April is over, and now it’s May! That means that the 2016 A to Z Challenge is over, and I have completed 26 days of posts in one month. This was my first A to Z challenge, so I thought that I would give a short recap and an insight into my experience, aka “What I Learned from A to Z.”
If you are wondering what the A to Z Challenge is, it is a personal challenge to post a blog every day in April (except Sundays). The challenge happens every year, and I found out about it earlier this year and thought it would be a good way to inspire myself to post a more regular basis.
Posting Daily IS Possible!
When I wrote my theme reveal post, I thought that posting daily was going to be really hard, and even though I promised not to give up, I had my doubts in the beginning. However, once I picked a travel theme and started thinking about what posts I wanted to do for each letter in the alphabet, it was a lot easier than I had anticipated!
Being accountable to myself as I was participating in the challenge was really part of the reason I could write a daily post. Even though there were some days that I couldn’t finish a post (and I didn’t want to post a poorly written or rushed post), and I sometimes wrote two posts in a day to catch up, I still felt like I should continue my posts. Also, if I missed a day, I’d miss a letter, and that would bother me a lot.
I realized that even if I am short on time, I can still make a decent post. But I also learned that I should plan ahead, rather than try to catch up after the fact…
Planning Posts Makes Life Easier
When I thought about my posts ahead of time and started planning what each letter was going to be about, I realize that I made better posts. Having a theme (travel) was a good start, but when I actually sat down and looked at the letters and thought about what travel destination I wanted to use, my posts were better.
When I planned posts, or planned a time to write the post, I also made better posts. Rather than trying to catch up on two posts in one day (see above), or trying to come up with something for the letter X at the last minute, I was able to craft a thoughtful post. Procrastination doesn’t necessarily make good posts.. who knew??
Reading Other People’s Blogs is Fun & Educational
As part of the A to Z Challenge, it is asked that you visit other blogs to comment and support each other. Of course, you could visit zero other blogs and no one would notice or say anything, but that’s not really in keeping with the spirit of things. So, I did my best to visit ~5 blogs per day to read and comment.
I found a lot of really interesting blogs with topics that I already knew, but also I found blogs that I might never have found other than a random click on an interesting blog title. I was introduced to things like flash fiction, and blogs about writing, as well as a variety of personal blogs. I read a lot of amazing entries, and I commented to support the other bloggers. In return, many of them visited my blog and left me encouragement as well!
Blogging as part of a challenge gives you the automatic advantage of being a part of a community. People will visit your blog as part of the challenge, and often reciprocate if you visit their blog. It’s important to remember to try to be genuine when commenting – rather than just making generic comments and self-promoting your blog, it’s better to actually read the blog entry and respond to what the author has written.
How was your A to Z Challenge experience? What do you think of the idea of the A to Z Challenge? Would you consider participating for your blog? Let me know what you think!