That's the big question being answered today by the bloggers who participated in Arlee Bird's A to Z Blog Challenge during the month of April. Not only was Lee the perfect host during the challenge, listing all the participating blogs in a special blogroll, but now he's come up with a way for us to link to our wrap-up posts in some kind of cute little linky tool. I haven't tried it out yet...I'll do that after this post publishes.
But time to get down to business.
What's a blog challenge all about? Well, for me it was about:
1. Expanding my world and making new friends.
2. Drawing readers (especially those who write comments) to my blog.
3. Bringing discipline back to my blogging schedule.
4. Having a wonderful time (even though I should have been doing something else like writing or fixing dinner).
How did it work out for me?
1. I visited as many of the 80+ blogs in the challenge as I could in April, and plan to visit the rest this month. There were blogs I added to my reader to peruse regularly and some I'll revisit from time to time. A few of the bloggers and I connected on a deeper level, usually because of shared interests, but sometimes just because.
The downside: I increased the list of blogs I follow past the break-even point. I can't keep up with everyone on a regular basis. During the challenge, I neglected the blogs of some old friends. I miss them and want to spend some time catching up.
2. There was definitely a bump in my stats for the month of April and an increase in my Google Connect followers.
Downside: There's no way I can keep up with all the blogs I want to read each day.
3. My blog posts went up on time, written in advance and pre-scheduled to publish at 6:00AM Colorado time. I'm not sure I can (or want to) maintain that practice going forward. Sometimes it's fun to be a bit spontaneous, and sometimes it's necessary to take a break. We'll see how that goes.
Downside: My followers no longer know what to expect from me. I've heard that's a very bad thing--that bloggers should be predictable and keep to a schedule.
4. I definitely had a great time with this challenge. I did serious stuff...well, sort of serious...about books and writing. I got downright silly a time or two. I jumped out of my comfort zone and wrote to a prompt (something I usually avoid like the plague).
Downside: Sometimes I worked too hard and spent way too much time on posts. I postponed other writing tasks that now desperately need my attention. And when I posted Z is for Zounds! I'm Zonked! on Friday, I said, "Whew! It's over."
Would I do another blog challenge in the future? Absolutely, but not until my manuscript revisions are complete and my first round of queries and submissions are in the mail.
The fun and rewards that go with a blog challenge are worth the effort, and Arlee's challenge was a great example of how to do it right. I loved it, Arlee. Thanks for a great experience.