My ProgressWhen I first attempted the challenge in 2011, I did quite well for my first time but fell off the bandwagon near the end and missed my last few posts. Shame on me. Well, this year I did much better. Although I did leave a couple until the last minute, I planned and scheduled most of my blog posts in advance and managed to get them all posted on time. My theme: elements and features of speculative fiction and entertainment, was much more in-line with my interests than my previous theme of emotions, and it also proved to be more engaging for my readers. You can read all my blog posts here.
During the challenge, I gained approximately 30 new blog followers via GFC, and 3002 page views (the most I've ever had in one month). I also received about 135 thoughtful comments on my posts. Thanks so much to everyone that stopped by during the challenge and chose to leave a comment or share with their friends. It's boosted my confidence and encouraged me to continue with blogging, so I really appreciate it.
New DiscoveriesI've tried to respond to as many comments as possible and to visit commenter's own blogs to return the favour. I also worked my way through some of the blogs below mine on the list, and others that I stumbled upon through Facebook or Twitter. In doing so, I discovered some amazingly talented bloggers and writers, some of which I now count as 'blogging buddies' as we've commented on each other's blogs several times now. This is what the challenge is truly about-'meeting' new people, making friends, learning from them and being inspired by their posts. A few of the blogs I visited were about topics I wouldn't normally seek out, but I soon found myself engrossed in them.
Here are some of my favourite new blogs that I discovered during the challenge:
- Janeal Falor-this lovely lady has been visiting my blog often and I've now discovered her debut YA fantasy, You Are Mine, which is being launched tomorrow! My review will be coming soon.
- Attack of the Books-an excellent book review site covering a wide range of genres.
- Scattergun Scribblings-writer Nick Wilford had a really unique idea for the A-Z challenge-he asked readers to choose words starting with a certain letter, which he then incorporated into a continuous story spanning the entire alphabet.
- Read is the New Black-an interesting an informative reader/writer blog. The A-Z theme was world-building.
- Patricia Stoltey-this inspiring mystery writer wrote 26 amusing fables/cautionary tales for the A-Z challenge with titles like 'Zephr the Zany Zebra'.
- Sassyspeaks-unique and interesting poetry, short stories and flash fiction.
- Writer in Transit-a fun writerly blog that asked readers to come up with their own definitions of unusual words for the A-Z challenge.
- Scribbler's Sojourn-a writing and book blog with lots of book reviews and extracts.
- Entertaining Interests-a writer and book blog that featured pretty book covers for the A-Z challenge.
- Julie Flanders-the debut author of Polar Night blogged about Alaska for the A-Z challenge.
Art and Craft Blogs
- Ella's Edge- an extremely creative blog filled with lots of vintage craft makes.
- My Next Life-an incredibly talented artist called Kate birch shares her paintings and writing.
- Stratoz-a talented artist who makes beautiful stained glass and mosaic designs. His A-Z theme was 'one word messages'.
- Mary Montague Sikes-this amazing artist did a painting a day for the A-Z challenge!
- Circle of Chaos-an inspiring fashion and beauty blog
- A Month of...Blog-a picture a day, a different theme each month.
- Transformed Non-Conformist-a random and funny collection of posts about anything and everything.
- Penwasser Place-a hilarious blog that pokes fun at pretty much everything.
- Mama Diaries- Sherry Ellis shares amusing anecdotes about her children.
A massive thank-you and shout-out to Arlee Bird, the founder of the challenge, and his co-hosts: Nicole Ayers, Damyanti Biswas, Alex J.Cavanaugh, Tina Downey, DL Hammons, Jeremy Hawkins, Shannon Lawrence, Matthew MacNish, Livia Peterson, Konstanz Silverbow, Stephen Tremp and L. Diane Wolfe. These guys are all blogging LEGENDS and are behind many of the best blog events and memes (like the Insecure Writer's Support Group).
Thanks also to all the co-host helpers and minions that helped it all come together and to Jeremy Hawkins for making the banners and buttons.
Finally, thanks to everyone that joined in with the challenge through posting and commenting. Here's to another awesome A-Z challenge next year!