This was my first such challenge, but it will definitely not be my last. In fact, I may challenge myself to do a similar blogging spurt during the holidays (we shall see...)
What did I love about this challenge? Let me count the ways:
1. I LOVE the A-Z format. It gives structure to writing while at the same time forcing creativity. Some letters spawned several different choices, while others barely sparked one. But necessity is the mother of invention and thinking outside the box gets the job done. (for example: houseboats became Y for Yacht).
2. I participated in my first Twitter chat and thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship! It took awhile to learn Tweetdeck, and I would often forget the hashtag #azchat, but the moderators were patient and welcoming. I looked forward to our Thursday night get-togethers and that is probably the one thing I will miss most.
3. I met some new online friends, either from the chat sessions or from blog visits, whom I hope to remain in contact in the months to come. People such as:
- Sarah who is a fellow writer and shared great writing tips
- Sarah (from Italy) who is incredibly knowledgeable about the Jazz era and taught me something new each time I visited her site
- Ellen who wrote her own Nancy Drew mystery (my favorite childhood series) while teaching me about boating terms
- Clao who lives in Germany but took me on a voyage around the world. I added several bucket list places by reading his blog
4. Having said that, I would say the one regret I have is the lack of time to visit other participating blogs during the challenge month. At the beginning of the month, there were nearly 2,000 blogs registered, with over 1,300 blogs finishing the challenge. That is a LOT of great content that I wanted to read but simply ran out of time. I hope to use the summer months to make the rounds and perhaps make a few more online friends.
5. I think the greatest benefit of completing this challenge, however, is ... I felt like a serious writer for the first time in my life. Perhaps it was the focused writing every day - or the online accountability (if I missed a day, others would know) - or the fact I was working on blog posts in advance rather than waiting until the last minute - or maybe it was delving into a topic and viewing it from several different perspectives - or how I persevered and refused to give up on the tough letters. I'm not sure the reason(s), but I want to continue to write and be serious about it.
All in all... this was a fantastic experience and I can hardly wait for the A-Z Blogging Challenge in April, 2017.