So it was all a little bit different this year:
- No linky list therefore no need for letters to show the content (except AC),
- No minions therefore not as many visits from those connected to the A-Z
- Having to post a link everyday to the main blog (how would I have done this if I wasn't at my computer?)
I won't lie - I was worried!
First off I was rather late to the party this year so I hadn't prepared anything - didn't even know what I was going to post about but luckily inspiration hit less than 24 hours before 1st April and I was up and running. First snag hit - I couldn't seem to post a link for the first three days because I was using a time zone that was almost a day behind Australia and New Zealand and I hadn't worked out how to use the site properly - it was my fault but when you are panicking everything takes more getting used to!!
I visited sites at the top of the posting list and those just above me on most days. That's what the Challenge is mainly about finding NEW bloggers out there and communicating with them and I thought this went well although I did use to love going down the Linky List and finding those with a craft or education connection that I could then ensure I got a chance to visit. I think I missed quite a few this year.
Because there was no list - there was no wasted time visiting blogs that weren't actually taking part so that WAS beneficial.
I left comments and I think that helped get those bloggers over to my site to take a look and leave a comment with me too. I don't think I had as many views but once again I think that was because I either didn't post a link (sometimes I just forgot to) or because I was posting my link late.
I found my Blogger handle (name) didn't work anymore if I wanted to follow someone and I didn't want my Google name with attached details out there (I'm a private person!!) so I didn't "follow" anyone during this year's challenge. Although I did put them into my sidebar Blog List which is even more important and allows me to see their posts and have engagement long after the Challenge ends. I also didn't get too many people "following" me so maybe they felt the same if their Blogger handle wasn't working either?
I didn't get any comments from the A-Z crew either for the first time and I think this left me a little deflated and I wondered how anyone else who had joined this year for the first time would feel? In previous years, I did think the minions did a good job flagging back to the main hosts/organisers blogs that needed a little support/ those that had really good content, any newcomers to the A-Z as well as leaving their own supportive messages :)
I did read some great blog posts and once again the quality of some just astounded me as it does each year. There were lots of new tales to be told, new sights to see and some wonderful tunes to listen to :) A special mention to Katie the CyborgMom who made me smile every time I visited her Hot Men tribute theme - there really is no one quite like her!! Nilijana, Hilary and Sharon for their wonderful writing about such interesting topics. Click for her open, honest letters, Courtney, Cheryl, Eva and Linda for their art inspiring photographs and Cynthia and Ellen for their slightly bizarre takes on the world :) Finally to Yvonne, who not only gave me plenty of songs to sing to but was a wonderful cheerer on with lovely messages of support throughout the Challenge not only to me but to MANY others!! There were many more who made me really stop and think and see the world in a different way so thank you to all those I stopped by :)
I actually think I enjoyed this Challenge the most - mainly because there was no list to "work" through and all those taking part were on the whole doing that and popping over to visit and leave comments on others' blogs - not just write a post and try to "sell" something and never bother with anyone else. I also felt I found some great new bloggers out there that I truly want to keep in touch with over the coming year. This to me is the best thing about the A-Z as over the past three years I have made some very good blogging buddies due to taking part.
All that is left is to say a BIG thank you to the organisers and hope to see you all here again in 2018!