Monday, December 26, 2011

Sue Travers Entered Two Blogs in the 2011 Challenge and Survived to Tell About It

       Yes, that's right!  Sue entered Traverselife and jumping aground and finished with both of them.  Quite a feat for this busy lady.  I'll let her tell you about her A to Z adventure.  

A-Z Blogging Challenge. Reflections

What a journey, what a month.

Firstly a humungous thankyou to Arlee at Tossing it Out and crew for hosting. It's been a massive job for you all, and I appreciate the time and energy that you've all put into this event. Congratulations, well done!

What I've learnt:
Don't tackle two blogs in the A-Z Blogging challenge without preparation! It wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. It was utterly exhausting, demanding, draining and I'd never recommend it - ever - to anyone who has an ounce of common sense.

I decided on March 31st to enter my second blog. That's plain crazy!
One? No worries.
Drabbles? Fine.
Two? Insane!

The alliterative Drabbles were fun to write over at jumpingaground , although I found it hard to turn off once I got on a roll. All stories are based on real people and events except Yolanda and her yellow yacht. Many are environment or climate related, others are to do with learning difficulties.

I suspect the idea for bullying may have been floating around in my head, lurking, just waiting for an opportunity like this. The structure worked for me. I think if I'd been left to my own devices I wouldn't have attempted it at all or I would have drifted and dithered, with a bit here and a bit there. A-Z provided the scaffolding I needed to do it in one hit.

The list of A-Z Workplace Bullying posts is here.

I had no idea how long each post would take. I spent 1/2 day getting a vague outline together to make sure I would have something for each letter, realised I had something sort of workable, and plunged in. I hadn't anticipated each post would then take many many hours, revising, rewording, checking for accuracy, editing and adding pictures. Some are a bit long, but that's the way they are.

I'm tenacious. This is not good if you're being bullied. It would be possible to hang on and try to make something work when it's destined not to. But for a blogging challenge it's invaluable!

I'll try to remember never to post a comment when I've had a glass or two of wine. It's not good. Now you know why some of those comments were, erm not so clearly written. 

It would have been difficult to have completed the posts without the support and input from other bloggers. Each and every comment helped me get through. This topic isn't fun or popular or sexy - to read or to write. 

Why tackle workplace bullying?  I hope it might be a resource beyond this challenge. I'm horrified at the prevalence of ongoing bullying in workplaces. As a Career Development Professional, my clients tell me what happens in supposedly reputable organisations. The people I work with are honest, ethical, have strong morals and act with integrity. Too many workplaces don't value those attributes, they chew up employees, take everything they can get, then spit out what's left. I felt this was a small something I could do to support others and perhaps shed some light on this appalling behaviour.

Knowledge is power. My aim was to share my knowledge in a hopefully easy to read form to empower others.

What I've learnt about others. People are generous. Of course I knew that, but it's been underlined hugely. People have supported me by encouraging others to read the information, they've forwarded the posts on and have commented in a very positive way. That's what I dreamed might happen, thanks to everyone who has shared and commented.

What have I learnt about blogging?
Success is just a word. Running the two blogs in tandem was fascinating. jumpingaground went from something like 22 followers to 83, but I don't get many drop in visitors or many hits. Keyword search data is wishy washy at best.  But it's fun, and it's for me!

In comparison, traverselife went from about 22 followers to 52, which in comparison is 'unsuccessful'. Keyword searches however, show clearly what people are looking for, and I get significantly more hits daily but less or no comments. I've had quiet, consistent, steady support for the posts from people within and outside the blogging community. That's rewarding. People who've contacted me have given me a huge boost, It really makes this feel like a strong community pulling together, and is a reassuring feeling of connectedness. Thank you.
East Side Gallery. Berlin. 2009.
For me, the month wasn't fun, but it supported my core values and it has been rewarding doing something I truly believe in. I've done the best I can given that it was unplanned and in a sense done on the fly to conform to the challenge guidelines. I'm pleased with the result, and proud I stuck with it. I wouldn't post like that again for a whole month. It took too much out of me. I need a break.

What do I look for in other blogs?
Meatiness, fun, not self indulgent, interesting, challenging without being derogatory or rude.

What next? 
I might do a follow up with something about schools and bullying, add some more links to some good information. Editing needs to happen....drat..... I want to pose the question "Do you bully yourself?" and look at how we're often meaner to ourselves than is healthy. I'm looking forward to eventually writing about the healing process after being bullied. Looking at how we can create rich, full and meaningful lives is something I've wanted to post about, but haven't yet found a structure that feels right. I also want to revisit assertiveness and How to say "No".

Would I recommend this challenge to others? Definitely!

I've just had some insight when I was making a comment on someone else's blog. I went in to this Challenge asking myself what I could GIVE to others. I wasn't focusing on how many followers or comments I could GET.  Hmmm.....

Lastly, I have a newfound respect for everyone who has written a book. How do you do it and stay sane? Characters who wander off and create mayhem, plots that refuse to co-operate - gosh you guys are impressive!

       If Sue was able to keep two blogs running in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge surely you can manage one.   Watch for the sign up list coming at the end of January.

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Sarah Tokeley said...

Wow, I really admire the commitment this obviously took. Well done.

Lisa said...

I enjoyed this reflection, it brought memories of the challenge. And I also learned from what Sue shared. Thank you Sue.

Unknown said...

Wow, that's awesome--you're amazing! I can't wait until April.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Two does sound crazy - although I suspect you'll be doing that, Lee!


Wow taking on 2 challenges. Although I have already have April's A to Z already done and dusted it will give me more time to read other's post in the challenge which is hard if one has to prepare the next days' post.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee and Sue .. you might be muddled but us poor bloggers just doing the one - suddenly found another by the same blogger we respect - help .. jump on over!

How you managed two I don't know .. trying to get round was interesting to put it mildly ..

But as you say we all made great friends and got to know new people around the world and from all walks of life about any subject under the sun - - - it's a great concept Lee - fabulous that I'm here a part of it .. and meeting all the Reflective A - Z bloggers ..

Cheers and have excellent festive weeks .. Hilary

Shannon Lawrence said...

I'm impressed! Entering one blog in the challenge was hard enough, though fun. And the topic itself must have been somewhat exhausting to begin with. Bullying is such an important topic, though. I've been bullied in the workplace, and had to deal with my son being bullied in preschool. Who knew it began so early?

Pearson Report said...

Sue - I remember meeting you through this challenge and being in awe of you for tackling as much as you did.

I also spent a large part of each day "working" my piece and then spending more time than I had on making sure it was post worthy. I'm my own worst critic!

I'm glad I only had one blog to work with...I don't know how you did two!!


Sue said...

@ Sarah, thankyou. When I wrote the reflections piece I hoped the information would be useful for someone, sometime.

@ oceangirl, thankyou, I enjoyed sharing my reflections. Have you thought about a theme, or will you 'go with the flow?'

@ Clarissa, 'amazing' was the last word on my mind when I finished! Have you noticed how quickly April is sneaking up?

@ Alex, Lee is inspirational isn't he! I don't know how he keeps tbs on everything he does. I notice he's now on G+ too!

@Yvonne, You're already prepared! That's awesome!!

@ World HBT, thankyou :)

@ Hilary, One of the ongoing pleasures is the support from other bloggers who still send me links to articles, blogs etc that you think I might be interested in. I love that!

@ Shannon, it was a gruelling topic, but I'm so pleased I tackled it. I'm left with a real feeling of satisfaction. I hope you've managed to thrive after your own experience, and that your son's kinder took the issue seriously and addressed it appropriately.

@ Jenny, looking back, I have no idea how I managed two either!

Being ones own worst critic is a challenge isn't it. Sometimes when I've read some other bloggers posts I stop writing completely for a while, and it takes me a while to remember that I do it for personal satisfaction, not to 'compete' with others.

Thanks Lee for hosting these reflections posts. I hope you've managed to have a bit of a break from your blogging commitments over the Christmas period.

See you all next year!