Alphabet Insanity

Survivor A to ZLast month I participated in my first Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and now it's time for the Reflections post - I have to say the experience was both awesome and awful.  Much like NaNoWriMo (or giving birth so I’ve been told), I hated it while it was happening and swore I’d never do it again, but now I’m looking back on it with fondness and already looking forward to the next one.  

Even though all the hosts and previous participants kept advising us to write our posts in advance, my bestest buddy Procrastination convinced me that was crazy talk because nightly adrenaline-fueled blogging sessions are the BEST!  Turns out they just made me feel drained and resentful.  By the end of week two, I really wanted to throw in the towel (and forever abandon my blog), but I’m a real stickler for finishing what I’ve started, so I kept slogging through. And now I feel such a fabulous sense of accomplishment, and I’m (mostly) proud of the posts I wrote.  And since I’m still relatively new to this whole blogging thing, I learned a lot about what I liked to blog about and what other people like to read (unfortunately, not always the same thing).

Instead of one overall theme, I broke it down by days of the week: obscure Netflix movies on Monday, writing tips on Tuesday, a free-for-all on Wednesday that turned out to be mostly about my dogs, television on Thursday, short films on Friday, and I wrote very short stories on Saturday.  My favorite days were the ones where I talked about movies and television, but the days I had the most blog traffic and comments were the writing tip days followed by dog post days.  

Writing tips being the most popular posts really surprised me.  I’d actually been avoiding those types of posts in the past because so many other writer-bloggers cover tips and advice on writing who are funnier/more insightful/have more clout than I do.  The fact that people responded so positively to my writing tips posts has me considering writing more in the future.  

I do have to mention I was a little disappointed about the “return on my investment.”  I spent A LOT of time commenting on other participants’ blogs, and I’d say only about ten percent of those people ever visited mine in return.  Since I’m such a goody-goody rule follower, I get frustrated when others don’t (even if it’s just common courtesy blogging guidelines).  Plus, since I don’t use Blogger, I can’t have the Google Friend Connect widget on my site; and people don’t seem to follow blogs via email or RSS feeds (both these numbers only increased by a few over the month of April), so I didn’t gain a horde of new followers like I was hoping at the start of the month.  Although both these things could be a commentary on my blog posts, so I’ll definitely be re-examining my posts to make sure I’m providing interesting and/or worthwhile content.    

But even though I felt a bit bummed about the number of new visitors, I have to say quality without a doubt trumps quantity.  I met some fantastic new folks over the month of April:  wonderful blogs I discovered and now look forward to reading and people who found my blog and became regular and insightful commenters.  So even though some nights had me moaning about writing a new post or sad that my numbers weren’t spiking, I am so happy I participated because otherwise I never would have crossed paths with these amazing people.  They were so worth those bleary-eyes nights of trying to think of something to say!

I want to thank all the wonderful hosts of the challenge (especially Arlee Bird for thinking up such a tortuous and rewarding challenge) for all their hard work.  And thank you to everyone who stopped by during April to read my babblings – it means a lot to me!

ABC AwardIn other alphabet-related news, Jeri at JeriWB Writes gave me the ABC award.  Since the ABC stands for “Awesome Blog Content,” I was extremely honored - thanks Jeri!  Jeri blogs about writing, teaching, and even restaurants, so swing by and check out her blog.  I’m supposed to use all 26 letters of the alphabet to say something about myself and then pass it on, but 1) these blog awards are one of the few times I actually do break the rules 2) the past month of abecedarian antics has me alphabet adverse, so I’m just going to suggest people read my A-Z posts since they reveal a lot about me.  

Write MotivationOne last piece of business before I sign off… Monday means it’s time for an update on my #writemotivation goals.  I must shamefacedly admit I have made no actual progress on my WIP.  However, I did have a lot of other stuff that needed to get done, which I have now completed, so hopefully with no other tasks to provide avenues of productive procrastination I will now be able to make some real progress.

How was your experience with the A to Z challenge?  Are you already planning for next year?  Did you make positive progress with your #writemotivation goals? 


michelle's picture

Thanks for your support during the A to Z Challenge.
I really enjoyed getting to know more about you as we journeyed through the alphabet...
You had a wonderful assortment of topics - educational, informative and entertaining!
A big thanks also goes out to the fur-people who assisted you... *waves*

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Thanks, Michelle!  I enjoyed getting to know you too!  And the pups wave "hi" back, :-)

JeriWB's picture

I did NaBloPoMo this year for April and since I did plan most of my posts in advance, I couldn't change when I found out about the A-Z challenge. I'm most certainly going to do the A-Z challenge next year. I think it helped me get so many ideas for the direction I want my blog to take. Like you, I was a bit bummed on the return on my investment when it came to reciprocated comments. I wonder too about followers. I love my RSS feed, but probably click on more blog links via twitter.

Here's to bloggers who don't give up!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

That's funny because I didn't hear about NaBloPoMo until after I'd already started A-Z or I probably would have combined them too.  :-)  Hoorray to both of us for making it through our challenges!

Donna McNicol's picture

I'm just glad to have found your blog during the challenge. I look forward to your future posts!

Jocelyn Rish's picture

I'm glad I found your blog, too!  Thanks!

Damyanti's picture

Hi...first of all, thank you so much for all your prompts and very generous comments. I truly appreciated both.

I really liked your posts on writing and was wondering if you'd like to guest post for us on , to talk about writing, blogging or A to Z. I love your blog voice, and am a follower. If interested in the guest post/s, talk to Tina at 2012AZinfo at gmail dot com.

I'm sorry you didn't get ROI on comments, but I think if you give it time, things would pick up because people will now have time for repeat visits, and they'll begin to focus on those who add value, and not just the vast numbers of A to Z. :)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

You're welome - providing the story starters was fun, and I loved seeing what you did with them.
Thanks!  That sounds awesome - I'll defnitely look into it!

a.eye's picture

I like the idea of themes for the days of the week!! I think that would make it easier than a theme for the entire month.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Yeah, I really liked being able to write about a variety of stuff, yet still having a bit of a game plan.

Leigh Caroline's picture

I don't follow on RSS, but twitter. I notice the #writemotivation folks more doing it that way. :)
I sorta glanced through any of the blogs that caught my attention during A-Z, but I hate leaving pointless comments, so I'll only say something if I feel I can really add to the conversation. So I wasn't worried about not getting many comments.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Good points.  I used to be a quality assurance analyst, so I think I probably obssess about numbers more than I should! :-)

Sheenah Freitas's picture

Just casually ignore the fact that I'm just now reading reflection posts. The A-Z Challenge pretty much killed me, so I avoided blogs like the plague all last month. Now that I'm all refreshed, I'm taking a peek at all the blogs I've subscribed to again. XD

Procrastination is my buddy, too! I keep telling myself that I'm going to write blog posts in advance next year, but something tells me I'm going to be sipping tea in the morning and frantically writing up a blog post on the day of again. Oddly enough, it wasn't as stressful for me to think of something on that day. I was stressing more when I was trying to think of a blog topic to write about in advance!

Everyone seems to like writing advice. My writing advice blog posts seem to spark a lot of comments, too, which is surprising because I share the same thoughts as you: I don't have much clout and I'm not exactly the wittiest/funniest person in the world.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

Yeah, I've been mostly avoiding blogging as well - it really took a lot out of me.  I guess it's time to get back on a schedule of at least twice a week.  
I like how how your posts have so much passion about writing in them.  

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