A to Z Blog Challenge

8 Things I Learned from the A to Z Blog Challenge

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I can’t recall the exact reason I decided to join the A to Z blog challenge, Although I waited so long to decide that I had no preparation time. In retrospect it wasn’t that bad, but that’s true of most challenges. It’s kind of like a trip to Disney World. When you’re there in the heat, the crowds, and the impossible lines, you wonder why everyone thinks its the best place on earth. Later, in reflection, it’s all happy memories.

The conditional memory attribute frightens me. Next year I may forget the struggles and sign up for another round. Or, god forbid, get it in my head that I should do one of those crazy “write a novel in a month” challenges.

It would have been easier, of course, to write posts in advance, but I believed if I was going to post every day then I should also write everyday. I used a basic outline, I sometimes changed my mind at the last minute and because of business responsibilities and travel I cheated and pre-wrote the last three entries.

I did however learn a few things from blogging everyday. Interesting stuff that you can’t see if you’re posting once or twice a week. So since I used up every good idea I had in April, I thought it’d make a nice filler to share what I discovered.

1. Word Count: Novel writers aren’t well known for brevity. I did however, by threat of daily deadlines, learn how to write blogs that were under 1,000 words. Most of them sat right around 500. My day job marketing team are enjoying the new found skill as they don’t have to condense my unruly business articles to a manageable word count. I’m now doing it myself.

2. Ideas: With 26 days to fill, I got better at parsing my ideas to single topics. I tend to put too much in a single post and cover too much ground.

3. Time: I discovered I could not write, answer comments, visit other blogs and leave comments effectively. I know that is an important aspect of the challenge—to visit others and make new friends. On that point I mostly failed and realized if I had written in advance I could have been more active.

4. Days: There are definitely traffic differences across the days of the week. The best traffic days for my blog were Wednesday and Thursday. The worst was Monday…begs the question as to why I’m posting on Tuesday.

5. Topics: I used the “A,B, C…is for X” format to organize topics. Visits suggested interesting things about readers preferences. Tenacious Self-Promoters, Voice, and Purple Prose received the most visits. People liked Love more than Monsters, which suggests I should write “romantic” horror stories. And if you use the word “Zeitgeist” in the title, you’re gonna bottom out.

6. Comments: Between my blog and the ones I followed, I found that the best, most insightful, and funniest stuff comes from the comments section. It makes me think that no blogger should go it alone and that the community would be more entertained if bloggers teamed up with others. I’ve concluded that expanding my Indie Author and Blogger Insights series is a smart move.

7. Value: There is much talk that social media isn’t “real” relationships. I’m not certain how one defines such, but I think some of the smartest, funniest and most passionate people are in the blog world. It doesn’t matter that we don’t meet face to face, or that we can only discuss things virtually, I think there is an important social connection in blogging.

8. Theme: WIDW is my second blog. And although I love writing and writing discussions, one thing I realized in the 26 topic post is I wish I hadn’t limited the theme to just “writing.” My tastes and opinions are diverse, as is my readership and the blog writers I follow. Makes me consider my third blog, Wit Without Wisdom, which sits unused but with great potential. I mean if I can write 26 posts in a month I could probably handle a third blog and that thought suggests…I still haven’t learned my lesson about being overambitious.

 

6 replies »

  1. I learned that even if you had written your posts in advance it would have been difficult to visit more blogs. That was my challenge. I wanted to network more, but it was definitely not easy.

    I also learned that my “funny” spam comments got treated just like any regular spam and went straight to your “trash” folder . . . shocking! Also, you can have your monkey back now. I’m done babysitting. I took him to Jamaica and I’m not sure what happened when I let him lose, but I’m pretty sure he might need some munchies.

    (Seriously—Last monkey comment. Phew!)
    (I had to because this was still A to Z related. 😛 )

  2. Congratulations on completing the challenge.

    The things you’ve take away from the challenge are much the same as the things I have. Especially finding time to write, read and comment. I’d definitely say writing posts ahead of time helps to give you time to check out other blogs… a little more at least. 😉

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