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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Back to Stationery Shopping

Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017

In my neck of the woods, it's the time of year when all the stores overflow with stationery, all of which is on sale. For parents and children, this is known as "back to school shopping."

For writers, this is known as "fueling for the addiction." (I'd tell you I'm kidding, but my wallet would disagree. Also, I have habit of sniffing... deeply inhaling... new notebooks. That scent is "the good stuff." Am I alone in this?)

Here's an A to Z stationery shopping list:
  • A is for — activity books
  • books image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • B is for — books ~~~ If you enjoy reading, check these out:
Bout of Books Read-a-thon — August 21-27.
The Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon — September 11-24
  • C is for — crayons
  • D is for — dictonary
  • dictionary image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • E is for — erasers
  • F is for — flashcards
  • flashcards image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • G is for — glue
  • H is for — hundreds of index cards
  • I is for — ink filled pens
  • ink filled pens image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • J is for — jump drive (USB flash drive, data stick, pen drive, memory unit, key chain drive and thumb drive)
  • K is for — kicks (sneakers, tennis shoes)
  • L is for — lined paper
  • lined paper image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • M is for — measuring devices (rulers, protractors)
  • N is for — notebook, spiral bound
  • O is for — object to carry books and such in (backpack)
  • P is for — pencils
  • pencils image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • Q is for Quaker oatmeal, cereal, fast breakfast foods
  • R is for — reward stickers
  • reward stickers image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • S is for — stapler
  • staplers with NFL teams image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017 Giants, Steelers, Eagles
  • T is for — thesaurus
  • thesaurus image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • U is for — utensils
  • V is for — variety of three-ring binders
  • W is for — wireless notebook
  • wireless notebook image on the Back to Stationery Shopping #AtoZchallenge blog post by @JLenniDorner August 2017
  • X is for Xbox lunchbox
  • Y is for — yellow highlighter
  • Z is for — zit remover

I admit this alphabetical list has strayed from stationery in places.
What words might you suggest for K, Q, U, X, or Z?

Have an idea for an A to Z post? Are you a past participant who would like to be featured? Let me know!

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer
Please visit the blog of @JLenniDorner Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer @JLenniDornerFollow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey is the Facebook fan page of @JLenniDorner — Please click Like and Follow!

Monday, July 3, 2017

July Traditions

Happy Independence Day America!

The A to Z challenge is American based, but has participants from around the world.

A list of July traditions in my neck of the woods:

  • A is for Autosports— Racing vehicles at the track or smashing vehicles at a demolition derby are both popular around here in July.
  • B is for BBQ— Having barbeque made on a barbecue is popular because food cooked over fire just tastes better.
  • C is for Cloud watching— Look! Up in the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a dragon, it's... clouds are weird and awesome. Staring at them is fun.
cloud image @JLenniDorner from #atozchallenge July Traditions post
  • D is for Dancing in the sunshine— People love to soak up the rays. (Hopefully while using SPF protection.)
  • E is for Eating summer treats— There are some foods that taste better in July (watermelon), and some that are only available during this time of year (Rita's Italian Ice).
  • F is for Fireworks— The best, brightest, boldest, and biggest fireworks displays in my area take place on America's Independence Day.
  • G is for Game nights— Families and friends are more inclined to gather for nights of board, card, or yard games.
  • H is for Hiking— It's the time of year when people take to the trails.
  • I is for Iced drinks— Tea, coffee, juice... every drink seems to have ice added.
  • J is for Jubilant gatherings— July and August have the highest number of birthdays around here. Not that it's the only reason people get together.
  • K is for Kite flying— On any day with sun and some wind, there are people flying kites at local parks.
  • L is for Lightning bug chasing— Also called fireflies, these cute beetles have bioluminescence in their backsides.
  • M is for Movie marathons— It's the time of year when people suggest watching a whole series. (This should be a "Netflix and Binge" category. The streaming boxset!)
  • N is for Neighborhood volunteering— Mowing the lawn for an elderly neighbor, teaching someone about planting flowers, picking up a carton of milk for a friend... part of July is about giving back to the community.
  • O is for Outdoor sleeping— Camping in tents, RV campers, or just with a blanket under the stars. July is a popular month for people to leave their domicile for a night or two.
  • P is for Pasta or potato salad— The hotter it gets, the less people want hot food. Pasta salad or potato salad are great alternatives (as long as they are kept cool).
  • Q is for Quiet reflection— July is when people around here are most inclined to take a break to meditate.
take a break to meditate #atozchallenge @JLenniDorner July Traditions post
  • R is for Reading— It's a popular time to curl up with a good book!
  • S is for S'mores— Roast a marshmallow over the fire. Then trap it between two graham crackers and piece of chocolate candy (such as a Hershey bar).
  • T is for Traveling— It's the time of year that folks pack up to go visit other folks or fun places.
  • U is for Understanding nature— So much of modern life keeps people indoors. July is a popular month to get back in touch with nature and all she has to teach us.
  • V is for Volleyball— This is a popular summer sport, best played in the sand.
  • W is for Water fun— Pools, water parks, lawn sprinklers, lakes, rivers, the ocean... July is when people rediscover just how fun water can be.
  • X is for X-rays resulting from over doing it— Common July injuries come from people ignoring limitations.
  • Y is for Yelling at kids on the lawn— Without fail, there is someone in the neighborhood who is yelling at kids on the lawn. (Usually the kids are children, but I have now seen two people yelling at young goats...)
  • Z is for Zoo trips— This is also a popular time of year to head to the zoo or game preserve to learn more about animals.

What are the July traditions in your area?

I'm seeking A to Z participants who have recently done something "spotlight worthy" (getting a big publishing deal, winning the rodeo championship, landing a part in a movie, setting a Guinness World Record, etc etc etc). If you'd be willing to be interviewed for this blog, please get in touch with me! Thanks.

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer
Please visit the blog of @JLenniDorner Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer @JLenniDornerFollow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey is the Facebook fan page of @JLenniDorner — Please click Like and Follow!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Results of the A to Z Challenge 2017 Reflection Survey #AtoZChallenge

An amazing 231 of you filled out the survey. Your feedback matters to the team. Thank you for taking the time to answer the questions. Here are the results:

39% of the respondents filled out the survey on May 1, 2017.
put the pro in procrastination

... 7% filled it out on May 20, the last day the survey was open.

91% of the respondents earned an #AtoZChallenge 2017 SURVIVOR badge for completing the challenge.

I pre-scheduled some of my posts before April and wrote others as the month went on. That was the most popular answer by slightly more than half.
I wrote my posts on the day they posted. 27% of the respondents checked this box, making it the second most popular.
I wrote and pre-scheduled all of my posts before April. 19% of the respondents got proactive in anticipation of the challenge!
Two people had an epic fail, and two people commented on challenge blogs but did not create blog posts for A to Z.

Of the wonderful survey takers:

45 were first timers to the challenge.
71 were doing the challenge for the second time.
113 have three or more survivor badges!
2 have been at this since 2010.

so proud

I left comments on several blogs of other participants every day. (Over 100 comments in April.) 41%

I made some effort. (51 to 100 comments left for others in April.) 21%

I tried or planned to, but I was not a very active comment maker. (26 to 50 comments left for others in April.) 19%

Only 7 people said No, I did not leave comments for any of the A to Z participants on their blogs.

so proudYes! I had over 100 comments on my blog in April, and I believe the A to Z challenge is to thank for that. 71 respondents made my heart swell when I read that answer.

Yes. I received 51 to 100 comments on my blog in April, and I suspect it's thanks to the A to Z challenge. 64 of you also had a lot of love.

Yes. I had 26 to 50 comments on my A to Z posts. 54 of the respondents got at least one or two comments a day.
Somewhat. I had one comment on some posts, but no comments on others. Under 26 comments in April. That was the answer for 37 people.

And this answer is heart-breaking:
No. No one left me any comments at all. I had someone test my comment box, I've checked spam, etc. Nothing. The answer of 3 people.
  • Of those, two posted on Twitter and Facebook.
  • All three said they did NOT visit or comment on other blogs.

On to what you've been dying to know!

2017 went without a linky list.

Honestly, I don't care. List or no list, I love this challenge. I'll just roll with whatever the co-hosts pick. 45%

I was happy about it before, and I'm still happy about it now! 20%
I was leery, but I've been won over. Commenting with my daily link RULES! Woot woot! 9%

I was happy about it before, but now I miss the old way. 17%
I was against it and, dag nabbit, I was right, because it was terrible. 15%

This is my first year, so I have no basis of comparison. 18%

It's a dead heat when it comes to social media!
I have the hashtag on all of my blog post titles, and I cross-posted to Twitter. 38%
I pasted my link on the A to Z Facebook group. 39%

15 people do NOT want to spend 5 minutes a day to promote their own blog.

65 people were perhaps reached by Arlee's post, as they checked off: I thought about my blog in terms of marketing.

91% had a theme!

32% ended posts with simple, open-ended questions.
48% of the respondents MASTERED HYPERLINKING.
(Only 10 people said they've given up on trying to learn it.)
69% of people followed blogs they found because of the #AtoZChallenge!

I am proud of what I accomplished during the challenge.

41% said they shared the post of others!

69% followed blogs they found because of the A to Z Challenge!

Only 3% say they feel like they failed.

27% follow A to Z participants on Twitter.
13% like or friend fellow A to Z people on Facebook.
Goodreads only drew the attention of 3 survey respondents.
Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, G+, and other social media of participants were followed by 13% of respondents.

28% of the respondents
formed friendships because
of the A to Z challenge.

And 53% of you feel a
sense of community
created by the challenge!

69% learned something from a post in the A to Z Challenge.
66% achieved a goal they set for themselves.
83% reply to comments left on their blog.

9 people said they bought something that exists because of the challenge. (A to Z books, pics, crafts, etc.)
And, as a result of participating in the challenge, 13 people created something that is now for sale.
13 respondents tried a food, a drink, or a recipe I found during the challenge.
32 people added something to their Wishlist or TBR list.

Only 4% of the respondents reached out to Arlee, Alex, Jeremy, Heather, Zalka, John, or J (me) for help.

33% reported interaction with a co-host.

attention image There were 33 people who said they want to be more involved next year.
(None of which used the comment box to leave contact information.)

33% also said they read the posts on this blog during the other 11 months of the year.
And 27 people have an idea for a blog post to be used on this blog over the next 10 months.
(The only idea left in the comment box was: I'd love to see a blog post about how to make your Letter-of-the-Day comment more interesting.)
(I'm not sure if this helps, but here's some commenting information.)

100 people said the co-hosts did an amazing job.
thank you

18% miss the Twitter chats.
Only 2% played #AtoZBingo.

16% discovered other blog hops, read-a-thons, flash fiction prompts, or ways to connect with fellow bloggers.
79 people checked I discovered a place I want to travel to or learned something new about a place.
A post improved my health or connected me to people of health similar to my own. That answer was marked by 6% of you.

40% of the respondents learned a new word!

Timezone of the Challenge result image

185 people thought the new timezone was fine, or they really don't care.

Age 50 to 70 makes up 46%, age 30 to 49 is 44%.
No one who took the survey reported being under age 18.
Only 5 people said they are over 70 years old.

Age of the ten people who have given up on learning hyperlinking:
1 18-29 year old
2 30 to 49 year olds
6 aged 50 to 70
1 (of the five people) over 70

66% are PC users. 21% use Apple/ Mac. 4% are using another operating system.
Android is on the rise with 13% saying it was what they primarily used when visiting during the challenge. Ipads and Iphones were used by 10%.
29% used an equal mix of computers and mobile devices to visit other blogs during the challenge.

Blogging platforms of #atozchallenge users Blogger 46% Wordpress 52% Other 4%

Wordpress is the most popular blogging platform, followed closely by Blogger.

53% made the A to Z Challenge a priority in their life.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer the survey, and thank you for reading these results.