Thoughts On The A to Z Challenge

The A to Z Challenge was fun while it lasted, but I think I might have overdone it by participating with two blogs. The people who commented back on my blog after I commented on theirs were very much appreciated, but I sort of wondered about those who never bothered to comment at all. I know there are many people participating in the challenge and there is no way to get back to everyone, but there were a couple of times I actually found a blog interesting, and made a few thoughtful comments. Some people would at least drop by later in the challenge, but some people did not comment at all.

I do not want to compel people to comment on my blog, but perhaps what I write about just does not ring bells. I enjoy sharing my passion for art as viewed from my world, but Sweetbearies Art Projects might just be the wall flower in the room where many other peacocks are prancing about. Even before I participate in challenges like this I tend to get search engine traffic, but what I write about does not elicit many comments. Well on my more opinion based blogs I get a few more, but even there I mostly just get people passing through.

I participated in the challenge because I hoped it would bolster comments on my blog because I do enjoy some dialogue, but I do not seem to court comments like some do. A few people will throw up a short post that will elicit hundreds of comments, but that has never been the case with me. I take the time to tweet others and share what I like, and whereas I noticed others did the same, some did not.

Also, I was perplexed about a couple of participants who said the were overwhelmed with the large number of comments they received, and gee, I wish that had been my problem ;). I am not trying to be questioning here, but why would someone participate in a blogging challenge if they did not want people to comment more on their blog? It also makes me think “Gee I guess my comments just are not that great,” and a bit apprehensive about commenting on a stranger’s blog when something they wrote really struck a cord. I feel like perhaps in the future I will have to be more generic with my comments because I felt like a couple of times people find mine to be boring, or perhaps annoying.  This was not the case with the majority of blogs, but it happened a couple of times when I left a genuine comment on a blog that I thought was quite engrossing.

Then again, I enjoy sharing my point of view, and that is what this challenge was about. If people do not like my opinions, then I cannot change that.  I appreciated the people who commented on my blog with their genuine comments, and I did endeavor to comment back to most everyone. I know we all have busy schedules, but many of us took the time out to comment and read. Some people did not finish the challenge, but it would have been nice if they had at least put up a blog post stating things had come up, so they were unable to comment on blogs or finish the challenge. When I went down the linky list seeing some people had only got to the letter D, or not even bothered to write any A to Z posts, I decided not to comment on those blogs.

This rant probably seems like I did not enjoy the A to Z Challenge, but actually I really loved it. There were many great participants, and I will have to go back to some of those people’s blogs to see what they are up to.  Some of my favorite blogs to visit were:

Reflections  Enroute:  This couple are teachers who have traveled the world, and I am envious of every place they have gone.

The View from the Top of the Ladder: I love her stories about growing up in California since I am also my native state, and her illustrations are beautiful.

A Bench With A View: I loved the views from Betty’s beach walks, and the photos of her corgi Koda.

My closing thoughts on the challenge for next year is to perhaps encourage participants to try and comment on the blogs of the people who take the time to visit you, or at least tweet a few posts.  I think if you are participating in a challenge like this that sharing what you enjoy reading helps to bolster the sense of community. Many are so adept at doing this, but I think we could all do more of it.  I am not sure if I will participate next year because I was beginning to feel like towards the end my blog will never be a place where people are jumping up and down to comment.  Also, it took quite a bit of time to pre-write the posts, and I think I overdid it with the two blogs.  That is why I am only writing the reflection on this one.

Taking time to reflect while admiring the lilacs.
Taking time to reflect while admiring the lilacs.

17 Replies to “Thoughts On The A to Z Challenge”

  1. Julia, Thank you for mentioning me. I have loved your drawings and appreciate your comments. I found some blogs I really enjoy, but I was disappointed as well when I would comment on someone’s blog a number of times and they never reciprocated, which is discomforting to say the least. Thanks for getting to know me on your blog!

    1. I always appreciated your comments, Corinne. The only thing that I noticed was I made an effort to make a comment on a particular blog a couple of times, and the person did not even respond to me. They responded to others, but not my comment. Then they said in the end some of the comments were a bit much, even the well intended ones. I always try to be diplomatic and such, but it just seems a bit audacious to sign up for a challenge where you know you will be exposed to a more diverse audience, and then sort of dismissing the people who were thoughtful enough to comment. That is sort of how I felt. I do not subscribe to the school of thought that everyone has to be held accountable for everything they write, such as a baseball fan telling someone who writes about horses to write about pitching would be out of line. However, if does feel odd when you hear crickets. I think what I am trying to say is some people wanted more exposure for their blog without investing much effort, and that is not what this challenge is supposed to be about. I never want to say people would purposely do that, but it just came across that way in a couple of instances. Of course maybe what I wrote just did not interest them, and that is fine too.

  2. I love the picture of the lilacs.

    It is good to meet new people and get comments from them as well as enjoying reading and commenting on their blogs. I am glad you had some positive experiences with the challenge, despite some of the more negative ones.

    I think that ultimately people have to be genuinely interested in what we say for any good to come of the interaction. If it is too forced or too mercenary. it will backfire.

    1. I do not like forced interaction, but the no response to some of my comments is what threw me for a loop. The person responded to other comments, but not mine. I was either very boring, very annoying, but alas, I guess I will not follow blogs where people do that. It is sort of like the story where a young person will become enamored with a particular writer, but then finds out that particular writer does not really like their audience very much. There is a story in the Carrie Diaries about that where the young Carrie Bradshaw discovers her writing hero does not think much about the women she writes for. To me responsiveness is paramount and writers and bloggers should not be above at least acknowledging their audience in some way. Some people will follow a writer/blogger like that no matter what, but that detached writing style is not really for me. I tend to be more of a deep conversationalist type.

  3. Wow, Julia, thank you for mentioning me and my blog. I feel very honored, and rather pumped that you like my illustrations. That’s high praise from an artist. 🙂

    Your comments spoke to how I felt last year when I linked up both my blogs. I was disappointed that I didn’t get much traffic and the little that I had disappeared quickly. I didn’t think I would do the challenge this year, but decided at the last minute because I needed the discipline for writing The View from the Top of the Ladder. I also decided not to do my other blog, even though I post to that one everyday. I just didn’t want to add stress of finding something that fits a letter for 2 blogs.

    I was very surprised at the end when someone posted that she followed me through email since last year’s challenge. She had never commented before, she said, but she wanted me to know how much she enjoyed this year’s posts. Her comment came at a time when I was thinking about what do I want to do with my blog after this challenge.

    I suppose there’s something that we could put up on our blogs that allow people to do a thumbs up/thumbs down/noncommittal shrug when they can’t figure what to say but would like to give feedback on a post.

    Oops, time for me to go make lunch for the crew.

    1. Your illustrations are great. I think you would make a great children’s book illustrator with the action and emotive qualities these possess. If people visit our blogs and do not comment it is all good, I just wish I did not feel so silly when I comment on a blog post, and the author responds to everyone but me. Oh well, it is fine. Just felt like I should not have commented there after that experience.

      1. It’s only human to feel “silly” or slighted or other emotion when that happens. When it happens to me I wonder why I didn’t receive any response. Sometimes I think okay maybe the blogger honestly missed it. I’ve done it a couple times myself on my blog. I feel awful when that happens, but I do answer it. I still lag though on responding to comments on past posts.

        Children’s book illustration, huh?

          1. I’m cringing, Julia. It turns out I fit your description of a blogger who doesn’t respond to all the comments. I found out this morning as I reviewed all my AtoZ posts. I apologize, Julia. I have a bad habit of taking too long to respond to comments that were written a few days after I published a post. That, as the Daddy would say, is no excuse. Definitely not.

          2. I’m cringing, Julia. It turns out I fit your description of a blogger who doesn’t respond to all the comments. I found out this morning as I reviewed all my AtoZ posts. I apologize, Julia, for not responding to some of your comments right away. I have a bad habit of taking too long to respond to comments that were written a few days after I published a post. That, as the Daddy would say, is no excuse. Definitely not.

          3. I never felt that way about your comments Su-siee! People cannot respond to every single comment, that I understand. The only reason I brought up the comment thing yesterday was because it was a reflection, and I was thinking about the instances where the people just did not really seem to try and comment much at all. In hindsight I do not know why I was thinking about that. I have been catching up on my examiner.com articles after the challenge, and working on bubblews.com, so it is good the challenge is over in a way.

    1. I hope you are enjoying the road trip. I am not doing that this year, but I will definitely stop by your blog to see what you are posting.

  4. Congratulations on completing the challenge, and well done for doing it on two blogs.

    This year I have made it a challenge to push myself to read and comment on more blogs. I’m also trying to be better about responding to comments on my blog and visit the blogs of people who visit because that is something that I’ve not been so good about in the past. 🙂

    1. I am glad challenge has inspired you to be more diligent about responding to comments on your own blogs :). A few weeks after writing this reflection I realize I it is best to never have an expectation something might happen, like my blog would elicit a slew of comments far and wide. I think I expected too much of this challenge, and I am glad I have tempered my assumptions a bit. It is best to never assume, and always be happy when something unexpected happens.

    1. It was fun and interesting doing the A to Z Challenge in 2013 and 2014, but I probably will not be doing it this year. I hope you enjoy participating.

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