A to Z Reflections – An Expanded Post on Learning from #AtoZChallenge
All I have learned from A to Z Challenge 2014
As I said in my W post, it was work a lot of work and it was worth it. I forgot we had a reflections post so when W popped up and I was still dealing with being so sick it felt like the right time to post. I decided instead of listing that post on the list, I would create an expanded view of what I learned with more of the things I did this year that worked to help me not be so overwhelmed as I was in 2013 and my plans for next year.
- Create a theme and started outlining the posts
- This helped especially since I was not only doing A to Z here but also on Pen and Kink (a new erotica collective) and Wilderness Apocalypse (a fun horror blog Kai and I launched).
- Started gathering and creating my graphics and photos.
- This was really important to my blog since I am a huge visual blogger.
- Get involved with other groups doing A to Z and stick with them following more blogs to get better feedback/traffic and meet more bloggers.
- This again was fantastic to do with the other two blogs I worked on during the challenge.
My biggest downfall is I did not finish prepping and writing my blog posts ahead of time. I had the whole month of March (which I had taken off) and I truly needed it. I had some prep work but not enough and I could have really gotten it all taken care of without feeling the pressure. The problem is as much as I outlined and wrote the topic down for posts I ended up veering away from my schedule and pantsing my way through a lot of it. Below is my expanded ideas for next year
Ideas for a Successful A to Z April Challenge 2015:
- Get your readers involved.
- One of my most successful posts was when I asked my readers to help name the new cookie I created. It was so much fun and we ended up taking it all the way to twitter and back again. This next year I think I am going to start in February to show me the LOVE and ask them what they want.
- Pick a popular theme or at least one that will be popular and that also can be played with a bit.
- My food and Alaskan posts were the post popular. In fact I had one that went NUTS because it was pinned so many times on Pinterest. Check out the Irish Cake Bombs! Next year I may have to do something that combines cooking and reading my two favorite passions because I don’t want to over do Alaska and those were not my favorite to write truthfully.
- Start writing the theme posts ahead of time.
- I had my posts for the theme of Alaska, Books and Cooking outlined and some even prepared this year but I veered from the path. I need to stick to the theme and to do that, again I need to pre-plan and prep everything in March or even earlier.
- Keep up my guest blogging for a few of the days.
- I had a great response from fellow A to Z folks with my guest posts. We had wonderful authors doing my Fourth-Wall Friday plus a few authors who were part of some of the tours I had signed up for and forgotten about. I do not like doing more than one post a day if I can, and definitely no more than two. Incorporating a letter with a tour book or event was really actually fun and I could add more to it.
- If you are a book blogger schedule a few tours that go with your other posts. As long as they are not overly long or to general you can have fun.
- KEEP YOUR ARTICLES SHORT!
- This last one is a bitch for people like me. I am prolific and chatty. I like to tell a story and 350 words seems so short, believe me it isn’t. My regular readers were fine with my length but I saw a lowered response to many of the longer ones.
I am going to repeat this one, BE PREPARED! I ended up working while really sick. 2013 I also got sick and Geoff ended up writing a few to help me out. This year I had to actually take my Facebook offline and turn off the rest of my social media because I was on bed rest with some pretty serious stuff. I still am recovering and not blogging as frequently because of all this.
Working while sick sucks!
I want to repeat the most important thing I learned from 2013 that I have been working on unlearning and keeping up this following year. Do not feel obligated to follow the routine and blog every day from here on out. I did and last year if I missed a day of blogging I freaked out.
Perhaps it is my personality but look at yourself. Are you the type of person who gets in a routine and in six months you are collapsing in exhaustion and tears. Yep, happened this year and happened last year. I do not want to repeat this anymore and I missed two days of real blogging this last week and do not feel guilty at all.
One last thing? Way to go!! Congrats to everyone here. I have the links copied and since I fell behind because of being sick I plan to go and still visit all those blogs. Thanks everyone who stopped by!
What have you learned? Going to do it again in 2015?