Reflections on the 2015 Blogging A-Z Challenge:

A-to-Z Reflection [2015]

There was almost a sadness on May 1st, being the first day after the end of the Challenge. Believe me, there was also a big relief, like Whew, I made it. Now can I get some rest? But throughout the month, there is so much excitement and you find yourself zooming through the days, trying to visit as many blogs as you can and leave comments for your fellow bloggers, all who spent a great deal of time and energy putting together their posts or themes. And then May 1st hits and it’s sort of a let-down. The party’s over. Time to go home…

It was indeed a good party, that’s for sure! This was my second year participating in the Challenge and I enjoyed it as much this year as I did last year. Last year I didn’t do a theme and I found the freedom to write about anything I wanted to write about was intriguing and kept me enthused. This year I did a theme: a musical journey, the soundtracks of my life: I spent over 6 months compiling music videos, concert footage, band information and personal stories into ordered posts. It was a lot more work than I originally anticipated and was a considerable time investment. Even so, I had fun putting it all together. But I did find that my creativity seemed to be engaged so much more last year in not having a theme. Having a theme is good for several reasons: it kept me on a tract and narrowed my focus; it also gives the blog visitors sound expectations and a level of comfort, knowing what they’ll be getting. Still, I’m undecided if I’ll do a theme next year. Honestly, I don’t know which I liked better.

I have put together collections for both years so if you want to check out some great music, head on over to my 2015 Blogging A-Z Challenge Collection: you’ll find all the bands listed on one page with links so you can easily scroll through and pick out the posts you want to visit. And be sure to bookmark that page because I’ll be adding to it! Of course I forgot some bands and artists (like Bob Dylan — OMG, how could I have forgotten BOB DYLAN???), Steely Dan, the Temptations (what??! I know, I know…) so I’ll be adding them into their rightful categories. PLUS I’m going to do a One-Hit Wonders page so keep an eye out for that, coming soon! You can also check out my themeless posts at the 2014 Collection page.

As far as blog-hopping: What a ride! I had so much fun visiting all these news blogs and discovering subjects to which I had never before given thought. I met some fabulous people along the way and definitely made some new friends. Probably the best take-away is the amount of newfound knowledge. I learned so much from so many different blogs:

I learned a whole new vocabulary with Debbie’s Doglady’s Den. She did a new word each day and not only did she provide definitions and synonyms, she started conversations and discussions by weaving the word of the day into stories, posing questions and providing comic relief with fabulously fun videos and anecdotes.

I learned important elements of memoir writing at Arlee Bird’s Wrote by Rote blog, especially meaningful to me since I’m working on a memoir. He also provided valuable tips for blogging in general at his Tossing It Out blog.

Mark C over at the View from the Olive Grove had a neat theme: every day he posted a reason to be cheerful. I found his posts to be thought-provoking and fun.

Jeremy at Hollywood Nuts did a Disney theme and I learned so much about Disney that I never would’ve known had I not visited his blog.

I learned a wealth of incredible writing tips from Write On Sisters: I hope they do turn their posts into an ebook: I’ll be the first in line to buy!

Jeanne over at Animal Bliss did a collection of cool animals. That was neat. I discovered animals that I had never heard of before and she always included very interesting facts and information along with some stunning photos to go along with each post.

I could go on and on but you get the idea. There is a whole world of worthy blogs out there and I just scratched the surface. I did find it daunting, the number of A-Z participants (over 1500): In a perfect world, I would’ve visited each blog during the month of April but that’s just not possible…at least it wasn’t for me. I did make a decent dent in it though.

One thing that was available last year that was not available this year was the list of blogs with less than 200 followers (or maybe it was less than 100 followers). I liked that. I like being able to visit new blogs who are just getting started and showing them some blogosphere love. It’s a great opportunity, especially for small blogs. I missed it this year and I hope the A-Z gods will bring it back for next year.

All in all, this year’s Blogging A-Z Challenge was another awesome experience. I’ll definitely be doing it again next year. As for right now, well, I really feel like taking a nap…So that’s what I’m going to do. Sweet dreams, y’all!

 

 

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49 thoughts on “Reflections on the 2015 Blogging A-Z Challenge:

  1. It does sound like you found some really good reads to follow! I am following you and will be on the lookout for posts on the Temps and One-Hit Wonders. I had forgotten about the less than 100 followers linky we had! I agree it would be cool to see it come back next year so we can spread the love and encourage newbies! I myself have never had a large following, but have always had some faithful ones.
    Stopping in from Life & Faith in Caneyhead.

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    • Hey, nice to see you here! I loved your musical theme too! Wasn’t it fun doing music? It made me want to continue writing about music. I’ll be sure to get on that One Hit Wonder post. Right now my coffee table is covered with AM Gold CDs, Groovin’, various Billboard compilation CDs, etc. Ha!
      Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your visit.

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  2. Great Reflections post. Having the theme can be very helping and one like yours made me want to keep coming back to see who would be in the next list (or who you might leave off). But I see your point about the creative freedom of not being restricted to a theme.

    Thanks for mentioning my blogs. I appreciate your frequent support of both of those.

    The “Less than 100 Followers” page is good and we’ll see if we can do something about that the next time around.

    If you check out my dream blog http://afarawayview.blogspot.com/ the Linky list is accessible for you to add the link to your reflections post if you want to get a jump on sign-ups.

    Be seeing you around since your posts always come with an email alert for me.

    Thanks for being a great A to Z participant. Fantastic job in 2015.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    A Faraway View

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    • Thanks so much Lee! Thank you for all your support. And for all the hard work that went into putting together this challenge and making it work so seamlessly. You have a great crew of dedicated people and that makes all the difference in terms of success. You can be so proud: what an accomplishment, this whole challenge. Thanks for signing up for my post alerts too. I took kind of a hiatus from blogging for a few months, it seemed like, but now the momentum of the A-Z has put me back on track I think. I thank you for that as well.
      All the best to you always!

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  3. Glad to meet you after the challenge! There really were so many awesome challengers that it was impossible to keep up with them all. It was great fun. 🙂

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    • Likewise Alex! Great to meet you too. Hope to see you around here. The fun isn’t over yet: We have the Reflections posts and the upcoming Road Trip! At least that can be traveled at a much more relaxed pace… Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Visiting from A – Z Reflections 2015. Enjoyed your overview of the month as well as highlighting the blogs you enjoyed too. So many blogs I haven’t visited yet – never mind. Linda

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  5. Great collection of music! I only chose one artist or song per letter, but that’s because I post about music daily… what got missed during the challenge will most likely get posted about during the year. And a whole new set of musicians will be chosen for next year!

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    • Oh, I like the sound of your weekend better than mine! That’s what I’ll plan to do this week: get out and see a movie! And the ice cream deal sounds like a winner too. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Stephen. And thanks for all your hard work in co-hosting the Challenge! It is indeed a highlight of my year…

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    • Aw, guess what? I have a Labradoodle lying right next to me now! I have a dogsitting business and Ziggy is here visiting. LOVE Labradoodles!
      Oh how I wish I still had my vinyl! I impulsively gave it all away in the middle of a move. I was overwhelmed and trying to get rid of stuff and in a swift second, I had given them away, never to be seen again. Sad, sad, sad. I regret that decision so often…
      Thanks for stopping by Liz. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d forgotten about the new blog list last year…was it an actual list or did one of the helpers just toss out names he’d come across that needed help? I honestly can’t remember the details. I’ve done themes, and not done themes through the years and agree both have their pluses and minuses. This year because of the blog I used, it needed to be a themed blog; but I enjoyed writing whatever previously on other blogs too.

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    • I don’t know exactly how the Less than 100 (200?) List was created but I know one of the co-hosts was in charge of it. Sounds like a big job for sure, so that could be why it wasn’t available this year. It was an actual list, just like the A-Z Signup List, with the blog name and links and that made it nice and easy to go visit all the new blogs.
      Thanks for stopping by today!

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      • To add to what you’ve said, Michele, yes you are correct about that list. However the problem that started occurring that made me remove the list is that we started getting a lot of non A to Z bloggers and commercial blogs pestering us to add their links. We probably should have left the comments closed, but then it would have been so labor intensive for just one person to manage and we never collectively got into a habit of adding blogs that we each as co-hosts ran across.

        Maybe in the future we’ll find a better way to have this list where it truly is a functional easy to manage system. After all building up following and subscribers is one of original aims of the A to Z Challenge.

        Arlee Bird
        A to Z Challenge Co-host
        Tossing It Out

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      • Seems like a double-edged sword situation. I can only imagine how much work it is to build and maintain that list, especially with the number of participants. You guys do more than enough leading up to and during the challenge. If it’s meant to be, a solution will find its way. If not, things are great just as they are…

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  7. Thanks for the mention, Michele. Glad you enjoyed my posts. 😀 Your A-Z Musical excursions were fantastic! Congratulations on compiling such a comprehensive anthology! I had a rough time this year and spent most of the month writing the posts that should have been done way before. Life gets in the way, sometimes. 😛 Apologies for all the late responses and missed comments. I am determined to get caught up on them as soon as possible. Meeting you at last year’s Challenge and carrying on our friendship is a wonderful by-product of this whole thing. Here’s hoping we willmeet in person, one of these days. 🙂 See you around the Blogosphere!

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    • You’re so right about life getting in the way. I bet it was crazy with you trying to compile posts on top of commenting and responding to comments: you have a zillion followers and commenters! But hey, it’s over and most important: you finished it and it was stellar! I’m going to start thinking about what I want to do for next year and be sure to have it all complete and scheduled. Even though I did mine way ahead this year, I was still spending more than an hour most nights, the night before the post was to publish, because I’d find that videos to which I provided links were not working due to copyrights or them no longer existing. So then I’d have to go through and find alternative videos. It’s a lot of work no matter which way you do it. I was all set the year before too but I spent every day editing my already “completed” posts.
      Girl, no apologies necessary for late comments, etc. You were one of my regular supporters, in so many ways (Thank YOU!!), and I’m very grateful. I wonder how many folks will sign up for the Road Trip. I like that because there’s no time limit really. We can cruise the blogs at our own pace. Which these days for me is
      S-L-O-W…
      I too am thrilled that our friendship has carried on throughout the year. We’re just kindred spirits for sure. And there is no doubt in my mind that we’ll meet one of these days. As soon as I get up home, which probably won’t be this year because I’ve had so many trips to North Carolina already but I’m going to shoot for next year. You’re always welcome to come here. You’d love Austin. Just don’t come in the summertime: it’s horrible heat here and you’d die. You can’t do anything outside because it’s so stinkin’ hot. Fall or Spring is good for festivals and the winter months are fabulous usually too.
      Sooo, I’ll sign off with “See ya later!” XOXO

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh thanks Susan! I appreciate your comment! Hope to be seeing you during the Road Trip. That’s always great fun too…

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  8. I don’t think I visited you during the challenge; I did try to visit a lot of people but ran out of time 🙂 Your theme sounded really good and it seemed like you put a lot of effort into the posts 🙂 It is kind of fun to have a theme. I had a theme for the last 2 years and it was fun to try to fit the letters into the theme. Not sure about next year though what I will do, theme or no theme! Great reflection post!

    betty

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    • Thanks Betty! Yeah, I’m really undecided as to my preference, theme or no theme. I’ve truly enjoyed both. Thanks for stopping by. Even though we didn’t meet during the actual A-Z, we have the Reflections and the upcoming Road Trip to get to know one another! Looking forward to it. 🙂

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  9. I like to follow a theme myself because it ties everything together nicely for me and actually makes it easier to come up with things to write about.

    I like that you’ve shared some of the blogs you enjoyed during the challenge. I think that’s a really nice touch.

    Cait @ Click’s Clan

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    • You have a good point, the fact that a theme helps you come up with things to write about. I do remember having a hard time thinking of something for certain letters when I didn’t do a theme… Hope to see you around for the upcoming Road Trip! Thanks for stopping by.

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    • Thanks! I enjoyed your blogs too. That is quite a feat, during two blogs for the challenge. I think I told you this before but wow, I’m impressed! Will be seeing you around for the Road Trip. 🙂 Was good hearing from you!

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      • And take over the sofas is exactly what they do. And my bed! Thankfully I have a king-size bed. I used to have 5 greyhounds and although it didn’t happen often, there were a few times when all five of them would be up on the bed with me! I would only have a tiny corner, of course. Now, every night I can count on at least one and usually two or three greys sharing the bed… They are great snugglers. 🙂

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  10. I am glad you are out here, your post to the challenge were awesome, it inspired me to make a mixed tape… well mp3s of music, also I was glad you found my site and my posts entertaining…

    We made it…Hope you had a great time, thank you for your Reflection!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

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

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    • Thanks Jeremy. Just the mention of mix tapes brings back memories. Back in ’91, I was moving from Washington DC to Austin, TX. At the time I was working for Washington’s Classic Rock station (WCXR) and the Music Director there made me a mix tape for the ride. All the songs had to do with driving or riding. Fun! Then when I was working for the classic rock station here in Austin (Z102), I put together this kick-ass mix tape. I got to go into the music library and pick out albums that I wanted to use… it was like a mini A-Z. I used to hang out in this little bar where the owners let people bring in tapes to play and they used to play my mix tape all the time (until some of the Country people got sick of the rock ‘n roll :))
      Oh, your comment just brought back a flood of memories! Thanks for that!!
      Have fun making your mix tape. (I say we still call them “mix tapes” no matter the form, although the younger generation probably has no idea what tape even means! 🙂 Have a great weekend.

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  11. Wow! i have the impression that you very much enjoyed last year’s challenge which inspired you to prepare way before for this year’s one. i really admire bloggers like you who dedicate a good amount of time for their craft. true indeed, this challenge had a lot of interesting blogs to learn from and I have enjoyed reading them myself!

    thanks for the visit and your support to newbies like me! more powers and inspirations to blog! 🙂

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    • Hey, thanks for dropping by! I appreciate your comment. So glad to have connected with you. Hope to see you around for the Road Trip!

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  12. Hi. Fabulous reflection post . I hate that I missed your blog during the challenge but delighted I found it through the reflection post. I am eager to check out the bands you blogged about and it’s great you’ve created an area where we can find them all together . I didn’t participate last year, I took a year off so I never saw the list of blogs with less than 100 followers. That is an option I hope they bring back . I mentioned something about bloggers with less than 100 followers in my reflection post as well.

    Another option I miss if the random ” take me to the next blog,” widget . I’m not sure exactly what it was called.

    Enjoyed your reflection post. You really put a lot of time and effort into your theme. I’ve always had a theme so I don’t have anything to compare it to. A theme keeps me focussed . I look forward to reading you post during the upcoming weeks .

    Melissa Sugar
    @msugar13
    Sugarlaw13@live.com
    http://fictiontoolbox.blogspot.com

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    • Hey Melissa. Thanks! I’m excited that you’re going to check out my A-Z posts. And I am going to check out your crime fiction that you did for this year’s challenge. Sounds fun, especially because crime fiction is my favorite genre!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Nice to “meet” you!

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  13. Hi Michele – I haven’t been the best seeing you this year … love the music, but it sort of leaves me floundering and I can’t relate easily enough .. I’d be happy to have all of them on a music list and just listen . Still you made an amazing collection and I guess all I have to do is make that list myself … or fix something up on Spotify ..

    If I’ve got a theme – I set each of the letters out and put a subject against each of them … then I can manipulate them around a bit if necessary … writing them after that is relatively easy – at least each letter is covered …

    Still I will now see you around … you’ve done an amazing job here and garnered plenty of happy blogger music makers!! Cheers Hilary

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    • Thank you so much Hilary! I appreciate all your visits and comments. I’ve never worked with Spotify so will have to check that out. I too would love to be able to have the audio to all those music videos that I posted on a CD or on a playlist on my iPhone so I could just push one button and have all the songs play (on shuffle would be cool). I haven’t figured out how to do that yet though. 🙂
      Thanks so much for stopping by. I’ll see you ’round the bend on the Road Trip, yeah? You rock. 🙂

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    • Hey Debbie, thanks for stopping by! I’m already mulling ideas for my theme for next year, knowing how long this year’s took me to put together. I don’t think I’ll do anything quite so labor intensive next time around. And not sure if I’ll even come up with a theme. I may go back to themeless. At least we have 11 months to think about it… 🙂

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  14. Wow. How did I not find you during the A to Z Challenge. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t, because I plan to savor your posts. A quick title scan tells me that we have similar tastes in music. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pour myself a glass of wine and find my headphones . . .

    Kelley’s Dog Blog ~ Meet Me at the Dog Show!

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    • Love your comment Kelley! I hope you are enjoying the posts. There is definitely some great music there. I had a lot of fun putting it all together. Thanks for checking it out!

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