Monday, May 3, 2010

What's it All About, Arlee?

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.



Thank you Patricia for all the pleasure you have given over the past month, though it must have played havoc with your routine, I wish you all the best with your book.
Have a good day.

Karen Walker said...

I seriously doubt that you've lost any of your original followers, Patricia. We love you too much.

Clarissa Draper said...

That was an interesting challenge. I enjoyed your posts through out the month.

CD (formerly known as ann)

Lisa said...

Congrats on completing the challenge! I'm not a writer, so couldn't always relate to what you wrote, but know you are a fantastic writer. :)

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Thanks for posting this good news - bad news synopsis of your experience during the challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed your alphabetical posts. Congrats on the new followers - and good luck with your manuscript revisions.

Wanda said...

Great job on completing the challenge and your wrap up post. I too have accumlated more blogs to read than I can keep up with. I like how you pointed out both positive and negative aspects of the challenge.

Beth said...

I bet you'll be able to reconnect with those you are missing pretty quickly. It's been a pleasure to meet you and enjoy your point of view through this Challenge. Congratulations of crossing the finish line!

Kay said...

I really admired your creativity in meeting the challenge.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Everyone that I've seen ,who's taken part in this challenge, enjoyed it and met new bloggers. And that's really what it's all about!

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

I know what you mean about not being able to keep up with people. I love all the new friends I've made, but there's only so much time in the day! But great job! I enjoyed every visit I made to your blog throughout the challenge.

Kerrie said...

Great recap and great realization at the end. I enjoyed reading as many of the a-z's that I could but am glad you are getting back to your manuscript and old routine.

Happy Writing!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning, everyone. I added my link to Arlee's blog-hopping link list this morning. It's a pretty cool idea, and I'm thinking it might be useful for a blog carnival event. To check it out, follow the link in my post (above) or copy and paste Arlee's "tossing it out" url into your address line:

Raquel Byrnes said...

I've enjoyed your post and also the blood red pencil blog was a gret find, thanks for the link. I hope you have fun catching up with old friends and working on your manuscripts...congratulations on finishing!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Pat! This is an impressive accomplishment. I bow to your blogging self-discipline!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Congratulations, Patricia on participating in the challenge and hanging in there. You did an excellent job. Even as a non-participant, I can relate to your statement, “There's no way I can keep up with all the blogs I want to read each day.”

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your A to Z finish and on your blog award. I look forward to reading your blog and loved having you post daily. However, it is perfectly understandable to cut back a bit in the coming months, after all, writing is our first priority--unless, of course, we want to become professional bloggers.

Good luck with your edits and thanks for sharing so much of yourself over the last month!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You deserved that award -- if for nothing else, surviving the A to Z challenge. Thanks for all the times you stopped by my blog and left a comment. It meant the world to me. Good success in your current writing project.

I got into the habit of writing several different term papers at once at the university. So now I'm currently writing three novels concurrently. My head hurts! Roland

Anonymous said...

Congrats on finishing the challenge. You did a great job. It's sad that it has finished but also a huge relief! :o) XX

GutsyWriter said...

All of your comments are so true. It's hard to not make blogging a full-time job. Wish it could be.

arlee bird said...

I loved it too! What a great experience becoming closer to new bloggers and some bloggers like you who I've seen around the neighborhood, but didn't know too much about--it's been great getting to know you better. I agree with your upsides and many of your downsides, although maybe they're not that bad of downsides.
Blogging like we did does take some adjustment athough over all I don't think I changed things around too much.

I'm glad you had many benefits from Blogging From A to Z, but I agree now we need some break from challenges so we can get back to the real world of what we normally do. Thank you for being a part of this and making such wonderful contributions to the very end. Hope you can join us for the May 17th 15 favorite albums post--this is just one day and shouldn't take too much thought-- unless of course you want it to.

Tossing It Out