Whoo hoo! I did it, as did hundreds of other bloggers. We accepted the challenge to post every day in April and to somehow, someway incorporate the letter of the day into said posts (we earned Sundays off for good behavior–some, like me, used it as a free-post day, while others simply took the day off to let their brain cells recharge). Now that May has begun, I’d like to take a moment to ruminate on the past month’s challenge, my involvement in it, and what I hope to improve next year.
I stumbled upon The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge quite by accident. Joe Owens has his finger on the pulse of the blogosphere, and I’ve learned of all kinds of challenges and opportunities by perusing his posts over at Joe’s Musings. Following his lead, I went over to the A to Z Challenge site and added my name to the linky list; by the time the sign-up period closed and illegitimate blogs had been purged by the challenge organizers, I landed at 1187 in a field of 1656 participants. One of the best aspects of the challenge, and the reason I think it draws so many bloggers, is that there are no restraints on the content. As long as the theme of a post–be it a piece of flash fiction, a recipe, a personal observation, a travelogue, a photograph, a poem, a letter, or a painting–matches the day’s letter, it is acceptable. This means that no one is excluded from the challenge based on the established theme or structure of his/her blog, and no one is forced to abandon his/her chosen medium in order to join.
Since I had already committed on 1 January to blog every day in 2013, the April A to Z Challenge did not present a daunting posting regimen for me. However, I really enjoyed trying to fit my own self-chosen routine of themes to the challenge’s prescribed letter of the day–well, at least until mid-April when my mom arrived, at which point I bailed on my daily schedule and posted willy-nilly for the duration of her visit.
The point where I fell short, and the key area where I will make a concentrated effort to improve next year, is reading and commenting on other A to Zers’ blogs. Well, not the reading so much, as several times I got lost for hours in an amazing array of blogs, going past the A to Z posts and deep into the archives on several. But I was VERY lax in posting comments on those blogs. I’m bad about this in daily life as well; it wasn’t an aberration during this challenge. I’m not sure why I allow this to happen, as I know how much I value comments on my own blog as proof that there really are people out there reading my ramblings. In fact, I am so ashamed, that I am setting myself a personal challenge for May: I will comment on three blogs each day, and one of those will be a new blog I have not previously visited. At the end of my regular post each day, I will make a note of the blogs I have commented upon (linking to the specific post), both as a way to hold myself accountable during my little May challenge, but also so you can check out some of the wonderful offerings out there in the blogosphere. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new second-favorite blogger to follow (if it turns out you find a new first-favorite, don’t tell me I’ve been replaced, okay?).