The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2013 Reflections Post


What a Challenge!

        Another year of A to Z Blogging is now behind us and the 2013 April Challenge is now history.  It's been interesting and a Challenge for me every step of the way.  In fact much of the A to Z Team was faced with a variety of illnesses, family deaths, computer problems, and an array of other difficulties thrown our way.  But we made it successfully and that certainly counts for something.   I'd call this year another success and maybe the best A to Z Challenge yet.

        The quality of some of the posts was incredible.  I think we'll see more than just a few books resulting from the groundwork laid during the month of April.  The range of subject matter, stylistic approaches, and exceptional writing was truly dazzling.   I barely scratched the surface of the blogs entered in the Challenge, but for the most part what I did see was inspiring as well as entertaining.  I congratulate each and every one of you for a job very well done.

         We ended sign-ups on April 1st with 1969 links entered on the Linky List.  By the end we culled 314 links from the list due to bloggers dropping out or others pulled due to non-participation or not being an actual blog eligible for the Challenge.   For the most part from what I saw and heard from other participants we ended up with a fairly uncluttered list of participating blogs.

Thank You A to Z Team Assistants:

          The help we received from the subordinate teams of assistants to each co-host was particularly valuable especially from the standpoint of  the setbacks that some of the co-hosts were dealing with.  This was something new that we tried this year and I think it worked very effectively.  We were hopefully able to keep a fairly regular presence on the participating blogs with the help of the sub teams and they were very helpful in keeping the co-hosts informed when a problem arose with any of the blogs on the list.

         Here again is my super team of A to Z Ambassadors:


Judy  at  Raising the Curtain


Jaimie at    Living in the Light

Yvonne at The Written Word of Yvonne Lewis 

Alana at Writercize  

         Thanks to all of my team.   I hope all of you reading this will stop by their blogs and give them a virtual pat on the back for a job very well done.   Be looking for more from them in the future.

       
And here's to the A to Z Team of Co-hosts:

          I think it goes without saying that our A to Z Team of co-hosts is the greatest.  But I'll say it anyway--The A to Z Team is a great bunch of bloggers and if I were wearing my hat I'd tip it to them.  They've all served in their own special ways and I'm sure most of you have gotten to know at least a few of them rather well.

Here is the 2013 team:



The Madlab Post (Nicole Ayers)

Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird)

Amlokiblogs (Damyanti Biswas)

Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh)

Life is Good (Tina Downey)

Cruising Altitude 2.0 (DL Hammons)

Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins)

The Warrior Muse (Shannon Lawrence)

The QQQE (Matthew MacNish)

Leave it to Livia (Livia Peterson)

No Thought 2 Small (Konstanz Silverbow)

Stephen Tremp's Blog (Stephen Tremp)

Spunk on a Stick (L. Diane Wolfe)


       This will be the official A to Z Team until the end of the year.  The 2014 Team will be announced at the beginning of January.  Don't be surprised if many of these Team members return next year!   For any openings that arise we'll put out a call for new Team members as we get closer to the end of this year.

        Be sure to drop by to visit all of the A to Z Team blogs and let them know how much you appreciate them.  They've really put forth some effort!

What Else Helped the Success of 2013?

       Besides the sub-teams of assistants and our team of co-hosts, social media has become highly important to making A to Z a big success.   Our Facebook page is very active and if you're on Facebook but not subscribed to our page, be sure to do so to join the wonderful community that meets there.  Many of you also were tweeting about the Challenge.  I encourage you to keep the tweets tweeting.  We even have a small but faithful contingent who came to the Challenge via LinkedIn.  Maybe we can get an actual A to Z group started there.

        It all helps and if any of you have ideas of other things to try please let us know about them.  Thank all of you who posted about A to Z on your blogs in order to spread the word.

The Future:

        Every year we learn something new and we keep tweaking the process to make things work better.  My dream still is to have a better system for registration and maintaining the list.  It is pretty big and diverse right now.  It could get bigger in the future, but I think we'll have to do something more about containing it and managing it more effectively.

         Keep spreading the word about A to Z.  Talk about it on your blogs and tell your friends about it.

         For a good example of the type of article that helps the A to Z cause, check out this recent post.  Jo Murphey at The Murphey Saga wasn't a participant in this year's Challenge, but she put together one of the better posts I've seen about why anyone should do the A to Z Challenge or another blog event like D.L. Hammons' Blog Blitz.

Let's hear from you now.  If you haven't yet done your own Reflections Post we hope you'll compose one between now and next Thursday and add it to the list.  Please make sure you add the link that directly connects to your Reflections Post.

Reflections list starts here:



          Thank you everyone!


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51 comments:

  1. Excellent account Lee on a most enjoyable month. With next year in mind I will be thinking of a theme later in the year.
    I would like to personally like to thank you and co-host a job well done.

    Yvonne.

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  2. There is one reason why April is one of my favourite month of the year and that is primarily because of the A to Z Challenge, not a single one of the blogs I followed during the challenge let me down or didn't interest me greatly, I loved every single last post, including all of your own. One merit of the challenge that I think is important to remember is that it kind of gently forces participants who are people who have kind of fell off the blogging radar and who have been posting less to post 26 times in one month and some of my favourites who don't post much now took part in the challenge and that made me very happy Lee so thank you so much for all your hard work and efforts buddy, you are an absolute hero for all of this.

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  3. it was a pleasure... you also lead the ship into the shining sun with only a few icebergs.

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  4. I think I was in the six hundreds when I signed up then went to the 300's by the end. Glad 2013 A-Z was such a success and that the A-Z trudged through all challenges to help bring us such a great thing. And thank you for following my posts as well and being my 200th follower. Glad you posted your reflection Arlee.

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  5. As always, another great AtoZ year!

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  6. Another great year and the minions made a HUGE difference! Yes, the final number was smaller than last year, but that's because we removed more non-participants this year than in previous years.

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  7. Excellent job done. Well, thank you for organizing the challenge for I have too survived somehow and it really takes the toll. Congratulations for the success of the challenge.

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  8. Well done, everyone! I had a great time, and I look forward to participating again next year. Maybe I should start thinking of my theme now... :)

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  9. I thought the challenge was great this year and thanks to all you hosts for all the work you did. I was a minion and enjoyed helping out.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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  10. A to Z was awesome, Arlee. Thanks for all you do.

    Happy Weekend!

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  11. It was great again. There so many great blogs out there, I want to follow them all and visit everyday.
    I especially enjoyed your movie theme and remembered a lot of good movies I haven't watched in a while.

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  12. I'm not sure if I'm going to reflect any farther than my summation post which I put up this past Wednesday.

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  13. Hi Lee .. you've done a fantastic job keeping the A-Z going into and beyond its fourth year now.

    I just relaxed this year and did what I could .. and will continue to do so .. I've met some wonderful bloggers and without this Challenge that would never have happened.

    I love it - it's a sweat (well for me a minor perspiration problem!) .. but we all achieve so much and have so much fun .. thank goodness there's only 26 letters in the alphabet!!! Was it Inger who said there are 3 more in Swedish?!

    Cheers and many many thanks to you .. Hilary

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  14. AtoZ was amazing, full of zest! A great year-Thanks Lee for another great challenge!

    Congrats to you and the co-host, too! You all rocked~ :D







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  15. Thanks Lee, another fantastic year.

    Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com

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  16. My thanks to all for your comments so far. Good to hear such a positive reaction.

    Lee

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  17. What a month it was Arlee. You all were simply super amazing.

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  18. Help! I have posted my link - but it goes nowhere,, someone mailed me to say this morning. Something terrible did happen while I was doing it which made my mind go bezonk and i may have done something stupid.

    It should go to:

    http://lizbrownleepoet.com/2013/05/03/the-end-has-come/

    But it doesn't!

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  19. PS, thank you so much for everything you have done for the challenge, it has bee great fun.

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  20. Thanks Arlee and everyone for a great A to Z! Love being a part of this!

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  21. I was only a spectator but the A to Z is certainly a fun challenge to follow.

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  22. Great post. I am so glad that I decided to just jump in and join this year. I will be back for 2014! My writing and my blog grew so much during this challenge.

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  23. thanks to you and everone for all the hard work! Any suggestions how I can correct #140 as I typed in It's a Snap bu you see how it loooks! Cheers and have a great weekeknd!

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  24. Thank you very much for the challenge. I am sure that I will do it again next year!

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  25. Well done on another successful year, I am getting a love hate relationship with this A to Z thing..

    But I am planning on doing a Z to A now using the same theme quietly in the shadows on my own with no pressure on time-scale.

    it must be satisfying to see your idea growing as it does with time....

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  26. It's nice to see all the positive comments coming in. Rob, I kind of know what you're saying as far as the love/hate thing, but yes it's been exciting to see how it's developed.

    Lee

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  27. Look how many of us had wonderful experiences here on the challenge! Wow, 1900 + blogs signed up with only 300 culled? I think that is pretty awesome. I'm happy to be a part of such a cool happening. And Lee, thanks so much for dropping by and commenting on my blog. I feel like a queen!

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  28. It was nice to see so many stay active this year. Great hop, Arlee. I am one who will make a book of my findings. I did not last year, but this year I have too many requests for it.

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  29. Thanks to you and your team for another fabulous A to Z Challenge! See ya next year!

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  30. Hi Lee,

    Well done to you and all those who participated in the A to Z Challenge.

    Even though you will realise I would never get involved, you all have my admiration and respect.

    What you might not realise, Lee, is that my alternative postings, which actually promoted the challenge were considered light-hearted relief for those who were or were not struggling with the challenge.

    So, a positive result all round. Don't you think.

    Hearty congrats and may you and all of you, embrace the ethos of a sharing, caring blogging community.

    Your friend,

    Gary

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  31. I commend you and the team for keeping the defunct links and spammy advertising blogs to a minimum. I think I saw maybe one or two early on and that was it. I also liked the post on the A to Z blog that pointed to some blogs that had few followers and minimal comments, to show them some love. Nice work!

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  32. I am so glad your Idea has turned into this Amazing Challenge with so much participation and enthusiasm. That is a wonderful thing.

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  33. Lisa - You are a queen and deserve to be treated like royalty.

    Red -- Please keep us updated on the book and remember about guesting on the A to Z Blog when you're ready to promote it.

    Claire -- thanks!

    Gary -- You are one good-hearted fun guy. You add a special twist to April that has become a tradition.

    Steph -- We tried on all accounts and I think everyone involved did pretty well.

    Robin -- All from a wacky double-dog dare! Thanks!

    Lee

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  34. I must first thank you for such a great challenge. This being my first year, I was a little unsure on how this would go. But yes I made it.

    I believe this is a journey which doesn't stop here. 2013 April challenge is just a milestone and for me first. I am so happy that I have crossed this first one and looking forward to add many more accolades to my blog.

    Heartiest congratulations on completion of your challenge.

    - Your fellow A to Zer
    Do check my reflections post at http://precari0us.wordpress.com/

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  35. Hi Lee, thanks again, I'll be telling anyone and everyone about the challenge, I managed to recruit a few to join me on the last day before it started, and there's a few more that have promised to sign up early for next years ...I am so impressed by anyone that managed more than one blog, I really enjoyed your dream blog, congratulations on another great success

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  36. HearY HearYe...the Reflections by Arlee!!!! A great summation and words of wisdom and encouragement heaped on such deserving Bloggers from Hosts to Participants.

    I'll say it again, Thanks to you and everyone who made this years Challenge a success. What a difference it has made to so many, as is apparent in the comments here. Thanks for your visits and comments to CollectInTexas Gal...muchly appreciated!!!

    Sue CollectInTexasGal
    AtoZ Reflection Post

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  37. PrecariOus-- Nice comment. Many bloggers now list an A to Z Challenge as a milestone for them. Glad you could join this year.

    Ida - Thank you for spreading the word and your support on my sites.

    Sue -- And a big Thank You to you. Appreciate your stopping by.

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  38. A to Z is a wonderful thing. Thank you for all you do to make this happen.

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  39. Many thanks to you and the whole A-Z team for a great Challenge!
    Faye at Destination: Fiction

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  40. I had a busy month--especially with the kids having their spring break the first two weeks of the month. Thank you for putting on the challenge and big hats off to all the helpers.

    My idea to help make it a little more organized/categorized is to make an embedded form in Google Docs and then have it go into a published to the web Google Spreadsheet. I just made one for my blog with the Teacher blog Directory. Look in the math and Kindergarten tabs (I only have two entries so far) but you'll get the idea.

    Thanks for all of your support and helping my blog get a heads-up. I found a good teaching blog community out there and many of them didn't participate in A to Z but maybe they will next year (I think teachers love doing A to Z stuff).

    Thanks again,
    Kids Math Teacher

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  41. Thanks for another phenomenal year Lee! You and the co- hosts really went out of your way to make A to Z a huge success!

    Julie

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  42. Thank you for organizing this! It's such a wonderful way to bring bloggers together! What an amazing amount of participants!

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  43. Thanks for the public thanks! Much appreciated. Of course, we couldn't have done it without our Boss Man! Thank YOU for being our anchor.

    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
    @TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

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  44. Massive thanks Lee to you and the team for setting this up!

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  45. The A to Z Challenge was definitely in full force on Twitter this year. I'm typically active on Twitter in spurts throughout the year but haven't seen anything like the activity (tweets, re-tweets, conversations/mentions, follows, replies, etc.) we had in 2013 during last year's challenge, and I think that's a testament to everybody putting forth some effort in keeping it on the radar for bloggers who were participating and also for those who did not sign up but remained curious about the challenge.

    I did join DL's "Blog Blitz" and am very surprised to read where you mention the A to Z being picked up by somebody on LinkedIN....WOW!

    It's been a pleasure doing the challenge for the third-year and a real learning experience co-hosting it for the first time. I look forward to this Post A to Z Road Trip...after I publish my Reflections.

    ~Nicole
    www.madlabpost.com

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  46. This was my first year doing the A to Z Challenge and I loved every minute of it. Thanks for the opportunity. :)

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  47. This was my first year and wasn't quite sure what I was doing or what to expect. It was very enjoyable and I met some great new bloggy friends along with reading some interesting ones too. Just a pleasant experience all the way around.

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

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  48. Squid & Faye- Thanks!

    Lucy -- I may have to experiment with the Google Doc idea. I used it for my "Hijack This Blog!" campaign last year. I'll take a look to see what you're doing.

    Julie and Sherry -- Thank you. The biggest part of the success is due to bloggers like you.

    Tina--And guess what--I couldn't have pulled this off without our great team. Thank you all!

    Rowena -- It's our April thing now.

    Nicole -- Twitter and Facebook were very awesome this year. I was the one who got the A to Z interested started on a LinkedIn discussion thread and a few others took it from there.

    Pete & Lucy-- We're so happy to hear from the first-timers.

    Lee

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  49. Congrats Lee on another successful A-Z Challenge. You have quite an impressive team and participants. Sounds like an amazing experience. I should take a shot at this next year. Are you writing a book on your challenge this year or organizing the challenge itself? Congrats again!

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  50. A fun first time for me. I look forward to your suggestion of a more manageable list. Hats off to you and crew for a great job!

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  51. One idea I had when perusing someone else's reflection post was dividing the overall list into individual 'category' lists, i.e. one separate list just for music blogs. And yet that would possibly only contain 5 blogs overall, so maybe it's not a practical idea. Another idea is if we are to make continued use of categories, make it so people have to have chosen a category before they sign up. Obviously we wouldn't want to be too restrictive with this thing, though, or all the fun would be gone. ;)

    I'm sure the A-Z hosts will come up with some great new way of managing the whole affair.

    Re: the category thing, I hadn't thought of a theme till it was almost April, so I would have had to sign up at the very last minute if sign-ups were restricted that way. Just an extra thought ;)

    Anyway, congrats Lee on another highly successful April challenge! It's a bit of a phenomenon these days, and no doubt will only become more so over the years.

    Trisha @ WORD+STUFF

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Lee