Reflections 2016 #AtoZChallenge
This was my second attempt at the A to Z Challenge and I loved the experience, like last year. Something that I really enjoy about this challenge is how so many bloggers come together to participate. The energy, the motivation, and the spirit to encourage one and all is commendable.
Plan to succeed: I believe in the power of planning. Not that I’m great at it but this year, I was more organized than my first attempt and I saw how that helped. In the month of January, I had thought of my theme and started reading to research and pick up topics. By the time, I was ready to write and schedule, other than those ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ ones I knew what I was going to write. Then a 10 post lead when the challenge kick started was good enough to get me the time and write whenever I wanted to. I was done with all the posts a week before the challenge ended giving me ample time to stay calm and focus on connecting with others.
Write crisp: When bloggers take up this challenge, they want to write but at the same time, they want to be read. If a blogger wants to visit 30 blogs a day, (s)he has to read that many and you need to engage her/him to come back to you the next day. The bigger the post, the harder it gets to grab attention. You can always write more on the topic later but for the purpose of this challenge, 300 words do the magic.
Meaningful comments: If you like a post that you read, leave a meaningful comment. If you say, ‘Great post’, ‘Well done’, ‘Beautiful’- it just adds to the comment count but no value to the post. Give the blogger a fair share of your time. It’s important to build that connection with the topic that you just read. That is what will help you connect better and find friends in the space.
Follow and share: I made new friends and followed those blogs I would love to read throughout the year. As you get in the middle of the challenge, you will feel stretched and pressed for time. Get to the ones you follow and seek inspiration. It’s a great win-win way to encourage the one who wrote and then turn to your blog to write. I kept on reading and sharing the posts I enjoyed. Even now when the challenge is done and dusted, new friends are there to stay.
Twitter chats: Last year, I was not able to participate in the twitter chats and that left me feeling upset about the timings and how this challenge doesn’t work for people across the world. This year, I made peace with the fact that 1900 bloggers from the east to the west are writing and the timings will not work for all. It’s simply not possible. But then sometimes, a little push or even reading through the tweets later can connect you with others. So, the days it was possible for me, I tweeted at 6 in the morning and swayed along.
Being a minion: As I played a minion this year along with Claire, Shalini and Rajlakshmi, I had a wonderful opportunity to know co-host Pam from Unconventional Alliance. As a team, we looked out for each other, watched over blogs and had a good time on Slack. It’s important to push our limits else we can never know what we are capable of. Writing in advance, helped me find time to read in order to finish the tasks of being a minion.
Inspiration: This challenge has so much variety that you cannot even imagine unless you are in it. I had many favorites around. Blogs on life’s lessons, unusual occupations, quirky acronyms, being Mum to a deaf child, mental health, flash fiction on emotions, a Bollywood kind of story, travel tales, life as wife of an army officer, parenting, recipes, mermaid, books, reviews, self-reflection and everything under the Sun. The variety and passion are not something so easy to find on a normal day.
A wrap : As I wrap up A to Z Challenge for 2016, I want to share that I will be around in 2017 again with a better plan. I will read more, share more and connect more. I will also try to reply more to comments on this blog.
This challenge made me come closer to a lot of bloggers and I am glad that most felt that the theme and my posts helped them learn something new. It’s a feeling of achievement and I am glad I could do that. The host team did a great job organizing all this and keeping the bloggers engaged throughout. The daily Facebook threads were a great way to read others. I also had other Facebook groups where participating bloggers supported each other and encouraged. To me, this has become an annual ritual and I am proud to be associated with it.
Until next year, keep reading!