Monday 7 May 2012

A-Z Challenge 2012: Reflections and High 5s

First, I want to thank all the hosts for making this A-Z Challenge possible!

Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out,

Alex J. Cavanaugh,
Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs,
DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude,
Elizabeth Mueller,
Jenny Pearson at Pearson Report,
Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie,
Karen Gowen at Coming Down the Mountain,
Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small
Matthew McNish at The QQQE,
Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse,
Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs,
Tina Downey at Life is Good,

I'm traveling all day today: planes, trains and automobiles, and not necessarily in that order. But I'll be visiting blogs as soon as I get back. Now, bring on the 6 hour jet lag!  

25 Random Reflections: A personal analysis and stuff I learned about myself as a newbie blogger
  1. Meeting new bloggers/writers was by far the best part of this experience.
  2. After seeing so many fantastic blog designs, I hate mine even more.   
  3. I only got spammed twice. 
  4. The challenge sparked two wip ideas. One through a FF piece for my N post and the other by goofing around with commentors in my J post.
  5. Two of my FF pieces gave birth to Billy & Roach. Surprisingly, I got a lot of positive feedback from those sketches and it got me thinking that maybe Billy & Roach could have their own page or blog. What do you think? Problem is I'd need illustrations to accompany B & R, but it is with much regret that I was born with the artistic capability of a drunken monkey. 
  6. I lost 2 pounds during the challenge. Went to the States to visit family for a week and gained them back. :/ Curse you philly cheese steak with loaded fries!
  7. Sometimes it only took one positive comment to brighten my entire day. Truly.
  8. I started with 46 followers, ended with 79. I fell short of the 100 mark, but considering I spent a whole month talking about insects, 33 new followers in about one month is actually great for me imo. 
  9. Mid-way through the challenge I started a Sunday food post that got me 2 more followers after a two day drought. Coincidence? Maybe.
  10. Until about halfway through the challenge, I was averaging 8 new blogs a day (not counting the regular blogs I visit daily). I thought I was doing pretty well until I calculated percent total and realized at that rate, I would have only visited ~13% of the A-Z list by the end of the challenge. This made me sad.  So, I bumped it up to at least 10 new posts (some nights I got in a few more). I wanted to reach the 20% mark, but only achieved 15% total visited by the end of the challenge. I wish I could have done more but coming into the challenge unprepared left me with little time to visit. This shall be rectified for next year, I'm going to start writing my posts tomorrow. :D
  11. I'd buy an "I survived the A-Z Challenge" t-shirt if there was one. (; 
  12. Hitting the publish button stresses me out. Every. Single. Time.
  13. I can preview my post 100 times but will only find the typos after I hit publish. *shakes fist at monitor*
  14. Writing post everyday, on the fly, was exhausting. But, I learned I can still function a whole month with an average of 6 hours of sleep/night. 
  15. My self-imposed deadline of finishing my wip by the end of May took a swift kick in the teeth. I'm now hoping to get it finished sometime in July.  
  16. One of the first things I do after reading a post on a new site is look for the “about” link because I want to know, who is this person? When no information about the author is provided, I'm actually a little disappointed and less likely to follow spontaneously.
  17. I loved the A-Z buttons, the surprise me one in particular.
  18. I can’t write a short post about something I’m passionate about. My average post word count was 422.
  19. On average, I got 9 comments per post (not including my replies).  Comments in my comment box = I get to keep my blogging card for one more day. (;
  20. I appreciate bloggers that take the time to reply to comments, whether directly in the comment box, via e-mail or by stopping by my blog and commenting. But I understand for some, especially bloggers who receive over 100 comments in a single post, replying can be difficult and time consuming.
  21. Near the end of the challenge I tried increasing comments on my posts by leaving questions or prompts at the end. This proved difficult for I greatly lacked inspiration. Somehow, I didn't think people would respond well to:  "So, anyone ever contracted an insect born disease? Ever had a insect infestation in your house? Ever eaten wood?" Actually, I did use the last one. lol.
  22. I tend to gravitate towards people/blogs that generate humorous and positive vibes. I also enjoy good sarcasm but that can be tricky over the internet...
  23. As a commenter I’m always trying to find something positive to say, but there were a few blogs that I just didn't know how to comment (commenters block?). Plus, I’m not the kind of commenter that can leave a generic message like “nice post, thanks for the info...” even if it’s sincere. Yet, I saw a lot of those kinds of comments.
  24. I hopefully followed back everyone who followed me during the challenge. If I missed anyone let me know, it was not intentional just a screw up on my part.  
  25. After posting 7 FF pieces and parts of my wip, I can’t call myself a closet writer anymore (a good thing), but I do feel naked without my lamp shade on. Lamp shades are quite comfortable and warm.  

To all who stuck with me during the challenge, 
and to everyone who followed, thank you. 
You made this challenge worth it.  

High 5s to all of you!


  1. I can barely manage a post every couple of weeks don't know how you managed it well done!!!

    1. Thanks D.S. It was crazy. You should try it next year!

  2. Drunken monkey is a vey well respected style of kung fu, so why not drawing?

    Moody Writing
    The Funnily Enough

  3. That was one hellofa reflections post! WoW!! I thought you did great One of the more challenging themes to blog about you managed to engage and entertain. Well done!

    1. Yeah, I think I went a little nuts on this post. Oops. All I remember reading was something about a 1000 word limit... (;

  4. I agree with you 100% on no.1 - the human connection is the best thing about A to Z'ing...
    Billy & Roach are special - I honestly think that they should have their own blog!
    Maybe you could work side by side with a fellow illustrator blogger... there are tons of undiscovered artistic peeps out there... ask around, you never know who you might discover...
    ...or better still, write about it in a special post... or put up a poll/survey gadget on your side bar, where it will be seen by anyone who pops in - I've seen lots of bloggers who do the poll-thinggie, it seems to work well. Just google Blogger Poll Widgets - there's a wide variety available or you can create your own one.
    I'll be following your progress closely on this one...

    1. The pressure is ON! ;) Thanks for the B & R advice and I'll take a serious crack at it. I'll also take a look into the poll gadget thing, problem is I'm not sure many people know what I'm talking about when I say 'Billy & Roach!' (: I may have to post a few more sketches first and see what kind of feedback I get.....

    2. If you need a sounding board or somebody to bounce ideas off... you know where to find me! :) :)

    3. I sure do and thanks Michelle. In fact, I'm working on something and I'd like to get your feedback when I'm more or less finished... (;

  5. Great reflections. A to Z is definitely a learning experience for all of us.

  6. Just discovered you -- lots of quality reflection in this post!

    "I can preview my post 100 times but will only find the typos after I hit publish. *shakes fist at monitor*"

    I just joined IWSG this month... and only realized after friendly commenters pointed it out that I'd typed the acronym incorrectly as ISWG throughout my initial post. Alas!

    1. ISWG! Sorry but I laughed! (= I do stuff like that all the time.
      And thanks for stopping by. I love your site and am a new follower too!

    2. Lots of people confessed to at least have come close to making that mistake themselves. But maybe they were just being nice. :)

      Thanks for the kind words. Glad to be a follower and to have you as a follower.

  7. Your A - Z of the insect world was so great - I've never taken an interest in insects before, it was more the opposite and usually a great dislike of creepy crawlies but you managed to make them interesting and your flash fictions were wonderful. Keep up the good work. Hope you enjoyed seeing your family overseas.

    1. Thanks so much Sally. People like you made this challenge worth it. And yes, I did have a great time visiting my Dad, all I need to do now is figure out the fastest way to get back on French time. It's past midnight and my body is like "What? It's not even dinner yet."

  8. Well done. I'm always happy to hear things about people that I didn't know before (25 points).

    1. Thanks Gina! Funny thing is, I learned a lot about myself too.

  9. Did you know you can edit your post after you publish it? I catch typos in my own posts all the time, so I just edit them. It doesn't change what time the post shows up in people's Google readers, either.

    In other news, now I want a cheesesteak.

  10. Lovely post, Elise. All I have to do now is get my lazy butt into action and join the reflection train :)

    One thing for sure, you certainly discover who is a blogger and who isn't during the A-Z Challenge. The sad part is, I originally started my blog to muse over my past life involved with the role playing game scene, and the A-Z took me off into outer space - an example of it being my poems and short stories. So now I'm wondering how do I do this? Keep up the rpg aspect and drop in the odd randomness? Or dilute the essence of what my blog started out as and become a mish-mash of both rpg muses and general happiness?

    Glad to have you at the hearth, either way :)

    1. Hey Mark. A lot of people divide their blogs between interests. You could for example, assign certain days for writing and other days for rpg. Or, you could start a second blog if you don't want to house your different interests under the same roof. In any event, I'm happy to be part of the hearth and hope to read more of your wonderful poetry. (:

  11. I love a good sarcastic post, too. I've written a few, but it's hard to find the border between funny and off-putting.

    Great Reflections post!

    1. I know what you mean. If I let go, I can be pretty snarky at times. But it's only funny if people get that it's only sarcasm.

  12. One of the best Reflections posts I've read. You did an amazing job during A to Z (with a challenging and enlightening theme). I am just so very proud of all you are doing and how much you are putting yourself out there. Many hugs, my friend. (Man, do I sound like the older sister or what!?!?).

    1. Thank you my big sister! Couldn't have done this without you, *big internet hug to you* (:

  13. I didn't get my reflections post done, wiped out with a migraine. I'm just going to copy yours and take off the bug stuff. ;)

  14. OH!! What an amazing post.
    Great Reflections here
    Good that you mentioned all
    in a systematic way.
    I really missed it half way
    due to an unexpected visit
    to my native land "The God' Own Country"
    hopefully i can make it in the next challenge
    I am following
    Keep writing
    Keep inform
    Philip Ariel

    1. Well thank you very much PV Ariel. Hope you can participate next year too. (:

  15. Excellent Reflections with many good suggestions. I'll address some of these in my upcoming evaluations posts on the A to Z Blog. I'd be willing to gain a couple pounds for an authentic Philly Cheese Steak. Sounds good right now.

    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    1. Thank you Lee, I'll be on the lookout for your evaluations post. (:

  16. There was soooo many interesting blogs I didn't get to during the challenge. Did the same thing as you, posted each day and researched too, so it became exhausting near the end.

    1. Hi J.L. thanks for stopping in! And I feel the same way. I missed out on a lot of good blogs because of the time spent writing. Lesson learned for next year I guess. At least we still have access to the list, I hope to keep visiting when I get a few moments to spare. (:

  17. Hi Elise .. on account you wrote about insects during the Challenge - I'm off the check them out in a minute! But I'll join you in your quest for 100 followers - nearly there .. and I rather enjoy foodie posts ..

    So pleased you had a great trip home .. then your points on your A - Z experience .. great listing .. if I can't comment I feel stuck - so leave. Doesn't often happen! Cheers - and enjoy the rest of the blogging experience .. Hilary

  18. I love your summary, Elise...very insightful. I love France, and have visited are blessed to live there! Just saying hello post-challenge, and I will be following you!

    1. Hello Jarm and thanks for stopping by! There are definitely worst places to live on this planet and thank your for the follow, I'll be coming you way soon!!!(:

  19. Numbers 12 and 13 hit a very responsive chord with me. Why is it that we proof so carefully, but snarky errors still get through. Now I read each post word-by-word to catch those pests. I echo your thoughts on A to Z. I wish I could have read more posts. I am still trying to catch a few each time I have a few extra minutes. I have met some wonderful new friends!

    1. Oh, I agree, A-Z has been a great way to meet all kinds of wonderful and interesting bloggers/writers! I'm glad the list will be up for a while so I can try to get to more blogs as well. Thanks for stopping by, will come visit your blog next! (:

  20. Ohmigosh, Elise, there's so much I connected with in your reflections post! Wanting to buy an A to Z t-shirt, the stress of clicking "Publish," using the "About" section to help me decide whether to follow someone if I'm on the fence about her/him, the inability to write short posts about things that really grab me - yes, yes, et OUI!!!!!

    Though I envy you for having lost 2 pounds (even if you regained them) - I put on weight in April, which I could hardly afford to do, but that wasn't just the Challenge's fault, as April proved challenging, regardless of the Challenge. :-)

    Some Dark Romantic


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