Friday, May 5, 2017

#AtoZChallenge - Perspectives: #Reflections on the 2017 AtoZ Event

This year was a mixture of the very familiar and the totally new.  Familiar as once again we selected themes, posted each day in accordance to the alphabet, visited blogs that were new to us, commented, linked, shared.  That same sense of fellowship.  The same chance to learn new things, see places we'd never otherwise see, get glimpses into lives all around the world to see for all our differences we have so much in common.  In reality, each and every blog is a unique perspective on the world.  A view, typically from one person and drawn from their knowledge and experiences. 


The new of this year revolved around doing away with one central linky list and replacing it with a separate list for each day's alphabet.  This had it's ups and it's downs.  The largest down simply being that each participant had to go and link up each day.  The only other down I can think of is that it makes it much harder to gauge how many of the blogs you have visited at least once and how many are left to go.  So, for someone determined to visit them all, this would be a drawback.  Since I never make it to all of them, it did not matter for me. 


The upside, of this new approach, from my perspective, vastly outweighed the drawbacks.  For one thing, you never had to worry about arriving at a blog before they had posted for the new day/letter combination.  For another thing, it seemed traffic stayed interspersed more evenly throughout the day instead of all bunched up.  Also, I loved often knowing the topic of the day right in the list!  There was also more opportunity to share on social media without simply repeating same posts.   It was very nice that not once did I go to a blog and find it to not be participating!  Overall, this new approach is a total winner in my book. 


I found so many themes and posts I enjoyed this year!  It seemed more varied, and richer content abounded.  Not, to slight anyone who I visited and enjoyed, I still want to take the time to spotlight those that caught my fancy in a particular manner: 

A. J. Sefton Dark Ages Historical Fiction - A.J. led me on a journey through the places of the dark ages and the events surrounding them. He revealed the history that is known as well as the legend and myth and included breathtaking pictures for our journey.  If King Arthur appeals to you, the Legend of Robin Hood resides in your heart or tales of Vikings stir your blood you will enjoy!

Coach Daddy - I stumbled upon Eli and was mesmerized.  His theme was simply to clean out his idea box of assorted posts.  Each day was a new surprise, yet every entry was delivered with warmth, humor and humility. Visit once and fall in love.

Jingle Jangle Jungle - Mary blogs about music.  For the Challenge she took us back through the 70's with a list of Billboard Magazine's chart toppers.  Since I was 10-19 years old through the decade, I enjoyed hearing songs that still remain on my playlists and those forgotten gems. Even if you didn't live the 70's, they offered some of the best rock ever made.  So roll on over and have a listen.

Josie Two Shoes - Josie weaved magic in six sentences each day about one character in a story entitled "Full Circle".  The theme revolves around a ladies' group and life in a small Midwest town.  Written with warmth, we see women we know reflected in these posts as genuine, warts and all. If you came from, live in or ever wanted to be in a small town you must visit Cottonwood Creek!

Living in the In Between - Christian author, Ronda Werre, explores the the deeds and life of King David's Mighty Men of the Old Testament.  She gleans from the scriptures every morsel of information about these brave, loyal warriors of old.  If you enjoy delving deeper into scripture,  as I do, and exploring in detail the eras of the Bible to make it come alive, you'll like this series!  Even if you simply love action and stories of bravery you'll be at home here.

my morning cup of coffee...  -  Much like Dr. Sam Beckett finds himself leaping into different situations within his own lifetime in Quantum Leap, Debby leaps us around to different events of the Baby Boom years, essentially from the mid forties to the mid sixties.  Relive memories on this ride or gain a new perspective on your parents or grandparents through these articles.

If Only I Had a Time Machine -  Maryann revealed her creative side when she chose the lyrics to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" for her theme. With each letter, she explores the historical references named in the song!  A truly unique way to explore history and a great way to get the whole idea of the song.

Science Ladybug -  Being a science teacher herself, Ann is qualified to lead us through exploring the difference between opinion and scientific fact.  She clarifies things for us, reminds us of things we forgot and does it without boring us!  After all, her blog subtitle is "keeping science fun", which she does.

The Old Shelter - Sarah takes us by the hand and leads us through the dark, intriguing and dangerous world of film noir where the femme fatale and damaged heroes live.  Step in and explore the mark world war and the changing roles of men and women made on Hollywood film and America.

Ya Gotta Laugh About It - Calling her blog an electronic journal, Rhondi simply writes about her life and her experiences.  She does it with an honesty and sense of optimism you grow to love.  If you never have, you must go meet this glass half full Canadian girl.

Some of these I have already read every post and others I am going back to to finish.  All are on my follow list.

What did you think of the new way of doing things?  Are any of my picks also on your list?  Is there anything you want to recommend to me?

Barbara



54 comments:

  1. I didn't participate this year due to life and the things that were dealt my way. But I am thinking just by reading what you wrote that it was an improvement. I hated doing the list and finding that people either had not yet posted, had quite, had never started, or whatever!!

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    1. Yes, I think you'd like this new method. It costs a tiny amount of time to link up each day, but you reap much more time in not going to useless links.

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    1. You are welcome & you deserve it. 😊

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  3. What an awesome reflection post! You put considerable thought and time into this and I agree with your observations about the new way of doing things. It worked out far better than I anticipated. Thank you so much for including my blog on your list of fav's, yours was one of mine as well, I love people who show us that common sense is not extinct! You made sense to me. :-) I've read some of the ones on your list, and definitely have to check out more of them. My blog reading list is growing, but it's growing with things I'm really enjoying! I'm delighted we Texans met through the A to Z! <3

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    1. Thank you, Josie. I always like meeting another Texan!

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  4. I'm not into this as you know but have known you a long time and always enjoy reading your blog.

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    1. Ahh, you are too sweet. I treasure my old JLand cohorts.

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  5. I read My Morning Cup of Coffee; I think we "found" each other through another year's A/Z. It would be interesting to know how many blogs actually participated in the challenge this year. Lots of people I usually follow chose not to participate this year for a variety of reasons. I kind of liked the list myself, but it not being there wasn't the reason I didn't participate. We've been dealing with a very stressful family situation since September (easing up a bit before it gets stressful again) and I knew I just wouldn't have the commitment and drive to do the challenge like I had in previous years. I often found myself not even reading too much the blogs I usually read while they participated in the challenge. It will be interesting to see where it goes next year and although I enjoyed it immensely when I did do it, I'm thinking no more challenges for me :)

    Great reflection post!

    betty

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    1. It may have been the year before I started doing the challenge, or maybe my first year. Glad you enjoyed the post! I will remain a loyal follower no matter how often you post. I know full well how life can get.πŸ˜‰

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  6. Great Reflections post!

    So very true about each blog being a blogger's unique take on the world. And agree too about the attributes of the A-Z that remain the same whichever way we connect to other participants/hosts.

    I thought the list-free bit worked out very well myself. And since I am ahead of USA time, the hosts opening the comments early on for us to the East, was thoughtful and pretty spot on too. Overall, a great experience as always :)

    Have a brilliant weekend.

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    1. You, too! Glad I found your lovely blog home.

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  7. Great Reflection post, Barbara, and thanks so much for mentioning my blog ^_^

    I still have to decide whether I liked the way the challenge worked this year. I mean, it was fine with me, it woked out, I found blogs to follow in many ways.
    In so many way, to be honest, that I never really used AtoZ blog.

    Well, that's a subject for my Reflection Post ;-)

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    1. Yes, better to stop with a tease than proceed to a spoiler.πŸ˜‰

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  8. Thank you for your kind words and for visiting many of my posts. My area is a bit niche and not to everyone's taste, so I really appreciate the fact that you commented frequently. Thanks again and I will visit you again soon when everything is back to normal :)

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    1. Well, it is a fascinating and fun niche!

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  9. Glad the lack of a list worked for you. Maintaining it was so time-consuming and we never could eliminate all of the bad links.

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    1. I admit, I saw mass confusion as a possibility BEFORE the challenge, but from the very first day OF the challenge I saw ALL positives.

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  10. Thanks for the shout-out! I liked not having a list this year because it made it easier to find those who were actively participating. I kept the a-z page up in a separate tab, so it was an easy refresh each day when I went to add my new link. Literally took seconds. (Of course, I had my link info already saved in a notepad, so it was only a matter of copy/paste)
    Congrats on another successful AtoZ!

    ~Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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    1. That's what I did,too, Mary. Easy peasy.

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  11. Thank you for including my blog on your list Barbara. This is quite a compliment. Your blog is so good.

    Plus I love the list of blogs. I did the A to Z because it is enjoyable. I did not get to visit as much and comment as much. I hope to spend this month catching up with reading some of the blogs.

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    1. Thanks an Ann! Glad you like Caneyhead. I'll be over to read what I missed in the next week. πŸ˜‰

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  12. Barbara,

    I didn't mind so much making a special stop each to link up but I didn't like doing it in comments. The one thing I wished the A2Z team did was have a daily linky as I mentioned in my reflections post but I still had a good time and will continue the A to Z fun in the future. I'm in awe of what the team does every year with this challenge so I'm not complaining.

    I like how you credit your favorite A to Z themes that you followed - nice idea! I will have to try to remember to do this next time.

    While I"m not a first time visitor of your blog, I don't believe I read any of your A2Z posts last month and that has nothing to do with you but the way I handled things this go around. Before I leave I will read through some of your posts, though. Congrats on finishing another year! ;)

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    #AtoZChallenge Art Sketching Through the Alphabet Reflections

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! It was fun, but exhausting...just like always.

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  13. I read posts by several people who didn't like the omission of the linky list. You provided a fresh perspective!

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    1. Happy I could oblige! After all, "perspective" was what April was all about.

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  14. Thanks for sharing some of your favorites. I connected with Josie Two Shoes but the other ones I missed, as I didn't catch all of yours either, sorry to say. Time just gets away during the month, doesn't it? I didn't miss the big linky either since it seemed overwhelming to me. Great reflection post.

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    1. Thank you, Janet. Yes, April flies by with never enough time to do all we intend to.

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  15. Good reflections. Love the list of favorites.

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  16. I don't mind the new ways, frankly, I find reading comments a lot more interesting than looking at a list of links and wondering which one to click.

    have a lovely day.

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    1. I know the old way, I'd often click on one because the name of the blog was clever or it brought to mind a certain idea, half the time it would be nothing like I imagined.

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  17. I don't think I got around to some of the blog themes you mentioned. I'll have to go back and catch up on those posts. A happy medium for the Challenge could've been a daily link-up list like Inlinkz, instead of depositing everything in the comments section. That actually took up more space, and necessitated more scrolling, than any kind of link list. As I mentioned in the reflections posts for both of my blogs, this isn't a very effective execution of time and motion conservation.

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    1. While your idea would save a little time, I did enjoy getting a little description about a post with the comment.

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  18. I do agree that it was nice to never hit a "quitter" blog and that you often got some advance info about the post, which you didn't get with the list. I enjoyed your theme. Thanks for the links too - I missed many of those!

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  19. I'm glad the challenge went well for you and that you found so many new blogs. That's great.

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    1. Thank you! And thanks for retweeting so many of the "finds" I made and shared on Twitter.πŸ˜‰

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  20. Congrats of completing the challenge Barbara - this year was a first for me so I cant really compare with what is missing from last year.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the buzz and reading new writers.
    I havent read any of the ones you mentioned here but will check them out.
    Thanks for the share!!

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    1. So glad you joined in this year and that you had fun!

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  21. I encountered just one blogger who ditched half-way through the challenge. And to be honest, I was a bit concerned when she disappeared.
    I'm going to have to do a bit more reading now, and follow up on some of your suggestions.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts. I appreciate your positive feeback enormously.

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    1. Oh, do read some! I was glad to visit, in fact, I liked them so much I followed you.πŸ˜‰

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  22. I'll have to check some of these out. It felt like I had a hard time finding new blogs to visit.

    I nominate you for the Mystery Blogger award. I was nominated, and one of the qualifications is to nominate others. You don't have to accept if you don't want to, but it was fun to do. You can read about it on my blog.
    Doree Weller

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  23. I didn't really like the new way of sharing posts. The way I do A-Z is where I don't post on the weekends, so I don't cover every letter of the alphabet. So sometimes I was ahead and sometimes I was behind making commenting for my letter frustrating. Plus, I'm one of those people that aims to go through commenting on as many blogs as possible on the list. Since there was no list, there were a lot of blogs I missed. :(

    Great review post! Love your long list of A-Zers! Will have to go through and check some out. :)

    With Love,
    Mandy

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  24. This is a beautifully written retrospection. I concur with the points you've made. The list and even the daily postings are a helpful guide to which to refer, but I rarely used any of these. I just blog during April pretty much like I normally do and it works out wonderfully for me.

    Thanks for this Reflections post and for participating in the 2017 A to Z Challenge. Always a joy to have you blogging along with us.


    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  25. Well done for making it through the challenge. And I love the idea of sharing some of your favourite blogs in your Reflections post.

    Cait @ Click's Clan

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  26. Hello Barbara.
    Quite a thoughtful reflections. The idea of a daily linky would certainly discourage non-posters. Personally, I decided not to continue with A-Z after 2015, because I got fed up visiting blogs that no longer existed or didn't have any posts after the first couple of days or some other reason.

    I stopped by today to thank you for taking the time to comment at my blog. Enjoy your weekend!

    EPGoddess

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  27. Thanks for the recommendations - some I've already visited during the A-Z and others I'll be catching up on now :-) Congrats on finishing the challenge.

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So glad you stopped by! Come 'round any time. ~ Barbara

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