Posted by Amos M. Carpenter
So… the A to Z Challenge 2014 is over, and it’s time to reflect on my experience in the Challenge!
Overall, I throroughly enjoyed the experience of my first challenge of this kind. I only decided to participate a few days before it started, which was less than a month after I began blogging. There were a couple of minor things I didn’t like about it, but for the most part, they had to do with my own inexperience and my inability to estimate how much time I’d be spending on this.
Reading what the challenge was about, I initially thought, “A post a day, six days a week, visiting a few other blogs to check out what they’re writing – sure, I can do that.” I thought it was a good chance for me to get into my blogging existence and learn to swim by throwing myself in the deep end a bit. To some extent, that worked really well.
Naturally, I picked writing as my main topic, though, as haven’t written much worth writing home about (pardon the pun), at least not enough for 26 posts, I thought I’d share some of my favourite authors, books and characters during the challenge, and throw in some writing concepts and even one slightly technical post, ending with something personal and (hopefully) a little humourous.
If you feel like reading any of those posts, see the “I is for Index” one, or use the menu at the top of the page to get there directly. Alternatively, here’s a summary:
- Authors: Douglas Adams, George R. R. Martin, Jo Spurrier, Karl May, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin Hobb, Stephenie Meyer, Terry Pratchett
- Books: Assassin’s Apprentice, Lord of the Rings, The Neverending Story, The Wheel of Time, Xanth
- Characters: Fitz and the Fool, Hobbits, Marvin the Paranoid Android
- Writing concepts: Book One, Chapters, Endings, Quests, Understanding Poetry, Villains
- Technical: Opera
- Personal: Yours Truly, Zzzzz…
What I didn’t anticipate was just how much time I’d be spending on all this. I admit I’d planned to “just do short posts” if I got into trouble time-wise, but I’m not so good with doing things half-baked. I ended up spending way more time than planned, both reading other people’s blogs and writing my own. I had fun doing it, and learned much in the process, but it cost me a few hours of sleep and, ironically, time away from my passion – writing.
Towards the end of the challenge, I was really looking forward to “having a few days off” from blogging and getting back to my own writing, i.e. working on my book. Notes I’d made while reading my own work on the train rides to and from work had piled up (electronically speaking) on my mobile, and after the challenge, I finally had time (or took the time?) to catch up.
So now, I’m actually looking forward to doing the occasional blog post – on topics I feel like writing about, not on topics that begin with a certain letter of the alphabet. 😛
What I’ve learned? Mostly, that next year (yes, currently I’d say I’ll be doing this again), I’ll be taking some good advice and preparing at least some of the posts before the challenge
I feel I should mention at least some of those challenge-related blog posts I read and enjoyed in case you’d like to check them out. I’m sure I’ve left out a few worth mentioning (I’ll keep notes next time!), but these are the ones I remember off the top of my head:
North of Andover – the link goes to a post of Thomas Weaver’s I especially liked, about a well-done interview.
Princess of Dragons – blogging about, you guessed it, dragons!
The Wannabe Writer Life – Allison’s blog is always fun and interesting
Janice Heck’s blog – Janice’s posts are usually quirky, fun, and teach some of the finer points of grammar
A Writer’s Life For Me – though she didn’t participate in the challenge, I’d feel bad not mentioning Mishka’s great blog; her comments are always cheerful and supportive – thanks! 🙂
I started following a bunch of blogs in April, despite my reader being too full already. Stop writing good blogs, people, seriously. People have to manage their time for crying out loud!
Congrats to all fellow bloggers who attempted or even survived the A to Z Challenge!