Monday, May 7, 2012

A to Z Reflections

So, we survived our second A to Z Challenge with the final post landing right on schedule. Running twice through the Challenge has generated a number of thinkings up in my think goo. And now, I'd like to share some of that goo with you.

Planning makes things easier: This year was much easier than my first, largely because I planned ahead. I set up a spreadsheet with the title of each day's post filled out in advance. I wrote the posts ahead of time and scheduled all weekday posts to go live at 8am on their day. I tried to gain a few days by writing multiple posts when I felt inspired. This worked well early on, but by the end of the month, I was typically writing the next day's post the evening before.

My stats went up a lot!: My monthly page views hit a new all-time high of 2,848. It's not a lot in the scope of the internet, but it beat my previous record by about 750 views.

My readership only went up a little: I only gained five or six subscribers during this year's A to Z. I suspect that this was due to my next realization.

I read very few new blogs: I tried to pop over to new blogs whenever possible, but my otherwise busy schedule prevented a lot of new reading. I have a hard enough time keeping up with the blogs to which I am already subscribed (my Google Reader as over 700 unread entries right now!). Though I wanted to find new stuff and add more, I kept asking myself, "Am I really going to have time to read this?" Did anyone else have a similar experience? What is your philosophy when subscribing to new blogs? Do you only keep the ones you actually read, or do you subscribe to some as an "I appreciate what you're doing" gesture without really paying attention after the fact?

Gaming blogs are a bit of a niche: Last year, I found a bunch of new gaming blogs to read during the A to Z Challenge. I still follow most of them. When I went on a similar hunt for new inspiration this year, I found my returns significantly diminished. Many of the blogs that stood out in the A to Z list were ones I already followed. I tried to weed out new nerdly blogs, but had a hard time of it. I tend to gravitate towards sci-fi authors and fellow GMs, because as much as I love motherhood, I'm not really the right demographic for mommy blogs or "Footsteppy" inspirational drivel. The thought of leaving a post on some mother's blog to the effect of "Oh man, I remember when I got stung by a bee as a kid. It sucked donkey balls! Hey, check out my thoughts on archvillains over at" just doesn't seem right. It makes me giggle and cringe at the same time, like watching Ricky Gervais.

Will I participate next year? Maybe. I certainly appreciate the A to Z Challenge as an exercise in creative overcharging. Just like NaNoWriMo or Movember, it encourages an individual to produce through writer's block, fatigue, itchiness and bouts of food-stickage. However, as I extrapolate the diminishing returns I encountered growing my readership and reading list, I am given pause to ask, is it worth it? I am undecided.


  1. Spot on. Thanks for listing me on the side.

  2. Congratulation on finishing the challenge. During the challenge I didn't visit as many blogs as I would like to but, cross my heart, I'm visiting every single one with the reflection post! I am so glad my journey brought me here.

    Evalina, This and that...


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