Monday, May 4, 2015

Reflections on the Blogging from A to Z April (2015) Challenge


During April, 2015, I participated in the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge.

In a word, it was amazing. In another word, it was inspirational....Now I have two topics for next year's blogging challenge!! Go me!!

Here's the back-story of how I got involved:

Over the past 17 years, I worked extremely hard writing and finessing a book about my favorite film, "It's a Wonderful Life." With any luck, that book will be published. Soon.

As part of that effort, I converted by old blog to a blog dedicated, as well, to the film, and all things related to it. So if you have ideas, PLEASE COMMENT!!!!!

Shortly after I converted this blog, my college cohort and blogger-in-crime, Holly Perry (a.k.a. Chasing Destino), contacted me and we started sharing writing and blogging stories. It was a blast from the past and I learned a lot from her. She gave me amazing tips and directed me to a bunch of fun groups and blogs that I needed to follow.

One of those blogs was the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. I had no idea what it was or what it involved, or how much work it would be, but I signed up right away, and I'm glad it did.

The challenge provided me with a jump-start to the blog. While I had many topics to write about, this forced me to create 26 of them in a very short period of time. In fact, although I signed up for the challenge in March, I had all of my topics written by the third day of the challenge. On top of that, after I had finished writing for the challenge, I averaged at least two more entries per day for the next two weeks, which will be posted in the future. In one week alone, I wrote 22 entries.

It was extremely inspirational and got my analytical mind going again. I had been hoping for that for a long time, and had recently lamented to a friend about feeling like I had lost the ability. I was so excited to get it back. Currently I am sitting on 83 completed blog entries waiting to be posted. I have ideas for about 19 more topics, and photos taken for an additional 45 more Photo Fridays.

In terms of inspiration, I never, EVER thought I would write about suicide prevention on my blog. But the challenge inspired me to do it, and I consider it one of my best entries of the challenge! I never thought I would quote a pastor as calling Violet a slut on my blog....and yet I did it!

One thing I was very excited about was my repeat visitors. Of course, my mom checked out every entry I had, but I also had several regular readers who started following me. One even commented on my blog every single day of the challenge.

The number of people who follow me on Twitter jumped from 26 to an average of 80 - give or take a few on any given day.

There were also some things that I was surprised about. I can't, for the life of me, figure out why my entry about Nick the Bartender got the most attention out of all of my entries. Nick was a supporting role, not a main theme or character. It was not one of my best entries, but it was by far the most popular. I still can't understand that.

Another thing I don't understand is how quickly my numbers exploded. My blog visits averaged between 60 and 80 a day. One day near the end, I checked my hits for the day, and I was at 58. Less than an hour later, I checked it again, and I was at 120 visits. That blew my mind. And I am convinced that it was because of the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. So thanks to all of you who visited!

Then there were my failures....

I didn't support others as much as I should have. I took more than I gave. I visited several. I followed several. But I didn't comment often. And I certainly didn't read them every day. It was selfish. I could blame my schedule, but that's lame. There was always time to do that instead of/while watching Game of Thrones or Bates Motel.

So instead of offering excuses, I will offer apologies to my fellow bloggers. I let you down, and I'm sorry. I will try to do better in the future.

Thank you A-to-Z Blogging Challenge! You gave me the kick in the butt and the inspiration I needed to get this thing moving, and I appreciate that so much!

Stick around and follow me. There is so much more for me to say about this wonderful film!