This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Positives of Blogging from A to Z

                  The Evaluation Continues 

         Each Monday in May I am examining a different aspect of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge for 2011.  If you missed last week, I reviewed some of the actual and the perceived negatives of the Challenge.  There were some outstanding comments and I would recommend that you read through them if you missed them.

          A reminder to those who don't feel that these evaluation studies have relevance to non-participants of the A to Z Challenge:  The concepts expressed can probably be related to some of your own blogging activities and certainly applicable to other blog events in which you may participate.   We want to hear the subjective opinions of those who participated as well as the objective thoughts from those who did not.

        What follows is some attributed quotes taken from comments or posts, as well as some general positives that were frequently cited by many sources.

Good things about the Challenge (with my comments or questions in red):

1)     Catherine at Composing Cat said this:   I'm not sure how I'm going to approach posting after this challenge. I liked being connected everyday to the blogosphere but it does take a lot of mental ability to post daily. I don't know that I can go back to my weekly memes either. It was great to participate in them when I didn't have any real content but I've learned some things about myself and my writing ability in the past month. I don't want to follow along. No, I don't have any delusions of being some great writer that can pump out mind thrilling content. I just feel like I'm finding my groove and before I was afraid to even look for my groove. I hid behind the creativity of others. Don't get me wrong I love those memes but i want to spread my blog wings and see if I can do what I set out to do with this blog...find out what composes me and develop my writing ability.  (I like how the Challenge gave her a greater awareness of her talents and made her think more deeply about the way she wants to blog in the future--Catherine's contemplations just grabbed me.)

2)       One thing I liked about the challenge was it gave me motivation to write even on the days where I didn’t feel like it!  (If you want to be a writer then you have to write!)

3)    I would never have seen it through if I wasn't in love with writing.   (A confirmation that loving writing will facilitate writing.)

4)      The Challenge provided a sense of community.  (We were together in a common purpose.  Participants from last year have often indicated how many of the relationships established in that Challenge have continued ever since.)

5)   Before the challenge, I wasn’t sure what the focus of my blog was. After the challenge, I knew which direction I wanted to go and what I wanted to write about. (The concentrated blogging effort allowed some to discover their passion or what was easiest for them to write about).

6)   Before the challenge, I saw myself as creatively-challenged. After the challenge, I realize that I have untapped depths of creativity!     Brianna at Pocketful of Playdough
(I really like how Brianna expressed this feeling.)

7)    The variety was great! I've come across blogs I'd never have known existed, It's widened my horizons - that can only be good.  says Sue    (It seemed like there was something for everyone and a whole lot more--what was a negative for some was an absolute positive for others).

8)  The list was huge!  I couldn't get through all of it, but it was nice to have the wide selection.  (The most common complaint was also something that many of us liked a great deal.)

9)    All of the participants were so supportive and friendly.  (The networking was superb in this event.)

10)  I really learned a lot about many different things.  (With so many topics represented and presented in so many fine ways how could one not walk away having learned a few things)

11)   I saw an increase in followers.   (Some participants were happy with adding a few while others saw large increases of 100 or more.   It's a controversial topic with many sides, but increasing following is a natural offshoot of the challenge.)

12)   The A to Z Challenge was fun!   (This was one of our main objectives!)

Let's hear from you

        Do you agree with all of these positives?    Are there any positives that you would like to add?     What is the biggest benefit you derived from Blogging from A to Z?



  1. The A-Z challenge was an invaluable exercise; it gave me the incentive to post on my blog every day; resulted in me topping 100 followers; kept my writing muscles from atrophying, made me laugh and cry; provide me with more writery types to converse with and best of all it forced me to accept that I do actually know what I’m talking about when I offer advice!

  2. hmm...yes I agree with all the positives said above.
    A to Z challenge ,for me was fun,interactive and MADE me blog even when was ready to write one:D .Was happy to be a part of it :)
    My Recap A to Z Challenge 2011

  3. I agree with all of these, it was definitely a very worthwhile experience, expecially for me as a novice blogger.

    Moody Writing

  4. Thanks for summarizing the positives, Arlee. wow! It is great to see all these wonderful attributes in one long list. I wholeheartedly agree with all of them. After reading the list, we are all chomping at the bit for next year's challenge!
    Pam Williams

  5. I think the one, extra special, thing that I took away from this exercise was the support and encouragement of other bloggers. I feel I grew through the experience and developed confidence. Bloggers, in general, are very generous and kind with their comments.

  6. Hi Arlee .. I agree and particularly, as you did, with Catherine's first comment here .. other thought doors have opened.

    I'd a 13th .. as MyBabyJohn says .. we just happen to be extremely lucky and fortunate to be a part of an exceptional group of bloggers ... here and beyond within our own personal realms.

    This opens up enormous opportunities for learning, for networking, for making new friends ..

    No: 13 = a Wonderful Blogging World under and without the A - Z Challenge auspices!

    Cheers - Hilary

  7. I had a fantastic experience with the challenge. It kick-started my blog and helped put me in touch with what seems to becoming a core readership. I really feel like I'm part of the blogging community now.

  8. Totally agree. I had a great time and would definitely do it again. I also found some focus for my blog thanks to the challenge.

  9. To me the challenge was great for discipline, blogging everyday and commenting was good. Meeting others and getting new followers were also another positive thing about the challenge though I must stress that only a handful of the new followers have remained commenting since the challenge ended.
    I enjoyed it very much and look forward to next year.

  10. Hi Arlee and Yvonne .. that's the thing about following - there's no commitment there .. and with 1200 we're one of many ..

    .. by subscribing at least we feel we wanted to participate and presumably will do ..

    .. unless you did what I did .. and completely unsubscribed - as I was 'sickly' .. well that's my excuse! Till I realised I need to resubscribe quickly ..

    One thing I haven't done yet - is go back through and make sure I'm commenting and tied in with everyone else and that is something I definitely need to sort out ..

    Cheers - loved the process too .. Hilary

  11. I totally agree with all those positives, and there are so many more.

    When I began blogging, it was on a daily schedule. As I grew in my writing, I learned I needed balance. The one thing that the daily posting taught me was that I probably can't do it anymore. Sad, huh?

    But for a month here and there, it's fun. Not too different from nano. You just got to set some limits and priorities.

    I did find out that our re-certification is is next April. That's when people come and see if we're still a 5 star center. A terribly big deal. So, if that's the case, I know already that I won't be able to participate. Too many things going on....

    Over all, I think it's a great thing. It's a challenge. I like challenges :)

  12. Community is most important to me and the Challenge encourages that!

  13. I liked the challenge aspect! I also liked stretching to the discipline of writing daily. Yay!
    Jan Morrison

  14. Steven -- Good stuff! Being a part of a group effort usually does provide a greater incentive.

    Uma -- The social nature of the event does stimulate positive emotional responses and interaction with others.

    Mood and Pam -- Glad to hear how the A to Z Challenge affected you in such positive ways.

    MyBabyJohn & Hilary -- The community support is great isn't it.

    Paul -- I think A to Z certainly does put the blogger and blogging in perspective to one's interests and can provide the necessary impetus to just sitting down to write.

    Dafeenah -- The aspect of focus is important.

    Yvonne -- I think it's normal for the enthusiasm of visiting and commenting to curtail after the event. Also I think this whole social think cuts back from now until after summer as more people are doing things away from the computer.

    Words Crafter -- If I had to I guess I could post every day, but I don't plan to do it again unless it's for something like A to Z.

    Alex -- I agree that community is the primary benefit of the A to Z Challenge.


  15. I liked the challenge of it, I loved meeting so many new people, and I like that I completed it. I didn't give up.

    It's a fantastic challenge for new bloggers who aren't yet sure what they want to focus on or how to attract new followers. I would definitely do it again.

    And I'm still catching up with blogs I didn't get a chance to visit during April!

  16. Strictly from a reader's point of view, I was impressed w/ the variety of posts on a given day. To me, that's very important.

  17. The pros far outweighed the cons, Arlee, at least for me. When we came out of A-Z, I felt a little guilty because I had gotten so used to following a specific format last month, and then the guilt of going back to my own thing set in. It was really strange.

  18. I agree with all of it! The A-Z made writing a part of my daily routine, and even though I found it tough sometimes (and decided to take a break from blogging after the challenge), I discovered that I was now addicted to writing everyday.
    The A-Z inspired me to experiment a little. I started another blog, and have also set to work on a novel, thanks to the A-Z! Great work organizing such a wonderful event! :D :D

  19. HI!
    I was not a participant..but since the challenge, I caught the tail end... I have met so many interesting people. Thank you for all the hard work you are putting into this series.. It is so interesting!

  20. I had an amazing time, the challenged helped me to be focussed and disciplined in my writing and in some ways as Jeffrey points out going back to your own format is a little weird. It definitely took me out of my comfort amazing adventure, and one that I will definitely take again!

    Amanda - Realityarts-Creativity
    Art Blog

  21. I had a wonderful time with the challenge..even though I didn't manage to post daily..
    Best thing is that I got to know some great blogs & made some good friends..


  22. I'm a relatively new blogger (March), and signed up for A-Z, although illness kept me away. In the last week however, I managed to catch up with some of the blogs regularly posting. This challenge gave me a great platform from which to explore blogland and I'd have to agree with everything said earlier about this event really highlighting what a welcoming and generous community you guys facilitated. Can't gush enough about it!

  23. Seems the challenge inspired all of us in different ways. It helped me to remember that I used to be a disciplined writer who wrote everyday. Now, I play around, rather that getting what I have to do done. Getting through the challenge proved to me that I need to focus.

  24. I didn't participate but find these observations helpful and insightful. Good food for thought, particularly if I can participate next year. It's just another confirmation to me on what a great blogging community we have!

  25. although I didn't take part, I also sensed a positive side of Challenge since all of you were present every day at blogosphere and I had more comments than usually :) Now, it's a small comment hiatus again :)

  26. This challenge was most definitely a positive. It got me out of a rut and caused me to really look at the purpose of my blog. I feel back on track now.
    Shannon Lawrence of The Warrior Muse and I have teamed up for a post-challenge-challenge. Visit all 1282 blogs by the end of the summer. I sent you an email about this, and totally understand how swamped you must be. Alex J. Cavanaugh is on board, and suggested I put my idea in your comments too. Here's my post about the new challenge:
    Tina @ Life is Good

  27. The whole challenge was a positive experience! There was such an amazing variety of posts it was hard to keep up to at times, but it was lots of fun trying. :-)

    I made a lot of new friends and gained a whole bunch of new followers. This has inspired me to post to my blog on a regular basis.

  28. The challenge definitely re-energized my blog. I had blogged on once or twice in a year. Blogging every day wasn't easy, but the sense of accomplishment encouraged me to keep going.

    I have an active blog and 7 followers -- i didn't have any before.

    MM the Queen of English

  29. It's probably too late now, but I did finish the A-Z challenge even if I didn't comment on the reflections post. I didn't realize that commenting was mandatory to being recognized as being a finisher.

    I just wanted you (Lee) to know I did finish.

    MM the Queen of English

  30. Those all sound like good positives. I learned I could post every day and am half tempted to keep at it. lol I like 3 posts a week though, it's not too much pressure.

  31. I definitely agree with the positives. And as Alex says, the encouragement of the community is the most important part of the challenge.

  32. What I initially liked about the challenge was that I was forced to be on a blogging schedule. This enabled me to experiment with different types of writing styles. The huge bonus was my introduction to this welcoming "community" of bloggers that continues to grow. Julie

  33. I am currently very limited by my internet access. I will check any emails or respond to any direct questions in a few days.

    Thanks for all the great comments.


  34. How exciting to see my comment featured on your post! I'm so glad you shared it with your readers.

    The challenge definitely opened my eyes to my own creative abilities. Now I just need to use those abilities!

    I agree with all the positive aspects listed, especially about the supportive and friendly participants!

  35. Lee, the positives you mention all worked out for me...the next time around I know I just need to plan my visiting and browsing better.

    I'm still working on the e-book of A-Z short stories, and re-writing most of the pieces I wrote in the beginning, from A through D. If it happens, the A-Z e-book would be something spectacular I got out of this challenge, cos on my own I would never have thought myself capable of writing so many pieces in a month!

    I love the new friends I made who continue to be a part of my blog short, it was all good, and if the A-Z ebook gets done, it would be awesomesauce!

    Thank you once again Lee, though I have thanked you before, cos I don't think I can ever thank you and the other hosts enough :D

  36. I do agree that it was fun. Thanks again.

  37. Although I did not participate in the challenge Lee, I admire how you have inspired so many of your followers. Congratulations, well done!

  38. I have nothing but good things to say and am looking forward to next year's Challenge. I met some terrific people, some who are still visiting my blog. I never would have met them otherwise.

  39. I'm new to the blog so...Hello everybody. I am a new self published contemporary romance author. I'm said that I missed the challenge on one hand and relieved on the other.

    I find challenges in posting everyday but how else do I expect to get noticed if people don't see me online. Blogging helps to establish my presence on the net. So I treat the blogs the same way I do for my WIPs. I start a document, name it, put in a couple of lines of dialogue, and I save it as a draft. If I have ideas throughout the day, I do that. When I sit home at night, I write to the prompts I've already established.

    Its what works for far. I think come next April, I'll be better prepared to take on this challenge.

    You can find me at

  40. I liked how positive people were too. Most of the posts were also positive which made it more enjoyable.

  41. Good points, pos and neg, but I'm sure most involved felt the postitives far outweighed the negatives.

  42. I enjoyed the diversity the challenge offered . It is fun to read with variety. I firmly agree with #2, practice helps big time. If you want to learn anything better you need to practice.

  43. And again, thanks for these wonderful comments. I appreciate all of the encouragement and it's nice to hear how A to Z helped so many in various ways.

    I'm still basically on vacation and playing catch up when I can. I hope to be back to normal blogging soon.


  44. Lee, thanks for all your hard work during the A to Z challenge! It is amazing how so many bloggers participated and enjoyed it :)

    I awarded you with the Versatile Blogger Award! You are simply awesome :)


  45. The A to Z challenge sounds like a terrific exercise in discipline and creating a writing habit. I know I work best with pressure. It gets the adrenaline pumping.

  46. I didn't finish the A to Z but I did learn a lot about myself and my writing as well. I met a lot of really cool people too. Thanks for hosting such an awesome event.

  47. I found you through another blog. This A to Z challenge sounds fun, so bummed I missed it. I hope to join next year. I've linked your blog to my blogroll so I wont miss any posts.
    I have been in a long distance relationship for almost 12 years and that is pretty much what my blog is about.
    looking forward to more posts!

  48. I would definitely say that my favorite aspect of A to Z was the community feel, that I knew someone new might run across my blog and vice versa, and that even on days when writing felt like a chore, I knew there was a certain camaraderie in logging on to write which inspired me.

    Also - LOVED the button to jump to the next A to Z blog. I used it frequently.

    I will certainly participate next year.



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