Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

May 8, 2012

Blogging A to Z 2012: Reflections

Well I survived the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge!

I am going to utilize the questions posed on the A-Z main blog site as a guide for my comments:

1.  How did your journey through the alphabet go?  Did you meet new bloggers with similar interests?

Having my posts almost all prepared and scheduled to publish before the end of March made life much easier.    Instead of starting at "A", I wrote topics as I thought of them, and then just organized them to be published on the right days.  I want to thank Bev at Blue Velvet Vincent for suggesting I participate.

I've added a whole bunch of new blogs to my Blog Roll, here on my main page.  Lots of creative people out there who have a lot in common with me!!!

2.  What were the highlights for you?

I did pick up quite a few new followers, which is cool.  Going into the challenge, I had about 52 followers.  I now have 93.  And I met a lot of GREAT new friends/bloggers!!!

I even won a contest at Abracadebra Designs!  I can't wait to get my new beading book!!!!  Thank you so much Debbie!!!!

3.  Did you enjoy posting daily?  What was your biggest hurdle? What was your easiest task?

I actually prefer to post every other day vs. posting daily.  That gives people more time to check my blog instead of having to catch up.

One of the biggest problems I had with the challenge is that a lot of the blogs on the list didn't actually participate, or quit part way through.  So I spent copious amounts of time trying to find people who were participating.    A lot of the post entries I encountered while surfing from blog to blog were way too long to read, especially the people who are writers and posted chapters of their stories.  I kind of prefer to hit blogs where people talk about their lives, things they are interested in, post photos & music, etc., rather than reading short stories.  There were some blogs on which I left a comment, but didn't follow.

Blogger changed the New Post/Dashboard format in the middle of the challenge which really sucked. I did manage to find the option to switch back to the old format.  The new Blogger format is extremely cumbersome and difficult to navigate.  Also all my posts are scheduled to automatically publish at 7:00 a.m. East Coast time, but I had to manually publish them in the mornings because they didn't auto publish during the challenge.  I kept checking to make sure they are on East Coast time, and they are, but they still won't auto publish.  I am hoping that Blogger lets us keep the old format if we want to, but I have a feeling they are going to be like Facebook and Pinterest, and force us into the new format.  Interesting to note that my posts are publishing automatically again now that the Challenge is over.  Hmm.....

4.  Was time management an issue?

I'm not sure I would be able to participate in a daily blog challenge again because it was very hard to keep up, not only with reading comments on my blog, but responding to them (which I only do occasionally) and keeping up with reading all the new blogs that I started to follow.  I was only able to do this because I am unemployed and on my own most of the week.  I don't know how anyone who works full time with a family at home could have participated successfully, either posting or reading/following new blogs.  I had to set aside a good chunk of time every day to do this, and by 'good chunk', I mean a couple hours during the day and another couple at night.

5.  Was it easy to come up with ideas for each letter, or were some harder?

It was fairly easy to come up with ideas for each letter.  I did try to do the difficult letters first.

6.  How about commenting?  Did you stumble upon sites still using word verification? Did this prevent you from leaving a comment?

Yes, there are A LOT of sites using word verification (aka CAPTCHA).  If you type it incorrectly it keeps giving you more words till you get it right, and since the words are nonsensical to begin with, I made a lot of typos.  It's very, very frustrating.  I find it annoying and unnecessary.  There.  I said it!!  No offense to those of you who use it/feel you need it, but I'd much rather see that my "comment will appear after blog owner approval" vs. having to take the time to do CAPTCHA.   I have never used it on my blog and have encountered very few problems with spam and trolls.  I have had an occasional spam comment but it's not enough to make my readers suffer through  CAPTCHA.  I really just want to leave my comment and go to the next blog.

7.  What will you do different next year?

Not sure.  If I am still unemployed, I will participate.  If I am working, I just don't see how I will have the time to post daily, read comments, respond to comments and visit all the new blogs too.

8.  What pearls of wisdom do you want to share with the Co-Hosts of this event?

I cannot emphasize enough the thing about not using word verification.  It's a giant pain for commenters.  Also, being a little stricter about people signing up and then not participating.  That was a colossal waste of time for me, trying to find people who were actually doing the challenge, and stuck with it through the letter Z.  I also saw some bloggers mention that maybe there can be some kind of category system to make it easier to seek out stuff people are interested in.  I love that idea!!!  That would really help cutting down on the time it takes to visit a site only to find out that it's not your cup of tea.  I am way more apt to visit blogs under 'Hobbies/Photography' than I am 'Religion'.

Overall I had a great time and am glad I participated!!  Thanks to all my new followers too! I appreciate your support!


  1. Hi, JoJo!

    Very informative reflections post!

    It was a joy having you participate! I enjoyed visiting your blog!

    I hope to see you next year - we can really only take it one day at a time; so we shall see what happens!

    Much success and prosperity in your life!

  2. Great post :) I'm so glad to have met you through the challenge! I agree with everything you've said about the improvements. I'm not sure why we even really need the verification system - apart from one or two spam comments, most of them go straight to the spam folder anyway!

  3. Anonymous10:43 AM

    First time visitor and follower and great to meet you! I did meet lots of new people and reconnected with some friends I haven't seen in a while. This Challenge is all about relationships and that's what makes it so popular.

  4. I was really happy for A to Z cuz I got to meet people like you!! Love your blog and hope you keep at it!

  5. Congrats on your contest win!

    I'm with you on the time suck factor - I averaged at least 15 new blog visits a day during the challenge, often just to find people who were actively participating (and, sometimes, just to find stuff I really wanted to comment on/follow).

    Hey, I want to "friend" you on Facebook but can't seem to. I'm there as Mina Lobo, if you want to buddy up! :-)

    Some Dark Romantic

  6. Oh my, there's reflections? I didn't know. I fell out the bandwagon when my blog caught malware. I had to clean out all the third party links. I guess thanks to your blog I'm informed now. hehe I'd surely want to copy the same questions. It was nice reading all your A-Z post.

    A Ladybug's Life


  7. Well doen for seeing it through. I certainly enjoyed reading a post a day.

    I'm with you over this word verification. Sometimes it's all but impossible to even decipher th letters they expect you to type. Blogger needs to look at it again.

  8. JoJo, love this post. I am so with you on the suck factor or word verification and idle blogs. Not enough time in the day to wade through all that!

    Congrats on your contest win...that's awesome. You and your blog are fantastic. So glad we've connected. Let's stay in touch. :)

  9. There's a lot to reflect on a month challenge and its great to hear your take on it. I think word verification was crap too and put me off commenting on some blogs. I do love the idea of having categories as I struggled to find many other illustrators :( Congrats on your blog contest win too, Thats so cool.

    I'm glad to have come across your blog & your regular comments on my blog kept me going!

  10. Great reflective post. I too mentioned about clicking on blogs on the linky and them not participating, I think from ten blogs either side of me on the list were not doing it ,what a waste of time. Word verification is a pain especially if you're using a phone to read blogs. I loved your posts and photographs.

  11. I am so glad we found each other. That was the best thing about the A-Z. Wonderful reflective post!!


  12. Are you doing the 365 project? I did that in 2010 and made it all the way to August! It was quite hard to keep up with. But I'm glad you liked the idea of the May challenge :)

  13. Anonymous2:00 PM

    Were I wearing a hat, I'd take it off to you. Blogging is quite a time-consuming thing at the best of times and you pulled off the A-Z challenge magnificently!

  14. It was a lot of fun, definitely, and positive in almost every way. I hear on the captcha code thingeys. I think a lot of people don't even know they have them. I know I didn't realize it until visited my blog from my husband's account.... I was all, like, down on people who had them when I WAS GUILTY!!!! Har... oh well. I think it's gone now.

  15. I couldn't do it, so I am in awe of those who can. Good work, Jojo.

    I have rarely been able to post in all the days of a given month... and it was only when my former governor was off with a woman in Argentina did I have enough material to blog MORE than the days of a whole month, LOL.

  16. Word verification! Yes! Damn, I forgot to mention that one! Good point, JoJo.

    I can see you doing the A to Z next year, you just won't be able to help yourself ;) At least I hope you'll be there :)

  17. Hey JoJo, Great reflection post here. I really enjoyed reading your daily posts and you have definitely made a new blog friend here.
    P.S. a few minutes ago I sent you an email. Hope you get the book soon.

  18. Interesting. I have never participated in a blogging challenge, so it is great to here about your process. Thanks for sharing.
    Everyday Inspired

  19. 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...