I spent April doing the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every April, hundreds of bloggers commit to blogging for at least 26 days of the month. Each post starts with a different letter of the alphabet. Most people pick a theme. My theme was bookish memories, and guess what? I survived the challenge! I blogged for all 30 days of April.
What happens after the challenge? A reflections post. That’s the thing you’re skimming right now with a half-interested expression on your face. So, let’s reflect. What worked? What didn’t? And, most importantly, what did I learn from 30 days of blogging?
Lessons From Daily Blogging
Daily blogging is hard. I have mad respect for people who blog every day. How do you guys do it? I’m seriously sick of my blog’s face right now. We need a break from each other. There were some days during the challenge that I just didn’t feel like blogging, but I did it anyway. I’m persistent, but I could never be a daily blogger. (Some of you are sighing with relief at that. It is possible to overdose on me.)
Comment failure is inevitable. The first thing I did every morning in April was reply to comments on my previous day’s post. Then I attempted to comment back. Then I got on the A to Z blog and started clicking links. Then I got on Bloglovin’ and tried to keep up with all my non-A to Z blogger friends. I usually got exhausted and quit long before I did all the commenting I wanted to do. For me, commenting takes a long time. There’s no way to win at it. I always wish I could do more. Blogging every day makes commenting very difficult. There was no hope of keeping up.
Protip: It’s easier to comment back if you make your blog stupidly simple to find. People who include a clickable link with their comment are my best friends.
Blogging is bigger than books. It’s no secret that I have a book obsession. Most of the blogs I follow are about books. This challenge taught me that you can blog about anything. I found lifestyle blogs, history blogs, travel blogs, parenting blogs, teaching blogs, random-fact blogs, genealogy blogs, religion blogs, art blogs, technology blogs. There are so many blogs out there. Some of the non-bookish ones were *gasp* surprisingly cool. I may need to expand my blog-reading horizons.
Honesty is the most challenging policy. I wanted this challenge to be a challenge. In the A to Z posts, I challenged myself to be more creative and more open than usual. I wrote about school, bullying, depression, and being “Special.” Those things are usually outside the scope of this blog, but I don’t think they’re completely irrelevant. My past influences the types of stories that I’m drawn to. It is very difficult to bare my soul to strangers on the Internet, though. It doesn't come naturally to me.
A few posts that tell you everything you never wanted to know about me:
- C is for “Colorado USA”
- D is for “Desperation, Depression, Decisions”
- F is for “First Blogging Failure”
- G is for “Graduate School”
- I is for “If Dogs Could Talk”
- J is for “J.K. Rowling”
- K is for “Kids’ Books”
- S is for “Special Ed.”
- U is for “Uncertainty”
- W is for “What Happened To Lani Garver”
Utterly clueless since 2005. I’ve been blogging since 2005, and I still have no idea how it works. What makes one post get more views than another? I have no idea. Is it the graphics? The title? The teaser I put on Twitter? The number of shares? The date? Something that I don’t understand about search engines? Why is blogging so mysterious? I still have so much to learn.
A few posts that got lots of attention for . . . reasons:
- A is for “Margaret Atwood”
- H is for “Hunger Games”
- L is for “Longest Book”
- M is for “Minimalism”
- O is for “Ones I Read Over And Over”
- Q is for “Quitting”
- R is for “Read All The Things!”
- T is for “Tommyknockers & Terabithia”
It didn’t kill me, so let’s do it again. I’m thinking about themes for next year’s A to Z challenge. I’d like to do something educational that highlights #OwnVoices books, but I don’t want it to be too educational. The goal of a blog post is to start a conversation. Nobody’s going to converse if they’re all asleep from boredom. Good thing I have a year to ponder this.
Do you post on your blog every day? If you did the A to Z challenge, how did it go for you? If you’re doing it next year, do you already know your theme? Would you ever consider becoming a daily blogger? If you are a daily blogger, TELL ME YOUR SECRETS!