Well, another A to Z Challenge is done and dusted. It was my seventh, and I still consider it the highlight of my blogging year.
In keeping with the way I tend to do things lately, I’m going to stream-of-consciousness my way through this, or to put it another way, riff my way through.
I was finished with all my posts well in advance of April Fool’s Day, i.e. April 1. Unless I’m mistaken, I was done by my birthday, March 25, so that part of the challenge was a piece of cake. (Mmmmmm…. caaaaaaaake….) In fact, I already have my theme for next year, word list and all. You’ll have to wait until next March to find out what it is.
But, as we all know, getting the posts done and sitting in the queue is only half the battle. The other half is visiting other blogs, particularly the blogs of folks you don’t already count among your “blog buddies.” That’s a bit of a problem, because as it stands a good portion of the blogs I follow are people I’ve met during previous A to Z Challenges. I don’t think I did a good enough job of keeping up with the
Kardashians people I follow all year, let alone any new people. I think what happens is that I wake up and see there are over 200 posts in my RSS reader of choice (Feedly) and immediately become overwhelmed. By about April 20, I decided to do what I could during April, then do an extended road trip (about which you’ll hear plenty more in the coming days – watch the challenge blog for details) and try and visit everyone who did the Challenge.
I don’t think anyone wants to hear about the technical challenges I had to cope with. Suffice it to say I coped with them. I would like to remind everyone that the WordPress “simulcast” blog is just that, and that if the entries are unavailable there, you can always read the posts on the main blog. I know there are those of you who don’t like Blogger, but the posts you see on the simulcast blog are simply rebroadcasts of the ones on Blogger.
While I’m on the subject of technical stuff, I want to do a shout-out to Jayden, who came up with the idea of using Google Forms and Google Sheets to build the master list of participants as well as the daily lists of posts (which replaced last year’s system of posting your link as a comment on the daily letter page). I’m not sure how long they’ll be out there, so you might want to save them to your Google Drive account for posterity.
It’s always an honor and a pleasure to work with the other members of the A to Z Challenge Team. Arlee‘s blog was one of the first ones I read when I started thinking about blogging myself, and I’ve learned a lot from him in the 6 ½ years I’ve been doing this. J served as our team captain this year and did a fantastic job, making sure everything was done before the challenge began and keeping things going through the month. Csenge is always a joy to work with and ran the Twitter chats and was busy visiting everyone. I’d go to a blog to leave a comment, and nine times out of ten she had already been there. The aforementioned Jayden found a solution to the chaos we had last year as far as collecting links was concerned. I was so happy someone had thought of it that I welcomed her to the team before she actually agreed to be a member. And finally, but certainly not least, there’s Jeremy, who created all the badges and graphics and has A to Z Challenge t-shirts and other goodies available for purchase at his Neato Shop.
I’ll probably have more to say as time goes on, but this is as good a stopping point as any. Thank you so much to all the participants in the challenge, to those who commented whether or not you were doing the challenge yourself, to Arlee for starting this and to the rest of my teammates for keeping it going. Next year’s challenge will be the tenth, by the way, so be prepared for some excitement. See you in the funny papers!