Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm a Survivor: Reflections on the A to Z April Challenge 2012

As you can see, I've added the A to Z April Challenge 2012 Survivor badge to my sidebar. I learned three powerful lessons during my 2010 and 2011 challenge experience:

1.  Have a theme, even if loosely defined.

2.  Keep posts short...very short.

3.  Make sure there's a link in your comment or on your profile that will help a blogger return your visit without having to search for your blog on the linky-list.

This year I learned one more:  Don't spend a long time reading long posts by other participants. Skim, leave a comment introducing yourself, and move on. You can always go back and read more of the bloggers' posts after the challenge is over.

I met quite a few new and wonderful folks, and became followers at lots of new blogs I'll now peruse in my Google Reader. Two bloggers I met from other countries were lizy-expat-writer from Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Stephanie of Hookin', Knittin' & Livin' who resides in British Columbia.  There's something about these connections that make me think of a grown-up version of having pen pals....only instead of one or two we can have hundreds from all around the world.

Because I've been delinquent about visiting blogs this past year while I concentrated on writing and revising, another benefit of the challenge was the opportunity to reconnect with bloggers I've really missed. Ruby at Blabbin' Grammy is one example. Her A to Z 2012 project was to write a complete story. She put it all together on Saturday's post for easy reading. I'm so glad I renewed my acquaintance with this wonderful lady. She's a gem, and her story is too.

Now it's over for 2012. I'll look forward to a new challenge in 2013. And I'll try to do a better job of holding on to old and new bloggerly friends this year. 


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the A-Z challenge. I really respect you for meeting the challenge, and in a creative way, too. You've got some good advice, especially, for bloggers who want to meet the challenge but don't have a lot of time.

baygirl32 said...

with you on short posts! congrats on surviving

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, unless it was a regular blogger buddy, I skipped long posts. Sorry! And mine probably looked long, but they were in short little paragraphs with lots of images.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Margot, I'm a big fan of the challenge, but there's clearly art to getting through it with a minimum of stress and maximum rewards. It was easier this year because of my self-imposed rules.

baygirl32 -- Your id always makes me smile (and wish I was sitting on the dock of the bay somewhere calm and peaceful).

Alex, I liked the way you broke up your post categories. I paid attention to all the blogs you mentioned, but was able to skim the movie parts since I get all movie info from our paper and Netflix. You made it easy for us.

Margaret Almon said...

Patricia--I too found a theme made this year's challenge easier than 2011's, and I loved your idea of a wish list.

lizy-expat-writer said...

Patricia - I only found you in the last week but I'm glad I did. Thanks for the mention - I feel very privileged. And I know my posts were long but once I get started I'm hard to stop!

The Golden Eagle said...

Looking back, I worry that some of my posts for the Challenge were too long--I tried to include images and video in all of them and keep them under five paragraphs, but I know they got a bit dense.

Great Reflections post!

Clarissa Draper said...

That's really cool. I missed Blabbin' Grammy's posts. I'll have to go back and read them.

Li said...

Amen to #3 - I still have 2 or 3 followers with no links in comments, on their blogger profile, on their Google+ profile - very frustrating. I know some of my stories were long, but I tried to mix in short ones. I only got to about 300 challengers, still plugging away :-) Congrats on completing all the A to Z Challenges - you should be proud!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks for comments, everyone. I'm actually back to work on my manuscript today, so I guess I'm truly past the Challenge recovery stage. I think we all learn about keeping our posts short as we visit other bloggers realize we just can't do it all. The important thing is to post something on schedule and make it fun.

My goal now is to visit a couple more new blogs each day. Hope I finish by the time A to Z 2013 begins.

a.eye said...

I think I might try a theme for next time around. And work on trying to read more of the other blogs during the challenge... I just came across yours from the Reflection links.

Jemi Fraser said...

I skipped those long posts too! I enjoyed meeting some new bloggy friends as well - it was a lot of fun :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. great thoughts here .. Castle History doesn't make for short posts - but I did my bit!

I've learnt to work round most challenges .. and if I can't I don't hang around.

Great you've met two sticky-connective bloggers ... it's fun isn't it ..

Cheers Hilary

EvalinaMaria said...

Congratulation on finishing the challenge. I didn't visit all blogs during the challenge but, cross my heart, I'm visiting every single one with reflection post! I am so glad my journey brought me here.

Evalina, This and that...

Arlee Bird said...

You give excellent advice that all should heed not only in the future Challenges, but often in everyday posting.

I thought it was a great April with some very high quality writing. I was very impressed.

Thanks for being a part of this.

Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog