A-to-Z Reflections: 2015

Finally, April is over. So is the "April A to Z Challenge"! Here are my reflections on the month that flashed by in a blur.

I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to complete it, but, I guess, I under-estimated myself. I had plenty of reasons to do so though:

  • I came back to blogging in January this year, half-heartedly, after a 6-month long break, and managed to publish only 13 posts in 3 months, before I jumped into this challenge, at the very last minute (28th March, to be precise), and after almost a fortnight of indecisiveness!

  • Even though I resumed blogging in Jan., I was so scared to post anything too personal that I chose “blogging” as my theme, which was impersonal alright, but, which also required a lot of hard work (i.e. research, planning, formatting etc.)

  • April is also the beginning of the new financial year. Plus, April is one of the busiest months at my store, as most school kids here start their new sessions in April. (For those of you who don’t know – I own a stationery and school supplies store in Jaipur, India.)

  • Lastly, bad internet connection made it look like I wasn’t even going to last a week in the challenge! I got a new Airtel connection just for this challenge (Can you believe it?), and even that wasn’t much good in my area!

So what helped me complete the challenge despite all these odds?

The support from the community!

  • Before the challenge started, Sanch posted a series of tweets tagging all the A to Z participants she was following. Without those tweets from her, I would have never managed to connect with the participants on Twitter. In fact, I wouldn’t have been active at all on Twitter during the challenge!

  • Then Vinay added me to this Facebook group they had created especially for this challenge. That’s where I found everybody’s daily posts, all neatly organized in one thread. Saved so much time in hunting for everyone’s posts!

  • As I started the series, I had a vague plan that I might compile the posts into an ebook. (Basically, I wanted to learn how kindle e-publishing worked.) I hadn’t mentioned this to anyone back then, but, one day, Shilpa Garg advised me on phone about making an ebook of my A to Z posts. She said these posts were not only useful, but also well-written. And that was such a strong morale booster for me! :D

  • Finally, all those encouraging comments that everyone left on my posts! I’ll be honest. There were many days during the month that I thought of quitting on the challenge, primarily because of hectic work schedule. But, everybody’s comments kept me going. I felt that if I quit in between, I’d be letting them all down.

And now, the highlights of the challenge! What were my most important takeaways? What did I learn?

  • While I couldn’t follow too many blogs daily because of time constraints, I did manage to reconnect with some of my old blog buddies from “days gone by” (READ: before I was forced to kill my blog last year!) and also discovered some new blogs that I’ll enjoy reading in future.

  • I must give a special mention to Titli’s narrations of tales from the Mahabharat (http://titli15081977.blogspot.in/2015_04_01_archive.html). I especially liked her stories about Krishna. They transported me to a completely different state of mind—one filled with faith and peace. I don’t think I’m that much in love with any God, so I’m assuming it must be HER love for Krishna that reflects through her stories.

  • I got to learn some new Yoga poses through Rajlakshmi’s series on Yoga Every Day (http://destinychildosheen.blogspot.com.au/2015_04_01_archive.html). Many of them are for advanced Yoga practitioners, and I definitely don’t qualify in that group, but, I did get to bookmark a few that I’m planning to start from this month onwards. The biggest “WOW factor” of her series was the awe-inspiring images she posted of herself doing those poses. You have to actually see them to understand what I mean.

  • And then there was this new find – Shantala. Shantala's series on “positive and inspired living” (http://www.shanayatales.com/2015/04/) reminded me of the kind of stuff I used to write here “once upon a time”. Ever since my comeback in January, I’ve been trying to reconnect with the part of myself that used to write all that stuff, but in vain. It looked like it belonged to a different lifetime… until I landed on Shantala’s blog last month. As I read her posts in the series, bits and pieces of the “old me” kept returning slowly.

  • And lastly, I learnt that the best way to participate in this series is to pre-schedule all your posts even before the month starts, so that, in April, all you have to do is read other participant’s posts and exchange comments. Hopefully, I will implement this lesson next year.

I'm trying to finalize my eBook on the series now: "A to Z of Blogging Tips for Bloggers". Hopefully, it should be ready in a couple of weeks. I’m just wondering:

  1. Whether I should add a few “bonus chapters” in the eBook… maybe make it a round figure of 30 instead of 26.

  2. What cover image should I give to the eBook? Should I keep the same image that I used in my posts, or should I make a new one?

  3. What to put in the “introduction”? Should I write the introduction myself or should I get it written from someone else? How does this usually work?

Any advice and suggestions on the above points will be highly appreciated. And I would also love to give free copies of the eBook to bloggers who can review it on their blog. So please let me know if you’re interested in it. If you have missed the series on my blog last month, here's where you can get a quick idea of what's going to be in the ebook - "A to Z of Blogging".

Once again, thank you, everybody, for making this a great experience! From now on, normal blogging resumes on miss_teerious! :D

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Want to Add Something?

Vinodini Iyer said...

Hey, you did pretty well! An eBook is a wonderful idea to compile your A-Z posts. I always had the thought at the back of my mind but never went about doing it.
I think you should give it a new cover pic, just to get people excited. I'd love to go through the book when its done and review it. Do let me know.

John Holton said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the challenge and it looks like you did very well at it. Yes, it definitely helps to get the entries done before April and have them scheduled. See you around!

John Holton
The Sound of One Hand Typing
The Sound of One Hand Typing FM

Eli Ert said...

Happy airtel saved you so you could complete the challenge:-) The posts I read I really like, and will come back to catch up on more! Well done and congrats!! Keep writing:-)

Parul said...

Wow! That's so wonderful that you plan to put your tips in the form of an e-book. Congratulations on completing the challenge and all the best for the book. I will check out your posts..
Coming over to your questions - cos you are calling it the A to Z book, have no more than 26 chapters. You can choose to elaborate more and explain things so that what you want to write gets a good coverage.
Cover page - May you be can get something creative done and for inside chapters, you can use the one you have designed!
I don't read e-books else my hand would have gone up to review yours:) :) Good Luck!

Chicky said...

Thanks, Vinodini! Will send you a PM on Facebook once it's done!
Go ahead and compile your posts too. It'll be fun! I think we all should do it as we've worked so hard in this challenge!

Chicky said...

Thank you, John. I tried to do the best I could within the given time constraints. I hope the content is of use to some people at least. Already looking forward to next year now! :)

Chicky said...

Thank you, Eli! Yes, Airtel did turn out to be a life saver for a while!
Congratulations to you too! :)

Chicky said...

Thanks for the suggestions and wishes, Parul!
Ok 26 makes sense that way. And that's TWO +1s now for a different cover.
Awww, that's too bad you don't review ebooks! I don't think I'm going to get this one out in print! :(
LOL! Thanks for even considering though! :)
See you around !!

Shilpa Garg said...

I think I have told you earlier but let me share once again that I simply loved the way you wrote about blogging from A to Z! Your posts are not inly insightful but so interesting too. Glad that you are making these posts into an ebook. I think it should be 26 chapters. A new catchy cover would be nice and you can do the introduction yourself too. waiting keenly for your book. Good luck ♥

Carol Graham said...

You had some great ideas especially making an eBook of your A-Z entries. Congratulations for getting back into blogging

Jyotsna Bhatia said...

Congratulations on completing the challenge. I did not come across your blog earlier. But I shall read your AtoZ posts soon.

Chicky said...

Thanks once again, Shilpa! You're a good motivator! :P
So now that's +2 for 26 posts and +3 for new cover. Will email you the ebook as soon as I finish it.

Chicky said...

Thank you, Carol! Yes, it does feel good to be back! :D

Chicky said...

Thank you, Jyotsna. Were you also participating?

Anonymous said...

I believe you did pretty well in spite of all the challenges. Congratulations!

Debbie D. said...

Congratulations on completing the challenge under such difficult circumstances! Great idea to make an ebook out of it.

Chicky said...

Thanks Alok! :D

Chicky said...

Thank you, Debbie! :D

bookworm said...

Congratulations! This was my first A to Z and I had a great time. I think you are the first A to Zer who planned to consolidate the A to Z posts in an e book. What a great idea! Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

Chicky said...

Thank you, bookworm! I had a fantastic time too, although a bit exhausting.

I was told quite a few bloggers have compiled their previous A to Z attempts as ebooks. That's how I got the idea to do so myself. It's still in progress though. I got "side-tracked" for a while in something else! ;-)

Mary Burris said...

Just now getting around to visiting the blogs in the challenge. April was a busy month for me. Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! Looking forward to next year! See you on the Road Trip!


Chicky said...

Thank you for dropping by, Mary B! It sure was busy! Went by in a blur mostly!
I'm looking forward to next year too now! Although, I'll come a little more prepared next time hopefully.


Apologies for the extremely delayed response to this reflections post. I was visiting India the last 3 weeks and was having a difficult time finding a stable internet connection. It did not help that I was distracted by lots of family and un-ending supply of yummy food. 😛

The e-book idea is great. Your AtoZ posts made into a book will be a very useful resource for bloggers. You could add a couple of chapters if there is anything more that you want to add, that you left out due to time/word count constraints during AtoZ. Else, you could leave the posts just as they are. Good luck with your book. :)

Chicky said...

Yupp Shantala... that's India alright! :D
Hope you're back now. I've been missing your posts.
Thanks for your suggestions and wishes! :)

Entrepreneurial Goddess said...

Hello there.
Congratulations on completing the challenge! I didn't get to visit your blog during the crazy month of April so I'm popping over today from the Road Trip/Reflections linky.

Entrepreneurial Goddess

Chicky said...

@Entrepreneurial Goddess - Thank you for dropping by! The A to Z challenge was something else, wasn't it? I'm quite looking forward to next year's madness! :D

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