A to Z Challenge: Reflections

So. We’ve come to another end of the A to Z Challenge. I won twice again, which makes me a bit happy. Still… the achievement was a bit anti-climactic.

But the main reasons I can think of is me. I loved the series I did for both blogs, and got back a lot of wonderful feed-back, but the fact is, I didn’t do what I wanted to do. I wanted to meet new people while making sure to keep track of everyone I already knew. Last year I neglected the latter.

This year… I just couldn’t manage to do the former as much as I wanted. It’s just sort of impossible at this stage of my life.

Right now, blogging is still a wonderful activity, but the fact that I got a publishing deal changed the way I look at it. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing.

Because the thing is… Writing has now become something that’s getting somewhere for me. And because of it, it’s also moving up in my list of priorities. So’s editing.

Fact is, talking about writing isn’t the same as doing it, so I just can’t put blogging ahead of my writing/editing/creation related activities.

Which means I visited an all time low number of blogs. But I shouldn’t feel even a bit guilty, because despite the above, the number is close to 700 comments this month. Problem is, I would have liked to do about double that, so I could find more of the new blogs.

Which really brings me to this point. I don’t think I’ll take part again next year. It used to be a fun activity that greatly expanded my readership, but now it’s something that becomes work. And because of that, not all that fun after all.

Anyone else know what I’m talking about?

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31 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: Reflections

  1. I've not done the A to Z and that's because I knew that even if I managed all the posts I wouldn't be able to visit many of the other blogs and so couldn't fully take part, so I think I do understand why you might not take part next year.

    Sadly not many of us have enough time for everything we'd like to do.

  2. This was my 3rd time and I visited about 3x or more blogs than visited me. Somewhere around R I gave up and went back to visiting people I know. Which defeated the purpose. I did make a few new friends, but I don't think I'll do the challenge next year. Like you, my priorities have shifted and who I want to reach has shifted.

  3. I read this with interest, Misha. I chose not to do A-Z and I had a tough time keeping up with the blogs I follow towards the end of the month. Daily posts on various subjects of interest to the writer were difficult to keep pace with. I know my levels of threshold and knew participation would distract me from my writing goals, but it's good to hear someone's thoughts who actually participated too. Thanks for your honest sharing.

  4. This was my fourth but as I write for pleasure when the mood takes me, I did enjoy the event. I understand what you are saying but at the end of the day one has to get their priorities right.
    Yvonne.

  5. My fourth year as well and I never intend to quit.
    However, I do think the Challenge is better suited to newer bloggers trying to gain a following – those who don't already have more followers than they can keep up with.
    Like you, there were so many I wanted to visit on the list. Some sounded like they were totally my style. But I was so busy, I never got the chance. (You'll see how busy in my post tomorrow.)
    I'm different than most writers. Even after three books, I don't want a career out of this, and if I never write again, I'll be all right with it.

  6. I visited wayyyy more blogs than last year (and did have more visitors), but I have nowhere ear the number of followers that you do. I enjoyed your posts!

  7. This is an interesting take on the Challenge. I can see where it could become more tedium than fun. However as a non-writer (but still super busy) I enjoy the writing part of the posts and will certainly continue next year. I am trying to really commit to working on the project throughout the year and have all my posts done and scheduled before April 1st. I mean really, if I cannot write 26 posts over the course of a year for next April, than what am I?

    I also agree that because I was not prepared (and this was my third Challenge) I failed once again to get to very many new blogs. I was totally committed to reading all the steadfast readers of my posts. Those who are with me during the non-Challenge time of year and made time to read me every day deserved my return support. And I obviously enjoy all their writing.

    I am still going to make my way through blogs that interest me that participated in the Challenge and see if I can find some new friends.

    You always need to do what is right for you. Carry on and the best in your writing career!

  8. Call me crazy, but I thought the challenge was fun. Then again, I didn't just land a publishing deal. πŸ˜‰ (Congrats on that, by the way!) That being said, I did “cheat” a few times, posting only a few sentences. Either way though, it was still tiring.

  9. Misha, it's been an interesting year for me too. Visiting almost 2000 blogs is almost impossible in a month and the challenge could be a full time job. It sounds like you have other properties and there's nothing wrong with that.

  10. AtoZ is great, but it has not appealed to me (so far). Probably because I'm staring summer vacation in the face come April, and I want to use every bit of time before my kids get out of school to write.

    Honestly, I think it's an individual decision, and one that may not be the same from one year to the next. It all depends on where we are when it comes around. What's more important? Writing or publicity?

  11. I don't know if it's a weird thing to say but one of the reasons I wish I could find an agent and get a publishing deal is that it would motivate me to treat editing more life work. Once the initial high of drafting wears off, I find it hard to be self-disciplined about editing. And it says something that all the bloggers who get contracts quietly lessen their blogging in favour of editing. I'm thinking I might have to do something similar – at least drop down to once a week…

  12. “Fact is, talking about writing isn't the same as doing it, so I just can't put blogging ahead of my writing/editing/creation related activities.”

    I blogged about this a few weeks ago. I know exactly how you feel! Once I got an agent, my writing / editing became real. Not that it wasn't real before, but now I'm expected to produce quality work. Someone is waiting. Someone is depending on me to pull my half of the weight. I not only owe it to her, but my own career as well.

    It's not as if I don't want to keep up with my bloggy friends, because I do. But as for gaining a large number of new followers, it isn't a priority. I'm not sure if it ever was. Now that I look back on it, I began blogging to make connections with like-minded people. Whether they were writers or people who liked to read things I wrote. It's more than numbers on my blogroll, it's about genuine connections.

    You're so right. There comes a time when we have to buckle down and focus on the big picture. Figure out what is really is we're striving for. I wish you the best with your new publishing endeavors. πŸ™‚

  13. I've bounced back and forth from visiting new blogs and keeping up with the blogs I usually read. I also felt like the Challenge was more work this year, for some reason; interestingly, now that it's over, I feel much more energized to blog. πŸ˜›

  14. Well, I'm totally impressed by what you've been able to do. I wouldn't be able to do the challenge on one blog, let alone two. And then all the commenting and following–you go, girl!!

  15. I feel as you feel with the exception I don't have a book to be published. It was overall and overwhelming experience and nearly no fun. I learned several things out of it but I don't think I'll do it again.

  16. I've got a deadline to have my draft done on Killer Stilettos by June 1st. So just posting the blog hasn't been an urgent necessity in my life. But I still try to keep up with everyone else.

    The writing does come first.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

  17. It is hard to get all those visits in. And I'm not published (or soon to be), so I have no deadlines myself. One thing that helped me was that I had most of my posts pre-written. All I had to do was a little editing and posting. I'll definitely do that next year. It frees up so much more time to look at other blogs.

  18. That makes a lot of sense. It's a little different for me. I'm not a published book writer, but I do make a living writing articles. But I also have a lot of other things going on in my head that don't get into my articles, and I enjoy expressing that other side of my thinking. So even though I don't make any money, or even get the level of recognition I get with my articles, I enjoy my new blog anyway. It's just a place for me to play. I may change my mind though if I ever get a novel published. It may just be too much to handle.

  19. Hi Misha,

    Firstly, hearty congrats on finishing the challenge. I think you might know what my human and I think about the A to Z.

    We would never, ever participate and we think a month of being involved in such a thing is way too much. My human and I hope this is the last year of the darned thing. During the month when we tried to give light-hearted relief to those who may or may not be struggling with the challenge via our satirical alternatives, a number of our blogging friends we normally interact with fading into the background. We're now rectifying that.

    Of course, if we wanted to join up for what we consider the wrong reasons, such as accumulating followers, we'd probably have more than the comparatively few we have after six years of being very proactive.

    Sorry, I rambled. The main thing is Misha, you have the positive forward focus with your writing. That's most excellent.

    Penny, on behalf of her human at the alternative anarchic alphabet adventure πŸ™‚

  20. May 9th, 2013

    Dear Misha,

    This all sounds familiar to me.

    A to Z takes time, energy and thought, that could be used somewhere else.

    I am taking a course at the university and regretted signing up. I should have put that time, energy and thought into my school work.

    I finished every single post – the whole alphabet, but I did very short posts and reused old material whenever I could. I was not a good visitor of others AtoZ-bloggers' posts.

    I am still worried about my university course. I am not out of the woods yet. I start student teaching next week and I don't feel prepared enough.

    I did learn to schedule my A to Z posts, but I had learned that last year. This time, however, I forced myself to keep things simple, using the idea that I had 'already in my hand' rather than wasting time searching for something new. (I did discard some bad ideas though, which was a good thing to do. But this meant that I could not get away from sifting through and choosing material, which takes time and thought.)

    My posts were not well-visited by so many people, but I think that you have to have a catchier theme and work a lot harder at telling people about it and also visit other blogs. (It also helps if you are charismatic, which I am not. I tend to want to hide and I don't like talking or writing about myself.)

    I have no idea what I am going to do next year. It was nice meeting interesting people though. I don't regret that. It was nice meeting you, Misha!

    Good luck to you.
    Best wishes,
    Anna

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