Over the Moon Link Party

What I learned from 26 Days of AtoZ Blogging Challenge

May 9, 2016
a to z survivor challenge

a to z survivor 2016

When my friend Leanne, from Cresting the Hill told me about the April AtoZ Blogging Challenge I had mixed feelings.  I’m always up for a challenge but 26 days of blogging using the alphabet was a little daunting.  My mind was racing as I wondered if I could keep up the pace, what would I write about, what theme would I choose.

There are many times over the 15 months that I have been blogging where I wondered ‘what am I going to write about?’  Sometimes I felt panic – ‘I don’t think I will write anything again!’.  However, iinspiration usually arrives – albeit at the 11th hour and off I go publishing another post.

26 daily posts that were quality was a tall order but with some preparation and planning I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  My theme was the A to Z Guide to a Healthier, Happier Lifestyle and I’ve since incorporated my posts into an online course with very positive feedback.

So what did I learn from 26 days of posting for the AtoZ Challenge?

Commitment

It takes commitment to achieve anything worthwhile.  Taking on a challenge for me means staying the course no matter how hard it may be.  Once I had made the commitment to #atoz challenge I knew I would see it through.

Content

Content will come – even though you think that you have writer’s block.  Of course, it is much easier to write about a theme so I think that is something I would recommend to all taking the AtoZ Challenge – find your theme and the content will come.  I felt that my writing and my confidence improved.

Time Management

Planning your time is vital in order to achieve the output and also to keep a high standard.  I actually read some posts about the AtoZ Challenge where it was recommended to start writing before day 1.  This was great advice as I could incorporate writing posts for the challenge and then scheduling them for the appropriate day.

There are so many bloggers in this world

I was amazed at the number of bloggers that participated and equally amazed that there were very few with the same or similar themes.  There was a great variety of themes and I also started to appreciate bloggers who write poetry.

New Friendships formed

During the 26 days ;virtual’ friendships were formed with those that I was following and those that followed me.  I started to look forward to each day with anticipation and curiosity for what everyone would write about.

Highs and Lows

This Challenge was like a roller coaster ride at times with many highs and lows. 

There were quite a few highs such as:-

  • feeling proud about my achievement in completing the challenge
  • connecting with others who provided positive feedback
  • feeling excited with each post published
  • feeling accomplished with the quality of the content I was able to produce
  • my pageviews and comments increased dramatically

There were also some lows:-

  • keeping up with commenting and visiting other bloggers
  • feeling tired and spent at the end.
  • When I finished the challenge I actually felt lost and a wondered if I could every reproduce another body of work.

I actually missed the challenge when it was finished

Although I was mentally tired after the challenge and doubted my future in blogging I found that I really missed the challenge.  I missed the feeling of writing and posting daily about a theme that I was passionate about .  I missed interaction with others who were undertaking the challenge.

Since we have finished I have taken a short break and am now back full of enthusiasm.

Would I do another AtoZ Challenge? – You bet I would!

Would I recommend others take the Challenge? – For sure!

Let’s Keep Sizzling!

 

Ageing Well, Living Well with Sue

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42 Comments

  • Reply Leanne May 9, 2016 at 20:27

    I’m so glad you found the challenge worthwhile Sue – I’d hate to think I’d led you down the garden path and killed your enthusiasm for blogging! I found it all really full-on too and I was quite relieved when it was finished – but….. who knows what April 2017 holds? Maybe we’ll both be back doing it again (my posts would be shorter!)

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 9, 2016 at 20:34

      Yes I think we both put in so much effort and produced quality posts. I know it took it out of us as it was very full on but I’m proud of what we both produced – quality!

  • Reply Deepti Agrawal May 9, 2016 at 20:39

    I loved your Healthier Happier tips Sue.. And also loved your comments on my writes too..
    Congratulations to all of us for enjoying the challenge.. Hope to read more n more from you in future too..

    https://serendipityofdreams.blogspot.in/2016/05/reflections-2016.html

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 10, 2016 at 07:51

      Thank you Deepti I loved your poetry and I think we all did well to complete the challenge. Now to prepare for next year LOL:)

  • Reply Mason Canyon May 9, 2016 at 21:16

    So glad you decided to give the challenge a try (and a finish), Sue. It was a fun way for me to find new intriguing blogs such as yours. I’m in awe of you and the other bloggers who accepted the challenge. I enjoyed your posts.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 10, 2016 at 07:51

      Thanks Mason! I’m glad I decided to take up the challenge and actually found it very rewarding although full on!

  • Reply Michele May 9, 2016 at 21:47

    Excellent Reflections post! I really enjoyed your theme and looked forward to visiting your posts. You should be so proud of what you accomplished. I’m glad you decided to take on the challenge! Wasn’t it so much fun?!

    I just love the name of your blog — and I’m one who is sizzling toward sixty too. 🙂

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog over the coming months…

    Congrats on a job well-done!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 10, 2016 at 12:03

      Hi Michele1 How lovely of you to stop by to comment and it is great to meet another person sizzling towards sixty. The challenge was full on but I’m so glad I did it. I like to extend myself and this challenge certainly did that! Have a great week and keep in touch. xx

  • Reply Tasha Duncan-Drake May 9, 2016 at 22:42

    Yay for having a good month. Last week I just took the week off – my husband had some time off from work so I took time off too and we just bummed around – I think it helped to recover from the frenetic April :).
    Tasha
    Tasha’s Thinkings

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 10, 2016 at 07:53

      Yes Tasha I took some time off as well. WE escaped to our apartment by the beach and just forgot about blogging for a while. April was certainly frenetic but I’m glad I took part in the challenge it really extended me.

  • Reply AJ Sefton May 9, 2016 at 23:46

    Brilliant reflections! I did not include all of these points, but as you have pointed them out, I should have. Commitment, endurance, discipline – all things we have succeeded in. Well done to us all!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 10, 2016 at 07:54

      Hi AJ! Yes we all did a fabulous job and I was impressed with the variety of topics which made the challenge even more interesting.

  • Reply Lissa Johnston (@Lissa_Johnston) May 10, 2016 at 00:53

    I enjoyed getting back into a blogging groove, but the better takeaway for me was on engagement. There’s no reason not to continue engaging at the same level even after the challenge is over. I’m still working my way through that huge list of participants. It may take me the rest of the year, but I plan to at least have a quick look at everyone’s blog. No pressure 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 10, 2016 at 07:55

      That is a great idea Lissa because there were so many blogs I couldn’t visit them all.

  • Reply Mary Lou May 10, 2016 at 01:46

    Thanks, Sue! You and Leanne were very positive companions on the AtoZ Journey! I too felt that let-down when it was over. I also gained so much blogging experience and met so many enthusiastic bloggers. 🙂
    https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/category/a-to-z-challenge/

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 10, 2016 at 07:57

      Hi Mary Lou, yes I felt let-down and a little loss of focus when I had finished. Now I need to keep in contact with those bloggers that I connected with. Enjoy your week!

  • Reply Mars May 10, 2016 at 08:50

    It’s certainly a challenge, I thought nothing of blogging for the last week as I took the time off, not that I post that regularly apart from April, a couple of times a months suits me better as the day job, and the night job have got increasingly busier so there’s simply less time – it was good to have that extended period of blogging almost everyday!

    Glad you enjoyed the challenge, we have very similar highs and lows!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 10, 2016 at 11:59

      Yes you are busy! I am retired so write a couple of posts per week not every day but the challenge was a wonderful experience.

  • Reply jeremy May 11, 2016 at 02:19

    the whole challenge can be overwhelming… but if you can come out with a smile on your face and no madness in your heart… well win! We made it… Hope you had a great time, thank you for your Reflection!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2016]

    T-SHIRTS, MUGS, FREE MAGAZINE… OH MY!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood… is Nuts?

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 11, 2016 at 13:59

      Yes Jeremy it was overwhelming but in a peverse way I thoroughly enjoyed it! Now to think about next year’s theme….

  • Reply Random Musings May 11, 2016 at 11:15

    Congratulations on completing the challenge – it’s so much fun and a great accomplishment. I felt the same when the challenge ended, sort of lost. I post daily anyway so it wasn’t that, it was more that I missed the interactions, although a lot of my regular visitors are still visiting me and I them
    Debbie

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 11, 2016 at 16:42

      I don’t think I could keep up the pace of posting everyday but because I did it for April I certainly felt lost at the end. I will definitely do it again next year but I think I need to start thinking of a theme!

  • Reply gigi May 12, 2016 at 02:50

    I wish I had done the A-Z Challenge! Next time! Yes, I imagine it would be completely daunting! But you did a fantastic job!!!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 12, 2016 at 09:28

      Hi Gigi! Yes you should do it next year! I’m going to think of my theme earlier and start preparing so that it isn’t such a struggle to think of what to write. Thank you I’m glad you liked my efforts xx

  • Reply Annette May 12, 2016 at 14:50

    Hi Sue.
    As I have told you many times it was really a pleasure to participate in your well-prepared challenge. I hope you are doing an e-book or another challange sometime.
    xx Annette

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 12, 2016 at 15:51

      Thank you so much dear Annette! Yes I am working on an e-book and another challenge so watch this space! 🙂

  • Reply Jeffrey Scott May 13, 2016 at 00:46

    You did an awesome job during the challenge. I enjoyed reading each of your posts.
    It was nice to have you stop by for a visit as well. It’s always appreciated.
    I too loved the concept of meeting new people and finding new bloggers to interact with.
    Love to read about your reflections on your first ever AtoZ. This was only my second and I think I will do it again, despite how much work I put into it.
    PS – I finally got around to posting my own reflections.
    Posting poetry might be an interesting way to go next year. I’ve done that before oddly enough. Long before I even knew about the AtoZ.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2016 at 09:19

      Thank you Jeffrey it was a challenge but I really enjoyed it. Now the problem of what to write for next year!

  • Reply Carol Cassara May 13, 2016 at 01:11

    Those challenges are really hard work and do take a lot of commitment. Kudos to you for seeing it through.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2016 at 09:20

      Yes Carol it really was a challenge! I felt absolutely spent at the end but I love to extend myself and this certainly did the job!

  • Reply Helene Cohen Bludman May 13, 2016 at 03:40

    Congratulations to you for finishing successfully. I have never tried one of these monthly challenges because I worry I will run out of things to blog about.

    • Reply Pam McKay May 22, 2016 at 06:21

      Helene, you were courageous enough to write a blog post about purchasing a bra, even when your children, their friends and casual acquaintances can read the post. Monthly challenges move one beyond writing about the gym and struggles with self-esteem on to a deeper level of writing. You can do it!

      • Reply Sue Loncaric May 22, 2016 at 10:52

        Hi Pam, I’m not sure but I think you may have posted here by accident? Have a great day!

  • Reply Doreen McGettigan May 13, 2016 at 04:12

    This was my 4th year of participating and my 2nd year of being a ‘helper.’ I was definitely challenged this year because of travel but I did it!
    Your posts were very inspiring and there is always the Insecure Writers Support Group if you are interested. It is a once a month post with a lot of the same participants.
    I try to visit as many of the A-Z participants as I can throughout the year because it is so hard to do in one month.

  • Reply Toni McCloe May 13, 2016 at 06:37

    To me doing an AtoZ challenge sounds a little ( make that a lot)kike Chinese water torture. You picked a great theme and should be really proud of your work.l

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2016 at 09:21

      Yes I had no idea what it was all about Toni but I’m always up for a challenge. This really extended me with my writing skills and I was amazed I could actually think of something for X and Z!

  • Reply Lois Alter Mark May 13, 2016 at 07:42

    I give you so much credit for doing this. I did NaBloPoMo one year and it was exhausting! Not sure if I would ever do it again although I did learn many of the lessons you’ve pointed out here.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2016 at 09:22

      Oh thank you Lois! I’ve not heard of NaBloPoMo but I think I’ve had enough challenge for one year! LOL:)

  • Reply Cathy Lawdanski May 13, 2016 at 08:45

    Sue – I have never done a challenge. Your post is inspiring me to give one a try!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 16, 2016 at 09:23

      Oh you should Cathy it IS A CHALLENGE but so rewarding. My pageviews dramatically increased during the challenge but I think more importantly my confidence in writing soared.

  • Reply The Savvy Age May 16, 2016 at 22:38

    I’m late to the game and ready to start the A-Z except it’s May! Congrats on finishing ! #overthemoon

    • Reply Sue Loncaric May 17, 2016 at 16:02

      Oh never mind do it anyway LOL:) thanks for the congratulations it was my first time and it certainly extended me but it was a fun experience. Now I have to think of a theme for next year 🙂

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