A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

A to Z Challenge Reflections

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

April is over and with it, the A to Z Challenge for bloggers. I posted one post every day, except for Sundays, and ended with 26 new blog posts.

A to Z breakdown for the month:

A is for Amigurumi
B is for Bibliophile
C is for Crochet
D is for Dialogue: Writing Dialogue That Works (Part 2)
E is for Editing
F is for FREE PATTERN! (Amigurumi Snake)
G is for Gift Giving and Giveaway
H is for Hot Glue and Rock Sculptures
I is for Invisible Decrease (Crochet)
J is for Jotting Down Ideas as they Come
K is for Knitting vs. Crocheting
L is for Listening to Your Characters
M is for Making Amigurumi Patterns
N is for New Camera
O is for Overshooting Your Word Count
P is for Popsicle Stick Picture Frame Craft
Q is for Query Writing (Part 1)
R is for Rejection
S is for Sock Puppet
T is for Thesaurus
U is for Understanding Our Flaws in Writing
V is for Video (Ink & Stitches YouTube Channel)
W is for Watercolor Techniques: Re-Learning and Perfecting a New Medium (Part 2)
X is for X-ing Out “Killing Your Darlings”
Y is for Yelling at Your Computer
Z is for Zzzs and Catching Some When You’re a Writer

I had been told prior to beginning the challenge that it wouldn’t really help gain the followers that were promised by the A to Z Challenge creators. Let me just say, in a month’s time, I saw 70 new followers subscribe to my newsletter for Ink & Stitches. That is 70 people that want to continue hearing and reading what I have to say in my future posts. During the month, I had over 18,000 new users with over 29,000 page views. I’d say that is more than a success!

I was astonished each day by the amount of wonderful comments I received (to which I replied to each one).

The only way I knew I’d be able to get through April’s challenge was to write the posts in March. March was a feverish dash to get them all finished with pictures included. The only things I wanted to have left to do in April were, re-read what I had written, making any final adjustments necessary, then to post and promote them.

The simple act of posting and promoting, and answering back all of the comments that came through, took up much of my free time. I wondered how others were able to add writing the posts to the mix each day as well. Did you write your posts each day in April? If so, how stressful was that, or did you find it an easy task to accomplish?

Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

On the night of X’s post, April 28th, I went to prepare my Y post for the following day and found I couldn’t log into my WordPress account. Not only could I not get into the admin site, but I couldn’t even see my blog at all! To say I was in disbelief is an understatement. How could WordPress crash? Were other A to Z Challenge participants dealing with this same issue?

My Y post could not go out on the 29th because the site was still down. The last day of the month came and I was checking back every couple of hours. My husband told me it wasn’t WordPress that was the problem, but one of their database servers that had gone down. He had done some research and found that they knew of the problem and were working to fix it. My worry was that I would fail to complete the challenge after all the work I had put into doing so.

Survivor A to Z Challenge 2016On April 30th, in the 11th hour (so to speak), WordPress came back up and with it my blog, as though nothing had ever happened. It was the middle of the afternoon and I got both posts reviewed and put up (Y and Z), as well as promoting them on my social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus). Then, my son woke up from his nap and I breathed a sigh of relief that I had gotten everything done with not a moment to spare.

Reflections:

  1. Was my A to Z Challenge experience stressful?
    Yes.
  2. Did writing the posts the month before help?
    Most definitely. I couldn’t have made it through the month without having done so.
  3. Would I suggest this challenge to other bloggers?
    Of course! It was a lot of fun and a great way to virtually meet new people and fellow bloggers as well.
  4. Would I do anything different next time?
    I may stick with a specific theme rather than have such variety in the posts. Did you all enjoy the “Artistic Variety” theme or would you prefer I stick with a more specific theme next time?
  5. What is on the agenda for May?
    You probably thought I would say rest, but actually, I have begun re-editing my first book again to make it even better (more on this to come). I think Adeline was feeling a little left out of the action.

How was your experience with the A to Z Challenge? Did you have difficulties making it through the month?

I think it’s time for a nap…Zzzzz

Photo credit: zubrow via Foter.com / CC BY-NC
Photo credit: zubrow via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

16 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge Reflections”

  1. I’m a Blogger user, so this is the first I’ve heard of the WP outage. I would’ve freaked out – so glad it didn’t impact your challenge. I am going to try a very tight theme next time since I sort of pantsed it this year. It worked out okay, but I’m curious to see if I gain anything by having more structure.

    I love your header art. Delightful.

    1. Thank you so much, Lissa! The WP outage definitely threw me for a loop. I’m glad they fixed it in time to finish out the challenge though :) If you’d like to see more of my artwork, you can check out my Portfolio and Sketchbook pages. I’d love to know what you think!

  2. I was affected by the database going down to, luckily my hosting platform was able to sort it out pretty quickly!
    I think the people who complain about not getting the traffic they expected perhaps set their sights unrealistically high.
    I didn’t find my stats were much higher than any other month, but for two and halfish weeks of the challenge, I did no post promotion whatsoever so to achieve similar stats to full on promo was still pretty good
    Debbie

    1. I agree. The A to Z Challenge isn’t a miracle worker, but it is definitely a great way to get your work out there to new eyes. I had quite a few of my followers throughout the challenge, keep coming back every week since, so that to me is a success. :)

    1. I’m so glad you made your way over to my blog! Rowena has a wonderful blog as well. Yes, those last few days of the challenge got a tad nerve-racking, but all-in-all, I had a wonderful time participating and I’m so glad I was able to complete the challenge before the month ended!

  3. I’m so glad you did this challenge, I really enjoyed having all the new posts to read :) I liked having variety in the posts, but a more specific theme could work too. Looking forward to your next posts in May!

  4. I also queued up many of my posts ahead of time but still had a few that I did during April along with final edits and cleanup. I think next time, I’d do even more prep ahead of time because visiting other blogs really took the majority of my time and is such an important part of the challenge. How stressful that WordPress went down for you for a few days. So glad it came back in time for you to finish up the challenge. I really enjoyed your posts.

    1. Thank you, Karen! Prepping ahead of time is the key. I think if you didn’t do that, you wouldn’t have the time for visiting other blogs and promoting. There’s only so much time in a day, especially when you have another job and kids running around (or kid in my case). :)

  5. This is a very helpful Reflections post–the kind that can make a difference to others. Thank you for doing this and congratulations on finishing despite the problems you faced at the end. Judging by the returns you got for your efforts you were obviously doing some things right.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Thank you, Arlee! This was an amazing experience. Contrary to what some may believe, I found this to be a wonderful challenge, and for a fledgling blogger myself, it really got my new blog out there. The comments were amazing and it was great to have that kind of following throughout the month. I only hope to keep these followers from here-on-out! :)

  6. I write my posts ahead of time too. At first I didn’t, but doing so made it much easier to visit others. This year, it helped because I had the day job and less time, so I don’t think I would have made it if I had been writing posts the day of.

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