A To Z Challenge: Reflections and Tue Cent Twosday

It’s May. How did April go by so fast? And yet, it didn’t: it went by fully.  It wasn’t so much the velocity as the content. Here’s what I mean; my ten things list of what I learned from the April 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge:

  1. Challenges stretch you. They push you to do better.
  2. I adore participating with others. As much as writing is a solitary activity, I’m a group-oriented thinker and this suited my approach to writing, and life, perfectly.
  3. Daily discipline leads to changed habits.
  4. Sustainable growth is preferable to sudden expansion, because the latter is followed by the inevitable contraction.
  5. There are some damned fine bloggers out there.
  6. Optimism takes work.
  7. You’ve got to give to get.  Social media is less about the media and more about the social.
  8. One blogger complained that it was too much work, she didn’t really gain new friends, and that her sales didn’t improve. I think this misses the point. To me, the Challenge is about the collective outpouring of effort focused around a common, shared, goal – to see if we can write 26 posts in a row and witness each other’s birthing pains. It’s not about “gimme,” it’s about “let’s.” Together, we are stronger: but together begins with me, reaching out of myself and visiting other places, other blogs, even other countries.
  9. Cultural sensitivity is key when blogging.  I’ve met folks from India, New Zealand, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East…  The world is a big place, but the internet builds bridges.
  10. I am so grateful to the unsung heroes that did the early work of the internet, from 1969 and its beginnings as ARPANET/DARPANET, to the development of the Network Information Centers at places like Stanford Research Institute, to CERN and the World Wide Web. We stand on the shoulders of giants, my friends, and we are the better for it. When I feel down about the state of the economy or world peace, the internet quite literally reminds me that life will find a way. We humans are communicative creatures and the internet brings me hope that we will stumble on a way to find peace with each other, a common understanding and respect. Yes, even with lolcats.
What did you learn from participating in the Challenge, either as a reader or also as a participating blogger?

18 Replies to “A To Z Challenge: Reflections and Tue Cent Twosday”

  1. I learned (or perhaps it reinforced what I knew already), but failed too often to bring to my blog is more of what I know first hand. This will certainly be my new direction.

    It’s really nice meeting you today. I see that you’re a Romance Novelist. Like Joan Wilder (Romancing the Stone)? lol I’m sorry, please don’t smack me, I just couldn’t resist that! Now following you. Have a terrific week! 😉

    1. Hi, Cathy! I’m not sure I follow your first paragraph; do you mean that you want to include more things that you know first hand? I think, if that’s what you mean, that’s a lovely idea. If I’m misunderstanding, please feel free to let me know.

      Thank you for stopping by! My writing partner is Rachel Wilder, so yes, absolutely! I adored Romancing the Stone. 🙂

      Happy blogging!

  2. You’re right – that blogger missed the point. Yes it’s about making new friends, but you don’t need a ton of new followers to do that.
    Glad you enjoyed the Challenge and thanks for participating!

    1. Hi, Alex! I agree, it’s not about the followers necessarily, it’s about the conversation. Also, I notice a trend to read but not comment, so it’s not always about the comments either. 🙂

      Thanks for visiting. Happy blogging!

  3. It’s certainly not about sales, though I can see why some folks are disappointed if they gave more then they got. I didn’t learn anything new thing new this year about the challenge, it was pretty much the same. I did learn some cool new things about countries I knew nothing about.

    off topic…something I’m trying to learn, any idea how do delete a wordpress account? Someone pressed me to make a gravatar which meant I had to have a wordpress account, which now won’t let me leave the url to my blog on wordpress accounts, it wants me to sign in with them….
    sandy at Traveling Suitcase

    1. Hi, Sandy! Thanks for stopping by.

      I believe you can update your Gravatar, but here’s what I do: I have my Gravatar, but override it and put my blogger blogs in. While I have a WordPress blog, I rarely use it. I did two blog challenges this year, one here and one at Noon and Wilder’s main blog; I used whichever I was commenting with depending where I was on the overall blog list (since we typically start at blogs below our own when we’re visiting).

  4. Terrific list! Number four really spoke to me as I feel my creativity has been backsliding until I look at the full picture of my life and see steady, if small, improvements.

    1. I totally agree on every point except small. I think you’ve founded two awesome blogs and made regular contributions to two more, a body of fiction, fan fiction, and poetry including Haiku, learned Japanese, several years and iterations of gardens, and lots of craft projects. That’s a prodigious amount of accomplishments, not to mention redefining your life from corporate contributor to full time homemaker, which is a difficult transition. I’m so proud of you!!

  5. I see that more read than comment as well. Being in the challenge gave me theopportunity to learn valuable writing tips and other useful information. I also had the satisfaction of seeing my writing develop in quality, and my blog followers increased. It was a great way to meet and make friends. Michelle @ http://www.writer-way.blogspot.com

  6. Hi! I’m visiting from the A to Z Roadtrip. I didn’t get a chance to visit your blog during the main challenge so I’m going to take some time now to browse your posts.

    Great list. Number three is one that has really affected me. I’m not writing everyday but I do feel more motivated to write several times a week.

    Belated Congratz on completing the challenge!

    LittleCely’s Blog

  7. Great reflections. I too especially enjoyed traveling the world and being invited into the perspectives of so many different cultures. I love your perspective on the challenge. Some focus on the get, while to really get, one must focus on the give. On the A to Z road trip. Glad I stopped by. Maria @ Delight Directed Living

  8. Well done for taking part in and finishing the challenge.

    Like you I’ve learnt a lot from the challenge both times I’ve taken part in it. Last year (my first time) it was that I could blog everyday even without a regular internet connection. This year my focus was more on the social which is why I’m still working through (and commenting on) the Reflections posts and then I’ll be moving on to the Road Trip. 🙂

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