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.
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.
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.
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.