Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A-Z Reflections






So… my reflections about my first experience of the A-Z Challenge which took place during the month of April…

I chose a theme of wildlife encounters because I was confident that I had seen enough animals in the wild that I could come up with something for each letter of the alphabet. The hardest part was finding appropriate photos in my archives, and this meant that some animals I’d have liked to include were discounted altogether. 


From V is for Vulture post

As it was, some of my animal photos weren’t too good. 









From K is for Komodo Dragon post
But I think that was mitigated by the fact that others were magazine quality (and indeed quite a few have been published alongside my travel and/or dive articles).



From Y is for Yellow Boxfish post


I started writing the posts ahead of the challenge and managed to keep ahead of the game. By having a number of posts pre-written, I was able to write up the rest over the month in a reasonably relaxed fashion.

What I didn’t find relaxing was keeping up with my visits and comments on other blogs. Whilst it was a brilliant experience to find new fabulous blogs and meet and banter with new people, it was also sometimes frustrating and time consuming with others.
There were ones who had signed up, but then not even started the challenge and ones where I had to click on several links to actually reach the current post. There was even one that required me to sign in with my name, e-mail and web address every single time in order to leave a comment! Others wrote very long posts which discouraged me from following them. Others didn’t have the courtesy to visit my blog and leave at least one comment after I’d visited and commented on theirs.

Once I discovered how to leave a blog signature to guide people back to my blog I used it on every comment I left and I was most grateful to the bloggers who did the same thing. It made visiting their blogs very slick – and it would be a great idea if the organisers could make this information much clearer and accessible.

Over the last week I have re-visited the blogs I was following during the challenge and quite a few still had their Z post up. I’m also a little dismayed at how swiftly the visits and comments to my blog ceased.

Will I do it again next year? It’s a lot of time, energy (and material) to expend over a month to find blogs containing content that's of interest to me - and to try to gain followers to my own blog. So I don’t know yet… but this experience was exhilarating, fun, exciting, exasperating, and - well - quite a challenge! 








22 comments:

  1. I found a lot of new blogs to follow. I figure that if the A to Z posts kept my interest, the regular posts should, too. (I placed your blog on my blogroll quite early, and it's staying there!)

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    1. I thought much the same about sticking with the ones I enjoyed. It's great to hear that you've chosen to continue following my blog. I've also added you to my blog list. :)

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  2. In reading the reflections posts, it seems like the hardest thing for people is keeping up with comments. I know that was an issue for me, too. I also realized about halfway through that I wasn't going back to read responses to the comments that I had left on previous posts, and those conversations really are half the fun! I'm not sure what I will do next year if I do participate again.

    I think the drop in comments and visits is probably just that some people are burnt out by the end of the challenge. I know that I took a few days away from my blog after the 30th, and then I had a post all ready to go, but was missing one piece to finish it off and that took almost a week to arrive.

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    1. I think you're right about why the comments have dropped off - it just felt a bit flat and disappointing after the excitement of so many comments on my final post (the most in the series!).

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  3. I really enjoyed your blog because you were actually in all these places and took almost all these photos. Heck you were close to the Komodo dragons and close to the killer fish...you are one brave lady! I like that:)

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    1. Thanks, Birgit. It's such a buzz to know when someone has enjoyed something I've put together. Hopefully I'll continue to entertain all my followers. :)

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your posts and got to know so many new things from each of them!
    Cheers!
    Srivi, The Piscean Me

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    1. Thanks, Srivi - if you enjoyed reading my posts, I achieved my goal. :)

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  5. Haha... "quite the challenge" indeed, Susan! Yes, April is a tough month—and I totally understand what you mean about the difficulty in finding blogs, and bloggers, to follow. But I'm glad you participated; I might not have found you otherwise :) Looking forward to many visits throughout the year!
    Guilie @ Life In Dogs

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    1. Thanks, Guilie - I enjoyed following your blog too!

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  6. Just catching up with your posts, Susan, enjoyed them all but didn't have time to comment on every one.
    Because I work at home - alone - I treat blogging as a kind of virtual office tea break. It gives me a chance to put my work aside for a while, have a chat with other people, find out what they're doing and catch a little glimpse of their lives. It can be very addictive and time consuming though so I'm a lot more choosy who I follow these days, just to keep it at a manageable level. If I do follow someone I feel obliged to read most of their posts and comment on at least some of them. That's one reason why I'm reluctant to follow anyone who tries to post every day. One month of daily posts is quite enough!

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  7. Fully understand, Linda. Having now experienced this challenge, I would never choose to commit to posting daily - let alone follow anyone on a daily basis.
    I usually try to post once a week - and then use that session to read and comment on the blogs I follow. It's been very higgledy-piggledy lately, but I'm planning to settle down into my normal routine again.

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  8. Hello Susan,

    a lot of what you've said resonates with me. It was time consuming to say the least.

    But there was one thing that you did that I admired very much - you asked your readers to guess what the next day's animal (I know, I once got this wrong and thought I could guess the place). I thought this such a clever thing to do to invite people back.

    Thank you, for all the sharing.

    Aneeta from
    How to Tell a Great Story

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  9. Thanks, Aneeta. I appreciate your feedback because I wasn't too sure at first about posing a question at the end of each blog post... then I wasn't too sure if I should keep it up throughout the challenge. It's nice to know that you liked that aspect. :)

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  10. I wasn't in the UK for half of April but I did read a fair few of the posts. As in all things in life, some were more interesting than others. :)

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  11. It's all down to personal preference, isn't it?

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  12. Susan although I didn't do the challenge I am finding the wrap up posts interesting. I would find the not returning visits and comments very frustrating. It's something since I started blogging that I have always done. It can be time consuming but It is the interaction that I love and getting to know others from around the world.
    By the way is there a way to sign into your blog to leave comments where I could use my name and URL of my site? I'm using Google currently.

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  13. That's the point, isn't it, Sue? Interaction is the fun part! :)

    To leave a 'signature' when you comment - this link will tell you how to do it:

    http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2016/03/a-to-z-tips-creating-signature-for.html




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  14. I am both astonished and impressed by the vast range of subjects. I learned a lot about mass murderers, herbs, wild animals, and astrophysics.

    @Kathleen01930
    Blog

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  15. It was interesting to read a variety of blogs, wasn't it? I missed the astrophysics one though! :)

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  16. I really enjoyed your posts. I also enjoyed the banter and the fact that you asked a question each day. You made it fun and I think I'm going to use your "what happens tomorrow" catch next year, if I may?
    Yes, it took far too much time and like you I have found some folk have vanished. However, I think I'm sticking with about five extra folk, thanks to the challenge.
    If I do have a go next year I will spend less time on preparations... well, so I say now! Who knows...
    Where to from here? South East Asia?? ;-)

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  17. Thanks, AJ - likewise regarding the banter - it felt like you were/are on my wavelength.
    I have no problem with anyone using my 'what happens tomorrow' tag line. I'm just pleased that people liked the idea and didn't get a fed up with my daily repeated question! :)

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