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#AtoZchallenge : How did it go for you? Reflections post

The A to Z Challenge is done and dusted– time for debriefs! If you didn’t take part, tell me why in the comments πŸ™‚ If you did, add your Reflection post to the linky list here.

I begin with the thank yous: 

The Magnificient Seven of #Teamdamyanti : Guilie, Anna, Samantha, Csenge, Vidya, Jemima and Mary! If you’re looking to collaborate on a project, online or off, look up these fantastic women! They rocked the twitter #AZchat, they aced the Theme Reveal, and they patrolled the lists, all without much leadership or help from me– I’ll always be grateful.

The A to Z team: Lee, Alex, Tina+Stephen , Jeremy, Nicole, Heather, AJ, MJ and Pam. Each year I’m humbled by the amount of dedication and hard work of each of my cohosts. Heather (rocked FB and Twitter!), MJ (started the less than 100 followers page!), AJ (a pro at the info email) and Pam (Twitter and G+ champ) were all new to this, but they carried it off with an aplomb that impressed me. 

I’ll always look up to Alex and Lee as bloggers to follow, Tina is the Fairy Godmother cum Headmistress we all long for and never find, but we did! Jeremy is the tech whiz, and Nicole is often the voice of sanity. 

I love them all.

Some of my most frequent readers during the A to Z Challenge:  Alex J Cavanaugh, Michelle Stanley, C Lee Mackenzie, Tom Benson, Gary Pennick, Medeia Sharif, Lexa Cain, J Lenni Dorner, 

 Thanks also to everyone else who visited– I’ve visited you back, and will continue to visit you through the year!

Challenge loves:

1. Most bloggers finally understood that CAPTCHA is best replaced with comment moderation.
2. Lovely to find a direct link to most bloggers who commented.
3. It was heartening to see social media shares go up– bloggers shared each others’ posts.
4. Some lasting blog friendships have been forged– absolutely worthwhile to see bloggers guest posting for each other during the challenge.

Challenge peeves:

1. Bloggers who wrote posts as long as 1500 words and expected to receive comments.
2. Hard to read blogs— grey font on black backgrounds– enough said.
3. Bloggers who made commenting difficult– you had to have some crazy membership to some comment system, or had to be signed in to G+ or FB to comment on their blogs. Annoying.
4. Bloggers who left a comment with a link that led to 5 blogs, which one are we supposed to read? Or worse still, to their G+ page, where they have a million links, cat and dog pics, but no easy way to their blog.


Tell us about your A to Z experience, in case you did take part. What were your pet peeves and grand discoveries? In case you didn’t take part, tell us why, and how it affected your blogging in April.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Trisha F says:

    I salute all those people you mentioned, too – I hope to be a frequent commenter next year when I WILL have all my posts scheduled ahead of time. πŸ˜‰

  • Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge! Thanks for sharing. Thanks also for the awesome job you did as co-host. I don't know how the hosts managed the AtoZ blog and writing on their own blogs as well as sorting out issues we other bloggers had from time to time. It's very much appreciated. I'm just stopping by briefly as I try to navigate the twists and turns of the AtoZ Road Trip…don't forget to wave when you see me drive by. (lol)
    Entrepreneurial Goddess

  • TaMara Sloan says:

    Thanks for co-hosting the challenge. This was my 2nd year participating, and I really enjoyed it. It was nice that most bloggers weren't using CAPTCHA, but I also didn't like the crazy comment requirements some had. I wish I had pre-written more of my posts this year so that I could have done a better job of visiting, commenting, and sharing posts of other bloggers.

    TaMara @ Tales of a Pee Dee Mama

  • I didn't participate in A-Z but I did get around and read quite a lot of posts over the month. I have to say that the shorter posts were more appealing to read. Also agree with some of the hoops you have to jump through to be able to comment. Glad you enjoyed the challenge.

  • Tara Tyler R says:

    it was awesome! i share the same woes (and hope mine was accomodating)
    and i made some stupendous new connections – some even offering to help with my release!
    well worth it!
    thanks for co-hosting!

  • Nisha says:

    I find G+/FB/Discus …all annoying. Our normal comment box is great and we should all stick to it. I did not read your blog during the challenge. But I hope to catch up now. This seems like a nice space!

    Nisha at Teeth that Sparkle

    (Trying the signature the first time taking cue from the comment above. Thanks!!! πŸ™‚ )

  • Andrew Leon says:

    I need to figure out how to include a link with my comments.
    Just one of the many tech things I haven't mastered.

  • cleemckenzie says:

    You've echoed my pet peeves and what I appreciated, too. It has been fun this year in spite of the daily computer time that seemed very loooooong!

    I'm posting my REFLECTION post on Friday just to give myself a little time to digest all of this.

  • Susan Scott says:

    Damyanti, thank you – for everything! Without your support and encouragement along the way I may well have gasped my last …It was such a pleasure to meet you during this challenge and I so look forward to further communications. Keep up your excellent writing – which always anyway leaves me gasping.
    Garden of Eden Blog

    • D Biswas says:

      Thank YOU for your encouragement, SUsan. WIthout that, I don't think I would have written most of the stories πŸ™‚

  • Arlee Bird says:

    I'm with you on everything you said here. Great observations from a fellow Team member who did a fantastic job. Thank you!

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  • Sue Elvis says:

    Oops! I'm one of those bloggers whose profile leads to Google+ and I have multiple blogs. Thank you for your kindness and patience in tracking me down to read my A – Z posts. I need to work out how to do a direct link before next year!

  • klahanie says:

    Great pawst! Thanks for sharing! Following!

    Did I fool you, human, Damyanti? Right then, I know you've been anxiously waiting for one of my award winning comments. Okay, maybe next time.

    Aha, why didn't my human and I pawticipate in the A to Z? Firstly, because we are happy doing our angle on things. We think the challenge is way too long and just goes on and on after the end of April. Reflection pawsts about reflection pawsts about the amazing alphabet challenge. After doing this, you suddenly realise it's April Fool's Day and it's started all over again. HELP!!!

    In an ideal world, this would be just about pawsitive interaction within a sharing, caring blogging community. Those who wrote pawsts that were way too long didn't seem to realise that you read and comment on a lot of blogs. No time to be slowed down by a really long pawsting. Of course, we worked in the background and provided a light-hearted alternative that some just didn't understand.

    In the spirit of not liking the A to Z and yet commenting anyway, I thank you for noting my human as one of your notable commenters. We are grateful for that, dear Damyanti.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny, the cordial host of The Alphabark Challenge, 2014! πŸ™‚

    • D Biswas says:

      I and my cohosts definitely understood you, Penny and Gary! And we appreciated you too. You set a terrific example on your blog on how to build and nurture a community. You both know I'm a fan πŸ™‚

  • Hi Damyanti .. you've made some sensible points here .. if those who make life difficult for us, understand our challenges doing the challenge in the first place, but commenting and finding the blog should be the two most important things …

    Congratulations on all your hard work .. cheers Hilary

    • D Biswas says:

      They indeed should, Hilary. We need to work harder next year to make participants realize this fact :). Thank you, and congratulations to you too!

  • cifar shayar says:

    This was my first A to Z challenge and I enjoyed it a lot

    My Reflection post

  • Nicki Elson says:

    Aw, that was a really sweet idea to give a shout out to your faithful commenters throughout the challenge. Also, I JUST today heard the tip to include a direct link in comments—I'm so dim I didn't even look for it in the comments went to me. So see? I've already got some good tips on how to improve my experience next year. πŸ˜‰ But I had a blast this year anyway.

  • It was so great meeting you during the challenge. I look forward to reading your great blogs moving forward!

  • There's always room for improvement. Your blog was fun to read. I enjoyed the quotes and encouragement. Thanks for all you did to make it run smoothly!
    Play off the Page

  • I had limited time this time to visit other blogs as was in the chaos of a home-change. Still had plenty of fun. Congrats on completing the challenge and being a gracious host.

  • Lady Jai says:

    Time was my biggest issue. πŸ™‚ Life always has a way of interrupting wants. I tried to visit everyone who left comments as well as try to find new blogs to visit. Some weren't for me so I just didn't comment. But when I did find them, I tried to leave comments that were worthwhile and not too long with links directly to my blogs in my signature. I wish I could have remembered my favorite blogs and visited them more frequently. I missed out on a lot. It's just that with 2000+ blogs, I got a bit overwhelmed. Plus with work and taking care of my husband with 2 ER trips and countless doctor visits…ugh…well you know…

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    Trying to be Positive in Life and Writing
    Caring for My Veteran

    • D Biswas says:

      I think we were all a bit overwhelmed. But you did a terrific job. Hope things get sorted out soon in your life.

  • There were a lot of media shares this year, especially on Google+ and Twitter. And since the IWSG participated, a lot of people shared on Facebook as well.
    The Google+ profiles always confuse me – sometimes I can't even find a person's blog.
    And thank you, Damy. I'll try my best not to ever fail you.

  • Eli Z says:

    I took part for the first time, and can relate to all your sum-up – points – well said!! πŸ™‚ It was fun, even though I felt the heat, and will also use some time to visit back to many of the ones who visited me. Big yay for u and all the others who organized it – all in all I felt I was surfing on a big wave of enthusiasm and energy – all through April:-) Great:-)

    • D Biswas says:

      Eli, heartening to know it was your first time and you loved it πŸ™‚

      Blogs and attitudes like yours are rewards enough for us cohosts!

  • Loved every bit of this amazing experience…gratitude and thanks to all of you who did your best to make this a wonderful platform to network and share! Lots of learning and lots more to work on the blog is what I realized.Spent the entire of last week, trying to revamp my blog to make it more interactive…way to go though!

    • D Biswas says:

      Vinodini, so glad you enjoyed the challenge and that it inspired you to revamp your blog. Looking forward to your reflections post !!

  • Cecilia says:

    I forgot about the multi blog links, hard to read font colours and some of the other annoying traps but mostly it was a terrific experience. I will be back again next year hopefully much more tech savvy than this year. πŸ™‚ Thanks

    • D Biswas says:

      Cecilia, you have the right attitude, forget the bad and go with the good!

      However, we need to make notes cos we've got to improve next year πŸ™‚

      Thanks for participating and we would love to have you return!

  • Trisha F says:

    I have open ID set for my comments, but it's always hard to tell how it actually works when it's your own blog and you're not a visitor trying to leave a comment. Do tell me if it's hard to leave a comment on my blog, because I do have G+ as my profile. But I am used to it and know to go straight to the "About" tab to look for a blog link. Usually I find one, and on rare and frustrating occasions, there isn't one.

    • D Biswas says:

      Trisha, from what I remember, it is fairly straightforward to comment on your blog.

      I do wish I could find a sticky post option on G+ — so that a blogger could make her own post sticky even as she shares others' blogs!

  • Tina says:

    Hey D.,
    Thanks for the lovely shout-out! I agree with your pet peeves – we need to really plug following and reading the A-Z Blog everyday leading up to the Challenge, and I have a list from the info@ of topics that we need to add to that page…

    Thank YOU for all your hard work and dedication through some trying times, and your open and honest, as always, communication with the team. If I'm the fairy godmother, then you are the Genteel Duchess, ruling with wisdom authority over your kingdome πŸ˜‰

    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

    • D Biswas says:

      Tina, you keep our team going, and hold it together. We improve each year, and I think one of the major factors to that is the handholding you do on the info@AZ :).

      Thankyou for being so kind and sweet to me throughout, despite all the challenges you faced.


  • I had similar issues too. Some blogs were really interesting and it would have been nice to follow them, if they had the apps to do so. You once mentioned on one of my posts that I needed Open ID, but I checked and it seemed to be functioning, so It could have been a fluke. I'm going to spend time to see improvements are needed. Thanks you so much for making this challenge a terrific experience for me!

    • D Biswas says:

      Thanks for your support during the challenge, Michelle, and I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

      Yes, it would help to have Open ID on your blog.

      Try an experiment. Log out of your G+ account, then visit your blog and see the comment options available. That will tell you what commenting options a WordPress or Typepad blogger sees on your blog.

  • Very well written post. Bummer that some commenting got so difficult.

    • D Biswas says:

      Thankyou! Thankyou so much for all the trouble you took to visit more blogs. In our next challenge we will try to ensure that commenting is easier !

  • Afshan Shaik says:

    All those challenge Peeves I too hate but Damayanti do u know how to remove the google+ linkage with Blogger acct πŸ™ some times it automatically comes up and am not able to disable it. Thanks for being a great host and visiting as many blogs as possbl!
    Hav a great time

    • D Biswas says:

      If you're already linked up, imho that isn't a bad thing. Just make it easy to find your blog by leaving a direct link in the comment, or by showing your blog post prominently on G+ !

  • I was put off commenting on a number of blogs by hurdles that were placed in the way. Making it difficult or complex to comment suggests the blogger is more interested in the process than in the comments.
    That apart, I made some very good connections and read some brilliant stuff!

    • D Biswas says:

      Keith, you were quite brilliant yourself and I can never thank you enough for your regular visits and comments!

      Bloggers need to figure out that blogging is about meaningful interaction.

  • Lynda Dietz says:

    I think my list of loves and peeves is pretty close to yours. I had some trouble finding people, and there maybe two blogs where I really had to search the blog itself to even find the A to Z posts.

    Otherwise, I made some really great connections!

  • Thanks for being a co-host, it sounds like a daunting task! I will continue visiting your blogs πŸ™‚ Nice concise list of loves and peeves, too. I definitely agree with the G+ thing…I couldn't comment on several very nice blogs because I don't "do" Google πŸ™

    • D Biswas says:

      Yes, the G+ thing can be a trial. I have blogs both on WP and Blogger, so I managed to leave a viable link, and also comment. But by and large bloggers need to make cross-platform commenting easier!

  • Glad you enjoyed the challenge with your great team! (Both of them πŸ™‚ ) In fairness to the things you've mentioned as "peeves" those are mainly beginner's mistakes, which can be helped with some preparation, feedback, and mostly: experience πŸ™‚
    Thanks for being a great co-host!

    • D Biswas says:

      I agree that they are rookie mistakes– and tho we did address nearly all of them on the AZ blog, we clearly need to do more next year!

      You were a great asset to AZ as well, and yes both my teams were really neat πŸ™‚

  • lynnelives says:

    I agree with your loves and peeves. Anyone who only had Google+ available for me to comment with didn't get a comment, I visited lots I was unable to comment on.
    Your magnificent seven were indeed magnificent. You picked a wonderful team. Well done.

    • D Biswas says:

      Yes, I did try with quite a few folks to make their commenting easier. In some cases it worked, in others, it didn't. I love my seven– they're the best πŸ™‚

  • martine says:

    Hi congrats on completing the challenge. I so agree with you about hard to read blogs, people with transparent pages where the words seem to scroll over the background are just impossible, and really dark ones are no good for my ageing eyes and I often gave up. Confess I also don't like people who have the first two sentences and then a 'read more' button; you can't scroll through previous posts but have to click on each one separately. In fact once you get me started I have all sorts of peeves, but they are with people's blog design rather than the challenge so I try not to complain.

    • D Biswas says:

      Hard to read blogs can be frustrating, especially when you can't be sure whether to drop in a suggestion for change, or just leave!