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!