Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Reflecting on the A to Z Challenge

This week the hosts of the A to Z Challenge have asked those who participated to create a "reflection" post to share their experience, good and bad, with participating in the challenge.

I joined the challenge as a way to promote my blog. I am familiar with "blog alliances", as under my other identity of Niccodaemus I have a couple of blogs about Role Playing Games, and I belong to the RPGBA (RPG Blog Alliance). I was surprised I could not find an "alliance" of arts and culture related blogs. I did stumble across the A to Z challenge, and signed up by the skin of my teeth. There were 1,718 or so participants. I was participant number... um.... 1,560.

Actually, my number kept changing, because the total number of participants kept changing. Suffice it to say I was buried deep within the list, pretty much ensuring anonymity, or so I thought. (I figure if you are in the first or last 10 to sign up, you probably got a lot more visibility).

Based on my experience with the RPGBA, I was hoping for around 1500 views by the end of my first month blogging on Main Street Arts. I surpassed that goal by almost 100 views. I am now nearing 2,000 views.

I didn't have much time to read the blogs of others, as I was spending time every day writing a new blog post. The organizers suggested keeping blog posts short, so others could read them quickly and move on. The problem is, as many of you know who have been reading my posts, that I'm a storyteller. I don't like to create posts for the sake of creating posts. My blog posts almost universally have a point. And it takes me a while to get around to that point sometimes, as you can see here.

One of the most interesting things that happened during my posting was meeting Lee Jackson, who goes by the name Arlee Bird. Lee has a few blogs, one of them being "Tossing it Out". As it turns out, Lee and my wife once worked together on a traveling road show, and the three of us used to work for Phil Morris. Lee left a comment on my post The Magic of Fundraising, in which I share my experience working for Phil in the early 80's (including a video of Morris Costumes that has a brief shot of me working in the warehouse at my post high school weight of 128 pounds!)

Lee has graciously asked me to be a guest blogger some time in the near future.

The worst part of the challenge for me was to have to come up with posts for each letter of the alphabet. I normally don't have any problem coming up with posts for my blog, but being forced into certain letters and having to keep on a daily schedule (sometimes I typically write three or four blog posts a day) was simply not my style.

There were a couple of letters that I knew I wanted to reserve for specific topic... M for magic, P for Puppetry, and V for Vagina. But for the most part I would make up the topics for my posts on the spot.

I was glad when the whole thing came to an end, so I could get back to improvisational blogging. I never know from one hour to another what my next blog post will be. As soon as I think of a topic, I pretty much create a post the first chance I get.

Hats off to the organizers of the challenge. But I doubt I'll be taking part next year.


  1. Hi Arthur .. being prepared is helpful - last year I was sort of prepared, but organised myself on the day. This year was better - but I tended to edit on the day and get the photos organised and post ..

    It's great meeting new people and that wouldn't have happened without the A - Z Challenge .. glad you met up with Lee again .. small world! Cheers Hilary

    1. Hilary, I'm sure being prepared is a huge help. It is just that I am not by nature a "premeditative" blogger. If I prepared a post for a blog, I would want to post it immediately rather than on a pre-ordained day. Plus, many of my posts are topical... speaking to things that are happening that day or week. Forcing my blogging into a daily A to Z format was uncomfortable on most days. On others, I thought about bailing out.

  2. Hello.
    Visiting from the Post A-Z Road Trip...I intend on visiting all the blogs that signed up for the challenge!

    This was my first time taking part in both the A-Z Challenge & NaPoWriMo. I did find it hard going near the end with visiting & trying to keep up with my regular readers. It was quite an experience, but with better planning, I intend to take part again next year now I know what to expect...provided I still have any life left after the Road Trip! (lol) Thanks for sharing.

    Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn...

  3. Congratulation on finishing the challenge. During the challenge I didn't visit as many blogs as I would like to but, cross my heart, I'm visiting every single one with the reflection post! I am so glad my journey brought me here.

    Evalina, This and that...