Monday, May 2, 2011
The A to Z Experience
Another obstacle quickly reared its head when I realized that it had completely slipped my mind when I signed up that I was extremely pregnant and due in early April. (I know. I'm a terrible mother.) When I remembered I considered dropping out but after consideration decided to forge ahead anyway. I was going to write up a whole bunch of posts in advance of having the baby so I wouldn't have to worry about it later. Well, I failed to do that before the baby was born on March 30th and the rest of the month ended up being a hectic and sleep deprived nightmare.
Some days I completely failed to get posts up. Though I did cover every letter by grouping them up when I was able to sit down and make a post. I'm not sure whether it helped that I had chosen a theme in advance. Perhaps it would have been easier if I could have just written more randomly rather than racking my brains to come up with something intelligent to say on my chosen topic when I was going on a few hours sleep. I'll never know. But I enjoyed the exploration of worldbuilding that I chose to pursue. Though sometimes it seemed more of a history lesson on Ancient Egypt than an exercise in fantasy worldbuilding. What can I say, I love Egypt. I plan to continue posting occasionally on worldbuilding in general and my worldbuilding in particular. It's one of my favorite parts of being a fantasy writer.
My strategy, which was mostly successful, was to go through the linky list quickly in the early days of the challenge and skim over all the blogs to decide which ones I was interested by and wanted to follow. Then during the rest of the challenge I just relied on my blog feed to take me to the blogs I wanted to read. Somehow I still managed to miss tons of great blogs though I've found some from other bloggers' blogrolls and from following comments and such. I've built up a much bigger list of blogs to follow, but I'm a fast reader and I like content so I'm happy.
However, most of my time spent at the computer, other than writing my posts, was spent with the new baby in my arms, so commenting on all the great new blogs I found was difficult. I hope with less posts coming out everyday I'll be able to comment more and get to know all you fantastic bloggers better. That's what I am still really hoping for out of this Challenge, to make some friendships in the blogosphere.
I've learned a lot from this experience.
First of all, I've learned that I never want to commit to posting daily again. It's way too much for me to keep up with.Most people seem to post on a schedule, but I'm not sure if I can do that. Partly because my four kids make life unpredictable and partly because I prefer to post when I have inspiration for a post, and not when I'm forcing myself to write something. But this blog is still new. Perhaps as I go along and things shake out I'll find a routine I can live with.
Second, I've learned I need to be more interesting and engaging for readers. Perhaps I need to let more of my personality come through. I'm kind of afraid to do that, because my personality tends toward the sarcastic and cynical. Also opinionated. I'm very vocal in my opinions. I wish I was one of those always optimistic, always sweet and encouraging people, but I'm not. I'm just not. Sigh.
Third, I should make a real effort to reply to all comments on my posts. Originally I had been unsure if this was worth it since I saw several bloggers say they are way to busy to go back and see if their comment was replied to. But now I've seen plenty of other successful bloggers who do respond to all comments. And I know I like it when my comments are responded to. So this is now a no-brainer.I just need to find some hands free time.
In addition to what I learned, which is always invaluable, I gained a bunch of new followers. I broke the 100 mark during April, only a couple months after starting this blog, which is very exciting. Hello, followers new and... relatively old. I hope you like it here and decide to stay! I promise I'll try to make the journey enjoyable.
All in all, a positive if stressful month. Thank you to everyone who hosted the Challenge. See you next year!