The Challenge: To Do or Not To Do
I have just finished the April 2016 AtoZ Challenge with about 1346 other bloggers. I had two blogs in the challenge, Barb’s Garden Observations and Paso Robles in Photos. The challenge was to write a new post every day in April except Sundays. You could choose your own theme for each blog. I chose Plants for the gardening blog and Things You Might See or Experience in Paso Robles for the other. I have now come to the end of that long road and have experienced both the positives and negatives of the challenge. If you are presented with the opportunity, should you commit to an A-Z Challenge?
Are You Ready for a Challenge?
Before you accept the challenge and start to climb that mountain to complete it, evaluate how it might affect your life. Different personalities might be affected differently. This is especially true if you are not able to complete it. Life happens. Will you feel like a failure if you don’t finish something you start, even if there’s a very good reason for it? If so, maybe you aren’t the person who should take the challenge. I see that many of those who started it did not complete it. It’s easy to fall behind. If you’ve got a lot on your plate already, maybe this isn’t the right time.
Are you the sort of person that will complete it or die trying? That’s the sort of I am. I almost did die trying. There are a couple of times I maybe should have gone to the emergency room for heart symptoms, but that would have thrown me off schedule and since they weren’t really bad, I opted just to take it easier. Trying to complete the challenge on both blogs often kept me up when I should have gone to bed. I didn’t allow time to fix proper meals on some days.
Count the cost before accepting the challenge. Know your limitations. Know what the challenge requires. I did much more than was required in most posts because I did not want to compromise the usual quality of my posts. Had I just done the minimum, I would not have been as stressed. If you tend to be a perfectionist in your blogging who wants to feel a post is the best work you can do, maybe a challenge isn’t for you. You might be better off posting on your regular schedule on topics you think are important and writing them to meet your own goals instead of trying to do a post a day of lesser quality just to meet the challenge.
Pros of Accepting an A-Z Challenge
I learned a lot doing these challenges. It wasn’t a waste of time.
- I learned to be more disciplined about my writing schedule.
- I got some new followers who were also doing the challenge, since we were encouraged to visit others on the linky for the challenge.
- I started getting more traffic on one of the blogs I had not posted much to this year, because posting was more consistent and there was more content for Google to search.
- I improved my vocabulary as I read the dictionary trying to find subjects for those odd letters like “X.”
- I met other bloggers I wanted to follow.
Cons of Doing the A-Z Challenge
- I put too much pressure on myself and added unnecessary stress to my life.
- I sometimes found myself posting just to post on subjects out of my comfort zone in order to conform to the alphabet. This often affected the quality of my blog, which I felt didn’t meet my usual standards when the alternative would be cutting back on more sleep than I could afford. This might cost me followers, but so far it hasn’t.
- I was neglecting other online work that ultimately was more important than getting the challenge finished, but my personality is such that I didn’t want to quit until I completed the challenge.
Would I Do Do the A-Z Challenge Again?
I think I’ll probably pass on it next year. I did it this year because some of my friends were going to do it. I didn’t think it through or count the cost. I tend to be impulsive that way. When the unexpected health situations hit both me and my husband, I still wanted to finish. When Google made a change in policy that made it important to redo links in many blogs, I delayed making the changes because of the demands on my time with the challenge. And besides all that, I’ve used all the “X” and “Z” words that apply to my blog topics.
When all is said and done, I’m not sorry I did the challenge. I feel good about having reached the top of the climb. It was a long journey, and sometimes I did feel like quitting before I reached my goal when the going got tough. I have a sense of accomplishment instead of the failure I might have felt had I given up. If I ever say I want to do it again, though, please give me a little kick.
Have you ever taken this official Blogging from A to Z Challenge that happens in April each year? What was your experience with it?
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