Last 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!
In 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.
One 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.