I'll just say it up top... this was my best A to Z Challenge yet and it was for one simple reason; I had a plan for the whole series of posts which took so much pressure off.

The other thing that made this a lot more fun than previous years was that I had all my posts scheduled to post well ahead of time. In fact the closest I ever got to being close to the actual posting date was with Y & Z both of which were completed just two days before posting.

Now I'm not renowned for being the most organized person on the planet but having a clear plan & schedule really helped me and I would heartily recommend it to anyone else participating in the A2Z Challenge.

 The other thing this allowed me to do was to spend more time visiting and commenting on other blogs which is always the really fun aspect of the Challenge.

 My theme was boxing and my personal take on the sport and how it has impacted my health, fitness and family. I also managed to throw in some of my favourite boxers (male & female) and a bit of history of the sport. It's a theme that worked well for me and I enjoyed blogging about it.

Onto the Challenge... visiting other blogs and leaving comments is always fun but this year it was even more so because the pressure was off. I also made a plan to visit every single blog in the Challenge and leave at least one comment on each blog. In the end I only skipped a small handful of blogs for a number of reasons. One blog was on Facebook and it wouldn't let me comment, a couple of blogs made it almost impossible to comment, one was in a language I have no capability of communicating in, and there was the odd blog where I simply didn't understand what had been posted so I swiftly moved on.

Whilst on the commenting, this was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this year's Challenge. Having left so many comments I seemed to get very few in response, and throughout the Challenge it felt like there was a fairly small circle of us sharing the love via the comments. This may be a personal perception, but that's how it appeared. 

I also noticed that post views and comments were well down on last year's Challenge when I was getting post views in the hundreds. This year my Theme Reveal got the most views at 79 whilst my V post only got 19 views. My Z post got the most comments at 13 and my F post got the fewest comments at a lowly two which was a little disappointing.

Back to my master plan/schedule, this really did make life a lot easier, as once I had settled on the topic for each letter I pretty much knew what I was going to write for each. I did make some changes along the way (the letter R had three changes), but they didn't impact the posting schedule.

The plan worked so well that for the first time ever I also blogged an extra post for H and I which felt good to do.

But the best bit of the A2Z Challenge has to be visiting other blogs and leaving a comment. I read some stuff I wouldn't normally bother with, I learnt a lot (bridges & conspiracy theories anyone?) and I added some of the blogs I enjoyed to my list of Blogs on the tab at the top. I even visited and commented a few times on a blog about coffee and I can't stand the stuff!

Now I'm looking forward to doing it all again next year and thanks to Arlee Bird I've already got my theme sorted as I'll be stealing his idea I've been inspired by his posts about his vinyl collection.

Whilst mentioning Arlee, I have to say a big THANK YOU to the A2Z team who keep this Challenge rolling each year, I for one really appreciate all your work!

Roll on April 2023...

Here's a reminder of my posts, click the image to go to the relevant post.














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This post is part of a series in the Blogging From A To Z Challenge, April 2022.

15 comments:

  1. Dean, you did a fantastic job preparing and running your series. I didn't know a single thing about boxing, but you made it educative and entertaining even for people like me, who are more into drinking coffee.
    I share your experience of going around, commenting and not getting the courtesy of a reciprocation from some. Luckily, this being my 8th time around, I have a small but loyal circle of blogging friends who keep visiting.
    Congrats on completing 2022's A - Z, have a good summer!

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  2. Well. Now that I know that blog theme is boxing, I have to visit the posts when I find time.

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  3. Whether or not the comments dwindled ..
    It was a bful journey and was fun knowing u....seeing others doing a reflection post motivated me to write one myself :) I love ur passionate posts and coming year i will look out for posts of all these bloggers i read the most whether or not am doing challenge. Take care

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  4. I know you had a post about women and boxing, Dean, but perhaps it is a sport of more interest to men. Your hints about doing the A to Z are great. I have had an idea this morning about how not to take around 3 months preparing for another challenge! Sue’s A to Z reflections 2022

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  5. Being organised definitely helps with the A-Z challenge. My best years were when I planned everything out like you did. This time, I knew what I would do for each letter but I didn't have time to schedule my posts in advance so that left me very little time for blog-hopping. I suspect your Z post got the most comments because, like me, many bloggers would be only just starting to catch up with visiting blogs at this stage of the challenge. I'm looking forward to visiting many more on the road trip.

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  6. Planning things out usually helps a lot with the A-Z. You're not alone on the commenting and visiting thing. And yes: some of the blogs were a bit scary, so I skipped them, too.

    Ronel visiting for A-Z Challenge Reflections 2022

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  7. I enjoyed visiting your blog last month, Dino. Like you, I found the theme helpful and scheduling posts ahead of time to give me flexibility to comment more.

    I am grateful for your comments on my blog. I also wished for more comments, but I was happy many of the same people returned regularly.

    https://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2022/05/blogging-from-to-z-april-challenge-2022.html

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  8. I thought you did a great job with your posts. I know I commented on at least 2 of them. I have to say that boxing is not "my cup of tea" so that is why I didn't visit your blog more often. This was a great reflection post of yours; I chose not to do one, but I have to agree with you in that I visited more blogs than visited me and every blog that did come to visit I did return the visit to their blog at least once. I also agree with you. There were some blogs out there that were hard to figure out what the post was for the challenge or hard to leave a comment so I moved on from them. I do agree with you that having the posts ready beforehand makes things run more smoothly. I "winged" this year's compared to previous years I have done the challenge but would write posts on the weekend for the week ahead. That helped a bit. All in all it was a good challenge and I enjoyed it this year. Not sure I'm doing it next year though :)

    betty
    https://benchsnotebook.blogspot.com/

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  9. Congratulations for completing the A2Z challenge, Dean. I am glad that you added all of your posts here for one quick jump to anyone that I choose to read. Visiting blogs is easy, taking the time to comment is a challenge because I don't want it to be generic. Sometimes I take the time to read a whole post and think that it's terrible so I just leave a generic and then never visit that blog again. Isn't that awful? Hey that's going in my reflection post. I've yet to complete it. Still trying to answer all those questions. Oh and I want to buy an A2Z coffee cup (I LOVE coffee and my pal Tamara). I can't wait to see what you have planned for next year. Hopefully we will run into each others blog posts throughout the year.
    Cheers,
    Barbie

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  10. I'm sorry I didn't find your blog earlier in the month. I'm going to have to make time to go back and read these posts! Congrats on finishing! I was better prepared last year. I struggled a few days!!

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  11. I enjoyed the posts of yours I read. It looked like you really had your act together. I plan on coming back during the Road Trip at some point and reading through all of them.

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  12. Congrats on finishing this challenge in such an organized way. I also hope to be able to program my posts next year. At least, I managed to do so for the weekend that we went out on a small trip. It´s too bad that I haven´t visited your blog before; quoting you, without the pressure of posting, I´m doing now my visiting rounds.
    By the way, the way you´re displaying your blog posts here it´s wonderful. Maybe I try it out next year, too. See you around. :D

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  13. Yes, the planning and being prepared part is the key. I totally get it after my first experience with the A to Z Challenge. Ans sorry to say, that is where I messed up. The lack of active planning on my part resulted in my spending all the time focusing on the posts, leaving no time for visits and comments. Lesson well-learned! Waiting for the challenge next year!

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  14. Congratulations on completing the challenge! I rather enjoyed your theme and shared your Queensbury rules post to a Victorian History group I am in. Hope that sent more folks your way!

    --
    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side | The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories

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  15. I don't think it's just a perception: I do believe there was a small group diligently commenting, and I thank you for it! That said, the fact that ALL of your posts were pre-scheduled is brilliant! Since I already thought of a theme, I may do that for next year, start writing posts to fit the theme during these intervening months, and then maybe I can join the select group of regular commenters.
    I only visited your blog once during the month, but I have you tagged as a "re-visit" blog, so our paths will cross again!

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