07 May, 2012

A-Z Challenge Reflections Post

Today's when the blogosphere once more turns to the A-Z Challenge, but this time, it isn't an alphabet-themed post. Instead participants and non-participants weigh in on what they thought of the Challenge. From the Challenge website:
Share your pleasures, your pains, your setbacks, your gains. Who did you meet along the way that you found to be especially helpful or inspiring? Did you have a favorite blog post? Or a favorite series? Which blogs did you discover during April that you will be returning to in the future?
   You can tell us what you thought were the highlights of your April Challenge, what you learned, what changes you might make next time, or what surprised you most. There are no limits as to what your Challenge experience might have been so tell us in your best way how you felt about the April A to Z Challenge of 2012.

Before I get to my reflections, I'd like to give a big, enthusiastic cheer for the hosts of the Challenge:

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)
Author Elizabeth Mueller(Elizabeth Mueller)
Pearson Report (Jenny Pearson)
No Thought 2 Small (Konstanz Silverbow)
Breakthrough Blogs (Stephen Tremp)
Coming Down The Mountain (Karen Jones Gowen)

. . . who are awesome and amazing people. Go follow them, if you don't already.

And now for drawing together an entire month into a single post. Well, let's start with the posts, since that's the main reason why I participated in the Challenge.

As you probably know my theme was science (unless you're a new visitor, in which case, Welcome to the blog! and yes, I'm that crazy), and my posts covered Astrophysics, Biotechnology, Cosmology, Dendrochronology, Exobiology, Fluid Dynamics, General Relativity, Helioseismology, Inorganic Chemistry, Jumping Genes, Kinematics, Lithology, Microbiology, Nanotechnology, Oceanography, Particle Physics, Quantum Physics, Robotics, Spectroscopy, Toxicology, Unified Theory, Volcanology, Wave-Particle Duality, X Chromosome, Y Chromosome, and Zoology.

I had a lot of fun doing all that research. Because I had a solid theme this year--unlike in 2011--I could plan ahead and had everything scheduled by the end of April 1. It took a big load off blogging for the rest of the month, since all I had to do was edit the posts the day before and comment. I wouldn't necessarily recommend scheduling ahead of time for everyone's style is different, but for relatively factual and static post subjects, I think it works. Scheduling has greatly caught on with me, actually, because I get the impulse to do it with all of my posts now.

All my A-Z posts/images together. If you want to, view my blog (or any other Blogger site) like this HERE.

And once the posts went up, it was great to read your responses and find out what you had to say over some of today's most interesting scientific fields and their respective discoveries and advances. The blogosphere has to be one of the sharpest audiences around, and sometimes it really was a challenge to reply to your comments and answer your questions!

Will I make any changes to how I performed during the A-Z Challenge when we reach April 2013? Maybe. I'll try to comment more--but though it wasn't the entire shebang, I'm relatively content with the 400 or so blogs I visited on the sign up list, plus visiting those who commented here and attempting to keep up with regular bloggers. I think if I'd tried visiting any more I would have completely burnt out a couple weeks after starting, and I figure moderation is better than Someone help me, I'm drowning in blogs . . . by the end of April. Not that I think so many people joining in on such an event is a bad thing; quite the opposite.

All in all, I thought the A-Z Challenge was a productive, worthwhile experience. I learned things I didn't know before, I met a bunch of new bloggers, I read some really cool posts, and for an entire month I published articles that I feel like I could actually hold up and say they have some quality.

For those who participated, how was your A-Z Challenge experience? Are you planning to do it again next year? If so, have any theme ideas hit you already, if you use themes*?

For those who didn't participate in the Challenge, are you glad that May has finally arrived and you will no longer be seeing posts with the same letter in your blog reader? Would you consider participating next year?

*(In 2011 I had grand plans for 2012 . . . I'm drawing blanks for 2013 now, but hey, there's still another ten months until crunch time rolls around again. :P)

-----The Golden Eagle


Elliot Grace said...

...while I couldn't find the time to participate, reading everyone's choices every day made for an interesting way of getting to know fellow storytellers on a more personal level.

Quite enjoyable posts from all ;)


Old Kitty said...

I'm glad you had a fabbo time of it lovely Golden Eagle! Yay for you!!

Take care

Yvonne Osborne said...

I learned a lot from your posts. You certainly have a one-of-a-kind blog. Congratulations on not just completing the challenge but for excelling at it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You really did some research for yours. Pre-scheduling was a smart idea. I couldn't do that with mine until the night before, but I had every post written and html formatted, so all I had to do was add the news and post.
Glad you had a good time this year!

Ciara said...

I'm a little jealous that you were so well organized. You inspired me to do better next year. I learned a lot this year. You had a ton of amazing information during the challenge. I didn't always comment, but I read all of them.

Trisha said...

Your theme was amazing, and I know to come to your blog for all my sciencey needs. I really do love science, I'm just fairly crap at it ;)

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah you did tons of research with yours, very well done and informative, enjoyed reading it. I had all mine ready to go and just blabbed on about anything at my show..haha

Carole Anne Carr said...

My greatest sadness that I just didn't have time to visit everyone.

baygirl32 said...

I'm looking forward to next year! I was great fun

Margaret Almon said...

Last year I didn't choose a theme. This year I used a broad topic of my art, and it really helped. I brainstormed different words for each letter in advance, but left it open in case I thought of something else. I also wish I'd had more time to read other people's posts--I need to build that into my schedule.

Cherie Larkins said...

Yeah, it was fun. And I did enjoy your science-themed posts--so informative! And you obviously put a lot of time and research getting your posts ready.

It was also important not to "drown in blogs" as you put it. I visited maybe a 100 blogs or so, plus the ones I already follow. But I spaced it out--both the visiting and commenting because it was physically impossible for me to do everything at once (dealing with health issues and all).

Still, I'm glad I did it. I met new blogging friends and I had a blast. :)

Sarah Allen said...

Great post! Congrats on finishing :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

mooderino said...

finding time to visit more people would be my goal for next year.

Well done on completing the challenge, enjoyed your posts.

Moody Writing
The Funnily Enough

M Pax said...

It was a great challenge and our hosts did an amazing job.

Your posts were so well researched, they were amazing.

I love scheduling. I try to schedule on weekends for the entire week. I had April up before the 1st. It did help with visiting.

Jay Noel said...

I had a tough time keeping up, and it was a last minute decision to participate. So next year, I will be more prepared for sure!

Thanks for all of the science blogs. I blogged about science for a good 5 years before I opened shop to blog about writing.

Science will always be my first love!

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Your research was an impressive thing to behold, and I learned a whole lot about fields in science I didn't know existed.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I'm so thankful for the structure provided in blogging A to Z. It allowed me to prepare posts ahead of time and then just publish them while I was out of state dealing with a crisis.

Baur said...

Sounds like it was a load of fun!

J.L. Campbell said...

I always find your posts interesting, but like Stephen Tremp's sometimes they boggle my brain space. :)

If I do the Challenge next year, I'll schedule in advance.

Andrew Leon said...

I really enjoyed your series. And I was glad to be re-introduced to your blog.

Elise Fallson said...

I will absolutely pre-schedule my posts next year. One of the down side of my experience was not having the time to visit more blogs because I was unprepared but had chosen a theme nonetheless.

Emily R. King said...

Congrats to finishing the A to Z! Now that I've seen it done, I'll do it next year. For sure.

Matt said...

Still haven't gotten a chance to read all A-Z...I came in at X. Want to get the time to do it though!

tfwalsh said...

Such an awesome effort during the challenge... well done on completing it.

Li said...

I ended up taking an entire week off from blogging afterward :-) I loved your posts, but had to bookmark a few to go back and read later (which I did with several other fave bloggers - I wanted to try and read some new people during the challenge). You did a great job this year!!

Susan Kane said...

Your posts always gave me something to learn, to think about, and to tell my husband.

My posts were up and ready to go, with minor changes as the month went by. I was glad I did all the prep, so I could enjoy the incredible blogs found.

congrats on passing #1000!

Connie Keller said...

Congratulations to everyone who did the challenge!! I really enjoyed reading the blog posts. Thanks.

D.G. Hudson said...

Congrats on finishing the challenge! I like the scheduling option too, and used it throughout April. Only had one not post as scheduled.

A theme made all the difference to me.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Your theme was one of the most educational that I came across, it was good stuff. I hope you'll take part next year :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I enjoyed your science posts.

stuartnager said...

You did yourself proud, GE, and I am amazed you visited about 400 blogs. I have to admit I am came no where near that number.

Your A to Z was amazing. So much out of my normal referencing.

As to mine, I mainly wrote my stories of Swan Rise the day before posting. A few I wrote in one day (went away a few weekends) and scheduled those. The only planning I did were titles, and most of those I did not use in the end.

Congrats on all you accomplished.

....Petty Witter said...

Hoping to pay a visit to the blogs you mention, thanks for the links.

Madeleine Maddocks said...

I didn't do it this year, but enjoyed it last year. It is quite a challenge though rather 'full on'. Good for you for doing such a great job.

Janet Johnson said...

Congratulations to you for doing the A-Z! And having them all done by April 1??? Wow, you are a shrine to organization and preparation. :)

I took April off, and to be honest, I don't think I will ever do the A-Z because blogging every day just isn't my thing. But I'm amazed by all who did. Very cool!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Golden Eagle .. your theme and series was one of the better ones - I learnt loads from you .. and then to tie your thoughts in with Stephen Tremp's at times was interesting and added further enlightenment.

Cheers - great blog and information you offer us .. cheers Hilary

The Golden Eagle said...

Elliot: I agree! It was fun to find out what people were posting on for the month. :)

Old Kitty: Thank you!

Yvonne: I'm glad you learned something from my posts.

Thanks! :)

Alex: Still, very organized of you!

Thank you for hosting the Challenge!

Ciara: Thank you so much. :)

Trisha: Thanks!

Pat: I'm glad you enjoyed reading them!

You had awesome posts in April--well, you always do. :)

Carole: Same here. There were so many blogs participating . . .

Baygirl32: Yup!

Margaret: That sounds like a great Challenge theme. :)

Cherie: Thank you!

I had a similar experience. Meeting new bloggers is always fun. :)

Sarah: Thanks!

Mooderino: Same for me. I think a lot of bloggers will be visiting new blogs next year . . .

Thank you. :)

M: They did, definitely!

Thank you so much.

Jay: I'm glad you participated--I loved reading your Steampunk series!

You're very welcome. I had fun writing them. :)

Jaye: Awesome. I'd hoped to introduce fields people might not have heard of before!

Michael: Having a set theme can certainly make choosing topics easier--or harder, depending. X, Z, and other such letters can be tricky. :P

Baur: It was, at least for me!

J.L.: Thanks! Glad you think they're interesting. :)

Andrew: Ditto. Your posts were really cool to read--Science Fiction and reality are more intertwined than they first appear.

Elise: I wish I'd had more time to visit blogs as well.

Emily: Thank you!

I look forward to reading your Challenge posts in 2013. ;)

Matt: Hope you find the time!

Tfwalsh: Thank you. :)

Li: Thanks so much!

Susan: That's great to hear. :)

I'm glad I prepared my posts for that reason as well. I wish I could have visited more blogs--but I undoubtedly got around to more than if I hadn't written anything!

Thank you!

Connie: You're very welcome. :)

D.G.: Thanks!

Yeah, I heard Blogger hadn't published some posts even though bloggers had scheduled them. I hope they get that bug fixed . . .

It's nice to have a unifying idea behind posts.

Jamie: I'm planning to! :)

Theresa: Thanks--I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Stuart: Interesting; they were so well done, I would have thought you had edited them and planned them all ahead of time. :)

Thank you!

Petty Witter: Anytime--I hope you find a blog that interests you in the A-Z Challenge sign up list!

Madeleine: Definitely. Posting almost every day of the week doesn't allow for a tone of room. :P

Thanks! :)

Janet: Not sure shrine is the descriptor I'd use in some cases . . . but thanks. :)

We all have a different system! The Challenge isn't for everyone; and I'll enjoy your posts whenever you publish them.

Hilary: Thank you so much! :)

Your theme was quite interesting as well. Now I want to hop across the pond and visit all those castles!

linda said...

Your A-to-Z is awesome! Thanks for doing all that research. I didn't comment too much but I did enjoy reading the posts, so just wanted to say thanks. :)

Simon Kewin said...

I loved your theme and I sure learned a lot. As to next year - don't know! Ask me nearer the time...

Christine Rains said...

The Challenge was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed your posts. I learned a lot. I'll definitely be doing the Challenge next year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Golden .. I have no idea how you get around so much .. and I love your energy.

I did enjoy your Science posts - and have highlighted you on my 2nd! reflections post .. cheers Hilary

The Golden Eagle said...

Linda: You're very welcome! :)

Simon: I'm glad you liked it.

Christine: I hope you write another fiction series of posts. Your story was amazing!

Hilary: Thank you so much! I'll be right over to check it out.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I wouldn't miss this challenge...as long as I can still think and type, I'll participate.

I agree that moderation helps keep us from stressing out over the challenge.I'll keep on visiting new blogs as time goes on, and I hope to get to all of them someday.

And said...

You did an amazing job here in the blog. I'm graduated in biochemistry and I love science too.
Continuing with the great work.

The Golden Eagle said...

Patricia: Can't wait to read your posts next year. ;)

I should work through some more blogs in the list--I just am having trouble mustering up the energy and finding the time . . .

And: Thank you so much! :)

EvalinaMaria said...

Congratulation on finishing the challenge. During the challenge I didn't visit as many blogs as I would like to but, cross my heart, I'm visiting every single one with the reflection post! I am so glad my journey brought me here.

Evalina, This and that...