Sunday, May 1, 2016

How Do You Measure Success?: On Surviving the A-Z Blog Challenge

The A-Z Blog Challenge is over, and I'm thrilled to report it was an incredible success! I blogged 26 times in April - one for each letter of the alphabet, and following the schedule recommended by the A-Z Challenge Blog. I also got to talk through so many of my favorite social psychological issues this month - including topics I've not yet been able to work into my previous posts. It was great fun and I got a lot of positive feedback from both friends and new visitors.

I think the biggest indicator of success, for me, is that I didn't miss a scheduled blog post. There were days when the post came really late, and on those days, I seriously considered just waiting until tomorrow and writing two posts, or just moving a post to a Sunday. But I made myself do it, and it worked. I guess I should apply that same perseverance to other things in my life.

Some lessons learned that I'll applying for the next blog challenge:

  1. Having a theme was a huge help! I can't imagine having to come up with 26 topics on the fly.
  2. Relatedly, writing up a schedule with each topic already identified before April was an even bigger help. I think the problem I encounter with blogging regularly is coming up with a good topic, and I tend to depend too heavily on momentary inspiration to put together a blog post. It might be a good idea to identify certain topics I'd like to cover, and perhaps tie them to certain days or times of year.
  3. I should have written more of my posts ahead of time. Though I did a little of this, most days, I wrote the blog post the day it was supposed to be up, or at most one day in advance. This created a bit of a time crunch. Once I finally did start writing, it was easy to keep the momentum going - I just usually didn't have the time because I had to squeeze writing in between other tasks. Having an evening I devote to writing a few posts wouldn't be too hard if I just make a writing schedule and stick to it.
  4. I need to be better about writing down ideas. I've done this so much outside of the blog challenge - thought of a good blog topic to revisit later, only to forget what it was when I sat down at the computer. Even during the challenge, some days I would realize another potential topic for that letter and decide I could just blog about those topics later. Now I can't remember what they were.
  5. I need to make more time to visit other people's blogs and respond to comments. I was terrible about doing this, since April turned out to be a busy month work-wise. Writing posts ahead of time would allow me more time to be a good fellow blogger and see what others are writing, another good reason for #3 next April.
Still, absolutely thrilled with how well this went, and I love looking at my archive for this year and seeing that I've already written twice as many posts in 2016 as I did for all of 2015.


  1. Well done on completing the challenge :) I had posts pre-written this year where last year I winged it. This year felt much less stressful!

  2. Ah capturing ideas - very tricky! I have a Google Docs spreadsheet with notes and links for this; I also have been using Evernote. But this works best when I'm at the keyboard, and of course most of my better ideas come to me when I am elsewhere! I'm usually on my daily walk, so this is very motivating for me to hustle back home and write it down before I forget. I suppose that's what smart phones Notes are for but I rarely use it.