A-Z Reflections

A...A...A...what begins with A?!

Oh, wait.  I'm done with that.  I gotta get off this train.  

Actually, there was one more assignment (optional) in the A-Z Challenge.  Bloggers could write a reflection piece about their experience with the A-Z Challenge.  I thought I'd do that, since I'm drawing blanks about what to write otherwise, because I don't have a letter prompt dancing in front of me.

Here's what I learned during the A-Z Challenge.

1.  For all the griping about Blogger (and I've contributed my fair share,) I'm sticking with it.  I found non-Blogger sites to be less accessible and more tricky to navigate.  I was trying to look at 1800 blogs, and if getting in or getting out took too many steps, I moved on.  I'm not saying non-blogger sites aren't beautiful and creative and equally well-done, but writing takes enough time, and my goal for this challenge was to connect with as many great writers as possible.

2.  As I moved from blog to blog, I found that clicking the "about me" tab was the most effective way to learn about the writer, even more than reading that day's post.  The ABC prompts were fun and great for daily discipline, but didn't necessarily give me a look into the writer's heart.  I  wanted to know what inspires the author, outside the alphabet.

3.  I discovered that I was most drawn to blogs that were uncluttered.  I understand that some blogs are designed to promote products or review books, and that's fine.  These blogs need logos and icons and stickers and what-not.  I simply prefer blogs with less "stuff" attached to the sides.  I actually enjoy seeing the various backgrounds and the creative cover pages.  Some are awesome. 

4.  I loved blogs with larger print and short paragraphs. When you love to read and write, it's just kinder on the eyes. 

5.  I loved discovering that there are many writers in my phase of life, with my worldview and idiosyncrasies.

6.  I loved finding that published authors and individuals in publishing have blogs.  I love that they take the time to encourage and educate other writers.  This was a surprise to me.

7.  I learned that for next year's A-Z, I'm writing some posts ahead of time.  I was a crazy person, writing daily for a specific letter.  I have to get new glasses now.

8.  I decided that Q and X should be removed from the alphabet.  We could call X-rays "inside pictures" and queens "the King's wife."  It could work.  

9.  I learned that I have to figure out the "scheduled" posting thing, because staying up until midnight to post a post is for the birds. 

10.  The A-Z Challenge confirmed to me that, after being away from writing for five years, I still love to write.  I have to write.  It's weird, and I don't get it, but it completes me (in a non-cheesy, non-Tom Cruise-kind-of-way.)  Sometimes it's a curse, because it emboldens me to express things I wouldn't (shouldn't?) say.  Sometimes it's a blessing, because it enables me to express things I don't know how to say.  Thanks to the A-Z Challenge, I fell in love with writing all over again.  


betty said...

Neat to look back on the challenge :) I did stay at least 2-3 days ahead of the letters and wrote ahead so to speak. Knew I had to with my busy schedule :) I also learned to keep things short and sweet which is hard for me, LOL, because when checking out other blogs if they were too long of a post, I would just move on. I'm not sure I am going to do it next year, but it did get my creative juices going again :)

hope you have a great sunday!


Fran@Broken Cookies Don't Count said...

Great reflection post, Mare. I have to work on mine this afternoon. Scheduling posts is the best. It's great when you need to be somewhere Too early to get up and work on a post! I use that a lot when we're traveling. So glad I found you, thanks to the A to Z!!

Michael Ann said...

I'm with you, I am drawn to clean looking blogs with short but well-written, or at least interesting to me, stories or information. I like when I can identify with the writer. I don't care for blogs where the writer stands on a soap box about this or that. I started reading some really great and funny blogs and they turned into soap-boxes so I quit them. I got of the blog hop train for the most part and whittled down to only the blogs I really enjoy. Life is too short to spend ALL your time on the computer! :-)

I haven't done the scheduled blog posting thing yet either, but mine is simple. I post one recipe a week, hit or miss :-)

Dana said...

Next year I plan on writing ahead as well. Like you, I was up late many nights--too many nights...

I could have written your tenth point. I, too, have to write. I had started to become lax about it, but the challenge changed that, and I find that I'm now more inspired than ever!

Unknown said...

I agree 100% about non blogger sites I can't even join wordpress blogs it rejects my email every time!

Enjoyed reading your reflections Mare.

Brenda said...

I've had blogger for so long and not had issues. I did join wordpress (I don't know what I was thinking!) but never did anything with it. I did notice I couldn't comment on WP blogs without doing a sign-in process which was weird to me.
I agree about having posts written ahead of time. I've done the scheduled posts before but not in a long time.
Have you tried Windows Live Writer? I write most of my posts through it and then upload. I really like using it.
Didn't mean to talk your ear off!
Have a great week.
We're spending the night at my MIL's tonight. She fell down and hit her head at church today. :(

Tracy said...

I love it! and you know about blogger...I found that it was very difficult to comment on WordPress or any other run site and so YES, I will stick with blogger and know there are good and bads of everything! Also, I like blogs that are uncluttered as well as ones that support writers :)
Great reflections!

Elizabeth said...

If you need a hand with figuring how to pre-publish with Blogger contact me. I'd be happy to help.
I loved your #10..."in a non-cheesy, not-Tom Cruise-kind-of-way," and all of the other points you expressed.

LA Nickers said...

Nice reflective post!

I'm working on this one for all six of my participating blogs ...

Hey, you asked about the survivor image.

I see you are on BLOGGER:

Just right-click and save it. Then add the link to your image and caption it to credit Jeremy. Hope that helps.

Linda Ann

By the way, I made an unofficial A to Z finisher's badge. You're welcome to do the same with that. Find it on any of my blogs.

(Please just link-back to credit the source, if you use it or share it. Thanks.)

momto8 said...

I agree with your points! and writing simple blog posts has also helped my writing skills develop...which was one of my goals in the first place....I have issues with blogger because i am so untechnical..but I cannot complain..it's Free!!

Anonymous said...

This is a truly wonderful reflection piece. I hear you on scheduling. Blogger makes it pretty easy, I think.

I too have to write. It's part of who I am, and this blogging challenge sure lit the fires again.

Your reflection post is spot on. I couldn't agree more. Happy Monday to you:)

Tracey said...

I agree with you less is much more on a blog! Thanks for stopping by mine. Love yours too!

Jacqueline Mukweto said...

I agree with you on most of these points! I also need to work on a schedule! A to Z is great to jump start writing discipline as well.

Ian Anderson said...

Glad you're writing again, and glad you found my blog first - I wasn't the blog traveler you were during the challenge!

Empty Nest Insider said...

This was a wonderful reflections post, and I love your ideas for "Q" and "X!" Thanks so much for following me, and I look forward to getting to know you! Julie

Magic27 said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!
I enjoyed the discipline of the A to Z Challenge - without it, I tend not to write for days (or even weeks) at a time, even though I really enjoy it. Having a deadline is what makes me tick...
I'll keep dropping by here, too, now... The best thing about the challenge has been finding new blogs!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, and for signing on as a follower. It's now my pleasure to return the favor. I really enjoyed your "post-op" reflections on the A-Z, and agree with your comments. I felt a little guilty for not posting more comments on the non-Blogger blogs, but it's good to know I wasn't the only one who avoided them. Nice to meetcha! Count me in as your newest groupie.

Unknown said...

You make a lot of great points on your reflection. I especially like your #2-reading the author/blogger's "about me" tab. Great suggestion but some people don't have one or an informative profile to let me know who they really are.

Livin' Out Loud 4 Jesus

Beth Lapin said...

Thanks for stopping by my site and sharing your Ideal Blog description. It gave me food for thought.

Next year?!


Arlee Bird said...

You make some great points here. Scheduling ahead is not all that difficult and it's a must for me. It took me 2 months to find out how to use it and ever since I always use it. I think somewhere on the A to Z Blog there is a tutorial about how to do it.

Thanks for telling us what you think.

A Faraway View
An A to Z Co-host blog

Robyn Campbell said...

Loved reading your reflections. Scheduling is something you MUST do if you're doing A to Z. And even then, it takes so much time. If you're sure you're going to do it then schedule in January. I'm glad you fell in love with writing all over again though. I am so glad we met, you funny lady you!(((hugs)))

a.eye said...

I hate to admit it, but since you wrote about it, I often stopped reading a blog from the list if the paragraphs were super long.

It really is easier to read when there are breaks and your eyes don't have to continue in one super-long paragraph!

EvalinaMaria said...

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...

Unknown said...

Hi Mare, I love this post. I heard myself saying each of your reflections at one point in time. I hope you have figured out the scheduling thing, because it does make it so easy. It is on the right of blogger right under labels I think. You just click the opposite block of auto and the schedule pops up and you set the day and time. Look forward to visiting again. I enjoyed all your a through F. God bless, Maria from Delight Directed Living

Unknown said...

Just catching up. Nice reflection. I did okay with Q, but I would suggest removing Y instead. Nice blog BTW. :) http://zennjennc.blogspot.com/

orneryswife said...

That is a great reflection post. Thank you for the link!