Friday, December 23, 2011

Jeffrey Beesler Tells You What You Oughta Know About the A-Z Challenge

           One of the big surprises of the 2011 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was meeting Jeffrey Beesler from World of the Scribe.  From the beginning Jeffrey became such a vocal advocate for the Challenge that we ended up inviting him to co-host with us.  He took on the role as co-host with fervor and was a real asset to the 2011 Challenge.  We were proud to have him on board with us.  In this post he tells us his thoughts on A to Z.

You Oughta Know (An A-Z Challenge Reflections Post Special!)

Arlee Bird of Tossing It Out has requested that next Monday, May 2nd, be a time for participants of the A-Z Challenge to reflect on their experiences throughout of April. Because of something else I already have planned for that day, a huge announcement coming, I’m going to do my reflections post right now, as I find that these are things You Oughta Know.

First of all, I’m glad my fears of the challenge were unfounded in large part. Although it has been hard work going to 30 sites a day and not hardly having any time for anything else, the work has been well worth it. I’ve met so many wonderful new people through the challenge, which was pretty much the whole point of A-Z.

I’m also glad to have friends like Arlee and Alex J Cavanaugh who've taught me a thing or two about courage, and about doing the right thing, by asking me to co-host. I can think of no greater gift these two have bestowed upon me than their friendship during this past month.

Of course, it hasn’t always been candy apples and honeydew melons. I’ve stumbled upon some self-serving sites, bickered with the commenting function of Disqus, had less time for writing, and at one point, the weekend of the letter N, I really felt the strain of doing the challenge.

Now, having pointed out the downsides, I have a few thoughts for A-Z should the challenge return next year.

1.     1.  If you sign up to participate, make sure you participate. If this is something you can’t commit to, or are just using to score yourself a few hits without bothering to try, then by all means do not sign up. These blogfests are meant to be fun.

2.     2.  Set yourself some realistic goals and expectations. This is a huge step. I’ve run the gamut of comments ranging anywhere from 62 on the letter A to the low of 15 on the letter W. Do not for an instant fool yourself into thinking you’ll score 100 comments with every post. You’ll only set yourself up for disappointment.

3.     3. On the flip side of #2, if you do set goals, make sure you work your posterior off to meet them. I myself have set up the goal of reaching 30 blogs a day until I get to the end of the linky list, which will take me until May 11th or 12th to get through. Fortunately, I only have a little over 400 more blogs left to visit.

And finally, having said the above, I want to point out that I got exactly what I wanted out of the challenge, and even a few things I hadn’t expected, like being interviewed and featured at Wordsinsync. I’ve settled on the goal of doubling my follower count for the A-Z Challenge. On March 31st, the number had been at 200. As of this writing, it’s sitting at 403. I’ve more than exceeded my goal, but that’s because I’ve worked my tail off for it.  

So there you have it. My reflections post. I want to thank each and every last one of my new followers for joining me on my writing journey. 

         Thank you Jeffrey.  You are a true blog friend and always helpful.  Readers should heed your words here--they were well said.

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Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeffrey is awesome and your description fits him so well - you couldn't have a more enthusiastic champion. He's a great friend and writer!


Thanks Jeffery, you did your co hosting extremely well.
Hope you will be there in April.


Anonymous said...

The A to Z Challenge can be many things to many bloggers. Jeffrey had a plan and followed it and achieved his goal. Your goal may only be to get yourself in the habit of writing every day and the challenge will help you with this. Perhaps you just want to have fun coming up with something for each letter. Maybe you are in for the comradery. Something for everyone in the A to Z Challenge. It doesn't HAVE to be goal driven.

Rek Sesh said...

For me the challenge was to write something relevant to my blog theme everyday not just spew anything. My follower count hardly changed, not a real concern anyway (and no not a case of sour grapes ;D)....because I enjoy reading blogs for the variety and the bits of knowledge I pick up sometimes even on personal relationships.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Hi, Jeffrey! 30 blogs a day is fantastic! Have a great Christmas!

Sarah Tokeley said...

I love the idea of setting a target number of blogs to visit each day. I think I'll adopt that when the time comes :-)

MISH said...

Wow! 30 blogs a day!
It's actually a great idea to try and visit a certain number of blogs per day during the challenge - especially if one of your goals is to meet new bloggers/friends (added bonus of increasing the number of followers to your blog)

Shannon Lawrence said...

Great points - definitely things people should know. I didn't have any goals other than finally wanting to let someone know my blog existed; I hadn't told anyone about it before then. A gulp and a click of the mouse and I was in it! Good luck this year.

Pearson Report said...

Hi Jeffrey - this was a great repost of your reflections on the last A-Z challenge.

Your thoughts (1-3) are brilliant and should be featured again in the New Year for bloggers trying the challenge for the first time (mind you, I think all of us can benefit from these wise words).

Cheers, Jenny @ PEARSON REPORT