My first AtoZ Challenge is over… and I enjoyed it a lot!
Don’t get me wrong, it was a challenge. There had been days in the middle of the month, I thought I couldn’t possibly do it (bit like when you write a novel), and there had been moments I had to push myself so not to lose momentum. I stayed up past my time at night and read comments ‘til my eyes stung so to return all visits and comments.
It was hard. But it was fun too.
I met so many people who write great blogs I’d probably never discovered if not for the challenge. I wrote and shared with reader things I’m passionate about, and it was such a thrill seeing people found these subjects interesting too, at least enough to leave a comment. When you write a novel, it’s a labour of faith. Years may pass before anyone will read even one word, but blogging is immediate. Blogging gives you an immediate return, and that’s an awesome feeling.
And yes, blogging alphabetically for a month thought me a thing or two:
1. You’d never imagine what wonders working on a deadline may do for you productivity
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, because I took part to contests for many years and that was working on deadlines. But that was long ago. My life and my life rhythms were vastly different back then. I often think I don’t have time to do everything I’d like to, now, but you know what? If you really want to do something, you’ll make time for it.
During the challenge, I wrote in the mornings and uploaded posts in the nights. It happened a couple of times I thought I was too tired, I’d upload the posts tomorrow morning. But then I thought, it will only take half an hours. I can afford to devote half an hour to it tonight and tomorrow morning, I’ll have an additional half an hour to write the new post.
I won’t say it was easy, but it’s definitely doable.
2. I can in fact write a subject matter I love
Before the AtoZ Challenge, I wrote very little about Roaring Twenties America, although I research it for over four years. I’ve never considered myself an expert (I still don’t), so I was very hesitant to write about the subject.
But as I started writing posts for the challenge (and I can’t start to tell you how awkward it felt writing that first A post) I discovered it came quite easily to me. I knew what to write. I knew what I wanted to say in every article. Not to mention that I did indeed come up with 26 ideas regarding my subject matter.
Well, take it as you will, I was surprised.
3. It takes time to network
I knew this before I started the challenge, but you never know it well enough until you try.
I think I didn’t take advantage of the challenge’s networking potentials as much as I could. I could have met more people and read more blogs if I hadn’t had to run after my posts half of the month.
This year I started the challenge with a week worth of posts written and uploaded. Next year, I want to start with all my posts written and uploaded, so I’ll be able to merrily go about meeting people and returning visits and comments and discover new blogs.
And yes, I’m already thinking to next year’s challenge!
4.There are some awesome people out there writing some awesome stuff.
Grand, I already knew this, but let me state it nonetheless. I’ve read some quality stuff from people who really know their business. I enjoyed every single post I read.
So really, it was a fantastic experience and I can’t recommend it strong enough to anyone. I cant wait to do it again!
THEMES SHOUT OUT
Now let me shout out for a few of the blogs I read this month. There are actually a lot of them, but I’ll only mention 10 here for obvious space reasons. But if you’d like to see more, just visit the comments section of my posts and go visit the commentators. They are all worth the time.
Atherton’s Magic Vapour – Who Killed Lord Cadblister?
Every mornings, I would switch on my pc and this would be the first blog I checked.
This is a story, a complete story, in 26 instalments, alphabetically arranged. A mystery, complete of Victorian Era setting and well drawn characters. I loved it!
Melanie also dressed up as each character and took picture to go with every posts. I’m seriously in awe of the job she did.
Alex Husrt – Japan
This is better than any travel guide about Japan. Alex lived there for five years and her look at the country and its culture is from the inside. So many aspect of life you don’t learn from being just a tourist. So many beautiful pictures.
Hopes and dreams: my writing and my sons – Sword&Sorcery movies so bad they’re great
Being a fantasy fan since I was a child, how could I ever resist such a theme? In fact, I didn’t.
Many of the films Lillian talked about were familiar to me. I’ve seen many of them, so it was nice reading about them. Especially because many were from the 1980s… I was a bit nostalgic.
But a few, I’ve never heard of… and thankfully so!
Celine Jeanjean’s Blog – Childhood StoriesThis is a memoir of childhood years spent mostly on Celine’s grandparents’ home in France. I loved all the entries. Celine managed to give these memories that particular feeling, that wonder, that we only experience when we are kids. She mostly told about very common, little, everyday life things, and that’s what I loved the most. In the eyes of her child self, everything was wonderful.
And I loved the humour!
Mimesis Monday– Manual in understanding trollsI came late to this one, but I enjoyed it a lot. I followed quite a few storytellers during the challenge and Heidi is one of them. She succeeded in explaining why trolls are still so relevant to today’s life. Why – like all old, even ancient tales – it still make sense to recount and listen to troll stories.
The Multicolored Diary – Epics
Every day, an epic from around the world. This is another storyteller’s blog, another place where you learn stories from other people, other places and other times… and you think, “Other?”
As Tolkien said, there is a reason why some stories came to us, sometimes from the dawn of humanity: they still speak to us, and we’re still listening.
Storytelling Matters – Daily Ghost Post
Yes, this is another storyteller’s blog, can’t do anything about it. And considering the subject matter of my trilogy, you can’t be all that surprise I found this theme fascinating. There were stories of ghosts and ghostly presences, once again, from around the world. Some were weird, some were scary, some were outright creepy. Some other were sweet, and some were even fun. It appears the world of ghosts is as complex and diverse as the world of living.
Wee White Hoose – Scottish Mythology and FolkloreI actually followed a few Celtic-related blogs, and true, I came late to this one, but it really enchanted me. There are stories here, epics, legends, but also history and culture. It’s a chance to see Scotland from inside. It’s people to people and in the end you really feel you’ve received a gift.
Book Reviews by Lenise Brown – Most Beautiful Libraries from Around the World
This is one of the few pic-based challenge themes I followed and it was surprising. I thought I would love old libraries – and I was definitely right – but I discovered I love new ones as well. There are some truly stunning ones around the world. It was a surprise.
Life&Faith in Caneyhead – Musical Memories
Barbara talked about her younger years, especially in the 1970s, as the memories came from music she would listen to back then (do you smell a theme here? Do I sound like I have a soft spot for nostalgia? You’re damned right!)
What surprised me the most about these posts was thinking how the 1970s isn’t all that far away and still it feels like a completely different world. Like a completely different universe. It’s such a strange thought.
Oh, I’d love to go on. So many nice blogs still to mention. I hate leaving them out. But as I said, go visit the comments section on my posts and you’ll track down most of them. And Sabina has just launched the #AtoZChallenge After Party where you can discover yet more blogs (already happened to me!), while here you can find all the other Reflection Posts.
The challenge is over, but there is still so much to discover!