Reflections on the A-Z Challenge

Now that the A-Z Challenge has come to an end, I figured I’d give it some sort of a tribute or acknowledgement. This was a lot of fun and I decided to take the challenge a step further than using it to write a post a day. I was already in the habit of posting daily on my roughly 3 month old blog when the challenge started so I didn’t think posting daily was challenging enough. I decided to try out different writing styles- dictionary and encyclopedia entries, poetry, short stories, flash fiction. It’s been a while since I’d written in many of those formats so it pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was actually a lot of fun to try my hand at writing styles I wouldn’t normally use. I especially loved the flash fiction writing, lucky for me I’ll be practicing fiction more often since I signed up for Simon’s multi-blog science fiction adventure.

I also wanted to use the challenge as an opportunity to explore. I used my theme of emotions, feelings and states of being to tap into things I normally wouldn’t post about. I tried to raise awareness on issues from intolerance to depression. I let myself reflect and be vulnerable. I’m in a great chapter of my life right now, I feel good about myself, I’ve found acceptance, forgiveness and healing. My life wasn’t always like that. I wanted to let myself embrace my former self, give her a voice, let others see where I’ve come from to be the person I am today. It was scary, exciting, nerve-wrecking, thrilling, fulfilling, and amazing. If you’ve been following me for a while you saw a side of me that you might not have seen otherwise. If you just started following me, you have gotten to know me under different circumstances.

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From a blogging perspective I was curious to see what would happen to my stats during the challenge. I host meet and greets every other weekend so I tend to see a spike in my stats twice a month from the traffic generated from those. Overall my blog was getting about 150 hits a day and around 280 visitors a week (excluding meet and greet weekends). During the challenge, I did see an increase immediately within the first week. I was getting around 230 hits a day with roughly 480 visitors a week. The numbers fluctuated throughout the course of the month but hoovered around that mark. It’s hard to analyze accurately because there’s always an increase in stats during meet and greet weekends making it difficult to differentiate A-Z traffic from Meet & Greet traffic. I started off the challenge with 544 followers and as I write this now have 705. Again, it’s tricky to determine which of those are thanks to the challenge versus people that found their way over through other avenues but regardless I’m humbled by such beautiful growth a 1 month period.

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My most viewed post was my “G” post. I did a little feature on a local street artist that makes huge bubbles for kids to play with as they walk along the boardwalk. I sent the link to the post to him on Facebook, he shared it and that post generated a ton of traffic, seeing Italy as my top country for views for the first time in my stats.

My most liked post was on Optimism. I absolutely love the Winston Churchill quote I found to sum up the post, it resonates with me profoundly.

The post with the most comments was on Courage in which I tried to highlight the ways people display courage on a daily basis.

I have to say, while I have always valued every visit, like and comment before the challenge I have even more appreciation for them now! While I did get more exposure, that didn’t translate as a “win” for me. I thrive off of the interaction aspect of blogging and while I was getting a ton of hits, they didn’t bring an increase to my likes or comment stats. I’m happy that my work was read but it makes the experience a little empty for me. I’m happy to have the followers that I do. I love the conversations that are sparked, the friendship that we form, and the stories we share. I’d rather have 700 followers that stop by often, interact and enjoy the content than 7,000 and feel like I’m writing to an empty audience. For me blogging is a creative outlet, it’s a form of self-expression, I’m putting my heart and thoughts out there, it’s fulfilling and that can’t be analyzed by statistics.

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Thank you to everyone that stopped by to see where this challenge took me. I had a great time! I’ve grown as a person, writer and blogger and look forward to doing this again next year! My expectation won’t be to get more exposure for my blog but just to have fun and build my writing muscles up.

Side note– I started the challenge off as #503 and ended as #374. As other bloggers dropped off by not posting daily the rest of our participant numbers moved around.

If you missed out on any posts and would like to catch up on them, you can find them all listed here.

24 thoughts on “Reflections on the A-Z Challenge

  1. I love your perspective! I feel the same way and love the small group of people that have contributed to and have followed my blog. Blogs should be a way to expand your talents and meet people who can help you grow, as well as grow along with you. Thank you for your thoughts!

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  2. Your reflections are interesting, but I never look at my stats, just read my followers posts and twitter the ones I really like, hasn’t been easy in April while shifting into town and no internet on the farm.

    This morning I checked them out and see I have a 199 followers, very pleased with that result as I only started my blog when I signed up for “blogging 101” back in January.

    Enjoy reading yours and looking forward to your future posts.
    Have a nice day.

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  3. Wonderful reflection on the challenge Niki, and obviously I was pulled in by the meet and greet but you analysis of the hit results is fascinating…although that has a very Spock feel about it….fascinating that is…I’m rsther awed by the community spirit here and while late to blogging feel it’s an inspiration to the daily news I’m fed saying the worlds separating rather than uniting. This blogosphere is a global environment and what I see here is beneath the daily blah is real people all over accepting who they are and living together in one big ‘family’. I feel I have a bucket load of undiscovered blogs and friends to find yet. Quite an inspiring thought that 🙃

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    1. Thank you Gary. I’m so glad that I found the community this time. I tried blogging 3 years ago and quit after a month because I didn’t understand how to engage with bloggers. I continued to read but didn’t blog myself. Then my hubby inspired me to start blogging again and I started engaging in one neighborhood of the community which lead me to others and here I am starting my own neighborhood 🙂

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      1. Serendipity again!! Two years ago I set up my blog, made one post and did exactly the same!! It was only when my book readers said I was good (their words not mine, I still feel rubbish at it!) that I thought I’d try again and put some up for total strangers to look at. I think I said before I came back in January and decided to step out of my default comfort zone and engage anyone that wanted to. I’ve only got 83 followers since then but they are all like minded, generous and wonderful people. More than just followers and many are no longer strangers. I need to post more though !!! I’m really pleased we hooked up too. That was unexpected and driven by more than a chance encounter on your meet and greet methinks 😁

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      2. Quality not quantity is the phrase methinks 🙃 Build slowly and make sure they are right for your community type of thing. I have some news too….I think I just found a professional proof reader for my book 😁

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      3. Why thank you…except now I have two thought trains crashing together….good it’s moving forward and bad they will return it saying rubbish go no further with this monstrosity…it’s a terrible feeling 🤔

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      4. Ummm I think you are putting the cart before the horse… take a step back Gary, get off of that train… Let them read it and get back to you, you are your own worst critic… focus on your blog and wait for further feedback on the draft. Ok hope you feel better 🙂

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      5. Obviously….you can’t have a good catastrophise otherwise 😊 But you are quite right. I’ve dressed enough on what to do so now it’s decided, I have time away from that now so focuss on their things….good positive thinking….thank you kindly 😇

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      6. I have thought about it but times my enemy, I would like to get onboard with Simons project too and the blog battle.. I’ll go check out the rules of engagement again…and see if I can be pursuaded 🙃

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      7. Err go to the last posts on my about page re another blogger about what I might do on this space trip….my thoughts on my crew member are there 🤔 One post a week….ok…how hard can that be 😇 I’ll sign up later today !

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  4. Well done and congratulations, There is nothing better than a feel of satisfaction for what you do, i also agree that the blogosphere community is very special and great friendships can be found through our writing and thoughts that we express,here we express ourselves freely and at ease, and I think we all understand this, because of this freedom we show who we truly are and are comfortable to do so.
    Glad to be and feel part of this.
    Brooke

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