Reflections on A to Z 2013

a to z survivor_[2013]Time for the annual reflections post on this year’s April A to Z challenge.

THE PLUSES:

My blog specifically

The opportunity to let people know this blog exists.Outcome: my readership, and my commenters, increased enormously.

The pleasure of sharing some beautiful places in Australia world-wide, a virtual tour. Outcome: this seemed to be well received.

The chance to have some fun with the Aussie-isms. Outcome: readers seemed to enjoy them, and it was interesting to see which phrases we have in common.

Outcome for me overall: I really enjoyed reading people’s comments and seeing places through their eyes. I found some great new-to-me blogs!

For the first couple of weeks I had posts pre-scheduled but then after significant computer problems, I was scurrying.  I had pre-planned my themes almost as last year’s challenge finished, and prepared a spreadsheet checklist of topics, though I did change one or two closer to the time.

It’s been great seeing that my visitors have come from all over the world, but I wish I’d thought to put a map counter on my blog before we started rather than after!

I’ve added a new page to my blog so all my A to Z 2013 posts are in one place.

A to Z in general

I really liked the coding to each blog and regretted not “reading the manual” before I posted my link. In my defence, that conspicuous warning notice hadn’t then been added.

I enjoy sharing across the different themes – like reading a different book genre it opens you up to new blogs.

There seemed to be fewer blogs requiring CAPTCHA shenanigans this year, but still some.

I did a Sunday Synopsis post for three weeks listing some of the blogs I read, but again technical problems and life in general slowed me down.

The tip to put our signature with a hot link to the A to Z blog was great! Thanks guys!

THE NOT-SO-GOOD

My blog specifically

I’d just completed the February Photo Collage Festival every day in Feb on my other blog so hitting another daily commitment for a month was a strain. I wouldn’t do back-to-back like that again.

Pre-planning the posts worked well as did scheduling posts, but the hunting for photos took a fair bit of time: an incentive to keep working on my photo archives in the coming year.

The technical problems I had with two laptops being started from scratch and learning new programs meant that I was playing catch-up for the last two weeks.

A to Z in general

I think the now-huge list is just too massive to cover. Perhaps it’s more reasonable to expect that bloggers aim for a more realistic target. For example I really don’t like fantasy writing (sorry authors!) so I’m unlikely to invest much time there, nor do I have any worthwhile comments to make. There are other themes where I’d happily spend my time.

While it’s nice to know someone has “liked” your post, I prefer comments – probably we all do. Having said that if I’ve commented on several posts on a blog I’d like to be able to just “like” another one or two of their posts. Many bloggers don’t provide a “like” option at all.

If I go to the trouble of making a comment I find it so frustrating if people don’t bother to respond. It feels like you’re left talking to yourself.

Some blogs seemed to have their A to Z posts quite obscured. Sidebar links? Top bars?

We all make typos from time to time, but some bloggers mis-spell so much it’s hard to make sense of what they’re saying. I’m being a grammar tyrant but it sets my teeth on edge. Yes, I know that’s down to individual bloggers and not the organisers or the challenge itself.

I follow my favourite blogs via Google Reader rather than subscribe via email and with the loss of Reader mid-year I’m going to have to move to Feedly or something else. The challenge is keeping up with reading the myriad blogs I follow especially when life gets in the way.

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

Right now I’m saying to myself “I’ve done two A to Z challenges I won’t do another” but that may be the February challenge speaking as well.

Give me a month or two and my position will be clearer. Much will depend on whether I have a theme I want to follow. (Oh no, I just thought of one!)

KUDOS

Thanks to Arlee Bird and all the co-organisers and supporters who visited many blogs. I wonder if they managed any sleep in April?

Thanks also to the new readers of my blog and the wonderful people who commented, once, twice or many times. You made my days!

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