Reflection: Surviving the A to Z Challenge

All participants of the #atozchallenge have been asked to write a reflection on their experience. Here’s mine.

Top Ten Lessons from the A to Z Challenge

 

In many ways, taking part in the A to Z Challenge was like walking the Camino Trail. You leave the journey in touch with a different aspect of yourself that you had not recognized previously. Here are my truths about the Camino that are equally valid for this Blogging Challenge.

1. We can each achieve more than we believe we can. We simply need to start by putting one foot in front of the other (and one word down on our page).
2. Our journeys outweigh our destinations.
3. There is great inspiration in meeting new people who share your challenges and goals.
4. No two experiences of participants are the same.
5. During the journey, kindness is the rule, not the exception.
6. The daily routine helps to keep you in the moment.
7. Small changes can have significant impacts (e.g., fresh new socks, or changing the time that I  published my posts).
8. Challenges can be a great teacher. They can help reveal your physical, mental and emotional capabilities, as well as your perseverance.
9. Self-discovery sneaks up on you. You suddenly realize a desire within yourself that you never knew, or acknowledged, previously. Based on this desire, you are able to make new decisions, comfortably and without struggle, that you may not have made before.
10. Friends, family, and community cheering you on at the Finish Line are worth more than words can say.

A to Z by the Numbers

#atozchallenge

 

I am not a big stats person (GoogleAnalyticWhat?). But Numbers do help to tell and confirm stories.

Posts Published: In April, I published 26 A-Z posts, 3 guest posts, plus one additional post. This means that I posted every day last month. The month before I published eight posts which is average for my site.
Page Views: 7.0K page views were received for the 30 posts published in April.  In March, I received 3.3K page views, which is high-average for this site.
Comments: 1,300 comments and replies were made on my 26 Challenge Posts. This made an average of 50 comments/replies per post. 50  is roughly the same number of comments/replies per post that I received in March. With daily publications during the Challenge, I was grateful that comments did not go down due to reader burnout!

Did I Reach My Goals?

 

#atozchallenge

 

Short Answer: Yes…and No.

According to my original ‘A Post,’ My Goals were to:

1. Provide a month-long, daily sample of retirement.
2. Ensure that I continue to shake things up, have new experiences and not  stick solely with what I already do and know.
3. Wrap up my Guest Post Series.
4. Test my endurance.
5. Be true to my word and continue to offer “New Chapters, New Discoveries, and New Adventures.”
6. Connect, and stay connected, with others.

Although not listed as my opening criteria, I repeatedly mentioned that I looked forward not to overthinking, overwriting or overediting.

Here’s My Self-Assessment for the Above

#atozchallenge

 

1. Success. Although no two retirement experiences are alike, I believe that this series has offered an authentic slice of my current life in retirement.

2. Yes, and No. The Challenge was definitely new to me. I embraced some significant Bucket-List experiences, like watching my son compete in the  Boston Marathon! I recognize that my daily writing time replaced some other potential adventures that I may have taken otherwise. The later was a definite downside to attempting to live adventure to the fullest…and blog about it on the same day.

3. Success plus Mixed Emotion. The Challenge did help me wrap up my Guest Post Series. Because A – Z was so full-on, I didn’t have the energy to change my mind and accept new Guest Post offers. The mixed emotion part comes with how much I loved that series and working behind the scenes with such talented and generous bloggers. I want this blog to give a broad picture of life during retirement. Without the voices and experiences of others, I could never hope to achieve this. I am now scheduled to Guest Host on five different blogs from June to August. Stay tuned.

4. Success – 37 bloggers, who were also taking part in ‘A to Z,’ dropped by to visit my site during this Challenge (and I visited their sites). Many of these bloggers were new to me. Add to this, many others who dropped by and visited throughout the Challenge. I was extremely humbled by the support.

5. Success. Now that I’ve tested my blogging endurance, if I ever feel the need to measure it again, please pull me aside and ensure that I have thought my plan all the way through.

6. Red Flag. I’ve previously grappled with the question of what I would be doing if I was not blogging. Is blogging aiding new adventures in my retirement, or is it actually limiting them? With renewed clarity, I know that I must address this in a more sustainable manner.

My additional goal regarding not overthinking, overwriting or overediting was a  big fail – especially in terms of the latter.  Although my daily posts may not have been error free,  I remained an over-editing fool. Richard wrote his post in one take, handed it to me and said “if you would like it edited, feel free’.  He never looked at that post again to see if I did or did not edit. He frankly did not care. Why can’t I be like that??!!

What I Would Do Differently (and What I Would Do the Same) Next Time

#atozchallenge

1. I would write all of my posts in advance. (This is such a significant point, I should write it on a chalkboard 100 times!)

2. I would choose a theme that easily supports the above (e.g., Favourite places on Vancouver Island come to mind — Alert Bay, Blackfish Sound, Cobble Hill….Zeballos).

3. I would not take on such an enormous challenge and travel at the same time. Duh, what was I thinking?

4. I would have Richard Guest Host again. That was a blast!

5. I would continue to reply to all comments on my posts. This interactive dialogue and engagement is my absolute favourite thing about blogging. I loved the continued conversations.

6. I wish that I could add that I would approach blogging in a more relaxed manner. However, through this challenge, I rediscovered an essential self-truth. I don’t do passions in moderation. I’d love it if I could, but am unsure that I ever will.

Your Turn for Feedback

What did you like best about this series (apart from it being over, thus fewer notifications in your inbox or WordPress Reader)? Is there a post, anecdote or comment that resonated with you? Are you tempted to join ‘A to Z’ next year?

Finally, thank you for sticking with me through this challenge. Your support has been invaluable and  a true honour.

#atozchallenge

Feature photo and images 2 -5 were made at www.canva.com.

98 Replies to “Reflection: Surviving the A to Z Challenge”

  1. Terrific wrap up, Donna. I’ve learned a lot from you during your A-Z challenge, and if I ever do it (and you’ve nudged me in that direction a tiny bit), I will learn from you and have the posts all done prior to the challenge! I don’t know how you did it! I will also concur that I cannot post anything that hasn’t been edited to the nth degree, so I share your editing compulsion. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’ve looked for the link to Richard’s guest post, and can’t find it. Can you provide?

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    1. Hi, Molly – Thank you for your kind words. The key thing that the Challenge confirmed for me is that the engagement and encouragement of readers and other bloggers is what has kept me going in the blogosphere. Richard’s Guest Post was on day “R” (which was actually for “Rooster.”) You can find it here. I’m excited to know that you will consider doing the Challenge next year. I would definitely LOVE to read those posts!

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  2. Absolutely “I will write my posts in advance” x 1000! I don’t know why I have always resisted this but it is a sanity saver. Can I keep this up post-challenge? Huh. I doubt it. Donna, I never got to read your A-Z posts during the challenge, but I will do so this week as I am intensely interested in living vicariously through anyone who is retired. Hehehehe!

    Deb

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    1. Hi, Deb – Great minds think alike! I have begun to feel that I already know you by reading your comments on Profound Journey and Life Lived Full. I’ve been intrigued by what you have said, and have wanted to read more. Now that the challenge has officially finished, and I have an adventure-free day today (other than putting out the recycling, which is an incredible challenge on the Island…if you don’t believe me, please read this post). I’ve just made myself a large pot of coffee and have settled by the fireplace with my computer. I look forward to seeing you at your site shortly.

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  3. I think this is my favourite posts of yours since I started reading Retirement Reflections. You reveal so many truths about yourself-the main one being that you always do something challenging! Lots of times I say “Go Donna Go!” while silently saying to myself “I would never chose to do this.” However, we are all different and we do what we have to do. I agree it was fun to read Richard’s post. I hadn’t thought what it must have been like from your end. I am working on Walter writing a chapter about his life in a collection memoir stories I am writing. We will see how that goes. Looking forward to your future posts.

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    1. Hi, Fran – Although our paths have crossed many times previously, I’ve also really appreciated getting to know you more through our blogs. Being an adventurer at heart, I have loved your travel posts. Your memoir posts reveal such an interesting side of you that I can’t wait to read more (and would LOVE to read a chapter from Walter). Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments. They are deeply appreciated.

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  4. Congrats on finishing the challenge. Over the years I’ve become an A To Z Challenge Enthusiast, willing to live vicariously through your efforts. I remember how much work it was to write and edit almost daily on a schedule superimposed on you.

    I’d say that doing this challenge proves that you’re a blogger through and through. Glad that you found your way to the blogosphere, hope to read more of your thoughts in the future. Nothing better than being your own voice in your own blog.

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    1. Hi, Ally – Thank you for being a regular commenter on my, and so many other, A to Z posts during this Challenge. Your support is greatly appreciated, I always love hearing what you have to say. You are right about the exhaustion part…I could barely look at my computer this past week. I was glad that the Challenge organizers gave us a full week to post our Challenge review. They are very wise!

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  5. Several bloggers that I follow did the A to Z challenge. Many were interesting and some not so much. I enjoyed your posts because you put in the effort and created very interesting topics. The Boston Marathon posts were great (except for the weather). I’m not disciplined enough to do it. I’d have to twist words to fit the alphabet! I also agree with the commenter who said that your wrap up revealed some things about you that I didn’t know. Great job!

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  6. Hi Donna – I think you would be the AtoZ blogger I admired the most – you covered so much ground in your commenting (and your replying – I failed on that one because something had to give!) and also blogging on the day every day – you are a mad woman! I learned from previous Challenges that I needed to be well ahead of myself so I could use my time to visit and comment – I gave up with the replies last year and it was the best solution to the time suck that the AtoZ presents. I’m already thinking I might do it again in 2019 – so stay away from me or you might end up down the rabbit hole again with me xx

    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au
    AtoZ Reflections and Farewell

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    1. Wow! Thank you for your opening comment, Leanne. I’ve always admired you for your honesty – which makes your words even more uplifting!
      Thank you also for the warning about next year. If I avoid you from February until the end of March 2019, please know that I’ll be back in April to read what you have to say!!

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      1. I don’t believe you Donna – I have a sneaking suspicion that you might get sucked down the AtoZ black hole with me again in 2019 – beware!! It’s nice being back to normal again though isn’t it? Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
        Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au

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  7. Hi, I love your review versus the Camino Trail… 2 amazing challenges you did this past year.

    I can say that I have NOT been inspired to do an A to Z challenge… the thought of an obligation like that feels horrible to me. I don’t even have a day of the week I normally post. I’ve discovered I like my free-wheeling life with limited obligations set by others. I struggled to read and comment daily on the few (OK 5) folks I told myself I would read and comment on daily. Cannot imagine what my life would be like posting daily and then needing to respond to everyone in a timely fashion. That just sounds like a return to “work”.

    I’ll restate – I really did enjoy your in-the-moment posts… and your playing with the letter of the day. It was so fun to see how you incorporated the letter into real life!

    I will take your learning about less editing of posts though…. I do tend to write, re-write, get hubby to proof (it’s the only way I get him to read my blog also), and then edit again. And worry through that whole process if I’m being repetitive, not relevant, insightful enough, too verbose. (And that’s for a once a week attempt at posting…I cannot imagine getting ready for 26 posts. I’d be tied to the computer!)

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    1. Hi, Pat – One of the things that I love most about blogging is that we can create little ‘Cheers Bar’ spaces, where you know all of the regular’s names, and their likes/dislikes. When writing the final question asking readers if they were tempted to participate in the Challenge next year, I could so hear your voice asserting “No way! Never! Don’t ever ask!! 🙂 I love that!

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  8. Great reflection post! I enjoyed reading about retirement life through your eyes. I agree that no two experiences are the same, either on the A to Z or the retirement trail. I hope you participate again next year and I am following you so I’ll get anything in between. 🙂

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  9. I followed quite a few A-Z Challenges and I must say yours and Janet’s (above) challenges were my favorites. Shh….don’t tell! Maybe one day, when I retire, I’ll participate. Congratulations, Donna!

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    1. Hi, Jill – This is so kind of you to say (and I promise not to tell). As my A to Z posts so closely paralleled my personal life, they did make me vulnerable. I am super glad that you did not say that you were bored reading them. Phew!! 🙂

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  10. Excellent wrap up Donna and I thoroughly enjoyed all of your posts and adventures. You make some valid points in your learnings about missing other things in life because you need to post. I’m like you and don’t do passions in a moderate way. I felt the pressure of the challenge even trying to schedule posts in advance which I could do with my theme. There were times I was flying close to the wind because I couldn’t think of a topic or I was busy with life. I know that replying takes time but if someone leaves a reply or comment I like to respond and build a relationship. I think we are both glad that we achieved our goal and there is always something to learn and improve on with each new experience we have. It is ironic though that now on the days I’m not posting, I feel lost LOL:) Have a great week and again congratulations on completing the challenge. xx

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    1. Hi, Sue – Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful and detailed comment. I greatly appreciate the time that you took in doing so. I could personally relate to all of your points except for the ‘lost’ one. As soon as I pressed ‘send’ on my “Z’ post, it was like a floodgate was opened and all of the things that I put on hold during the Challenge came rushing in!! I was glad that we had a full week to write our reflections and was hugely impressed that you wrote yours the next day! It can be a hassle not doing passions in a moderate way. If you ever discover the secret to this, please share! 🙂

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      1. I like the millionaire part too! Great to have you back with us at Midlife Share the Love Party, Donna! Your posts are always quality and most welcomed. Have a great week and I’m sharing on social media xx

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  11. I do admire your ability to blog on the day and still complete the challenge. Brilliant! The first year I did it I had scheduled some posts in advance and always kept about a week ahead. The second year, I wrote everything in Feb / March but, in case that made it too easy, I also did the challenge on another (now defunct) blog which, again, I kept going a week in advance. From all of that I learned NEVER AGAIN!

    As for editing, I’m with you. I can’t let mistakes go out. John usually reads the post that evening and sometimes finds an error which I have to correct immediately. If I find a mistake in an ancient post that no-one except me will ever read again, I still have to correct it. So I think you are quite normal. You must be, you’re like me.

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    1. Hi, Anabel – I am honoured to be in such good company. I smiled when you mentioned that you would immediately correct an error on an old post, even if you were sure that no one would ever read that post again. I am the EXACT same. I can easily read past spotted errors on anyone elses work except my own. Unfortunately, Richard is not a willing proofreader so I mostly need to go solely in that department. If John is ever free, please send him by — I could definitely use a good proofreader! 🙂

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  12. Hi Donna,
    This was a terrific reflection post. I really appreciate your honesty and your insights.
    I’m with you in feeling uncertain about whether blogging is aiding us in our retirement adventures or preventing us from having them. I’d love to continue that conversation sometime, and look forward to seeing what you do now that you are feeling some clarity about the issue.
    From my end, I don’t think I’ll do the A-Z again. I loved it, but it felt very “one and done” for me. Challenge met and checked off the list.

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    1. Hi, Karen – Thank you for your kind comment. I believe that the question of whether blogging is aiding or limiting our retirement adventures is one on many bloggers’ minds — especially after completing the Challenge. It looks like Janis has already added this question (again) to our discussion topics for when I am in Southern California this autumn. If we reach any stunning conclusions, I promise to share. Also, if you and I are ever in the same town at the same time (there, here or Palm Desert) I would love to chat with you about this in person. In the meantime, as another commenter wisely stated, as long as we are living our lives first and blogging second, that seems like a healthy way forward.

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  13. I enjoyed your posts – congrats on a job well done. It can be an intense experience and I highly recommend what you suggested – write & schedule ahead. That gives you the luxury of visiting and commenting on more blogs.

    I look forward to your continued posts!

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    1. Hi, Donna – Thank you so much for dropping by. The irony is that I always do everything possible in advance. (So much so that my husband often complains that if he gets up to go to the washroom in the middle of the night, I have the bed made before he gets back. 🙂 ) The theme that I chose made it impossible for me to write in advance. If participating in the Challenge again, I will definitely be choosing a different theme!
      I am off to visit your site now. Looking forward to it!

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  14. Congratulations again, Donna, for completing the AtoZ Challenge with huge stats success! I was impressed with all the bloggers who participated in the Challenge and who I followed. Regarding the series, I liked having new materials to read every day. However, I didn’t have enough time to digest all post contents and comment. By the time I finished my thoughts, there were new posts to read. I’m not tempted to participate in the Challenge next year because I value the flexibility of my time (not to be tied to a schedule), and I like to be out and about exploring, as opposed to being tied to a computer. I admire your intensity for the quality of your posts, and I’d like to thank you for your ongoing support by providing meaningful comments on my posts even during the AtoZ Challenge.

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    1. Hi, Natalie – In a way, you did participate in the ‘A to Z Challenge’ and I absolutely love how you did it! It was my pleasure to continue to comment on your blog during the Challenge. I actually would not have entered the Challenge if I thought that it would prevent me from reading and commenting on the regular blogs that I follow. Thank you for your insight and kindness in pushing my Guest Post back a bit — I have greatly appreciated the break! 🙂

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  15. Really nice reflection post! And, I loved that picture of the Camino Trail stretching out ahead.

    “Red Flag. I’ve previously grappled with the question of what I would be doing if I was not blogging. Is blogging aiding new adventures in my retirement, or is it actually limiting them? With renewed clarity, I know that I must address this in a more sustainable manner.” I’m sure this will be a major topic at our fall meet-up (as it was at the last one). I don’t know if we’ll ever really answer this to our satisfaction, but I know we get so much out of our blogs, and, of course, our retirement adventures.

    As a reader of several blogs who participated in the A-Z Challenge, I have to say that I’m relieved that it’s over. Since I get my post notices via email, my inbox was even more clogged than usual. I enjoyed reading what (most) everyone wrote about but – maybe especially because I like to comment, and read the follow-ups – it became a bit of a burden (except for yours – yours always was a pleasure to read).

    I probably won’t participate in the future, although I’ll probably continue to be tempted each time. Referring back to your RED FLAG: I hope that the adventures I am having will always win out over the feeling that I “must” post regularly.

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    1. Hi, Janis – Your smooth talking save totally cracked me up! I don’t blame anyone for saying “enough with the daily blog posts already”! Actually, I was often saying that about my own posts! 🙂 I am very excited about our Autumn Meet Up and am greatly looking forward to our deep and meaningful conversations!
      BTW – I am part way through my Guest Post for you. I will try to get it to you before May 20….just in case you axe it! 🙂

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  16. I liked how you compared this challenge to the Camino walk, Donna. Writing this reflection must have been liberating and helpful! I actually liked the idea that you wrote the posts as you went. It made the topics current, and I thought easier for you as well. Writing the posts ahead of time, will take even more chunks out of more days, I think.

    That being said, when I joined in the A-Z Challenge two years ago, I felt very similar than you… exhausted. During that month of April, nothing else happened, because I didn’t have time for it. I’m impressed you combined a trip with the blogging. Back then, I thought I’d do the challenge again (and write shorter pieces with less photos), but, I realized that instead of writing these blog posts, I could be writing my book, which I gave higher priority this year.

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    1. Hi, Liesbet – Thank you for your insightful comment. You are wise beyond your years, and you always make me think. I am glad that you prioritized writing your book. Selfishly, that makes great sense to me — because I really want to read it!

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  17. Well, Donna, You’ve taught me a lot through your reflections. I’m a little bit with Janis, in that following all those A to Z’s was a bit overwhelming…except yours, of course…yours were amazeballs! (Yeah, you’re right…Janis was way more eloquent .) What I honestly found was amazement at your ability to post Every. Damn. Day. while TRAVELING – girl, are you crazy????!!!!! The care and feeding of a blog takes a tremendous amount of time and energy, and I found myself thinking, “Geez…I can’t even get a few posts out during the month!”

    That said, you certainly don’t ever do anything half-a$$ed! Your passion ALWAYS comes through in your writing. That’s why I adore following you! ~ Lynn

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    1. Hi, Lynn – I always love your comments and this one is no exception. You have a way to make me feel like we are chatting together, IRL, over a cup of coffee. Although I didn’t fully understand what I was getting myself into when signing up, I was very glad that I did the challenge. (At least once!) It’s amazing what we can do when we fully commit ourselves. Since the Challenge I have had a difficult time getting even one post written. My five Guest Posts are currently blank pages. Although they keep calling me…amazingly, no ideas are springing to mind! 🙂

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  18. I really give you credit for doing it and also sticking with it. I’ve seen these kinds of challenges with other bloggers, and it’s always amazing to me that someone has the energy and inspiration to carry through with it. Richard’s guest post was a riot to read. 😉

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    1. Thanks, Marty – When I decided to join (last minute, minimal forethought), I thought that I would post one photo plus small caption each day. Then I read that the organizers were asking for a minimum of 100 words per day. It’s always the fine print that gets you! 🙂
      Thanks for your feedback on Richard’s post. I still can’t believe that he agreed to do this!

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  19. Good on you for completing the challenge. I must say it wasn’t for me. I take a very long time to do a post with much thought and editing to get the words just so, so that many posts in that timeframe would have not left any time for other life – as you mention, that’s a consideration – and for me felt too contrived. A photography challenge yes, not blogging. Mind you, the idea of a driving force is a great idea.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. You are right that this challenge is not for everyone. It definitely has its pros and cons. I did learn a great deal, and made some terrific new friends along the way…so I was happy that I did it (at least this one time)!

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  20. Hi Donna! I have said it before and I’ll say it again–I am in awe of you and anyone who does the A-Z challenge. I think you are all either amazing or crazy…or maybe both. I am not in the slightest bit tempted to do it EVER. But I do admire the tenecity of it and also believe that there are valuable lessons to be learned in any experience so I congratulate you on that for sure. As you are well aware I didn’t drop by every post but I was rooting for you from afar. It also sounds like this challenge gave you plenty of new thoughts about where you go from here. I look forward to following along. ~Kathy

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    1. Thanks, Kathy – There are so many endurance challenges that I could never ever hope to enter. It was great to have one where I could show my tenacity (or craziness) and make it all of the way through. I greatly appreciate anyone reading even one of those posts, and I am thankful for your support in cheering me on. I look forward to catching up in person soon!

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  21. Yes I love the quality of the posts Donna. We have been a little strict on who links up and we want to keep it a smallish number so we can all support each other. It is quality not quantity that counts xxOh that sounds just like a title from my AtoZ LOL:)

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    1. Thanks, Joanne – I previously believed that reflection and lists were my strength…until I entered this corner of the blogosphere. Now I know that I am a lightweight! 🙂 Thank you for following and for your encouraging comments. Both are greatly appreciated!

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  22. I love this retrospective, especially the deep thought you ‘re giving to how you use your time. Ordering our priorities can be difficult and often painful. It so often means sacrifice. Well done on finishing A to Z!

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  23. I loved reading your Reflections post. As a fellow Pilgrim of the Camino I could identify with your 10 lessons from the Camino & AtoZ. Like you I have promised myself to have all AtoZ posts completed before the challenge starts in 2019. Shared on SM #MLSTL

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    1. Hi, Jennifer – Last summer, my husband and I completed our third Camino and said that it would be our last (just because there is so much else out there to see). But….the Camino has a way of taking hold of you, and we are now considering a fourth! I believe that for many people, A to Z is the same. They think they won’t participate again, but are quickly hooked once more. 🙂 Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing. I look forward to visiting your new site now.

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  24. Well done you! That’s a lot of writing and commenting. So glad your blog page views increased as a result too. That’s definitely progress.

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    1. Hi, Jo – Thank you for dropping by and commenting. My page views were bound to go up simply from the sheer increase of volume of my posts (she says with confidence). I was most impressed with so many new readers dropping by and offering insightful comments (not just dropping a link and running). I was also grateful for all regular readers who read and commented on a steady basis (now that’s hard core)!
      I’ve just had a peek at ‘Lifestyle Fifty’. What a wonderful range of posts — I don’t know where to start (in Bali, selecting a Mother’s Day Gift or with Bras and Thongs)! See you there.

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  25. Here at last! Eish! as we say here in South Africa, like oooshhh or just plain eissssshhhhh – exhaling deeply. Well done Donna on completing and reflecting – in great style as usual. I much enjoyed your posts, and that you managed to answer all commenters in the engaging way that you did. I so enjoyed the comments from your responders as well, as I have in your reflection post. In agreement with all you said re interactive blogging and the enjoyment to be had by that. I also sometimes wonder what I would do if I did not blog, though I don’t do this often. So, well done again! I will continue to look forward to your posts, via email … 🙂 🙂 🙂 Susan

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    1. Hi, Susan – It is great to hear from you. I miss our daily ‘chats’. I too enjoy the insightful comments from readers of this blog. This is a remarkable corner of the internet, I am grateful to have found it. Are you also doing a reflection post, and taking part in the Road Show? I look forward to that.

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      1. Hi Donna, 2 x R’s still to be done? My first R will go up ‘just now’ – another SA expression that means different things to different people. My Reflection post is scheduled for just now! The Road Show? I really hope to and will be checking you out for sure 🙂

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  26. Great way to wrap things up Donna. I am also guilty of over thinking and over editing. I worry about offending or being misunderstood. Also I have thought about what I would be doing if not blogging and have decided not much. lol

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    1. Hi, Victoria – Your “not much” comment made me laugh (which you have a wonderful way of making me do). Another thing that I love about this great blogging group of ours is that it constantly reminds me that I am not alone in my thoughts or habits. That is always reassuring to know!

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  27. Oh Donna, where do I start? I thoroughly enjoyed your very insightful wrap up post and all your honest thoughts that you shared with us. This is an intense challenge you took on and you came through it with flying colours from my perspective but I can also see the toll it takes on time, and effort you put in for the month. You are right when you talk about having a passion, you’re in boots and all or not at all!! Well done for doing it your way and kight8ngbupnour lives during April. 😊 #mlstl

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  28. Hi, Debbie – Thank you for taking the time to write such a meaningful comment while you are on your European Vacation! Just a few more days until the Bloggers Bash. I am soooo jealous! Please give a big hug to Hugh and others for me!
    kight8ngbupnour? I Googled it but could not find it. What am I missing?

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  29. Very thoughtful reflection, Donna. After reading it, I really can’t believe that you don’t like writing reflections!

    With respect to whether I would participate in the A to Z challenge next year — no, I won’t, for the reasons that Pat and Natalie wrote about so clearly. It relates to your red flag point. I have lots going on in my life, and I am trying to keep it in balance, and give time to my priorities (art, novel, grandchildren, academic writing, outdoors, etc., not in that order). Blogging has a way of expanding to fit the time one allows it to have, and possibly crowding out other things. Also, in this first stage of retirement, I am trying to avoid roping myself into regular obligations, and find myself sometimes regretting the commitments that I have made.

    That said, I understand the joy of accepting a challenge. Well done!

    Jude

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  30. Hi, Jude – Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful comment. I completely respect, and agree with, your reasons for keeping blogging in check. Blogging easily consumes whatever time we are willing to give to it.
    When we were walking together today, I did not mean to say that I don’t like writing reflections (although our IB students complained about this much of the time)! Despite your (and Joanne’s) kind words, in terms of reflecting, I truly am a lightweight compared to many others in this corner of the blogosphere. I am totally okay with this. 🙂

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  31. Donna, I am so impressed by your stamina to see this challenge through to the end. I love the comparison to walking the Camino Trail and your 10 truths, especially number 2, 5, and 9. Thanks as always for sharing your insights.

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  32. Hi, Christie – Thanks so much for stopping by. It was an exhilarating and fun challenge…but definitely one that I am glad is done. I hadn’t expected to have so many similarities between the Camino and A to Z. My guess is that those truths are equally valid for many, many challenges!

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  33. I adore your top 10 reflections – definitely suitable for any challenge. I also enjoyed your ‘what I would do differently next time’. The fact that you traveled while you were doing the A-Z challenge is mind blowing. You have proven time and again that you can achieve whatever goal you set your mind to. I look forward to seeing you further pondering your ‘Red Flag’ and seeing where it takes you.

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  34. Thanks, Lisa – I greatly appreciated you stopping by, especially in the midst of your own incredible adventure. As the weather heats up, and increased outdoor adventures call my name, those ‘red flags’ (in the blogging world, and elsewhere) have become even more looming. Stay tuned!

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  35. I don’t think I’m tempted to try the A to Z challenge, Donna. Your wrap-up is amazing and I certainly connected with many of the items you had to say (e.g -‘Small changes can have significant impacts (e.g., fresh new socks, or changing the time that I published my posts), but what I’d really miss would be the freedom to write when I wanted to write. Sure, scheduling posts may help with that, but I’ve never really been a ‘schedular’, more of a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ person.

    Although you were only publishing once a day, it can become rather overwhelming for some when the number of posts to read start to mount up. I never got around to reading all of your posts because I simply didn’t have the time to read them all during April. Time can often be our enemy, but finding the right balance between writing, reading, and other parts of our lives outside of the blogging world is something that many struggle with. I’ve often thought about what the perfect balance would be for the number of posts a blogger should publish, but I’ve never come up with an answer. I’ve always believed ‘quality over quality’ is what keep readers coming back, but I know that many would disagree with me.

    However, I think you did an amazing and excellent job, and I congratulate you (and the other participants) for completing this challenge.

    I’m not sure if you aware, but the ‘Notify me of new comments via email’ box seems to have gone missing from your blog. Without it, I won’t know when you have replied to any comments I leave, so I’ll pop by again tomorrow and check.

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    1. Hi, Hugh – Thank you for leaving such a thoughtful and helpful comment. If I ever do the Challenge again (don’t hold your breath here), I will definitely let readers know from the start that I do not expect them to read and comment on all posts. I do greatly appreciate you stopping by and commenting when you could.
      Thank you for letting me know about the comment change. Due to the request of several readers, I have now added a comment plugin that allows readers to get notification of replies to their individual comments (but not notification to ALL comments made for a post). Hopefully this will work for you and you will receive instant notification of this reply. Fingers crossed!

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      1. You’re welcome, Donna. Oh, I must say that I never expected you to expect your readers to read and comment on all your A – Z challenge posts. Apologies if you thought I meant this. There were some posts that I read but didn’t feel I had anything worthwhile saying. I don’t like leaving comments that don’t really add any value to a post that I’ve enjoyed reading. I’d rather add some value in some way. 😀Thanks so much for adding that button as well. It helps, as it means I don’t have to remember to keep coming back and check for a reply.
        Have a great week.

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  36. Congratulations on finishing the challenge and for at least doing some of the journey with me. I am with you about writing the posts ahead of time, and intend to do it every year, but like so many of my best intentions, this also fell by the wayside. I also find that the pressure of the daily deadlines gets me moving and there’s that flow on from post to post because they’re researched and written into each other. Yet, it really hindered my capacity to read other posts and be truly involved in the broader nature of the challenge. I’m trying to catch up afterwards but it lost momentum.
    I intend to come back and read more about Camino Trail.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

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  37. You did it and did it well!! I admire you for your effort and the time it took to do it. Yay Donna ♥

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    1. Thanks, Grammy – I greatly appreciated you stopping by and commenting. At times, it was a definite juggling act to get posts written and published every single day. But….the feeling at the finish line was FANTASTIC! 🙂

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  38. Hi Donna
    Thank you very much for commenting on my profile on Blogging Grandmothers. Yes, the dry humidity of Colorado has straightened my hair! It could also be that my new grey hair of 60+ does not wish to be curly any longer…hah!

    The A to Z challenge sounds like an interesting exercise! You gave a lot of good tips for navigating and completing it and the rewards of doing so. It’s always nice to meet new bloggers and I’m sure the challenge brought many new blog friendships to you. Right now my life is so busy that I can’t imagine posting every day and I’m sure that was also one of the biggest challenges for you. Brava for completing the challenge!

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    1. Hi, Pat – Thank you so much for stopping over for a visit. I greatly appreciate it. I remain intrigued about your curly hair turning straight. I have lived in extremely dry climates…and still my hair remained curly. Maybe there is new hope for me with incoming grey hair!
      And thank you for your kind words about the A to Z Challenge. It definitely kept me hopping!

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  39. Oh, yes, definitely doing it next year. I don’t usually write about anything significantly informative, but I like to free-write about something and then post it, usually the same day. I tried prewriting my posts one year and failed miserably.

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    1. Hi, Jen – I LOVE your enthusiasm and your energy. I’m glad that I took the Challenge this year (and survived). At this point, I’m not convinced about joining in next year. But I did think that I would give the Road Trip a try!

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  40. Donna,

    I am definitely going to take part in the A2Z challenge next year. I sorta have an addiction to the series. It’s the one time of the year that I really push myself in Blogosphere but it’s through the blogfest that I come away a little wiser finding ways to make my presence in cyberspace hopefully more…me. Blogging is about having fun, if you’re not having fun then what’s the point? I give every post 110% and if I spot errors (there usually are some after a post goes live) I will correct them at that time. The thing that helped so much is doing all of posts ahead. This made the challenge less stressful. I still haven’t figured out how to visit everyone taking part and that’s ok. I’m faithful to return visits to those who stumble on my site and when I do have spare time I liked visiting those participating that I normally do not. It’s nice to see what others are doing. Thanks for popping by my place. Enjoy your summer and please feel free to stop by to say hello anytime! 🙂

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    1. Hi, Cathy – Thank you so much for the return visit. I love your commitment and enthusiasm to the #AtoZChallenge. As I wrote my posts daily during the Challenge, and was also traveling a good chunk of that time, I usually only visited the posts that I regularly follow, as well as those who commented on my site from the Challenge. But I did complete the full Road Trip yesterday, fully reading and commenting on all 73 Road Trip posts. I will definitely be back to your site again — it is very inspiring!

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  41. Hi, I’m sort of stopping by from the Road Trip as in I’m returning the favour of your visit to my blog but not landing on your chosen post. This is a great reflection post (but just a quick glimpse at your blog tells me you don’t do things by halves! That’s a compliment in case my English humour doesn’t travel the Atlantic too well.) My favourite line must be the chalkboard with the lines of “I will prepare posts in advance” That is my mantra each year but so far I have failed every time and end up posting some posts on the day. Life often gets in the way of plans. I’ve had 2 new Grandsons in the space of 2 weeks so it’s been a bit busy with visits etc. I’ll be on the road trip soon and back to visit some more.

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    1. Hi, Wendy – Thanks so much for stopping by. I caught the English humour and appreciate the compliment! I won’t decide until much later if I will take part in the A-Z Challenge next year. If I do, I will definitely chose a topic that I can write SHORT posts in ADVANCE! I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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