My Reflections #A2ZChallenge 2015
When I signed up for the April 2015 A to Z Challenge, I was totally caught unaware. This was my first time taking the challenge like this one and as I mentioned in my theme reveal post that the only thing I knew was that I wanted to write about women. My idea was to do something meaningful in terms of my writing and choosing of topics and that’s why the theme was picked. Having said that, I had heard from veterans in the blogging space that planning and scheduling posts would be crucial to the successful completion of the challenge. With that idea in mind, I began well by sorting out the topics that I wanted to write about and that was a good head start. But then I wrote every single day and luckily in my favor all my posts were published on time per the schedule. Phew! Looking back, I feel like patting myself on the back!
The Challenge: The more you plan, the better this challenge gets in terms of visiting other blogs and learning from others. Though it was difficult for me, I burnt midnight oil to catch up on posts and comments. Yes, it is ideal to pre-schedule and I wish I was able to do that but I also enjoyed the fun of writing daily.
The A to Z team , kept a great vigil and hopped over to comment and encourage. That was really good! I wish that the twitter chats would have been planned at a time that was decent for folks from India to attend. I could not participate in any of them.
Comments & Stats: Oh my God! I have never received so many comments on my posts in a matter of one night. This is the most record-breaking stats and comments ever. From all over the world, fellow bloggers and readers poured in to share their love and thoughts. Never expected that. Humbled and so happy!
I made it a point to respond to each comment on my blog and visit as many blogs as possible. Yes, I could have done much more, but I will leave that to better planning next time.
Drafting & Scheduling: As the challenge progressed I realized that writing crisper posts will be better to grab attention span of my readers. While 1500+ bloggers were enrolled in the challenge and if each wants to read at least 20 posts each day, it’s hard to expect more that a 5 mins reading time because anything beyond that would be a lot of time investment apart from writing and doing other things. So, whenever I had a lot of content, I shared embedded links within the post for readers to read per their interest and kept the word count within 500 words. It did work!
To cater to global audience, my posts were published at 00:05 hours each day and this helped my get the viewership while I was still asleep. This worked well and it is going to be an approach I will follow.
Blogs and bloggers: During the theme reveal post and otherwise, throughout the challenge I was awestruck by the various blogs around and the amazing writing skills of bloggers. From poetry to verses to flash fiction or 55 word fiction, there were so many great themes and blogs. Unfortunately, I could not read a lot but the ones I did were simply amazing. Even if I attempt to mention all of them here – I will not be able to do justice to all. So cheers to all those bloggers who I met and will stay in touch!
Inspiration: My takeaways were something that tops the charts. I felt how we are divided by nations but united in thoughts. I realized how bloggers come from different cultures but every one wants a better world. I witnessed that women speak more of issues pertaining to women and men choose to keep quiet. I realized a sweet love story always brings a smile and firms the belief that love rules. I saw how every one loves Yoga! Pictures are important and through this challenge I witnessed how bloggers focused on great content and relevant picture. I was amazed when bloggers used as few as 4 lines to convey so much. I met a daughter who lost her father and how her each post was a tribute to him – heart warming and emotional. There was a lot of variety and a lot of passion. Something that we don’t see every day.
Sharing is caring: Writing and scheduling was not the only thing in the challenge. Sharing over twitter or FB brought a lot of more readers from all over. The hashtag and those retweets were a way to say we all cared for each other and the one sense of community prevailed.
Final word: As I wrap up this challenge, I wanted to share that though there are things that I am not proud of, there are many things that I am of being an Indian woman. Yes, we face cases of honor killing or acid attacks but we also have daughters who are making their mark in each field. My posts throughout this challenge spoke of a lot of things that may not be good to hear and that is a reality but another reality is that Indian women are ready to change. With hope and faith, things are already on a path of betterment and I am sure they will be better in days to come.
Thank you for all your support and encouragement. This challenge wasn’t possible without your love!