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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Reflections on A-Z Challenge 2015

I have just completed this year's mammoth A-Z Challenge,  writing 26 posts throughout  April.  How did I find the experience?

The first issue was choosing my challenge theme.  Well, that had been in my mind for months - Favourite Verse, featuring poems from my childhood and beyond plus those recalled  by my father,  who in his 80's could still recite poems he learned at school. 

Plans were well ahead with poems identified for each letter, when I came to a stumbling block.   Browsing through anthologies I came across long lists of acknowledgements - how did I stand regarding copyright in  featuring poems on the web?  I did not have time to research this in any depth or contact publishers for permission -  so sadly this idea was abandoned. 

I reverted to my standard theme of family and local history and came up with "Family History - Sources and Stories",  which reflects very much the emphasis in my blog.   Topics for each letter quickly fell into place and I found I managed the pace for this month's challenge much better than in previous years - mainly  because I was so familiar with the material and did not have to spend time researching or finding and scanning photographs. 

As usual I found it difficult to keep to the recommended length of 300-500 words per post - I just could not  restrict myself to one topic per letter preferring to range from the serious to the quirky. 

I did set out this year to be far more focused on reading other blogs in the Challenge, beyond my familiar family history ones. Somehow it emerged that these were primarily with a literary or creative writing theme.

I liked the idea of a formal revealing of our themes a few weeks prior to April 1st, but I would have liked these  themes to be listed online  by the organisers, or at least grouped by subject categories. 

What worked well for me, was to do a  Google search of the A-Z Themes Revealed   to identify  blogs that might interest me and I then bookmarked them, ahead of April 1st.  

Blogs I followed for the most part  throughout the month, though not always making comments,  were:
  • Tossing it Out - with "Elements  of Blogging", focusing on topics to blog about. 
  • Life Under Microscope - featuring an A-Z English idiom phrase A as part of a romantic story, set in India, and written in  26 short episodes.  To my mind this  was impressive creative writing that kept me hooked all month,
  • Curiosity Quills Press  -  theme The Literary World with   marketing, writing, and publishing tips.
  • Journalling Woman - with First and Last Lines from Literature.
  • Bewitched by Words - another creative writing blog.
  • Beautiful Libraries - with stunning photographs.
I was amazed at the scale of comments  that some of these blogs  received - far beyond anything I have come across before. 
I also followed four family history blogs that I was already familiar with.  I was surprised this year that there were not more.
I was very grateful for all comments I received - some from bloggers new to me  - and I  did have a few new followers signing up.  

So thank you to everyone who showed interest and took time to read and comment.

I enjoyed the experience and already have an idea  for A-Z  Challenge 2016    


  1. That is an interesting idea, following blogs based on their reveal posts. I am finding it easy to zip around and read and comment on posts on the reveal list. That over 1,000 list was pretty off putting to me. I've already found some I wish I'd known about before.

    I did find out a way to make a signature that includes a link to my blog.

    Finding Eliza

  2. I tried to find other family history blogs and was already following your and Kristin's blogs. I used (HI) after my blog when signing up this year to indicate my theme was history and looked for others but most people did not tag their blogs. I enjoyed how you managed your theme.

  3. Thank you, Kristin and Anne, for taking the time to respond to my comments. I enjoyed following your A-Z posts and giving me a different perspective on family history from another part of the world.

  4. Family History can be a lot of fun. I'm really sorry that I am just now getting to your blog from the A to Z Challenge. April has kept me quite busy. My parents were quite into genealogy. My paternal great grandparents were born in Scotland. One day my dad was going through the history and discovered that there was a period of time the family lived in Ireland. So he asked his grandfather "If we lived in Ireland, why do you say we are from Scotland?" Grandfather's response "Just because a cat has her kittens in the oven, it doesnt mean they are biscuits!" So to this day, we claim Scotland.

    Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! Looking forward to next year! See you on the Road Trip!

    Mary www.JingleJangleJungle.net

    1. Many thanks, Mary, for finding my blog and for your comments. Good luck with your Scottish research. - where did your great grandparents come from?

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  6. Firstly, thank you for the kind mention.

    We're trying to figure a way to have useful resources such as listing categories and grouping blogs into the categories. There are so many great things we could do if we had the programming to make it easier otherwise it all becomes so labor intensive and currently team members already put a ton of time into what we do. It's a someday dream that I see happening eventually.

    Thanks for sticking with us through April and providing your Reflections on A to Z.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin' with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

  7. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! I actually got to visit your blog during the crazy month of April and want to thank you for visiting me in return. I'm popping over again today from the Road Trip/Reflections linky.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess


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