A to Z Reflection Post

A-to-Z Reflection [2014]

So, April is over. We’ve written, we’ve read, we’ve laughed (we’ve also cried while reading … no? okay just me then) and now it’s time to step back and reflect.

How are you feeling? Still recovering, perhaps. Still a little tired, or a lot. Let’s be honest, while fun, blogging daily can be exhausting. 

I wrote my posts in advance, and you’d think that’s good, right? But no, I changed my mind time and again. Added new photos only to take them down and do it again. Not the best way to plan ahead, but one never learns.

All right, that’s taking the whole thing too seriously. No harm was done — only far fewer hours of sleep and a lot of  hair pulling. 

So, while I arrived prepared for April, with a previous Survivor Badge proudly displayed on my blog, I am just as tired as last year, if not more so.

Next year, there will be NO touching the posts. There will be pre-scheduling then nothing but replying, commenting, and all-around love.

What else have I learned? That benefits are based on efforts. Big time. That blogging is about openness, or what the heck is the point. That there are many bloggers who serialize their novels.

On that last point — serializing may be great when a blogging relationship is in place, but as a new reader it’s hard for me to connect.

Excerpts sprinkled among posts, that’s different. That gives me a chance to get to know the blogger, to connect. Isn’t that what blogging is all about? It’s a conversation we’re having. That’s another reason I like seeing a picture of the blogger — nice to see who’s at the other end of the conversation.

I found A LOT of great blogs. I love blogs that share a story, a personal experience, a place. Posts that pull me close, because distant writing equals disengagement. That’s what news blogs are for.

Sure, there’s only so much personality and honesty one can put into post after post. A few years and a bazillion entries can make writing one more post feel like a job. I don’t know an easy fix for that, just that life offers new stories, new ideas, new vacations, enough new experiences to FIND THE JUICE. I hope.

I’m proud of my friend, Debi O’Neille for having completed the challenge brilliantly. Also, my friends Linda Covella and M. Denise C, who tell me I’ve inspired them to enter.

While traveling the blogosphere, many sites (in addition to those I knew from last year) made me a fan and follower. Here are a few: Eva Marasca, Elizabeth, Martha Reynolds, fellow Romanian Veronica Sicoe, Crystal Collier, Gwynn Rogers, Anabel Marsh, Susan Koenig, Carrie-Anne Brownian … and many more.

To the wonderful co-hosts, I offer A BIG thank you. I don’t know how you do it — blog, comment, reply, motivate, address questions. Do you ever sleep? :)

I know you’re looking for suggestions on improvements, but I don’t have any — okay, maybe one, and it’s more of an observation: too many inactive blogs on the list. One particular day I found too many had either given up or never started. Someone had asked to report them, but I would’ve had to go back, see where the first inactive blog was, make a list, and so on.

That’s why I’m saying: I don’t know how you (co-hosts) do it, how you make time for everything. I couldn’t find the time or strength to go back and start a list. Sorry.   

Overall, April Blogging was a successful party. One I’m still recovering from. The Challenge offered an opportunity to connect with bloggers worldwide; it offered structure and within the structure the ability to roam around, be creative, and find new friends. 

As I sit back and look at the new followers (haven’t counted yet, but I’m sure the number exceeds my expectations), I appreciate just how much I did take away from the Challenge.  It was rewarding, even educational (how awesome is that?), and, most importantly, it was fun. 

Thank you, dear blogging friends!

 

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38 responses to “A to Z Reflection Post

  1. Thanks Silvia for all the great posts last month! Thank you for all the encouragement you gave me, too. I wrote about half my posts beforehand, but that probably wasn’t enough, as I spent most of the time just barely finishing each post on time and not as much time as I would’ve liked reading and commenting on others. Next year I think I will pre-write them all like you. I found so much energy in the community and will have to tap into that more next year!

  2. Some good points. I preschedule too, but only week by week. It’s my habit so it works for me. And the commenting wore me out, too.

  3. Great post and some really good observations, especially about the serialisations and inactive blogs. Must admit, I’ve cried over a few posts!! ;)

  4. And thank YOU too! I do agree with the inactive bloggers on the list though. It was frustrating at times… Loved reading your posts (and will continue to do so). I’m still finding my way to some of yours. I want to digest, not skim read :)

  5. I agree with all of the previous comments AND your post! I’m POOPED… and I started writing my posts well in advance. Some I changed. Some I wrote three posts for as I debated which to ACTUALLY post. Since I am a relatively new blogger AND this is the first A to Z Challenge that I have entered, the fact that I posted everyday AND survived has me cheering. Most of all I’m excited about the new friends I made along the way. Thank you for being in my circle!!

    I do LOVE your posts! ;-)

  6. My thoughts exactly, Sylvia. Thanks for expressing them so precisely and lovingly. It’s why I enjoy following your blog!

  7. This was my first A-to-Z Challenge and I could not have expressed it any better. Wonderful post and I’m thrilled to have found you. Rest up and I’ll see you later!

  8. Well done. I enjoyed all of your posts on Romania. What a great topic. It tells us more about you, where you came from, and history of a very interesting part of the world.
    Go. Create. Inspire!

  9. Mark me down as one who cried, Silvia. I’m so happy we connected, and since I didn’t meet you until the latter part of alpha, I now have a spring journey to Romania awaiting me through your earlier posts. And not even a bag to pack!

  10. I think I echo most of your thoughts in my reflections. I pre-scheduled a lot of my posts and basically for the entire second half of the month all I had to do was sit back and read/comment on other people’s blogs. If I hadn’t only made the decision to take part the weekend before the start I probably could’ve had them all written and scheduled before the start of April.

    Definitely what I’ll be aiming for if I take part again next year!

    Congratulations on getting to the end of the Challenge. :-)

  11. Thanks for the mention, Silvia. I agree with your observation about the “party” – the last day felt like a great big leaving party with everyone celebrating with each other. It was great fun!

  12. Yeah, I found a lot of junk on the list, too. After the first half of the month, I stopped reading blogs on the list and focused on finding blogs to read in the comments of those who read mine. I found a lot of great ones! I wish people had stuck with the “keep your posts short” rule–that would have made reading easier, certainly! It was a LOT of reading, but I read a lot of blogs anyway–it just made it easier to find new blogs to read, since people were blogging everyday! But it was extremely tough to get around to everyone’s every single day, that’s for sure!

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

  13. Your blog is one of my finds during the A to Z. Love your reflections. They do draw me in and give me pause to think about how I can adjust and connect better myself. I will enjoy visiting the blogs you mention as well. Thanks Sylvia. I am glad to receive your posts via email. You are a talented writer. You have inspired me to go get my own A to Z reflections posted. Maria, http://delightdirectedliving.blogspot.com/.

  14. Thanks again for the inspiration, Silvia. I enjoyed all of your pictures, even if they were switched in and out throughout the challenge. Cheers to you. Denise

  15. You shared so much of yourself when you wrote about Romania, its culture, and its history. As you said, a post with no personal investment is boring. I am sure some of mine went into that realm. Pre-writing also meant doing some re-writing.
    All in all, I met some great writers, people with interest. Exhausting but interesting.

  16. Sounds like overall it was a good experience. As to the cleaning of the list? EGADS. That’s what most of our time is spent doing…I won’t go into details, but that task CONSUMES us. We really take offense at those only looking for someone to click, not the people like wonderful you who truly understand what it’s all about and put their best efforts forth in every respect.
    I do have to mention that it was awesomely amazing to me that you joined Twitter just to participate in the chats. Totally cool. You get a Gold Medal. I wish that with all my other duties I’d had time to read all your posts since our themes were so similar. However, there is always the archive ;-)
    Good job dear friend.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

  17. You are good at inspiring people. Thanks for the mention, and thanks for getting me involved–the challenge was every bit as rewarding as you said it would be. Back to painting now. :-)
    Deb@ http://debioneille.blogspot.com

  18. thank you!
    It was a delight to meet you too

    by the way this is authorsusankoenig – posting from my real blog not author one

    I confess – I am not following you yet — we are leaving on our trip tomorrow and I don’t know how much computer time I will have

    But we will connect and get that guitar and set of drums going :D

  19. I didn’t find inactive blogs this year, but that’s because I followed comment threads rather than use the list.

  20. *blushes* You mentioned me. Aw, thanks! I crashed with one hand over the finish line. I’m still catching up from the challenge and returning visits from the “Z” day, but oh my goodness, wasn’t it wonderful?

    This year I wrote my posts in advance, then reviewed the upcoming week on Sunday to be sure everything was good. Beyond that, I didn’t touch them, and that system worked well for me.

    Cheese to you, my friend.

  21. I very much enjoyed following your posts through A to Z and am glad I found your blog. Cheers!

  22. Very well done on your A to Z challenge Silvia! I would like to nominate you for the Liebster award – I usually don’t go for the awards myself but I have realised it is a great way to interact with other bloggers so I made exception.
    http://evamarasca.com/2014/05/10/award-alert/

  23. Hi Silvia .. I owe you lots of comments for your wonderful posts about Romania .. I do so want to see them all.

    Congratulations on finishing the A-Z, bringing in some new friends and for getting out there and finding new ones … it’s a brilliant idea ….

    Lovely to share the blogging world with you – cheers Hilary

  24. I’ve finally made it back…naughty internet. Great reflections post…the internet nearly killed me a couple of times and blogging in a crummy internet cafe wasn’t great…luckily we found a great cafe bar on the beach with wifi that helped a couple of days. I’m going to go over your posts again ready for my trip, once this World Cup is over…if it ever starts! Then holiday road trip England to Romania and back…so looking forward to it…I’ll let you have some photos when I get back.
    Thanks so much for all your great comments too…blog love is cool and gives me a warm feeling all over and I can believe the world is full of nice people…if only for a little time.
    Maggie@expatbrazil

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