May 5, 2017

April A-Z Challenge Reflections

I wasn't going to do this reflection post but since I've already written down some of it during the challenge, it shouldn't go to waste, right? So here they are.

Some thoughts on the A-Z Challenge:
01/ No link list this year so now instead of browsing/reading hundreds of blog links, we are browsing/reading hundreds of comments which is basically about the same thing except you get more info of what the participants are posting which helps to decide whether to visit but of course broken links usually deters people from visiting but I'm a determined person so I usually can get to the right link. I honestly wanted to go and fix all the links or even make it for them.

02/ Am I the only one who made a list of blogs to visit? Well, I make my list and visited those folks first and then go through the comments to check out any other interesting post to read. But of course, there is a down side to this - you sort of get disappointed when they don't post or when they pretty much gave up on the challenge which there were a few.

03/ I actually like the random/no theme posts the most. I suppose having to come up with ideas associating with a certain letter gets people to be a little more creative. I know I was scrambling for ideas but I came up with pretty good ones even when they were thought up the day before. Seriously, I only had a few scheduled post which I ended up editing after it was posted. Did anyone successfully scheduled and thought out all of their posts and did it on time and with no problems? Anyone? I like to know what the secret is, you know, other than thinking ahead and writing ahead and doing everything ahead because I can't seem to think ahead.

04/ I like that some participants have themes which is helpful to decide whether I want to read that blog or not. So maybe I avoided visiting those people with particular themes but I don't want to force myself to read something I know I have no interest in.

05/ I really like that some bloggers tells you exactly what their post is about because there are certain things I like to avoid like zombies and vampires and butt cracks. And yes, I avoided long posts too — I read them if they interest me but mostly, I kind of ignore them. I'm sure a few of you avoided reading them as well. Don't say you didn't.

06/ I really don't like that I'm a day behind most people because of time zones and the A-Z people always post the letter post early. I thought about posting one Sunday just so I would be more up to date but then I think that defeats the purpose of the whole challenge. But it still seems kind of weird because while I was still on a certain letter, I saw the next letter post already there and I thought I should visit those people even though I'm a letter behind but no.

Some suggestions for the next A-Z challenge because apparently I'm nosy:
07/ Some division between comments such as a line or a border around individual comments would be helpful. I honestly couldn't tell one comment from the next as some participants space out their text. Also a number next to each comment would also be helpful.

08/ Someone should remove all those 'This comment has been removed by the author' comments because they really add to the length of comments  — those and repeat comments which probably came about because of errors and other glitches. All that strolling really makes me not want to keep strolling.

09/ Copy and paste your post link because typing it out is a pain and also too many errors that you sort of didn't mean to make but it happens. I know I can never get my link right if I have to type it out. Also, if you're signed in to Blogger, you can use the preview feature to check your link. If you're on a Mac, you can just click on the link while holding the command button to open the link to a new page/tab. I don't know about PC's but I think they basically work the same way.

10/ I think everyone should just use Zero or Zilch as their Z post and then rant about how they got nothing for Z. As far as I can tell, no one's really trying too hard after W anyway. I know I was going to just post whatever for xyz if I haven't come up with anything. I guess that's my lazy self talking but it makes sense doesn't it?

Care to read my A-Z posts? The list of links is here - just scroll down. So how did you do on your A-Z challenge? Did you learn anything?

Go here for more A-Z reflections.

56 comments:

  1. You made a list of ten! 👍🏻
    People seriously posted wrong links? I didn't come across of those.
    Yeah, those time zones are confusing. When I got to my blog visits later in the evening, folks in India and Australia had already moved on to the next letter!
    I totally had a visit list. Made it after going through the theme reveal posts but ended up not visiting all of them every day. Except a handful - like yours. 😎

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    1. actually having a list of blogs to listen is actually nice, so you can have a list to visit even if you didn't read the comments.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  2. "I honestly wanted to go and fix all the links or even make it for them." --Ha ha ha, you aren't alone in this.
    I have no idea how to put a line between comments. You mean on the Blogger blog main site, or Facebook? Is this something other sites are able to do? Is there a link with a visual?
    Removing the deleted comments -- that's something we could look into assigning someone to do next year. That's a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. the line between comments in a blog is done in template of the blog, I don't know about facebook. here's a link to an example of how it's done:
      http://helplogger.blogspot.com/2013/03/how-to-customize-blogger-comments-by.html

      you can research it, there are many guides out there to edit your comment style, I'm sure you can find one that does exactly what you like.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  3. I'm sorry to have missed your posts. They look eclectic! I'll have to have a nosey...

    Yeah, the posting the day before thing was weird. I'm ahead of the US in terms of time but some still posted before me! I tried to write everything ahead of time but as usual, didn't make it. Ah well, things still worked out OK. So where was the butt cracks theme??

    ReplyDelete
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    1. you really want to see some butt cracks? honestly it was just one post about open back pants for toddlers, I can direct you there but I really do not want to look at the post again. I only happened upon it because that blog is on my list, well, it was added late but I visited it without reading the comments at the A-Z blog and so happened upon it which I really wished I have unseen the image...

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete

  4. Yes, I planned and pre-posted my posts. Only way I could do it on time, as I took off for a few days in the middle of April. Blogging was the last thing I wanted to do while on vacation.

    Also I'm a planner not a pantser, so I had to have a road map ahead of time. Thankfully, my chosen theme (Astronomy) easily had words to fit those odd letters, like Q (Quasar), X (X-ray) and Z (Zodiac). I didn't have to stretch or struggle like most other bloggers.

    Me, I loooved the long posts if they were informative. The ones that rambled on were boring, no matter what length. I like blog posts with body to them.

    Several themes caught my interest and I followed them every letter.

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    1. I guess it's good to have themes but I could never do themes, I know I would stray so it's probably good that I don't do themes.

      I did read some of the long posts but I find they don't really tell me much, sometimes it really is ramblings and I couldn't help but skim and move on.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  5. Congratulations! On completing the challenge and a very systematic, on point reflections post!

    I schedule my posts in advance though I prefer in other months to 'write it as it comes,' like the freedom that gives me to focus on visiting.

    Best wishes,
    Nilanjana

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    1. I did have a few posts scheduled but I somehow didn't like them enough to post them and so I came up with new ones which I guess added more work but I think if I didn't like it, then, why would anyone else?

      I would love to schedule all my posts but I really could not think up ideas in advance, at least, I never seem to complete them in time.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  6. I make a list of blogs I find that I really like as I go too - it's a great way to make sure you don't miss the ones that really interest you!
    Debbie

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    1. yes, I agreed and my list is full of new-to-me blogs so basically I'm sort of checking them out to see if I want to add them to my permanent reading list.

      thanks for coming by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  7. Great reflections. I do make a list of blogs to visit, although I always find more as I go.

    Past challengers have referred to the Linky List they miss -- I have nothing to compare to since this was my first year, but it will be interesting to see what is done next year.

    You mention being a day behind. I am 113.5 degrees W, so I can be 11 hours or more behind many others. I'm even a few hours behind the Atlantic side of the continent. However, it was not a big problem. I scheduled many posts for midnight and posted the links then. That gave me the proper date stamp, even if it was later in the day for people across the ocean.

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    1. yes, the time zone is like challenge itself, I did felt like I was behind but i keep posting regularly and didn't post early just to be on time with those ahead of me.

      Delete
  8. W to Z posts -- I was thrilled that I found terms within my theme for those. I found them early on because I needed to know if I could finish the challenge for each letter. My X was Xenia (the rules of hospitality) and Z was Zoomorphism (with a GIF of Spiderman). No lost steam at the end.

    Links -- I definitely copied and pasted. This was not easy from a mobile phone, so I made sure to use my laptop. Checking for comments through the day on a phone was okay, but any serious reading, commenting, or posting links was done on the big screen with multiple tabs.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I didn't have theme so it's basically harder or rather, there was just either too many ideas or not at all. I keep thinking if I have a theme, maybe it would have been easier but I don't know. honestly, I was getting lazy even before W.

      thanks for coming by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  9. I agree with much of what you've said here, especially "Copy and paste your links". I did, and it's so much simpler and nicer than trying to get it right each time or leaving broken ones. I also agree that linkup[ posts went up too early, they were appearing by early afternoon on the day prior to the one assigned for that letter. I can see opening them at night, but I always felt a little behind because of it too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. for some reason, people likes to type out their blog addresses which I find not a very good idea.

      I actually like that people are participating all around the world and it kind of felt like there were more people doing the challenge. but yes, the time zone makes some of feel like we're behind, but it's okay.

      thanks for coming by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  10. I didn't participate this year, but I was just hopping through to see how everyone did.

    In the past, I used an RSS reader (Feedly) so I could keep up with blogs that I really liked. I'd create an A-Z list there, and it was easy to see who was still updating and which posts I had not read yet. If I came across more blogs along the way, I just added them to my list.

    Congrats on making it through the whole thing!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I remember feeds. but for some reason, I just don't use them anymore. I think it works for other people but I never gotten to liking them. I'm more use to visiting blogs directly.

      thanks for coming by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  11. I would never be able to afford the challenge without planning, writing and scheduling my posts. I always scheduled them even when I finalised them the day before or the same day.

    I've only done the challenge for the past three years, but I've always chosen theme that required reaserching. So I did a lot of work before the actual challenge. I know of partecipats who have all their posts written and scheduled months ahead... which I wish I could do, but have never achieved so far.
    Have the posts already scheduled helps focusing on just networking, which is nice.

    But everyone has their own way to do the challeng and evey way is just as good ;-)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I would love to schedule on my posts but I don't think I could do as I seem to have a habit of editing posts that are already posted.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  12. I make a list on Feedly. But, actually, I keep updating it because some people gave up, or I just lost interest in some blogs. I agree with your suggestions, especially number 8. And yes, broken links are discouraging, when you want to visit so many sites!

    I mostly liked the list of comments; it added something random to the challenge, and made it funny.

    Thanks for your posts, and also your visits to my blogs.

    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures

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    1. some of the comments were actually quite fun to read actually and I was able to pick and choose what to read and with certaintly because most people tells you what they're posting. I guess that is the good side of not having a list.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  13. I pretty well agree with everything you've said here, which is something I rarely do! The point that stood out for me was 02 - create a list. It makes life so much easier.

    One of my biggest frustrations was being sent to Google+ when clicking on names only to find nothing threre! Leaving a live link at the end of a comment as I've done hereis very simple and increases hits.

    I didn't read enough of your posts - you've tempted me to return!

    Amble Bay: Reflections and other things

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    1. yes, having my own reading list makes it easier and since those blogs are new to me, I wasn't just visiting old pals.

      I know what you mean about google+ - I tried a few times to find a blog link in a google+ profile but couldn't. I don't know why google don't just remove it, I've never liked it.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  14. Hi I'm Karine from Tropical Colours. I Came across your blog through Tamara's post. You've got a fantastic list here! I actually agree with you on all the points you've brought up! The links is probably the worst when you really want to have a read yet can't -.-

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    1. broken links is a bit of a pain but people got better at the hyperlink toward the end...

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  15. Lissa,

    The time zone difference didn't bother me. When I ran into that situation I visited anyhow, especially if that person dropped by my place. I figured things would eventually even out and if they didn't then that's ok because I was there to show my appreciation for their visit or because they were posting on a topic of interest.

    I don't believe I found too many broken links but there were certainly a few and it was usually due to someone not having the hang of the html coding. I know I made a few goofs by leaving something out because I failed to copy and paste which is by far more fool-proof then typing it out each time.

    Long posts are generally an instant turn off but if it's someone I know then I patiently will read it and most times will enjoy it. However, if it's someone I don't know and the post doesn't grab me in the first paragraph then I will gloss over the content. I tend to stay away from sites who are in the midst of writing a story, especially if I happen upon the author mid-way through. I'm a visual person, so I enjoyed photography or DIY posts or music or poetry or words of encouragement, or even random posts the best.

    I did not keep a list of blogs but sorta began to think that might be a good idea next year, especially of those who are repeat visitors to my site or those who are sharing an attention grabbing topic. The most important thing with the challenge is to have fun in a relaxed fashion. This shouldn't be stressful.

    Don't ask me how but I managed to get all of my posts scheduled this time as you know from my reflections post. I reckon I managed this small feat because of the enthusiasm I had for my theme. This is the first time I've ever done this in the past four years, so I was proud of my accomplishment. Once I had all my art sketches completed. I began uploading them in small batches to my computer 4 to 5 images to create each post. Each entry had some of the same basic wording before I began massaging text content to fit my alpha-prompt sketch. I repeated this process until all the letters of the alphabet was completed, then I doubled checked everything before publishing the article with the right future date. Having this step done was a huge time saver for me and in my opinion only half of what's involved in the A to Z Challenge. Visiting, commenting, and responding to comments is the second half which is equally hard and maybe more demanding than the first part. I only hope I can repeat this next year.

    You definitely mentioned some excellent pointers in your reflections post that we all can agree apply to us and I appreciated your honesty. Whatever we chose to do for the A to Z Challenge then it should be what we enjoy and realize not everyone is going to get on board. It was great to connect with you and hopefully, we can stay in touch throughout the year! ;) Have a funtastic day!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    Watercolor Iris Mother's Day card

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    1. there were less broken links after a week or two but there's always very small mistakes that makes the link not work.

      I totally envy those who scheduled and ready their post in advance and you sound like you got all the steps down very well. yes, the visiting & commenting and responding to comments is part of the challenge though I'm not so good at the responding to comments, which I usually do at my blog rather than email as not everyone has emails.

      thanks for dropping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  16. Congrats on finishing the challenge! I came across a few broken/weird links on the A to Z blog. It wasn’t too bad, though. I didn’t have a visit list, but I tried to visit the people who commented on my blog. I also went through the A to Z blog and clicked anything that looked interesting.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. my list aren't long but I did add a couple more links as I move along, I think not everyone likes to make a list but I'm habitual list maker that's why.

      thanks for dropping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  17. I suppose I was lucky as I encountered no bad links. I did have several blogs I was following have to quit the challenge due to life issues....but that's life. Found your reflections thoughtful, clever and witty!
    My Reflections post is up @ Life & Faith in Caneyhead.

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    1. a few bloggers with really good themes stopped posting in the middle and that was sort of disappointing but life happens.

      thanks for dropping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  18. You hit on the secret. Yes, write all your posts in March, themed or not. It makes a huge difference in your energy level during April. I've always written at least part of the post ahead of time and got it scheduled so that's one thing I don't have to deal with. I've done two years writing everything ahead and two where I created short stories from word suggestions each day. Everything ahead is way less stress and I would definitely go that route again even though I liked the interaction of working from suggestions in the comments while starting a story.

    I didn't encounter bad links, but I do admit to skimming or avoiding long posts. 100 to 300 words was just right.

    Because I worked from my own list for the most part, I didn't pay much attention to the order in which people posted to advertise their blogs. I did more traveling through links in comment sections on other blogs than I did off the A to Z post lists. At least I knew those people were actively interacting.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. perhaps I'll try to do it like you and write my posts in march for the next challenge but frankly, I'm no good at planning ahead and I sort stray and trend to not do them even when I have the time.

      thanks for dropping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  19. Hi Lissa, congratulations on completing the challenge and as always I really enjoyed your posts and your beautiful art. I did have a list that I kept adding to as the challenge went on so often didn't get to even half of them as was trying to visit people who had commented but then stupidly went on holiday for a week and got totally behind with everything. Still found it a great challenge and will see you soon in the top ten. Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. see, you are right to go on holiday because the a-z challenge is not more important than regular living, frankly, I think we all need a vacation during the challenge and after the challenge.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  20. I know there are people who schedule all of their posts by March. For me, I already have a rhythm. I plan out my posts weekly and write them all over the weekend. I continue to do that for the Challenge. It makes sense as I'm just continuing blogging as normal during April. I just make sure to fit what I'd normally post that day to the letter of the day. That's my challenge.

    I feel you with being at the end of the posting every day. I live on the west coast, so I frequently saw the next letter when I was reading in the evening. One of the downsides of where I live.

    I disagree with your point about Z. I've had some fun with it. Zonked. Zoinks. The last couple years I've highlighted my knitting shop (which starts with a Z). And then one of my favorite posts was X Marks the Scarf, where I knit a scarf in an X shape. (That was, like, four years ago now.)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I wish I am as organized as you but I'm really not good at doing things ahead of time.

      about the z post - that is just my lazybone self talking because I usually run out of steam towards the end of the challenge and with no prepared posts, it makes me even more lazy.

      well, I can only knit scarves so I'm impressed by your knitting skills.

      thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  21. I like your #10 suggestion about Z. Although, I usually go with weird words and everyone knows those Z words. ;)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. #10 is my lazy side talking but I do like the idea and I'll probably do it if I don't have any idea.

      thanks for your dropping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  22. Love the organization of your post! I would agree with just about all of your points here. The separation of comments is a good idea that we should consider. For a while I tried to delete all of the "Comment removed by author" notations but eventually got lazy and stopped. The comment list is still cumbersome--I never used it myself.

    We posted the daily letters according to International Time so they appeared a day early for a good many of us.

    Thanks for this excellent Reflections Post.


    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. now that I think about it, the time zone didn't bother me as much, and anyway, everyone has their own pace at doing the challenge.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  23. Well done for making it to the end of the challenge! :-)

    In the beginning I made an effort to find the posts for people who hadn't got their link quite right, but as the month went on I was trying to visit all the people who commented on my blog and my time became more precious so if I couldn't get to the blog in one click I tended to skip over it.

    I was kind of the same for the really long posts as well, I just didn't have the time to give them the attention they deserved, maybe I'll go back and find some of them again now the challenge is over.

    Cait @ Click's Clan

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    1. I did read a few long posts but they didn't interest me but I'm sure they interest other people.

      toward the end, I randomly visited people who basically didn't say what their blog/post is about & I did find something good to read but it's like luck, sometimes you have it and sometimes you don't.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  24. I also make a list of blogs I'd like to visit, but then generally don't visit many of them because all my time is spent returning visits for the people that commented on my blog. I'd like to vote "yes" for someone removing "this comment was removed by the author" comments. Seems like it should be doable. Congrats for completing the challenge! :D

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I sort of ended up not visiting many on list toward the end because most didn't continue the challenge.

      I would have loved to reply to every comment but I just didn't have the time but I did answer any questions.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  25. Any time I'm participating in A-Z (year 4 for me), I have to start planning well in advance. This year it was late January/early February and started putting together posts in March. If I don't, I fall behind on commenting. And I've also actually really enjoyed having a theme more so than being haphazard with my posts. I wish I could find the motivation all year long to blog like I do in April. :) I especially loved the "review" posts and seeing that people created something with their A-Z posts that was like a culmination of A-Z. Like, for example, one person who blogged about music created a playlist of the songs she shared in April.

    Loved your comment about long posts. I was one of the long posters, but in the comments you can really tell who just glanced at your post and who actually read it. lol. It's cool, though. We are all super busy during April. :)

    With Love,
    Mandy

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    1. I read long posts if I have the time and if the subject interest me but I couldn't seem to come up with a good comment other than agreeing to whatever the subject is so sometimes I do sound like I haven't read the post.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  26. I like zombies, vampires, and butt cracks! LOL Great suggestions...and I completely agree with the lengthy posts...I click right out of those!
    ~Katie
    TheCyborgMom

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    1. I guess I'm just a too much a prude to read those posts, sad but true.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  27. When I participated, I would go find new blogs to read each day while also going through comments on posts from a few days before every day to make sure I was still reading people who were reading mine. Still, without a linky list, it would have been tough to keep up with whom I've visited previously.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I still think the linky list was rather too long and I never could tell which blog I have visited but I guess people use the list in different ways.


      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete
  28. I enjoyed your reflections post. Congrats with finishing the Challenge :-) I agree with your suggestions for making next year better - especially removing the "removed by author" comments.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. yes, removing the "removed by author" comments would be useful.

      thanks for stopping by, have a lovely day.

      Delete

"To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it." -- Kurt Vonnegut