwing a party..."
    Exactly! Love that side of A to Z.

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    1. How did I miss your blog? I love that theme, and now I'm going to have to go backwards, since I've already seen Z and Y. You had me at Young Frankenstein.

      Thanks for the visit!

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  13. Your X day was awesome! I also loved YOUR replies on C day . . . loved it all!

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    1. Thank YOU for making me keep my posts short! I was so thankful for that on the blogs I visited and was happy mine weren't too long for people to bother with.

      LOL the clichés . . .

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  14. Hi human, Lynda,

    What the L, it's over. And now time for reflection pawsts about reflection pawsts that will take the A to Z Challenge all the way to April Fool's Day, 2015! Then you can start all over again :)

    Your terrific pawstings and the interaction via the comments is a pawsitive result. I also was most grateful that you commented on the much loved and the alternative to the A to Z, The Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

    Congrats on your reflection. And hey, I note your interesting type people n'stuff thing on your blog. I'm glad you've included this diva dog :)

    All the beast, um best,

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny, the cordial host of the Alphabark Challenge, 2014! :)

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    1. Hey, Penny!

      If nothing else, the A to Z Challenge allowed me to get to know you and your stellar human, Gary, a little bit better. I'm proud to have you on the "Most Interesting" list and hope you're not offended at being called "people."

      The Alphabark Challenge was so creative, and I thoroughly enjoyed the musical interludes for the weekends. They provided some much-needed relaxation and smiles.

      Thanks for being such a faithful and entertaining visitor!

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  15. Wow. If being done by mid-March makes you a procrastinator, then I am comatose. A-Z can be so overwhelming, but there is something about the daily posts for a month that help you get to know new bloggers better than just hitting a blog every now and then.

    Congratulations! You rocked it :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Elizabeth! Normally, I would have had you slide on over so I could be comatose beside you, but S.K. Anthony was faithful to keep pushing me to finish ahead of the game and to keep my word count low, both of which benefited me greatly!

      I enjoyed your posts, and getting to know you. I'm still giggling at what a great sport your husband is.

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  16. Your A-Z posts were great. I enjoyed the entire month of them. They were informative, funny, and helpful. You go. Can't wait for coffee chat to start back. You guys are crazy and fun.

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    1. Thanks, J.T.! I appreciate that you're faithful to be here, commenting, whenever I have anything that may or may not be worthwhile to say.

      Coffee Chat will be back in action this week! My tanned and beautiful friend has come home to me!

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    2. Like I always say. I like to give credit where credit is due.

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  17. Well, we should actually be thanking you. You did provide a wonderful list of 26 things to keep in mind, after all.

    There's only so many times someone can say congrats before they worry that it becomes boring, but I'm a stickler, so I'll say it again: congratulations!

    Now you just have to do it again next year. You will be doing it again next year, right?

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    1. This is kind of like childbirth . . . still on a high from the excitement and success of it all, I've already forgotten the lack of rest and frantic pace of all those blog visits. Yes. I do plan on doing it next year, although I have NO idea what in the world I'll talk about.

      Come to think of it, I have no idea what I'll talk about between now and next April, either. I've used up 26 Mondays of ideas. What have I done??

      Thanks so much for being a faithful reader and commenter!

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  18. So happy you enjoyed the AZ experience :)

    Hope to keep reading your posts in the coming year!

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words before the challenge even began, and for the encouragement to join the theme reveal day. That was a terrific idea that got people excited ahead of time.

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  19. Congrats on finishing! I really enjoyed your theme for this year's challenge - lots of great advice to go around.

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    1. Thanks so much, Nicole! I appreciate that you took the time to comment regularly. At least people thought the advice was good, so my common sense must still be functioning.

      Come back and visit anytime.

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  20. You're right. It was like throwing a party and having all your guests enjoy their time together. That's success!

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    1. I have enjoyed every comment I've gotten and every interaction with the visitors. I never thought it would be making me smile so much every day, wondering who was going to say what to whom.

      Thanks for the frequent visits, Lee, and kind words!

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  21. Kind thanks for sharing your thoughts with the crew at Crazy Town in Looney Land. We enjoyed meeting you!

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    1. Thanks so much, Illsa! I appreciate your visits and comments here as well.

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  22. Who doesn't want to host a party on their blog, right? Lynda, I had a blast commenting back and forth with you through April. I think that's my favorite part of the challenge, making new friends. =)

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    1. Thanks, Crystal! I had a good time, too, on your blog as well as so many others. I found it to be such a fun way to get to know everyone!

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  23. When I had the energy to do the Challenge several years ago, I found it as rewarding as you described. Kudos to you, Lynda.

    I don't remember how we met, but I'm very grateful for our recent connection.

    xoRobyn

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    1. Robyn, I'm so glad we've connected also! I believe one of your blogging buddies shared one of your "Reasons for Celibacy" posts . . . once I saw your blog, I knew I'd better just hit "follow" so I could enjoy more of your humor. And chocolate, of course.

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  24. Hey! Congrats that's what stuffs champions are made of. I never pre-scheduled but plan to do it next year and will come up with a romance novella. Hope to see more of you.
    Cheerz

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    1. Thanks, Vishal! Somehow I managed to miss your blog in April, but will make sure I take the time to catch up with what I've missed. It looks interesting!

      I appreciate the visit and comment. Come back anytime.

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  25. I'm glad I pre-scheduled my posts too, Lynda. As April is such a busy month for me, it was really tough to find the time to comment, which made me feel guilty. (Though I'm one of those people who can manufacture guilt out of thin air.)

    I'm glad I found your blog! Congratulations on finishing. :)

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    1. Your posts were hilarious from start to finish, and I'm so glad I found Tongue in Cheek.

      My mother can manufacture guilt out of thin air, so I don't have to do it myself. ;)

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  26. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! Thanks for sharing. I'm just stopping by briefly as I try to navigate the twists and turns of the AtoZ Road Trip…don't forget to wave when you see me drive by. (lol)
    Entrepreneurial Goddess

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I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog. (Note: if the post is more than a couple weeks old, your comment will automatically go into the "needs approval" folder, but I will still publish it and reply!)