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A to Z Blogging Challenge Reflection Post

Reflections From the 2013 A to Z Blogging Challenge:

In case You were kidnapped by aliens and were on a different planet last month, I am referring to Arlee Bird's spectacular, imaginative, innovative, annual A to Z blogging challenge, which takes place every year, during the month of April.

Melissa Sugar's Reflection:

I want to share my experience with you in hopes of encouraging bloggers who have never participated, to join the maddening fun, next April.

My theme this year, a Guide to crimes & courtroom procedures for crime fiction authors, was pretty much the same as last year, with a different spin.

 I had a more difficult time, with the challenge this year, but that was my own fault. Last year, I wrote all twenty-six (26) post, a month or so in advance of the challenge. This year, I did not have an opportunity to pre-write my post, so I was scrambling from day to day to get them written. This of course, took away precious time that could have been used visiting other blogs.

Life gets in the way. That's a fact of life that we all live with. The month of April, 2013, demanded much more of my time than anticipated. Work, kids, school events, family illnesses and getting my manuscript out to the agents who requested it, all took away from the time I'd set aside for visiting blogs. That just reinforces my advice for future A to Zr's, and advice that I will follow:

 Preparation is the key. Preparation is the key to doing well as a lawyer, in trial and preparation is the key to doing well in any task that requires time and effort.

1.  I met new bloggers and discovered some really cool blogs, that otherwise, I probably never have discovered.

2.  I reconnected with bloggers from last years challenge

3.  I gained new followers and readers

4.  I learned a lot from many of the blogs I visited. I learned about the craft of writing, which I am always hungry for, but in addition I learned about comic book heroes, poetry, photography, traveling all over the world, delicious and simple, family friendly recipes. I played mystery games and deciphered puzzles and codes (well I tried- others deciphered), I played word games, I offered words beginning with certain letters and I discovered links to awesome writing and agent blogs.

5.  If you, like me and and one third of the rest of the entire world, followed Alex Cavanaugh's A to Z post, then you were introduced to at least one new (maybe not new to you) blogger, each day. Alex recognized a blogger each day for their outstanding attributes and he also shared vital news with us about authors, book debuts, and every thing else you missed because you didn't have any extra time during the month of April to read every single blog in the blogosphere. No need. Just pop over to Alex's blog and catch up on the latest. I've said it a million times, Alex is the awesomist. (Okay so not a word, but neither was ginormous, at one time.)

6.   My biggest accomplishment this year during the A to Z challenge is that I finally attempted to join in the Twitter fun (yes I know I am twitter illiterate- I am a Twit). But, with the help and encouragement of J. A Bennett, at A Writer's Journey, I jumped in. Of course, I remained lost in the massive tweets coming at me from every direction, but unlike in the past, I did not dodge the flying tweets and close the Twitter screen as fast as I could. Check out her Letter "T" is for Twitter Post, if you, like me, have a Twitter phobia.

Then when you finally decide to stick around for a while and give this Twitter thing a chance, you will definitely want to become friends (if you aren't already) with Melissa Bradley. Melissa Rocks! Melissa is the first friend you'll want to find as you navigate the choppy waters of Twitter-if you're a Twitter newbie or like me, a Twitter Twit. Melissa is amazing and she will give you loads of advice and she will help promote you on Twitter and show you the ropes. She will even introduce you to her other Twitter Friends. Like I said, Melissa Bradley and J.A. Bennett, not only rock, they rock Twitter, as if it were a Van Halen concert in the 80"s.

Find them on Twitter J.A. Bennett and Melissa Bradley.

Careful: Warning- Once you get the learning curve, Twitter can be quite addictive

Cons: Do I even have any?

1.  I wish I would have been more prepared so that I could have visited more blogs

2.  I missed having the random blog generator widget that was offered in 2012. I loved it. You could click, "next" for the next blog or "random" and you would be directed to a random blog from the challenge. The best part was that the widget kept track of how many blogs you visited. Hopefully they can bring it back for 2014.

3.  I know that Arlee and all of his minions went above and beyond and out of their way to explain to bloggers, just how inconvenient the word verification requirement is and they explained in detail how to remove it from your blog. Despite all this, I still came across far too many blogs in this year's challenge with the word verification requirement & it drove me insane. But not as insane as...

4.  Blogs that blared music from the second I landed on their page until I ran away as fast as I could.

Overall the challenge was awesome and with better prep work on my part it would have been fantastic. Thank you Arlee Bird and thanks you to all of the wonderful folks who helped Arlee pull off such an amazing challenge. I loved it and I will most definitely participate next year. I will, however, write all twenty-six post, in advance.

                                     Looking forward to A to Z blogging challenge 2014


Melissa Sugar said...

Really great reflections post.

Melissa Sugar said...

First off, I just LOVE the look of your blog. I must say it kind of cracks me up that it's so warm and feminine and welcoming and then I see a gun pointed right at me in your Crimespace page widget as I type my comment. LOL

Second, I agree with many of your observations, though like a dummy I only discovered Alex's site AFTER the challenge. Oy!

I used to hate commenting on all blogger blogs until I created a dummy blogger blog myself. I just log into it (aka my Google acct) and i'm all set to comment by using my google id vs. my wordpress id, which is never treated as a "friendly", probably because it refuses to claim me. The captcha, however, yeah...totally with you there.

Melissa Sugar said...

Being prepared makes a big difference. I didn't schedule my posts until the night before, but the Challenge portions were all written before April began.
Thanks you for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed my theme.
We didn't use the random button this year as we were trying to encourage everyone to start with the blog after theirs on the list and move down from that point, hoping every blog would receive visits that way.
Hope you are able to join us next year!

Melissa Sugar said...

I want the random blog generator widget you mention. Haven't learned
much about Twitter. Hats off to you for figuring it out! And Congrats on
finishing the A-Z. I agree...the only way to go is prep in advance,
prep in advance!!

Melissa Sugar said...

I love the A to Z challenge and can't believe I missed it this year, I think I need to add a yearly reminder to my calender lol.

Melissa Sugar said...

I left a comment but it looks like it disappeared. Anyway, thanks!


Melissa Sugar said...

Hi, visiting from the reflections list :)Love your blog layout, very eye-catching and I do like pink :)
Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe

Melissa Sugar said...

Congrats on finishing! I love your blog, it's beautiful.

#atozchallenge reflections on Kristen's blog: A to Z Reflections

Melissa Sugar said...

Oh how lovely to meet the oft mentioned Melissa Sugar! Seriously, people love you ;-)

Totally agree about Alex, and was amazed that he picked me for "I".

I'm excited to read your book as courtroom dramas (and sci-fi) are my favorites. I tend to WATCH more courtroom than read it, but that's because I've yet to find anyone but John Grisham who can do it without putting me to sleep...(my father-in-law is an attorney, and I paralegal-ed for him for 2 years and got to go to court with him and everything...just like being on TV. Yes, I'm a nerd, but willing to admit it!)

Tina @
is Good

April 2013 A-Z
Challenge Blog


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