A to Z Reflections Post
The folks who organize the annual April A to Z blog Challenge have asked participants to leave feedback in a “Reflections Post.” Here’s mine:
I have no complaints about the A to Z Challenge. Like most things in life, the A to Z blog Challenge is only as good as the effort you put into it. If you only wrote 2 posts all month, but that was all you could manage, then good for you! If you were one of those dynamos updating 16 blogs 3 times a day, good for you, too! (Although I’m curious how well you kept up with everything else in your life.)
What I liked about this year’s A to Z challenge
The A to Z Twitter chats with the #AZchat hashtag really boosted the camaraderie level for me! I often hopped into both the lunchtime *and* evening chats! Also, the #atozchallenge hashtag was my go-to place for discovering new blogs each day.
Speaking of Twitter chats, I lead a weekly one for writers/bloggers of all stripes on behalf of the Story Dam Writing Community. It is every Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Twitter (which is the same time that the evening #AZchats were.) You are all invited! All you have to do is use the #StoryDam hashtag to participate.
#NFTM: Yet Another Thursday Night Writing Chat
I am also starting a new Twitter writing chat on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. EDT. It is for people who write or blog in travel, memoir, and/or any other non-fiction genre. While the Internet bulges with writers and writing groups, from what I’ve seen, non-fiction is under-represented. I’d like to offer a place for people to come and share that side of their writing.
Oh – the hashtag for this chat will be #nftm. Of course, if I find out that #nftm stands for “no forks touch me” and is already in heavy use by people who only dine with spoons, I’ll change it up. In the meantime, if you write any sort of non-fiction or would like to get going in that direction, join me on Thursdays at 7pm EDT on Twitter for #nftm chat – then stick around for #StoryDam writing chat at 8pm.
Why will I do A to Z again?
Yes, I plan to do the A to Z blog challenge in 2015. One thing that keeps me coming back is knowing that any blogs I visit from the A to Z linky will be active. I don’t know how many times I’ve discovered a witty, well-written blog only to find that it was last updated 3 years ago. So sad! Does that ever happen to you?
This year, I created a file of bookmarks for all the people I connected with during the A to Z Challenge. I plan to keep visiting! I wish I had done that last year, because I lost touch with a few bloggers I really enjoyed.
What will I do differently next year?
Even though I chose most of my photos in advance and kept my posts short, I want to do even more pre-planning for the 2015 A to Z blog Challenge. That way I’ll have more time to visit and on comment on other blogs. I am happy to report that I got all my posts up this year. I did, however, fall behind on answering comments and visiting other blogs. Next year!
A to Z as Accidental Marketing Research
While some peeps balk at the idea of having a theme for their A to Z Challenge posts, it really works for me. Last year, for instance, my theme was Quirky Texas Travel & History. Sure I write about a lot of offbeat and overlooked places anyway, but the challenge helped me zero in on the subject. Although it wasn’t my original intention, the A to Z Challenge became valuable marketing research. The feedback and continued blog traffic on those posts after the challenge convinced me that I had a viable topic for a book. So thanks again, A to Z Challenge for helping me decide to write my offbeat travel guide, Unexpected Texas.
Winners of my book
Which reminds me… In my post, U is for Unexpected Texas, I promised to give a signed copy of my book to one lucky re-tweeter, one person who signed up for my newsletter, and one of my blog commenters. The winners are: Holli Moncrief, Arlee Bird, and Courtney Turner. Yay! I hope you all enjoy the book.
Thanks again to all who visited, commented, re-tweeted, and otherwise bumped into me as a result of the A to Z blog Challenge. I will be dropping by all of your blogs again to say hi, and I hope you will stay in touch with me, too.