So, here we are. One month and 26 posts later, I have to admit that the A to Z challenge was far more… er, challenging than I thought it would be. For the most part, I managed to stick to the schedule and bang out a post a day, so I’ll allow myself a tiny pat on the back for pulling through, even though there were days I was pulling my hair out (and making others do the same).
A formal part of the challenge is blogging about your reflections at the end, so here is a list of things I’ve observed, experienced and learnt through doing this challenge.
– I can cross off one item from the bucket list! WOOHOO!
– I got to know about the challenge through Sujata, and passed the news on to Sayesha, and both of them kept me company through the challenge. Thank you for the support, ladies!
– On March 31st, once I had decided on my theme of “Growing Up”, I sat down and brainstormed a list of topics for each letter so I’d have to do less thinking on the actual day. I ended up using less than 5% of the words I’d brainstormed. Lesson learnt: you can pre-plan all you want, but you can only write what you’re in the mood to write at that moment.
– I wrote/drafted some posts in advance (the previous day), but a majority of the posts were written on the day itself. I was able to churn most of them out in time, but there were a few for which I really had to rush to meet the deadline.
– I have mixed feelings about setting a theme for my challenge. On some days, the theme helped me come up with topics I wouldn’t have thought about otherwise, but on other days, I found myself wishing I could just write about any random thing. My biggest worry towards the end was that I was getting repetitive, and I think it was trying to stick to one theme that caused that. I’m not 100% happy with all the posts, but I can live with that.
– I really liked having a letter theme, but there were days I was absolutely flummoxed as to what to write about. For some letters, there were just too many options to choose from. For others, I had to open up a dictionary and look for words. (You’ll be amazed at how weird a letter starts looking when you glance through a 100 words starting with it.) I remember having a particularly hard time with Y and Z, not because I couldn’t find words, but because I didn’t feel like writing about any of them. I was probably just suffering from blogging fatigue by that point, though.
– I won’t lie – I Googled “[Letter] is for” almost every single day. It was rarely helpful, but I did it just the same, in the hopes that something somewhere would give me inspiration.
– In addition to Google, I asked a lot of people for help in coming up with topics. A good friend gave me the idea for the theme, and others gave me ideas for different letters. I pestered my parents for ideas more times than I care to admit. Some days, they’d take the initiative and suggest something themselves. I know they checked my blog multiple times a day and read every post at least twice. (They’re awesome.)
– Prior to this, the most number of posts I had written in a month was 6. There were also many, many months where the post count was 0, so I really consider this an accomplishment. (Even more so when you consider the fact that I started this blog NINE YEARS AGO, and have only just reached 150 posts.)
– I’m tired, and I’m definitely going to take a break, but I’m not as out of juice as I thought I’d be. In fact, I already have a draft that I wrote for one of the letters but decided not to post because it didn’t fit the theme. Hopefully, I won’t need too long of a break before I’m back.
– This past month, the blog has seen more visitors than ever before, and the credit for that goes completely to the challenge. Thank you to all the newcomers who dropped by and decided to take a minute to leave a comment. It made a huge difference to me to see that people were reading, and the positive and encouraging words were so helpful in carrying me through to the end.
– I have a few new ‘regulars’ now, who I hope will stick around for future shenanigans. On that note, a big thank you to the regular regulars (from before the challenge) for making an effort to keep up with the blog, even if it meant they had to catch up on multiple posts in a single day. You guys know who you are. 🙂
– I haven’t been able to blog-hop nearly as much I wanted to. Some 2000 odd bloggers signed up for the challenge, and though I’ve barely visited 1% of that number, I’ve already found some great people. I plan on keeping that sign-up list bookmarked so I can continue visiting and making more friends. You can never have too many blogs to keep up with, can you?
In sum, this has been a great experience, and I hope I’ll feel as energised to do it again next year. In the meantime, you can keep expecting a regular slew of posts here, and I do hope you’ll keep me company then.
Thank you for reading, and please keep coming back! 🙂