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A to Z Challenge Reflections


May 4, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Diary of a Baby



It’s over! I did it and I can have my life back now!

 

Yes, the April A to Z blogging challenge is done with and I managed to publish 26 blog posts in 30 days. Phew!

 

Firstly, thank you to everyone who read, commented and shared my posts. I may not have had a chance to reply to each comment personally, but trust me I did read each one and there were so encouraging. A special thank you to everyone who gave me feedback, both positive and critique, because you helped me better myself and my posts through the challenge.

 

Preparing for the challenge:

 

The theme:

I had first heard of the A to Z challenge in mid-April last year and decided that I would definitely participate in 2018. Throughout the last year, I kept collecting ideas for themes. But one that I personally couldn’t let go off was was showing life from a baby’s perspective. I wanted it to be funny so parents could sit back and have a laugh. Yet I didn’t want it to be overly sarcastic. I wanted it to be relatable and and strike a chord with my readers. Armed with these lofty albeit vague goals, I set out on the A to Z challenge. To make sure I was fully committed, I revealed my theme well in advance. You can read my theme reveal post here: Diary of a Baby – Candid Confessions of a Baby from 0 to 2 years

 

I was very cognizant of the fact that the posts could start getting repetitive. Also that my target audience was very narrow, only parents with children below 2 years of age. I discussed these concerns with a few mom blogger friends and they all encouraged me to go ahead and not overthink it. So I decided to just trust my instincts and go with it.

 

The posts:

I had read reflections posts from last year’s participants 2 common pieces of advice through all of them were:

  1. Plan and schedule posts in advance
  2. During the challenge, spend more time reading that writing

 

So with this aim in mind, I started writing my posts in early March itself. By 1st April, I had drafted and scheduled posts from A to K, complete with images and meta tags. Yes, I had 11 posts ready, almost 2 weeks worth of posts! I was proud of how well prepared I was.

 

The Challenge Begins:

1 April dawned and my first post went live. The fun had begun! I spent the entire first week only reading, commenting and sharing other participants’ posts. I knew I should have been writing L onwards, but I thought I would still have sufficient time in the next week.

 

But after the enthusiasm of the first 4-5 days, response to my posts dropped. And at the end of week 1, I got the feedback I had been most dreading yet almost expecting. The posts were getting repetitive. The images weren’t; catching eyeballs on social media or were getting passed over because they were too similar. Disaster. I had to go back and rework every post I had scheduled.

 

By the end of week 2, not only had I rewritten every post, but I had lost my advantage of being 11 posts ahead and I felt like I was drowning. In between all this, mom life happened. My son fell sick, my house help quit and I got a new assignment at work all in the same week. I lost my writing mojo. I hit a complete block. I felt demotivated and lost. I wanted to give up.

 

But life worked serendipitously. At the end of Week 2 on 13th April, 2 wonderful things happened. One of my posts did unexpectedly well, breaking all previous records. Also I got words of encouragement from a fellow blogger and participant. Both of these strengthened my resolve to keep going till the end. Though Week 3 onwards I was writing posts on the same day as I had to publish them, sometimes barely managing to publish by midnight, but I still made it to the finish line!

 

 

A to Z Challenge reflections    A to Z Challenge reflections

 

You can read the full A to Z series here: Diary of a Baby

Do check out some of my most popular posts from the series here:

T for Ten Things about Toddlers That You Probably Didn’t Know

L for Leave Me at Your Own Risk! – Separation Anxiety in Babies

H for Horror Story – Diary of a 7 Months Old Baby

P for The Truth about Playdates – A Toddler Tells All

R for Baby’s First Fancy Restaurant Meal – Eating Out with Baby

 

What I learnt through the challenge about blogging and about myself:

Made me a better writer: I had always wanted to attempt writing humour but it wasn’t something I was confident about. Now I know I have this in my armour too

Helped me understand SEO and social media a little better: I experimented a lot with SEO and sharing different posts on different platforms. It really gave me an insight into what kind of posts work on which platform

Made me appreciate my community: Blogging is quite individualistic in nature, yet there is strength in community. If it wasn’t for the fabulous community of fellow bloggers who read, commented, shared, applauded, critiqued, encouraged, gave a helping hand and a sympathetic ear, I wouldn’t have been able to complete this challenge.

Showed me the importance of being adaptable: Its great to be prepared but its even more important to be able to adapt. At the start of the challenge, I was very well prepared, but in a few days I realized that Plan A would not work out. With very little time at hand, I had to scrap Plan A entirely and come up with Plan B. Had I been rigid and refused to adapt, I would not have seen the kind of success that I did.

 

Onward and Upward:

Now that the A to Z challenge is done with, what’s next? Well I have already set another exciting challenge for myself, that is to convert all my hard work from the last month into an Ebook! Stay tuned as I will be sharing more about this development soon.

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Comments
  1. Shirley Corder said on May 7, 2018 8:52 pm:

    Great work! I think anyone taking on this challenge with a baby in tow is very brave! And you did it. I’m proud of you! Reflections on 2018 A to Z Blogging Challenge

    1. Baby & Beyond said on May 10, 2018 2:43 pm:

      Thank you so much!

  2. Random Musings said on May 13, 2018 9:23 pm:

    I’m glad you pushed through and finished the challenge – to be honest I think any theme can get a bit repetitive after 26 days
    Debbie