Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Fantastic A to Z Ride: Observations by Shannon the Warrior Muse

My Photo     Shannon Lawrence who blogs as The Warrior Muse is one of the bloggers who went above and beyond the 2011 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   She and Tina Downey (whose Reflections post appeared yesterday 12/28) continued after the end of the A to Z Challenge to start the Post Challenge Challenge in which they were joined  by many of you to continue to visit all of the blogs that had participated in April.  In the following post she provides some thoughts on how she will approach the 2012 Challenge based on what she learned in 2011.

The Fantastic A to Z Ride

Amusement Park in Atlantic CityImage by momentcaptured1 via Flickr
       At the culmination of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge this past year I posted my final letter: Z is for Zenith.  I was delighted to have successfully reached the end of the A to Z challenge, proud to have accomplished such a leap in my blogging, having only posted a handful of blog posts before that, and relieved that it was time for a break from the regimen of posting daily and meeting a challenge.  At the same time, I was already thinking ahead to the following year.  I met so many great people via their blogs and this challenge, and I knew 2012 would be even bigger, more spectacular. 

      One of the things I wondered about was whether to go with a theme or not.  It was fun reading blogs that had specifically themed their A to Z posts.  Did it make it easier?  Were those posts better than others that had no discernible pattern?  Was there really a difference?

       As April approaches, I am trying to decide whether to pursue that theme, and what theme that might be, or whether to post as I did last time, talking about whatever fit the correct letter of the alphabet as it came to mind.  Is one way better than the other?  I think not. 

       I’m also hoping to prepare at least some of the posts ahead of time in order to have more time to explore other blogs.  I wasn’t able to make it to many blogs at all during the challenge, at least not compared to how many entrants there were.  Because of that, I’ve spent the time since the A to Z following up on the listing of blogs, having been a part of creating a follow-up challenge that was all about visiting.  I’m not finished yet, but I have until April when it all begins again!  
       Ultimately, the A to Z is about having fun and challenging oneself, as much as it is about networking and discovering other blogs.  No matter what I do differently this year, I know the A to Z will be a fantastic ride!

         Thank you Shannon.  It sounds like you're ready to go.   Who else wants to get on board for the fun ride of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?   Sign ups start on January 30th.

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It's always good to read of others approaches to the challenge. Wel done.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shannon and Tina probably visited more blogs than anyone else in the Challenge.
I've done the Challenge with and without a theme. With was definitely easier for me.

Sarah Tokeley said...

I've been thinking about themes. Still haven't decided :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon .. I totally admire how you and Tina carried on with visiting every blog ..

I think I'll go with a theme again .. then you've got 26 posts to use as something .. eg a small book ...

Lee - great reading everyone's thoughts .. cheers - now back to yesterday's! .. Hilary

Tina said...

Hey Buddy! I'm also considering whether to have a theme or not. I see pros and cons for both sides. Good thing we still have some time to decide!
Tina @ Life is Good

Miranda Hardy said...

I may just do it this year. I'll have to think of some great theme.

Kimberly said...

I used a theme last year and I think that is the only way I was able to finish it. :) It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to it again.

Trisha said...

I'll definitely be in again this (next) year! It was exhilarating, if exhausting, last time. hehe

D.E. Malone said...

* Just learned about the challenge on another blog. I'm in! Thanks in advance for the opportunity.

Pearson Report said...

Great view on the challenge...I am flip/flopping over "theme or no theme"!
Last year was my first time doing the A to Z and I loved it. I hadn't heard about it until March, needless to say, I had no time to do any pre challenge preparations.

I am wondering if my writing was more real because of the need to come up with it on the spot. Even though I was stressed, given the time constraints, I loved the spontaneity of my writing.

I will have to wait and see...I am prepping and giving myself some solid foundation for my writing...but whether I will have all twenty-six post ready, I'm not sure.

Great repost!


MISH said...

I'm also wondering about the thematic/non-thematic approach...
Is one better than the other? I get the impression that it's easier to come up with 26 posts using a theme...
But I suppose it's different for each blogger...

Arlee Bird said...

I've never gone with a thematic approach for the month but I think I will this year. I think it could be easier and provide a thread of continuity from one post to another. I've yet to have a problem coming up with something for each letter though.


Shannon Lawrence said...

Yvonne, I enjoy your way of doing a poem each day.

Alex, that is good to know about the theme! Hmmm...

Sarah, here I am thinking of whether to do one, but I need to decide so I can pick a theme!

Hilary, hi! That is a good point that I've been considering, also. Damyanti inspired me in that direction.

Tina, hi! ~waves~ We do, indeed have some time. Thank goodness, as I'm still undecided. Knowing me, I'll decide right before it starts.

Miranda, I hope you do!

Kimberly, have you already chosen the new theme?

Trisha, dead on. Exhilerating, but exhausting.

Dawn, wonderful! Can't wait to see your posts.

Jenny, like you, I only discovered it at the very last moment last year. Good point you raise, about the writing with no prep. I wonder if my voice wasn't more genuine because it was all flying by the seat of my pants.

MISH, that could be. I know my non-theme approach was to jot down a word every time I thought of it so I could look over the list when I went to do my post and see what stood out to me.

Lee, that is interesting to hear. Never a theme? Can't wait to see what you come up with!