A to Z ’17: Reflections



How did the A to Z Challenge go for me? Very smoothly. It should by now: this was my fifth year doing it, and I’ve learned from my mistakes in previous years.

  • I got everything written and scheduled before April 1.
  • I responded to most of my comments, at least giving the comments a “like.”
  • I tried to visit everyone that visited me, and the people who had visited them.
  • I found a lot of blogs by going through the list from the Theme Reveal. I’d visit a blog and its visitors, and added all that were participating in the challenge to a Feedly list so I’d remember where I’d found them. I think I added about a hundred blogs to that list.
  • You’ll find a list of my entries for the Challenge here. It’s the first entry in the list under “Special Pages” in the sidebar.

Now, hate me all you want: I suggested going without a list this year. We’ll talk about the reasons why we chose to go that way at a later date, probably on the Challenge blog. We’re all busy reading your reflection posts and tallying the results of the survey (which is here; you have until the 20th, a week from Saturday). From my perspective, I’ve always found that visiting my visitors and their visitors works much better than picking them at random off a list. Last year, by the way, Jacob had a project whre he went looking for new blogs to read, and documented the whole process. It’s a good read.

Great job, everyone! I’ll try to get to as many of you as I can over the next few months.

One other thing: Some WordPress users are having trouble leaving commnents on Blogger blogs. It was the reason I set up the simulcast blog for the main Challenge blog. If you’re in that position, here is a suggestion:

  • If you have a Google account, use it to comment on Blogger.
  • If you don’t have a Google account, open one, then use it to comment on Blogger.

Google hasn’t changed Blogger much since they got it, apart from finding new ways to force ads onto people’s pages and making it almost impossible to comment with anything other than a Google account. It’s a pain in the backside, just like almost everything else Google touches, but it’s best to play along.

20 thoughts on “A to Z ’17: Reflections

  1. Thank you for the info for leaving comments on Blogger. I tend to shy away from blogger accounts (and hate to since I have found many awesome blogs on that platform) because of the comment issue. I’ll try your advice. Congratulations on surviving the challenge, although I knew you would. Here it is June and I’m still working on catching up on A to Z blog posts that I fell behind on. By the time I’m done it will probably be time for the 2018 challenge : ) Take care John.


    1. Thanks, Cheryl! I think we could all spend the next ten months or so catching up on all the blogs we skipped for lack of time during April.

      Using a Google account is the only way I know that will always work when commenting on Blogger. Honestly, I don’t think Google has given any thought to that platform since buying it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi John – thanks for all your work … if one is on Blogger, then by setting up a free WP account access to WP blogs is easy too. Well there are few things that frustrate me – but one of the things is the ‘like’ – as I then get an email telling me – yet there’s nothing to read. I guess there’s a way of cancelling that notification – as I then need to click through to see if there’s a comment – if not … ‘nothing is there’! Anyway I’m not very technical … But I love the Challenge – whether I do it next year remains to be seen … the survey could have had a couple of other options, or adjusted some of the questions … but I’m happy mostly! cheers Hilary


  3. I didn’t mind not seeing a list because it seemed easier to look through 200 or so than 2,000 plus most states what they talked about. The biggest “issue” if I could even call it that, was forgetting to post my link there plus the fact that I did not know how to add my link so one could just press on it and it brought one right to my blog. I didn’t let it worry me though and just enjoyed myself. You are a smart one to have every post done….I need to do that for next year:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked not having a list, and having us post our direct link in comments of the atoz blog. I think that eliminates the majority of those who link drop early on and don’t continue with the challenge. I am quite a bit confused about your statement about google forcing ads on the users. Not quite sure what you are referring to as I have yet to see any ads that were not placed by the blogger themselves.


  5. sorry, I seem to have missed your blog and a lot of others I think. there really is awfully a lot of bloggers participating even when people mentioned that there were less people participating but I didn’t get that feeling at all.

    visiting your visitor’s visitor sounds like a good idea, something I actually do now and then when I happen to see an interesting name or an interesting comment. why I didn’t even thought of it during challenge, I guess I was busy browsing the comments at the a-z blog.

    thanks for hosting and congrats on finishing.

    have a lovely day.


  6. I feel I somehow missed the community train, though I did comment as much as possible. As far as social media my primary spot is Twitter (followed by Instagram), which seems to be many bloggers’ afterthoughts and that could really be the core of the issue for me, plain and simple.

    Some comments were reciprocated from two or three other bloggers, and I worried that perhaps I was missing the community somewhere, even though I tagged back to the WordPress letter post.

    I did not know there was a facebook group, I’m incredibly new and remembered the challenge AFTER the themes were being announced, so I feel also had I been better prepared and made those connections initially, perhaps then, I would have found more of a community.

    But these are all things I learned for next year, mark a reminder on my calendar mid April to get the ball rolling and keep my eye out for theme announcements and blog groups. Though Twitter convos, even if they were weekly would have been awesome, selfishly speaking of course. 😉

    Oh ya, and PS I didn’t realize the A-Z Reflection was supposed to be like a week later, so mine was last Monday and called a “run down”, which I know you already saw. 🙂 And I’m so glad you said something about the survey, I have completed mine. 🙂

    Thank you so much for co-hosting, and being so kind, and supporting! You are an inspiration for sure!


    1. You’re most welcome, and thank you for participating! When we had more cohosts we had Twitter conversations, but that fell by the wayside this past year. Maybe we’ll be able to revive them next year, depending on how much help we get.

      Be sure and follow the A to Z Challenge blog (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com or http://atozchallenge.wordpress.com), https://www.facebook.com/atozchallenge on Facebook and @AprilA2Z on Twitter to stay up-to-date.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had no doubts you would finish. I appreciate all the technical help you provided along the way! I will be interested in the results of the survey too.


  8. You did a great job and I’m glad you pushed for the no-list option. It was so refreshing not to be dealing with that list. I’m going to be very interested in the outcome of the survey so I hope lots of folks are answering it.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


    1. I’m sure there will be a few people wanting to knife me in the ass for taking away the list, and there are some logistical details that need to be ironed out, but on the whole I thought it went well. I’m pushing the survey every chance I get.


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