A-Z Challenge – Reflections on the Experience


A-to-Z+Reflection+[2015]+-+Lg Well it seems I haven’t quite finished this challenge – they also want my thoughts on the experience – smile

I had an interesting conversation with Arlee – of Tossing it Out – one of the originators of this challenge, on my post Xtra, Xtra, read all about it! – see the comment section!

survivor-atoz 2015 - sm_zpsmfnq4uov So this is how I feel about the Challenge – I just about survived it!

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy parts of it, or find it stimulated me to write stuff I’d never had written if I hadn’t been challenged to write a post a day, following the alphabet – and some of those posts will soon be added to the i/sheet archive page …..but….

I do think that it is a very hard slog to post something every day, unless you just put up a joke a day, or something inconsequential – which wouldn’t suit either this crafts site or “the spare”, which is my other blog site – I split the posts between both sites, so that I wouldn’t have irrelevant subjects on this one – smile.

However, the admin for this challenge required that I show I was following the challenge on this site – so I had to clutter it up with a reference and the alphabet image for the posts I wrote on the spare!  I think I will delete those posts in a week or two, as they really do make this blog look messy – smile!

I did link up with a few new people I would never have come across otherwise, but I was quite surprised to find that my friendly comments to fellow A-Z ers were often not answered, and very few people came to my site if I hadn’t left them a comment.  I thought this challenge was about networking?

So my conclusion is, as I said in the Z post – that I will never, no never, do this again!

Arlee seems to think its a proof of stamina to get thro’ the challenge, but I view it differently – there is a great incentive to complete it because you look pretty silly if those alphabet images stop midway!   I was going thro’ the list of those who signed up for it the other day, and found quite a few who had stopped along the way, for whatever reason.  What I found heartbreaking was that in every one I found that had not finished the challenge – they had also stopped blogging!

The challenge seemed to have taken the fun out of it for them, and how were they going to continue, if they had to ‘write a note to teacher’ to say why they hadn’t done the rest of the challenge, and then go back to their original aims for their blog? And those Why’s could have been – a death in the family – a sudden overload of work (which I found I had, and sat up in the middle of the night to finish some of the blogs) – or just pure boredom with the medium of blogging!

There must be a more compassionate way to run this challenge?  What do you think?

PS: I just tried to leave a comment on Arlee’s site to let him know I had mentioned our earlier conversation, but he blogs on blogspot, and there is a convoluted method for non-blogspot bloggers to leave comments – this time it just wouldn’t let me publish the comment!  This is not the first time its happened!


18 responses »

  1. I didn’t participate in that challenge, but I did enjoy your A-Z posts. That’s actually how I discovered your site: the alphabet pictures made me curious.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I already post every day, so I found the challenge a lot easier to manage, though it did soak up too much time, ’cause I was more interested in what I was posting than in what I was supposed to be doing. (Though I’d have run that particular risk anyway.)

    I’m ashamed to admit that I’m just as guilty as a lot of the others on the failing networking side. I did find about a dozen new blogs to follow–only some of them on WordPress, making the others harder to keep up with–but I had so little time between my own excessively long posts and my homework that I rarely posted comments or answered comments on my own blog (though most just said “hi, stopped by from a-to-z” without any meat to the comment) or even followed their return links. After the semester’s over, I do intend to (belatedly) follow those links. I didn’t visit as many of the other participating blogs as I meant to, either, but I did have papers to write and such. Though perhaps that’s a fairly weak excuse…

    I don’t think I got all that many visitors from A-to-Z, overall, but I signed up quite late, so I was somewhere like 1500th on the list, so anyone starting at the top would have taken a long time to get to me!


    • thanks for being so honest – yes I think that kind of lack of time to follow up on other people’s comments is what happened to most people – I stopped bothering to connect to anyone by the last week – which is why I idly looked thro the list when I’d finished and found those F posts, and nothing more on various blogs. We did connect thro’ the ‘class of january2015′ site, so I was aware of what you were doing – and yes your posts are incredibly long and detailed – don’t know how on earth you found the time to research them, let along write them. The sad truth is, tho’, that most people may read a short post if it interests them, and I tried cutting down the length of mine- getting better at being shorter, but then it doesn’t cover the subject does it? smile. If someone is really interested and FINDS the long posts – they WILL appreciate them – but its pot luck if they happen on them – still you have to write what you WANT to write, otherwise, why bother – smile


      • Fortunately, most of my posts didn’t need any special research, because I already knew all that stuff. (Though I did have to brush up a little on some of the more esoteric stuff. But it was all stuff I’d read before, because Greek mythology is a subject I love dearly.)

        I’ve definitely always been of the “write what I want to write” philosophy, so I’ve always expected minimal response, because I know my interests are, hmm, how to put it? Niche? It’s just hard to find the right audience in the vastness of the Internet. I guess that applies to everyone, no matter what they’re writing about, though.


        • smile – I’m sure you will! thinks, have you done a basic search of the relevant tags? or the basic words in the subject search on the dashboard – i’m sure you have – and I’m pretty sure I came across someone else a while back with the same interests – just don’t remember who it was – if I find the blog, any blog, I’ll let you know!


  3. I am sorry you didn’t have a fun time Julz, I came to visit. I visited 215 of the blogs listed and a lot of them never returned the comment, but it’s all good, I had fun anyways.


    • it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it – it just lasted too long and I got exhausted – smile

      of course I recognise you, and i think i replied to a comment or two – didn’t I? That’s the trouble, so much is going on in your head, that you can’t remember who is who!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes you did Julz, reply to mine, its always good to meet new friends. Have you tried doing the NaBlPoMo challenges? Each month, they do a different theme and give you prompts to use which are optional, and you can pop in and out. Google NaBlPoMo.


        • thanks for the suggestion, but just now, no challenge is going to get me interested – smile
          however, if you look at the post below this one – the Gallery of Your Work idea – which is not a challenge, its just an open invitation to anyone to send in a picture of any crafts they have done – you are welcome to contribute, and/or, pass it around your friends. Just want to make my blog more interactive!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. When I started the A to Z Challenge in 2010 I was already blogging everyday so it was nothing for me to continue to do so using the gimmick of the alphabet. If one is not used to blogging daily and finds it a chore then there’s nothing wrong with that either–the Challenge may not be for them. I do commend anyone for at least putting forth an honest effort and that includes you. You did well.

    The blog labeling with A to Z Badges and daily letter badges is a matter of easy identification when someone comes to your site. There were sites where I’d visit with no visual identifiers where it might take a few minutes to figure out that they weren’t even participating let alone even finding any current blog posts for anything. The visuals are a matter of conformity that makes things easier for other bloggers. A lot of folks like the badge and the letters so sorry you found them to be unattractive–a matter of personal taste.

    I don’t know about people quitting blogging because of the Challenge. I doubt that’s true, but if it is I think it is a statement on the bloggers who quit and says nothing about A to Z. Maybe something happened to those bloggers you found like they died or their computer broke or who knows what. I’ve seen lots of blogs that just seem to stop for no seemingly logical reason. Since we rarely know the people behind the blogs, it’s hard to say why blog owners do what they do or even why they respond to the A to Z Challenge as they might.

    I am in agreement with you about the networking issue not just in the Challenge, but in blogging period. The networking is one of the main reasons this Challenge came about. It works wonderfully for some while for others it just doesn’t happen. Could be anything. Then of course some people never grasp the networking concept or just don’t care to fool with it. We on the A to Z Team try to educate, but bloggers learn and do what they want.

    Regarding your difficulty in commenting on the Blogger platform, that’s just an issue that is what it is I guess. For a year or so I struggled with the commenting systems, primarily WordPress since it is the most prevalent one that I encounter other than Blogger. I kept on leaving comments that often went into spam folders. I sent emails to some of the bloggers. I corresponded with Akismet and WordPress to see how my commenting could be made easier. Eventually through my persistence I was able to leave comments on WordPress and rarely encountered a problem.

    I also persisted with Disqus, Livefyre, and other comment systems. Now I seem to have the hang of it and leave comments everywhere. To some disappointment I find that most of the WP bloggers where I comment never comment on my blog. I don’t think that Blogger is all that much more difficult than WP when it comes to cross commenting. And if a technologically dumb guy like me can figure out commenting then I’d think other people could too. But then again it might be a time issue for some or maybe I’m more OCD about the issue that other people.

    I am very interested though in understanding the issue of “a more compassionate way to run this Challenge”? I’d like to hear some answers to that question. I think the members of the A to Z Team will confirm that “compassionate” is a term that I have frequently used in my correspondence with them. Before taking the inactive or problem bloggers off the list we try to communicate with them and provide them encouragement. The Team is engaged throughout April in trying to visit bloggers to encourage them and provide help when they need it. I hope you get some responses to your question because I’d like to know the answer to this too. There are some better things we can do I know and hopefully we will keep figuring those out. But compassion? I’m really curious about that one.

    Thanks for your honest perspective about A to Z. This is exactly why we like to get the Reflections of those who participated or even just observed the Challenge.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host

    Tossing It Out


    • Thank you for your very detailed comment. We covered some of the above in our earlier correspondence.

      The niggle of leaving comments on ‘foreign’ sites – what I found on blogspot was that sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. If blogspotters are also finding it difficult to leave comments on WordPress, then it is a problem for this challenge.
      When I tried leaving you the message today, I wrote the message, had to identify my wordpress site, click continue, then had to click publish – usually when you do this you have to wait a bit, then go back down to the comment and prove you are not a robot, then wait a bit and scroll down again, and then hopefully it will publish your comment.

      What happened today, and has happened in about 50% of the times I tried to leave comments, was that I just kept scrolling down, and hitting publish, again and again, and nothing changed, so I gave up – and left you the PS instead. So ‘networking’ on the challenge is by default very hit & miss!

      I can see why you use the alphabet images, but they are almost too identifying – and when I found two blogs that had stopped at F, and not gone back to their blogs since, I understood why not, because, I knew that I had peppered both sites with the alphabet, and if I stopped, I didn’t quite know how I would deal with the ‘obvious failure’! I suppose I could have just deleted everything I’d written for the Challenge, but that has only just occurred to me!

      Other challenges allow you to dip in an out of them, and unless someone has specifically been following you on that challenge, no one would notice you had stopped! Its something you perhaps never even considered, and I don’t know how you can solve it in a way that would satisfy everyone. However, I do think that you could run a ‘softer’ option, that would involve taking longer over the challenge, and perhaps have a weekly challenge only, with a less obvious identifier?

      I really was getting annoyed because I didn’t want to publish two posts on the same day, and yet I had stuff I wanted to say on both blogs I was using, that wouldn’t fit in with the structure of the challenge. You may have noticed that as soon as I had finished Z, I got back to my real intentions for this blog – to encourage people to share their craft work, and hopefully send in some pictures so we could all get some interactive ideas going. I’m still not sure it will work, but I have tried to put the word around as widely as possible, including asking some of the people I ‘met’ on this challenge. If you can help in any way, or have got work you would like to contribute – all the better – smile!


  5. You did a great job with that challenge Julz. I, like you, would find it very hard to write a post every day. I have a friend who writes one every week day and takes the weekend off to recuperate! She does very well! I mentioned you in my post yesterday. Did you get a notification on that? I mentioned 3 different blogs and added the link, but have heard from no one. I wonder if my links are working? ~Elle


    • thanks Elle – left you a comment that I’d approved your link on your last blog – you should have got it by now – smile.

      I think I have some other things to get busy with rather than making a career out of blogging – smile – maybe that’s why some people will not like my comments on this one. People do tend to get carried away in their aim to get thousands of followers – you might have seen my comment on her blog, which was roundly abused by many of her followers!!!


      • I didn’t see that. But you are right. If your only aim is to get followers than yes, post every day and network, network, network! I love my followers as well as the next guy, but it’s not a paying job. ~ Elle

        Liked by 1 person

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