Reflections on the 2017 A to Z Challenge #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

As part of the 2017 A to Z Challenge, participants are asked to provide their “Reflections” on their experience.

This is a quick post to share mine and to provide my humble suggestions to the A to Z Challenge organizers for 2018.

Let’s talk about my experience…

I started off strong and ahead of the game with “A”, “B”, “C” and “D”, using a flash fiction piece “Living To Die”, as a base for 26 posts to serialize the story. When I first posted “Living To Die – An Intro to Kate”, it was a one-time stand-alone piece. But after a trip to Hawaii, I thought it would be cool to incorporate little Hawaiian details into a story and so I picked on “Kate”. I had no set storyline and/or ideas except wanting to tackle a more “serious” topic and explore someone’s regrets when death is banging at the door. I took countless hours perfecting those first four posts to my liking but I didn’t mind being behind the schedule I had set for myself because I was proud of my work.

But life took a turn and a health scare forced me to truly think about some of the same questions I was throwing at Kate. I got stuck and my pen became very, very heavy. I found myself struggling to write because in the back of my mind, I was thinking, “Could I be writing certain things into my own existence?”

Is that crazy or what?

Somewhere in the midst of it all and to distract myself, I came up with the idea of introducing “Kate” to “Galen”.  While I waited to find out if things were okay health-wise (they were), the distracting of having to think through Galen’s “purpose” gave the story an unexpected “spin”, one that I had not planned on.

And if you read the Epilogue, you know what I mean. 🙂

All in all, the A to Z Challenge started out smoothly, hit a few bumps but ended well with content I can revise into a novella. I’m exhausted and happy it’s over but I do look forward to next year. Now, it’s time to revise and edit!

Thank you to all who followed the story and became so invested! I truly appreciated your ongoing feedback and commentary.

Let’s talk about the technicalities of the A to Z Challenge…

Kudos to the A to Z Challenge organizers! And congratulations to all those who survived and won!

I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of hours and work that they put in to ensure that everything runs smoothly. This year, the organizers decided to make a big change to the “link posting” process as a way to make the administrative side of things easier for them – which is totally understandable.

If you don’t try new approaches, there can be no progress, right?

I’ll try my best to avoid pointing out what I felt worked/didn’t work during this year’s challenge.

Instead I’m posting what my ideal wish list would look like for the 2018 A to Z Challenge:

  • Limiting links to the A to Z Challenge Facebook Group ONLY.
    • Having to post links on FB + the A to Z Challenge website + the A to Z Challenge WordPress site, more than once I was tempted to simply post my link in the FB Group and call it a day…well, it was more like call it a night.
  • Time Zone Confusion Equality
    • Initially, I was confused when I saw the official “letter drop” the day before it was due at 3PM. Then, I realized that it was because I am in Eastern Standard Time but still often found myself forgetting and posting “early” thinking that I was behind! 🙂 I would love to see the letter drop more  “in the middle” of the road for all so that it is late for some, on time for others and early for the rest of the participants.
  • A return to Category Codes.
    • “Category codes” would make it easier to focus on blogs that truly pique our interest. For example, I write a lot of fiction and also have an interest in reading other people’s fiction so by placing a “category” next to our linky, it would be easier for others to know right away if they want to read or not. As an example, here is the introduction I used and what I added in bold is only as an illustration of what I propose:

There were even a few blogger-writers who took the initiative to list “fiction” participants on their own blogs as a way to make the differentiation. I’ll be doubling back to give all of those a read…

Generalized categories like “Fiction/Poetry”, “Blogging/Writing”, “Travel”, etc. would help me with my “blog follow” choices. Sure, I like to read the occasional post about pets and mommy blogs but not necessarily 26 posts in a row about them.

Sorry… uh, not sorry.

  • A Call to Action to all A to Z Survivors on Facebook
    • In addition to the “Reflections” post, I would love to see the A to Z organizers ask all “survivors” who completed all letters on time to say it on a specific FB post. Besides bragging rights, it would be a place where participants like me who plan on “doubling back” to read “completed” challenges. I’ll be honest, I find it frustrating when I start following a blog, look forward to more and then the blogger/writer goes MIA…

Those are my thoughts in a nutshell on a rainy Sunday morning!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

M  xoxo

 

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20 thoughts on “Reflections on the 2017 A to Z Challenge #atozchallenge @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge2017

  1. I agree with your point on the “Time Zone Confusion Equality.” This was my first year participating, but category codes sounds like a good idea because I found that it was a bit more time consuming then I expected trying to find some posts that were similar to mine but also to find posts on themes that I craved to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve “followed” the challenge and was even considering taking part next year instead of CampNaNoWriMo, but…uh, all that link posting and time zone issues – and WHAT? You mean it’s not categorized? Sounds like a lot of “work” on top of the job of writing. You have my admiration.

    Think I’ll pass. LOL! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I set my posts up for 5 am which would have been 9 pm the previous day your time so I completely understand the frustration. And I read an eclectic mix this year. Some I could tell after one entry I was going to struggle with. I guess we like what we like.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good job with your reflection post. Sorry to hear about your health issues.
    Last year, there was a LOT of complaints from the Austrailia and India bloggers about the timezone. So it was decided to use a different time zone, a much earlier one. In our world where even 24 time zones isn’t enough, it’s really difficult to know which “midnight” will best serve most of the people. The “middle of the road” is hard to find. I added the time zone question to the after-survey for this very reason, so we can find out how people felt. (“Don’t care” is in the lead, with “it’s perfect” close behind.)
    Thank you for the feedback. We rely on participants like you. Thanks for being part of the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, in terms of your own health scare. I do think that it’s possible to write things into existence. This happened, I believe, when I was writing a story about my dad. All of a sudden, my deceased mom’s best friend from high school found me on FB and started explaining what really happened back then. Also, his second wife reached out to me out of the blue! It was all very weirdly connected lol

    Anywho, glad you’re an A-Z survivor and it sounds as if you have some helpful tips. Glad you’re okay too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that! Yeah, I was a little weirded out but in the end, all seems okay. I too believe in the power of the spoken word and in this case, the power of the written word. Because of that, my story veered off into another direction than I had planned.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Posting the link once would be bliss. Figuring out WHERE to do it will be a challenge for the organizers for sure.
    I agree on the categories. I think people posting their themes helped a lot, but I’ve found with this challenge that people just assume you’re interested in their topic or reading their posts because they’re participating in the challenge, and…yeah. I mean, how many people were like “read my theme reveal” without saying what the actual theme or general topic was? I skipped all of those. I’m petty that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the organizers have a tough job. I know that posting our link is to “promote” our blogs and that it doesn’t take long but dividing your attention into three when it could be consolidated into one spot (FB) would solve the posting issue. I’m less about promoting and more about finding great new reads. Cheers!

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  7. Congratulations for getting over the humps and finishing the challenge! Due to health issues I often find myself behind, both at home and blogging. I’ve been taking some time since the challenge ended to go back to the A to Z posts to read those I may have missed. Good luck with your writing and I hope to see you participating next year. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

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