2016 Reflections on the A to Z Challenge


The April 2016 A to Z Challenge is finished–my third A to Z Challenge to be completed–and I am happy about this because I often sign up for blogging challenges and then do nothing. I mean nothing–except for this challenge. I chose the topic of Ernest Hemingway (EMH) this year, after no set topic the first year and the topic of Authors and Artists last year.

What I liked:

Having a more specific theme to write about. I think the challenge was made easier for me since I am interested in EMH’s life and because there are a plethora of topics to write about concerning this author.

Trying to find the obscure about EMH that the general reader does not really know about. I could have dug deeper as there are many topics I actually chose NOT to write about–specifically EMH’s fetishes and gender issues. I didn’t think 300 words or less could really do these topics justice.

Finding some short stories of EMH’s to revisit. I think I illustrated that the simplest and shortest of EMH’s short stories fully encapsulate his Iceberg Theory of writing.

Finding some new blogs and following them all the way through. This is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the challenge for me. I love clicking randomly and then finding awesome blogs. Also, going to blogs in the challenge that I am familiar with and then clicking on the commenters blogs was very successful for me in finding some great blogs and bloggers this year. Some I will continue to follow as long as they continue to write.

What I didn’t like:

Waiting until the day of to do most of my posts. This is the same problem as last year for me. I must say I improved greatly this year and spent much more time on my posts. I will admit I posted late in the day on a few posts. I did post twice on days off just for the fun of it. I guess I just work a little better under pressure. I have no excuses, however.

What I might do differently next year (these are exactly the same as last year). 🙁

Put links to each post after each new post. I did this the year before last and I received many more hits. I actually just forgot about it this year, again.

Pre-write at least half of my posts before the challenge begins next time. I will not feel as rushed and stressed as I have during the challenge. This still leaves room for spontaneity. Of course, this means deciding on a theme earlier.

OK, I plan on being in the 2017 A to Z Challenge and I am sure I will be choosing a theme that has to do with a certain military officer who was in India, the Netherlands, England, Spain, Portugal, and France around the late 18th and early 19th centuries. No, it isn’t Richard Sharpe–Sharpe is a fictional character. 😉

a-to-z HEADER [2016] - april

  14 comments for “2016 Reflections on the A to Z Challenge

  1. May 9, 2016 at 1:38 PM

    Denise, this was my favorite A to Z, by far! I loved that you did your research, which meant not always taking the easy way out. I learned a lot about one of my favorite writers, and I’m looking forward to next year!

  2. May 9, 2016 at 2:26 PM

    Thank you so much, Martha! That is really nice coming from a published author! I enjoyed your Paris Between the Wars and your reflections, too!

  3. hilarymb
    May 10, 2016 at 9:18 AM

    Hi Denise – I did enjoy your EMH series – and will be back to read them again … as they were fascinating .. they tell us so much about other lives too and places … congratulations … and I hope lots of others come past to meet and greet you – that’s great you’re doing the A-Z next year … as I had to withdraw this year – I shall be shouting from the mountain tops I’m ready for 2017 A-Z ..

    See you around and now I must check out Martha … cheers Hilary

    • May 10, 2016 at 10:13 AM

      Thank you, Hilary!! Very nice comments. I am glad you will be back in 2017–I certainly missed you this year! Sincerely, Denise

  4. A J
    May 11, 2016 at 2:30 AM

    Congratulations on surviving the A to Z Challenge! I do agree that having a specific theme helps ALOT! I like your idea of including links to previous posts on your current post. This will help especially if you also post about other topics during the A to Z challenge and don’t want your A to Z posts to get overlooked. It’s nice to know that you’re already planning for next year! You know what? SO am I! 😀

    • May 11, 2016 at 8:40 AM

      Thank you, AJ! Glad you will be in 2017’s! I’ll make sure to follow 🙂

  5. May 11, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    This was my third year, too! Every year I try something new, learn a new lesson…and forget some of the old lessons, LOL. Here’s to next year!

  6. May 11, 2016 at 11:37 AM

    Hi, Shonna! To forget a lesson for two years in a row was not good for me . . . 🙁 Yes, here’s to next year! Cheers, Denise

  7. May 13, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    Well done for getting through. As for lessons, they’re meant to be forgotten no?

    • May 13, 2016 at 8:02 AM

      Hi Lynne! I seriously doubt I will forget them a third time. Cheers to you for getting through the challenge as well. Thanks for commenting and looking forward to next year 🙂

  8. randommusings29
    May 14, 2016 at 5:42 PM

    Great reflections, well done on finishing 🙂 I love finding new blogs through the challenge too – I have a list of blogs I will definitely be keeping up with!

    • May 14, 2016 at 6:50 PM

      Thanks, Debbie! I really enjoyed your posts this year!

  9. May 29, 2016 at 6:56 AM

    You have discovered the trick of it – the more specific the them, the easier it is! I hope to take advantage of this next time.

    • May 29, 2016 at 5:48 PM

      Yes, Lissa. I guess discovering this lesson in the 3rd year is pretty good . . . Thanks for stopping by!

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