Hello Fellow Alphabet Fans! Today I'm pleased to introduce Mare Ball as our guest poster.
She blogs at Adventures in the Ballpark
Like me, she is a former educator. Unlike me, she can make a killer brownie ;-) An Air Force wife for 20 years, she now blogs about her life, including caring for her aging parents, and is working on a book about a family Christmas project. I found her post asks a lot of the same questions that I've been wondering about. I'm looking forward to a lively discussion! Please welcome her in true A-Z fashion with lost of comments. She certainly has opened the door wide for your opinion, so let it be heard!
I joined the A-Z Challenge for the first time this year. I’ve only been blogging for two years, and I’d not heard of the A-Z until just a week before it started. It was a wild and crazy ride, but I really enjoyed it. I wrote an A-Z reflection post on my blog about my experience, but I want to highlight some points here.
- I was shocked at the number of bloggers that signed up. It was 1800 at one point. I’ve since learned there are 181 million blogs. Good grief.
- I really wanted to at least look at every blog listed, but it was impossible. I did check out about half and found 100 that I really enjoyed. I continue to explore the blogosphere, and I’m still discovering blogs I love.
- Over the month of April, I developed serious eyestrain, wrist soreness and a flat, achy butt from all the sitting and reading. I’m glad the challenge is only once a year.
- I discovered that reading the “about me” page gave me more insight into a blogger than reading their letter-of-the-day post. The prompts were fun and revealed creativity, but I also wanted to know more about the heart of the writer, and the “about me” page provided that.
- I discovered that the most visually appealing blogs (and the easiest to read) were ones with light backgrounds, short paragraphs, and not too much clutter on the sides.
- I was impressed by the fact that there are published/professional writers who take the time to respond to and encourage other writers. I’m grateful for their generosity.
- The A-Z Challenge confirmed to me that, after being away from writing for five years, I still love to write. I have to write. It's weird, and I don't get it, but it completes me (in a non-cheesy, non-Tom Cruise-kind-of-way.) Thanks to the A-Z Challenge, I fell in love with writing all over again.
I share these points because it tells you a bit about where I’m coming from as a writer. Since the A-Z Challenge, I’ve discovered some things I’m trying to reconcile, and I’d like input from other writers.
- The “following” thing. I gained 70 followers over the course of the A-Z, and I followed as many or more. However, I can’t visit every blog I follow daily. I might check in with everyone weekly. It appears, though, that some of my readers comment on every post I write. I’m very touched by that and always respond…but, how do they do that? Does anyone visit every blog they follow daily?
Conversely, I have followers who drop in to follow and never visit again. That’s absolutely fine, but, then, why follow? I’m assuming the number of followers (for everyone) is somewhat deceptive, and I’m trying to discern the value/importance of the following system.
- The reading list thing. On my blog roll, I have 126 blogs listed. In the Blogger dashboard/reading list, I see the latest posts from blogs I’m following. If number 6 blog doesn’t show up on my reading list, I assume there are no new posts from that blog – am I correct here?
- The award/tag thing. Since May, I have received seven awards. I understand I’ve become more visible since the A-Z Challenge, and it’s very nice to be recognized. But, as one blogger wrote, awards seem a bit like chain letters. They involve answering questions (about yourself), then passing them on to other bloggers. Who may not want them, because they have to answer questions and pass them on to other bloggers. At some point, bloggers you want to give them to already have them. They whole thing, while kind, seems a bit silly. Am I alone here? I’m not ungrateful, I’m just trying to discern the value/importance of the award/tag system.