Monday, December 12, 2011

A to Z Reflections from Empty Nest Insider

A Whirlwind of Emotions From A to Z

                                                                                                  Julie Kemp Pick

It all began when Rhonda from Laugh Quotes sent me an email about the A to Z  Blogging Challenge. The timing was perfect, as I was approaching a milestone birthday, and this was a welcome diversion.

As a new blogger who first started writing in January, I thought this would be an excellent exercise in blogging boot camp. I'm always encouraging my kids to try new things, and felt that this was the perfect opportunity for me to lead by example.

Shortly after I signed up, Arlee Bird introduced himself,  and two other participants quickly followed. I had 3  new followers, before the challenge even began, without begging and pleading! 

The night before the A to Z kickoff, I decided to post my first story around midnight. The next day, I woke up to encouraging comments while gaining new followers! I returned the favors, and searched through new blogs with the handy A to Z buttons. Some of my viewers were quick to rush off, while others generously returned. I looked forward to daily visits from my small, but mighty group of faithful followers.

It was like taking a trip around the world with all of the comforts of home. I laughed, cried, and was often humbled by reading the plights that so many of the bloggers went through.  I was expecting the claws to come out, and that the competition would really heat up. Contrary, it wasn't a competition, it was a challenge as the name suggested; a friendly challenge from within, instead of pitting us against each other.

 I want to thank  all of the hosts for organizing this extraordinary event.  I'm especially grateful to Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out and Talli Rolland. Arlee has the amazing gift of drawing you in, pulling you close, and making you feel like you're part of a private conversation; amidst addressing an audience of more than 1000 people. Throughout the challenge, Talli Roland always made an effort to drop by with  encouraging remarks. In the midst of  temporarily losing her blog, she still kept up the morale without missing a beat.

I'm still reeling from this adventure, that has brought in more than 50 new followers, as well as, insightful tips from all of the hosts. I'm so proud to be  part of such a warm and engaging community. My hope is that we'll continue to knock on each other's doors, and be invited to come in and stay awhile.

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2012 starts Sunday April 1, 2012

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Rhonda said...

Thanks Julie for the mention. I do agree, the challenge was great.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie and Lee - excellent post about a great 'challenge' - a fun time .. and isn't everyone just wonderful so supportive and good company to be around.

Didn't realise you'd started so recently - what a great way to get stuck in - what do your kids now say?

Cheers to you both .. and see you before 2012 and definitely a few times before April Fool's Day 2012 .. Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember Julie's reflection post! Her experience was similar to mine the first year of the A to Z Challenge.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Any time you can see the world without leaving the house is good!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Thanks for posting this Lee. It really brought back some wonderful memories. Looking forward to April! Julie

Sarah Tokeley said...

I enjoyed this, and what a lovely way to start your blogging life :-)

Susan Kane said...

Julie, I loved your reflection! I felt the same. Getting to know new bloggers, new genres--all of it was exciting!


When Arlee first announced he was doing this challenge the first year it was done he said"Any one going to join me" I joined up and he has since told me I was the first follower to enlist that very first year, I found it fun, had more followers, joined new followers myself and did it all again this year, I am all set for next April and wish all who are going to do it the best of luck.


Arlee Bird said...

Good to see everyone showing up for the first post by Julie. Please spread the news about these upcoming weeks of Challenge posts.

Tomorrow we'll hear from Hilary Melton-Butcher with her special Christmas post.

And yes, Yvonne, one day you will have a place in the A to Z Hall of Fame as the first one to sign on to the original Blogging from A to Z.


Empty Nest Insider said...

Rhonda - Thanks again for being my "guiding light!"

Hilary - You, Delores, and Yvonne were among the first to welcome me last April! Both of my sons have been very supportive. Looking forward to your post tomorrow, and I wrote about it on my blog.

Alex - You were also very helpful then, and I'm glad I've gotten to know you better!

Pearson Report said...

Great post Julie!

It was an amazing month, and quite the challenge coming up with 26 posts in one month.

I'm gearing up for next April - should be a blast!

AND...isn't it awesome that this blog, Blogging from A-Z, is todays BLOG OF NOTE - how cool is that.


Li said...

Hi Julie - I was a January newbie blogger too when I did A to Z. Glad you enjoyed it and hope to see you again this time!

Empty Nest Insider said...

L. Diane Wolfe - Especially when you hate to pack!

Thanks Sarah and Susan!

Yvonne - You have always been supportive,and I love Lee's idea for putting you in the A-Z Hall of Fame!

Jenny - Thanks for the kind words, and we'll have fun in April!

Claudia Moser said...

Will be part in 2012 as well as I was in 2011. Can't wait to do some writing :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

Li - Thanks and I look forward to seeing you too!

Claudia - Glad to hear it!

decrease cholesterol naturally, and sigit - Hope you will both join in on the fun!

Al Penwasser said...

I'll be doing it again in 2012 (good thing we'll be able to get it in before the world ends). It was a lot of fun and I learned the alphabet.

iPhone blogs said...

How to join this challenge?

Юлия said...

great post

psychological blog

Empty Nest Insider said...

Al - Now I'm really excited, because there's nothing healthier than a laugh a day! I should just send a direct link over to your blog on April Fool's Day!

iPhone blogs - I'll just take over for Lee until Hilary gets here, as he has about 4 other blogs he's working on. As I recall, the sign-up should be sometime in January, but I would stay-tuned for further updates.

Thanks Ulianna!

Arlee Bird said...

Sign-ups begin on January 30.


Shannon Lawrence said...

What a nice warm reflection! I was happily surprised in the same manner by the warm welcome and support between everyone.