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!