Monday, May 9, 2016

A-Z Reflection Post

I finished the A-Z April "blog challenge" last month, and I'm offering these thoughts for those for the folks who run the thing (per their request):

Probably won't do it again.

This was my second go-around with the challenge (the last time was in 2011...five years ago!), and I wanted to see if I could "still do it." As before, I was able to complete the thing. The strategy for me is simple: think of a theme, and figure out your 26 theme-related alpha topics prior to starting. After that, it's all about grinding out the posts.

"Grind." That's the best way to describe it. My posts were, for the most part, lackluster and uninspired...forced, really. Most of the times when I blog, there's something I'm itching to write about...stuff that keeps me up at 3am (not that I sleep anyway). I didn't feel that way this time. Perhaps I chose a poor topic...certainly I chose an "easy" one for a gaming blog. Maybe it's just the "other stuff" in my life was getting me down. I don't know.

What I do know is that the A-Z challenge felt like an endurance race this year, and I'm not really built for least not when it comes to creativity. At least not this year. I did it, mainly 'cause I dislike being categorized as a "quitter" (I fully intend to come back to all my unfinished projects at SOME point in my life) and because it didn't take a ton of effort. If the challenge had been "write 1000 words on every daily topic" ...well, that might have broken my resolve.

As it was, I "phoned it in" and it still felt like a grind.

SO...probably won't be participating in the future. I've had two shots at it, finished both, and now will return to my usual bloggishness. Maybe my tune will change in the future...check in with me in another five years.

Didn't know where else to put this.


  1. I agree that this year felt more like a grind than others. I think I will do it again, since I do like challenges, but I need to think about what is good for the blog, my audiences and what I can add that is of substance.
    Personally I did not feel like you "phoned it in", I certainly didn't feel like I did either

    But in order for the posts to "feel right" you have to do it for your own reasons. Otherwise it does feel forced.

    1. @ Tim:

      I definitely wasn't trying to denigrate yours (or anyone else's) experience. Sorry if it came off that way!

  2. True enough, gentlemen, JB and Timothy: and you know I have no interest in doing it.

    But learning to write on Spec is one of the strongest, most enduring lessons for a writer. You won't find a top writer in the lexicon who doesn't describe a period in their lives where having to churn out words wasn't necessary - and ultimately good for them. Hemingway wrote for the Kansas City Star, saying that "writing for a paper was a good experience for writer - provided he gets out of it in time."

    You're learning that it's time for the two of you; you've learned your lessons, is all, and doing it again didn't teach you enough the second time to make it worth your while.

    I got my experience in other things and other places, before the internet existed - but yep, same experience. A grind.

    Anyway, well done to both of you. I'll say thank you because, well, someone should.

    1. @ Alexis:

      Ha. Thanks for that...I needed to reminder. And it IS worth remembering.
      : )

  3. I'm working my way through as many participants' blogs as possible. I've visited around 500 of the 1300 so far. Now that the recaps are all listed in one place, I'm working my way through them as well and as you probably know, your blog is #65. So of more than 500 participants' blogs I've visited, yours is the first I recall to publicly declare,'Nope, not doing it next year'. Refreshing, to say the least, as I'm quite certain you're not alone. I definitely had my ups and downs mainly due to hopping on this last-minute and having to learn some hard lessons on the fly. There are some posts I am prouder of than others, that's for sure! It really is a huge time commitment, and if you feel you're not getting a return on your investment either in concrete terms such as blog activity or in more nebulous areas of craft, it's not for you. As solopreneurs it's important to know how best to spend our time because it's just us - I don't have any minions to handle the extra work load for me. Yet.

  4. Such a shame you didn't enjoy the challenge, but if it feels like a chore, then it's probably a good decision to not do it again - after all, blogging is supposed to be fun!