A to Z Blogging Challenge – A Reflection

A-to-Z Reflection [2015] - LgThis was my first year participating in the A to Z Challenge, and I had a lot of fun. Like any journey, the road was easier because of the friends I met along the way, those who supported me during my travels. It made a difference.

I visited many new blogs, as well as keeping up with those I visit regularly. One of the things I’m enjoying at the moment, especially as I have more time, is exploring and connecting with some of the ones I missed during the actual challenge. People like Sabina (Victim to Charm) has made that even easier – Sabina organised an excellent after party. You should check that out.

I know some of my friends will groan when I say this, but I’m not all that interested in stats. In fact I haven’t looked, so I don’t have any magic numbers to share with you. What I can tell you is that I got more comments than ever before, and visitors really responded to my theme. I’m glad I provided something worthwhile, and I had a blast preparing the posts, so I see that as a major achievement.

Speaking of scheduling. I was warned about preparing my posts ahead of time and, the fact I didn’t, was my greatest challenge by far. Next year I’ll do things differently. I can still write posts on the fly, only next time I’ll write them before the first of the month!

As I reflected on the challenge, and I reflected daily, I began to realise that a regular theme or format is what’s missing from my blog. I need a clearer sense of direction. When people visited during the challenge they got exactly what it said on the tin, so to speak. I want to ensure that happens consistently. I talked a little about this during my weekend coffee post, so I’m not going to go over old ground, or over-egg the pudding as it were.

Here are a few of the changes I will make over the coming weeks:

  • A complete overhaul of Writing Room 101. The site has evolved naturally and I will now focus on author spotlights; cover reveals, reviews, interviews, excerpts, etc. For the interviews I’d like to take a different approach, and where possible, incorporate a level of interaction. My next interview will be with Luther Siler on Thursday, and I had so much fun chatting with him about his work – including new release, The Sanctum of the Sphere.
  • The monthly writing challenge I run at WR101 got a little lost along the way, so I’ll be moving it over here. More news on that soon.
  • I will create two regular features per week (this site). I’m considering a fantasy based theme for one of these. Still working through the ideas.
  • I plan to give the site a facelift – it’s too similar to my author site and the repetition isn’t needed. This will give my personal blog more focus, and allow me to separate the two.
  • My overall aim is to post three times per week. I would love to post more than that, but I really enjoy collaboration, so by allowing time to contribute on other sites – it’s the best of both worlds.

The challenge was an extremely positive one, and I’m so glad I took part. I can’t end without thanking a few people though. First, thanks to all my visitors during the challenge; those who took the time to chat with me, or left encouraging comments. I’m thrilled I met so many new people. There were also those I consider my cheerleaders. They stopped by regularly to check in and offer their support. So, a huge thanks to Callum, Natasha, Charles, Jacqui, Patricia, Robin, Alex, and Hannah.

There are so many blogs and posts I enjoyed along the way and I intend to create a top ten. I’ll do that once all the fun is over, and I’ve explored those areas I’ve yet to visit!

Thanks for stopping by.


Author: mbarkersimpson

Melissa Barker-Simpson is a multigenre romance author. Her stories are about connection, friendship, and love in all its forms. So whether in a magical setting, an alternative universe, or a world where anything can happen – and often does – there is always an element of romance. Melissa is currently residing in the North of England with her two daughters, and when not writing, is fulfilling her other role as a British Sign Language Interpreter.

32 thoughts on “A to Z Blogging Challenge – A Reflection”

  1. I loved your challenge, and no groans from me about stats. 🙂 I added them to mine because it gives me something measurable compared to how it felt last year.

    Sounds like there’s a lot of big changes in the mix! Don’t feel compelled to post every day. TBH, I prefer blogs that post when they have something really cool to say, instead of splitting hairs to get a post out just because it’s Wednesday. If you can do it, though, do it! 🙂 And good luck.

    1. Thanks, Alex. I think I’ll definitely keep the posts to three times a week. It’s achievable and I get to post for others too. If I posted every day I wouldn’t have time for the novels and that would turn me into a grouch – I would wish that on anyone 😉

  2. With you on the stats thing. It seems if you get obsessed with the stats then there’s a high risk of doing things solely for numbers. Kind of liking teaching to the test instead of the student’s interests. Glad you had fun and looking forward to seeing the changes.

  3. Exciting & busy times ahead! I’m excited to see what comes of the monthly writing challenge. I’ve always enjoyed the prompts you’ve provided & taken those challenges. 😊

    1. Thanks, Cassie 🙂 I always enjoy your contributions. The format won’t change much, but I’ll be making it more of a feature on my personal site, so it doesn’t get lost beneath the spotlights I run on WR101 😀

  4. Pantsers Unite! 🙂 I loved your A to Z posts and like you, I’m catching up with blogs I missed. Great goals for the sites, I’m curious to see how you’ll implement them! 🙂

  5. I’m glad you took so many positives from the challenge! I had a great time reading your posts and learned a lot about mythology, which is always a good thing! 🙂

  6. AGREED about consistency–I feel weird returning to a completely unstructured style! I’m working on developing more of a structure & schedule for my blog. I tend to make regular features and then suspend them for other projects though, so I’ll maintain that flexibility even with more of a structure. I’m also trying to write a ton over the summer so that fall semester is taken care of.

    1. That sounds like a plan! – I might do some planning and scheduling to take some of the pressure off too. And I agree about the flexibility. That’s important 🙂

  7. Love this summary. I have read a few and no one says they had anything but positive feelings about this experience. Makes me think, maybe in a year… Hmm…

  8. You know, that’s what happened to me to: I saw during the challenge that people is interested in my topic. I was never all that sure, because my blog is fairly new and I had never traffic enough to see a meaningful reaction to what I write. So, yes, I’ve been thinking to how I want to gear my blog.
    It was a illuminatiing experience, I think exactly like you 🙂

    And I’m sorry I didn’t find you during the challenge, but I’m so happy I’ve foudn you now.

    1. I’m happy too – that’s one of the best things by far – connecting with people. I’m so glad it was a positive, and illuminating experience for you, and I look forward to seeing where the developments take you

  9. Glad you had a good first experience! We like to hear that.
    Writing posts ahead of time really helps. The very first Challenge, I not only wrote them the night before, but I had no theme. That was a frantic mess. (I got smart for the next five Challenges.)

  10. I think i missed your blog when i was wandering around the blog list! le sigh! I clicked on your when I received it from another blogger today. So I’m definitely going to come back and stalk your a to z post because i love mythical critters.

    congrats on finishing!

    1. Thanks so much, and stalk away! I had tremendous fun and have more or less decided to continue the fantasy party in some way 🙂 I’m still making my rounds and will stop by your place for a visit!

  11. Congratulations! I am glad to have found you, I guess I would have done so sooner or later. Now it’s time to check out another one of your A to Z posts. 🙂

  12. Boy, if I did the post a day challenge, I’d have to start writing the posts like six months ahead of time… and I still probably wouldn’t be able to keep up 🙂 Good work for doing the challenge and making it fun!

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