The month of April has come and gone, which means
a. I’m another year older
b. I’ve attended yet another awesome Writer’s Day AND
2. I wonder what theme I’ll use again next year.
As you can see I find myself being pulled into two different directions.
On one hand, the A-Z was as hectic (and as crazy) as I expected it to be.
On the other hand, I was more prepared this year. I had finished writing and scheduling all but one post (I had to wait for Writer’s Day to happen before I actually wrote a report on it) before April even began.
This left me with 21 days (not counting weekends) to visit all 1944 blogs that had signed up for the challenge. This was not exactly a requirement for the A-Z, but I thought I’d do it anyway to challenge myself. I started visiting 75 blogs a day, then it grew to 100. Sometimes I got to visit as many as 150 blogs a day.
Of course the amazing A-Z hosts made it a point to clean up the list, so in the end, I only had to visit 1722 blogs. And I did manage to visit all of them—with a whole week to spare.
What I Learned From This Year’s A-Z
1. Preparation is key, but preparation = a lot of hard work.
This means a few sleepless nights, and many, many stressful moments. It helps that I had my martial arts class so I could release the stress in a physical and concrete way.
2. I am capable of many new ideas.
I spent the 2nd week of March racking my brains for possible topics, before finally deciding on a different theme each day of the week.
The A-Z Challenge made me realize that I’m capable of writing on just about any topic. Having the themes really did help, as I knew what topic to focus on and write about.
3. I am capable of proper time management.
I had planned to start writing my posts early since I knew it would make it easier for me to schedule them ahead of time. I thought I would start writing an extra post as soon as March appeared on the calendar, but of course I was wrong. I had a million other things to do and I had to finish all my March posts before I started writing my A-Z ones.
In the end I had only the last two weeks of March to write my A-Z posts—which meant I was writing anywhere from 2-4 articles per day. All this while fulfilling my accounting responsibilities at work. My bosses allow me to do my own thing, but only if it doesn’t interfere with my actual 9-6 job.
4. I actually like writing and scheduling my posts ahead of time.
Before I started this year’s challenge, I usually wrote my articles on the day I was supposed to post them. I would often show up to work pondering what I would write about that day, and wondering if I would be able to post it before lunch.
Because I had scheduled all my posts for April, I actually had some extra time to do other things (besides visit blogs of course). I was able to fulfill my responsibilities for the two writing organizations I belonged to (CBW-LA & SCBWI), and I was also able to work on my own manuscript.
Thanks to my experience with the A-Z challenge, I have decided to make sure I schedule most of my posts ahead of time.
5. I am capable of visiting 100 blogs a day.
How did I manage it? Well, being a fast reader does help—and most of the blog posts I encountered were short. I was able to visit around 50 blogs in an hour.
It’s time consuming and sometimes draining (all that information!), but now I know I have no excuse not to make time for my wonderful bloggy friends.
6. I hate word verification.
Visiting 100 blogs a day and leaving appropriate, unique comments—while at work– means I have no time to spare. I waste valuable seconds reading those unreadable word verification codes and typing them out, sometimes several times. I’d get frustrated and often annoyed when I had to type the code 4 or more times in a row because I couldn’t get it right. And every time the computer would accuse me of being a spammer or of needing an eye exam, because obviously I wasn’t doing it right.
7. I love reading and writing quality posts.
I find myself drawn to blogs with a lot of quality posts. I enjoy entertaining, informative or educational posts—articles which the writer definitely put a lot of thought and effort into writing. It not only gives me things to think about, but also gives me material to relate and respond to. My comments are often longer when I read posts that strike a chord with me.
8. There are a lot of amazing bloggers and writers out there.
And I want to be friends with them all! I am lucky to be a part of such an amazing and supportive community.
On that note, I have one last thing to say:
I have an award to give away, and this one is special because I made it myself and I intend to share it with all of you who have survived through the challenging A-Z Contest.
I hereby bequeath The Blogging Nut Award to all those who have survived the A-Z Challenge!
I vow to get to you each and everyone of you again to give you the award personally, but please feel free to grab the award from this page once you read it. God knows you deserve it! After all, you wrote 26 incredibly awesome posts and managed to visit most, if not all the people on the list. And even if you didn’t make it to the end, you still deserve this award for at trying.
Congratulations all of you!
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