Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Reflections on the Blogging from A To Z Challenge by J.Q. Rose, Coming Up in May

2018 #AtoZchallenge participation badge
A to Z Challenge Badge
Designed by Jeremy Hawkins (graphics) @ Hollywood Nuts
Thank you, Jeremy!
Hello and Welcome to the Focused on Story Blog. Today I'm reflecting on my participation in the A to Z Blogging Challenge during the month of April. In case you are a new visitor, let me get you up to speed about the theme and what I had planned for the blog posts. Then, I'll evaluate the experience I shared with over 600 bloggers!

If you're a Word Nerd, then you'll like my theme for April because I share words that caught my attention (wraith), words that fascinate me (bedizened), words that roll off my tongue (catawampus), words that make a sound (zizz), and words I encountered during my life experience (pulchritude). Many of the words are new-to-me (xenogogy). My vocabulary expanded and perhaps yours did too.

Now, Word Nerds, let me tell you about the hills and valleys and bumps in the road as I journeyed through the month. 

by J.Q. Rose
2018 A to Z #atozchallenge blog schedule
Calendar for A to Z Blogging Challenge

Write 26 blog posts in one month—I did accomplish this! I’ve wanted to participate in A to Z ever since I learned about it probably five years ago. But I hesitated to join because we travel in mid-April, so getting Internet access on the road is difficult.Before we left home, I wrote and pre-scheduled my blog posts through the travel time and finished up the remaining posts when I arrived home. Please indulge me as I bask in the reality that I pulled off this challenge. Thanks.

Be entertaining and informative—In other words, don’t bore readers to death. I did warn visitors my blog theme was aimed at Word Nerds. I tried to make learning new words fun for readers and hoped they picked up interesting and probably trivial information that may win them a prize in a word game. From comments I received, the Word Nerds enjoyed the posts.

Increase traffic to my site—According to my Google Analytics information, my traffic increased 90% in April. I noticed a drop-off when we were traveling because I couldn’t promote the event. Now the challenge is to retain all those new users!

Connect with people—I was pleased with the variety of bloggers' themes and the wrters were talented and creative. I had a turnover of new visitors, so maybe I wasn’t as entertaining and informative as I thought. But my regular visitors came back often, and I appreciated them taking time to visit. 


Learned a lot of new words and new meanings through research—I broadened my vocabulary by participating in this challenge (and I hope my readers did too). I started collecting the words at least a year before the challenge started. As I wrote the blog posts, I did research on each word and found new meanings and uses and variations of the words. How many of these words will I ever use in a conversation or in my writing? I doubt very few. But hey, it was fun for this Word Nerd.

Meeting new people was a goal and I certainly did meet lots of  interesting folks on the adventure.


Comments—I wish I had more visitors leave comments so I could connect with them. But I understand. Leaving a comment takes up valuable time. When someone left a comment, I would have appreciated links back to the visitor’s blog so I could return the favor. Very few left a link for me. Perhaps they felt it was too promotional? I don’t feel that way at all. In fact, one of the reasons for my joining the event was to connect with readers and increase exposure to my blog.

Confusion—Even though the admins of the event gave precise instructions, I had to actually write the blogs and post them before I was comfortable with the procedures. I never discovered if I was in the list of daily blogs or even on the master list. I started going through the main list to find my site, but I quit since I felt I was wasting time looking. I trusted the sign-up procedure.

Overwhelming amount of bloggers. Too many to visit actually. Instead of one group of authors or one group of health coaches or one group of educators, all bloggers were on the Master List. The admin explained how to filter info in the Google Doc, but I never felt like I had time to figure it out.

Time needed. I knew I would spend lots of time writing and researching each post, but I was amazed at how much more time I spent on promotion and logistics. The number of words and hours I spent on this project would have probably netted at least four chapters in my WIP. But I don’t feel it was time wasted. I really enjoyed writing and researching words and expanding my world by meeting new folks I woul,d've never met if I hadn’t jumped into this wacky challenge.


Thank you to the administrators and founders of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Thank you to the vast number of bloggers who I joined for the journey. And thank you to those who visited the Focused on Story Blog. Come back so we can keep the momentum going!

Happy Mother's Day USA to all those Moms and those who have a special child in their lives.

The 5 W's Guest Author Event continues!

The Five W's Event Returns with Guest Authors and prizes. Meet new-to-you authors, favorite authors, win prizes and discover great reads!

May 16--Multi-genre author, Janet Lane Walters
May 30--Romance author, Helena Fairfax

May 23-31--My Birthday Celebration Giveaway!

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Thank you for visiting!
Be sure to return every Wednesday for more fun, discussions, 
and information on writing, publishing, marketing, and reading!


Susan Bernhardt said...

Congratulations, J.Q.!:) You did it!! And learned a lot while you did.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Susan. Yes, I enjoyed writing the blog posts, but especially doing the research. Nerdy, I know!!

Helena Fairfax said...

Thanks for the analysis of the A-Z Challenge, JQ. I've also wanted to take part in this - it looks great fun - but I would find blogging every day too much of a challenge.
I enjoy connecting with my blog followers through comments, but I've found sometimes a post can have very many likes and hits, and no comments. The number of comments doesn't always correspond with a post's popularity.
On Wordpress, I can tell when someone leaves a comment what their website address is. It's not always visible to readers, but the info is there for me, and I can reciprocate by checking out their site.
Thanks again for the informative post!

J.Q. Rose said...

Helena, I've considered moving my blog to WP, but then I'd have to learn that all over again. I guess I'm too lazy plus I really need to devote time to working on my WIP. A to Z robbed me of writing time. At least that's a good excuse?

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