Thursday, May 2, 2013

A to Z Challenge Reflections: It Wasn't a Nightmare!

          From the beginning of the year I was planning on having all four of my blogs in the 2013 A to Z Challenge, but then the year started with a vengeance...

         Some bouts of odd health issues and other funky distractions were big setbacks starting from the first day of this year.  Add to that some computer problems that totally sidetracked me at times and I had the perfect storm of troubles to start me off of the wrong foot in April.  My plans of having all of my posts prescheduled had not been realized and I was heading into April with nearly no content prepared.  I had topics outlined, but that was it.

          Toward the end of March I strongly considered withdrawing my dream blog and my memoir blog Wrote By Rote, but then decided that I'd try to keep them in and drop out if I couldn't keep up.  I had solved my computer problems in the week before the Challenge was to begin, but no posts had been yet composed and I was feeling rather down about it all.  I fully expected for this blog to be out of the running fairly soon into the Challenge.

          Once I got started writing my posts I got into the swing of things.  Keeping posts short and simple I was able to push out daily content.  I usually kept ahead by about two days and that helped.  Where I fell short was in my comments.  My apologies for not making it around to as many blogs as I would have liked to have done.  My new follower additions and low volume of comments certainly reflected my failure from the standpoint of networking.

         The bottom line is that preparing ahead makes a big difference in the networking one can do.  The advance preparation is imperative if one is attempting multiple blogs.  The Challenge can be met without the preparation, but the networking will take a big hit.

        I'm not sure about next year.  If I can prepare each blog months in advance then maybe entering four blogs will be okay.  I don't think I would do another day by day on multiple blogs.  After all, in my view the A to Z Challenge is mostly a networking feat.  That's how it all began.  The content is always important if ones blog is to be taken seriously, but if you're not making the rounds to connect with new bloggers the true Challenge is not met.   At least that's the Challenge for me.  Just achieving the content is fine, but if no one is reading then there's not as much point in producing that content.

        A note about my theme:  In April I did an A to Z dream interpretation/symbolization study.  Since in my opinion dream symbols are not totally universal I presented my symbols in regard to what they mean to me and might mean to readers as well.  I closed with questions to allow readers to relate their own thoughts and experiences.  We got some interesting insights from your comments.  A big thank you to the few of you who regularly stopped by to leave a comment.

         The A to Z may be over, but I'll keep dreaming cause the dreams aren't over.  Please continue to visit A Faraway View.  This blog publishes every Thursday.

  ****   My thanks to Thelmaz at WindowSphere: A Circle of Hope for recognizing A Faraway View as one her 26 favorite blogs during the 2013 A to Z Challenge.

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  1. I thought you a super hero tackling four challenges in one, Congrats Lee you did an excellent job with all four which I read.
    Gosh what a long way from that day in 2010 when you announced your intentions about doing an A to Z during April and anyone wanting to join in........the rest as they say is history.

  2. Wow, 4 blogs! I had no idea, phew! Gives a whole new meaning to "multitasking"! Dreams are so amazing, what a great theme for a blog. I'll be coming back to read and make up for lost time.
    Jess/Blogging on the Brink

  3. Congratulations to all of us participants who made it through the A to Z Challenge :)

  4. I'm so sorry I've never made it over here before...I love dream interpretation, and dream vividly, so I'll definitely be back to check out your series. I too fell down on the visiting...glad I had my minions to pick up the slack.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

  5. Short and simple is key to avoid getting overwhelmed. Good for you for completing the Challenge on more than one blog!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  6. One blog is enough! Way to go on prepping four.

  7. You touched on so many things I can relate to in this post, Lee. I think one of the biggest things I've learned through A - Z is that blogging in general is about networking. No one blogs in a vacuum. We just don't. And when you sign up to participate in a blog hop, you can't just hop like a bunny and make the rounds either. You have to be present. That's not always easy, especially when you're juggling multiple blogs. Preparation is definitely key in that respect. I mean, when there's a hole in the ship and it's sinking way too fast, all you can do is bail if you're not prepared to plug the leak. Congratulations on finishing the challenge and thank you much more than you'll ever know for hosting it!

  8. Generally I don't schedule posts, but I think during the A to Z it would be a really great thing to do (I did it last year but out of necessity, as I was travelling). This year I struggled to visit all the blogs I wanted to visit, and that was because I spent most of my leisure time actually composing each A-Z post. ;)

  9. I didn't read them all, but what I read were good. Even though you say your posts were short that was still a lot of writing (and reading)so GOOD JOB!

    I lift my glass (of ice tea) to you for creating the A-Z Challenge. Great idea, Lee.

  10. HOLY MOLY!! FOUR!??! I am in awe!! WOW!!
    I had a great time with the Challenge, not enough to write four posts a day! WOW! Congratulations for finishing!
    Peanut Butter and Whine

  11. That's a lot of blogging you did for multiple blogs! If you sign them all up again next year, consider signing up at various points so they are not all lumped together. People often scroll through one section of the linky list but if they find one of your blogs and like it, they may click over from there to your other ones.

    And yes, commenting is the key to attracting new followers in this kind of challenge. This is my second year and I'm never satisfied with my volume of visiting other bloggers.

    Congrats on making it through!

  12. I think you did great. Like I said on one of your other blogs, I dropped out with one blog, so keeping it up to the end with four is a feat! Next year I'm going to prepare.

  13. Yvonne -- Thank you for your loyalty to my blogs and to the A to Z Challenge.

    Jess -- Hope you will leave comments on the posts that you visit.

    Barnes -- Yes, congratulations to all!

    Tina -- Having subsidiary teams to assist us was a great help.

    Laura - I'm getting better at short and simple. Tough thing for me to do sometimes.

    Stephs -- Thanks!

    MJ-- Thank you for all the hard work you put into the Challenge considering your multiple blog entries as well.

    Trisha F -- Learning to schedule posts has been a big help to me. It provided a radical change in the way I blog and for the better.

    Teresa -- Thank you! Is that a Long Island Iced Tea?

    Connie -- Yeah, four. And I'm tired.

    Cindy -- Actually my four blogs were scattered throughout the list for the reason you mention. I wish I could have commented a whole lot more.

    Eve -- You can always finish this year to catch up!


  14. Hi Lee, and great to find you here. How I missed your dream blog I have no idea but will try to find it now. I enjoyed the A-Z very much though it was tough. So extra well done on doing FOUR in spite of health and computer issues. Hope all well now. Enjoy your Spring weather, here inSouth Africa winter has already arrived.

  15. I'm sorry, I should have added my proper link - susan from South Africa
    Susan Scott's Soul Stuff

  16. Stopping by from the #atozchallenge . Congratulations my fellow reflector post maker!

    I had a dream that my spouse and I were trying to drive away from a tornado last night. Just thought I'd share that.

    Sorry you ran into such a mess on the way to the challenge. Welcome to the end of it! For this year...

  17. I can relate to this post and agree about the content. I think I had less visitors on my blogs than usual and less comments. People were just visiting I guess.

  18. I can’t stress enough how much respect and admiration I have for you, Lee - you really are an amazing man.

    I can hardly fathom the pressure of running four blogs - I know what one is like.

    I really enjoyed my time in this year’s A-Z even though I almost didn’t make it. With many family issues on my plate I really wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle the A-Z.

    But what did it for me was my pals Bushman and Ruth (and dear Al Penwasser). Bushman, Ruth and I all signed up last minute and with no prepared posts we had the best time with each other and winging it.

    If you ever toss caution to the wind I think doing one blog and just having fun seeing what comes up day to day would totally be a thrill for you. (plus give you loads of visiting time)

    I make the rounds in the months following the Challenge - it’s just too much to post, visit and comment all at the same time.

    I focused on my posts, then the comments that needed replies, then visiting those that visited me… now I’m visiting every blog on the Reflection list with my morning coffee - I’m finding some excellent blogs and making the time to enjoy their offerings - even if it isn’t in real time!

    Thank you, Lee, for hosting this Challenge and for your support and encouragement, not only to me, but to all the bloggers that participate.

    Hugs to you,


  19. Yes, planning ahead made all the difference for me as well. So thankful for all the work you have put in to make this challenge a success for another year.
    I'm hoping to join you again next year. . .we will see what God brings my way!


  20. Doing the challenge with multiple blogs is a huge task to take on and you made it work :)

    I'm glad that you kept both your blogs in this year so that you could at least give them all a chance at new readers during April. For if you didn't, then who knows...Thelmaz would have been denied the pleasure of finding a new favorite blog to read.

    I share your missing out on visiting as many blogs as we hoped this this year and I'm using the Post A-to-Z Road Trip to remedy that a little bit....especially on the Reflections that I'm still behind on getting around to read. So, I'm doing one day of A to Z Signups and one day of Reflections posts. I'm sticking with the general quota of five blogs like people were encouraged to do in April but my days of visits are sporadic.

    Slow and steady is better than remaining still, I guess, lol.


  21. I definitely agree that getting posts written in advance makes a huge different, and I failed to get that done, as well. To a better next year!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse


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