Monday, March 27, 2017

Whither Goeth the Challenge?


(Warning: Today's post is self-indulgent, stream-of-consciousness rambling. Even more than usual!)

No, please do not get excited by the above illustration. I will not be participating in this year's A-Z Challenge.

Why? (Or should that be, "Why not?")

Well, as it so often occurs where I'm concerned, it's complicated. But as long as I have you here anyway, here I go, rambling (as promised above). Take a deep breath. Or, as I used to say back when I often posted wordy entries, pack a lunch.

First of all, I joined the A-Z Challenge (in both 2014 and 2016) to promote my blog and encounter a few others. Both times, I ended up signing on to follow several blogs. Both times, several people decided to follow me as well. So, that worked. Or so it seemed...

In 2014, I got to know a lot of people who write what I call "writers' blogs." In other words, their blog's primary raison d'être is to aid, instruct, ask questions of, or otherwise deal with other bloggers interested in writing for publication, whether they're doing it mostly for fun, or desiring to make an actual living from it. (That I found so many "writers' blogs" is not a complaint, by the way. Just a long-winded statement.)

The blogs I found during the 2016 challenge seemed to have a little more variety, for no apparent reason. Just happenstance, I guess.

So, what's my problem, with several people signing up to follow me in both 2014 and 2016? Well, I learned that more than a few of the bloggers whose blogs I try to visit don't necessarily reciprocate, especially over time. A lot of the "followers" I gained during my forays into the A-Z Challenge didn't keep following.

Admittedly, almost no one has the time or inclination to read every single post on someone else's blog. I certainly don't. But there are some bloggers I follow (or, in most cases, I should say I used to follow) who either never visit my blog, or if they do, never let me know it by commenting. And, to amend my earlier statement, I realize that almost no one has the time or inclination to comment on every single post they read. (And again, that applies to me as well.) But never?

I've been accused in the distant past of being a comment whore, but let's be honest, here, fellow babies. What do we blog for if not a little bit of feedback? It's not like there's any real money in blogging. (I should know. I used to have little sidebar co-op ads from Google and Amazon, and after nine years, they netted me about a hundred dollars. Not quite enough to live by, fer shure fer shure.)

Also, while I'm on that subject, I should add that there are some readers whom I'm pretty sure read my blog regularly who rarely comment... but comment they do, at least once in a while.

But I oh-so-characteristically digress...

Now, in a similar vein, a lot of the bloggers I've been following for the last year or so don't post regularly. (Who the hell are you to talk, you may well ask. Hang on there, that's not my complaint.) And the authors of these blogs only seem to visit mine when I've commented on theirs. See the problem? This can be a bit frustrating, especially when I'm in the process of posting one of my multi-part fictional stories. I'll admit it. I am fervently hoping that people will read all of a multi-parter (and hopefully comment). Otherwise, what's the point?

I should point out here that I don't expect or demand that my "regulars" read all of my damned posts. As I said above, no one can (or want to) read them all. Even when there are so few, like the posts on my silly blog. Heh.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I feel I've done a lot, and wound up with a little. It's made me wonder if it's all been worth the effort.

Finally, this year, the people who run the A-Z Challenge have done away with the "linky list." They've posted several ways for you to find out who's participating -- and I provided that link for those of you who are interested in joining the fun -- but frankly, it seems like a lot of extra work to me. I joined the challenge (both times) to have some fun, as well as prove to myself that I could be disciplined enough to post on a regular basis if I really put my mind to it. Both years, I succeeded. But, as I said, this time (along with the other reasons mentioned above), it just seems like a lot of extra work.

Well, that about sums up my reasoning, fellow babies.

On the other hand, if I follow your blog regularly, I certainly won't miss the chance to read your A-Z entries! So, there's that.

Wow, this was a long post. (And rather somewhat incredibly self-serving, I'll admit.) I haven't done one of those for a while. I've probably written more here than I would have if I'd done this year's challenge instead!

Thanks for reading this far. Seriously. (Unless, of course, you just skipped to the end, you cheater!)

And, as always, thanks for your time.

43 comments:

  1. Heh, heh! You sound like me and my relationship with the Theme Thursday thing. I was a regular contributor until Megan stopped running it and I wasn't pleased with the direction it was going with the new moderator. And wouldn't you know, most of the people who stopped by for Theme Thursday stopped visiting after that.

    But I know what you mean about having the time. A lot of the blogs on my list have stopped being regular posters, and some have stopped altogether. I think social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) have rendered personal blogs passé in the eys of a lot of people. Let's face it, David, you and I are dinosaurs in the cyber universe! Heh, heh! But I keep plugging, and so do you, so we must get something out of it. Keep on posting!

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    1. I totally agree with you on Theme Thursday. (I believe that's where you and I first encountered each other's blogs, btw.) I didn't care for its new direction a few years back. The few people who contributed afterwards seemed to be missing the point of the theme, as well.

      Off and on, I've debated ending my blog, but there's always something in the back of my mind that says "But what if you someday come up with something you feel you really have to say?"

      You've been commenting quite often lately, I've noticed. That's great. Thanks.

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    2. Totally agree with the TT! I miss the way it was years ago...and I think I met both of you through that. It failed under new leadership and never recovered.

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    3. Yes, all three of us met through TT. I miss the old way. It was pretty easy and you got to know a lot of varied bloggers.

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    4. Speaking of Theme Thursday, I just did some checking, and evidently, it no longer exists.

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  2. Please note that I came to your blog because I wanted to. :-)I'd love it if you sent me a note warning me when you are going to post a multi-posted story, so that I could be sure not to miss them. I'm not always blogging--work, work, work. Also, I am one of those pests who has a blog about writing, but my blog is geared toward young writers. I used to be an editor for a publication that went mostly to schools and it was geared to aid teachers and help students learn the ins and outs of the writing life. So my blog sort of continues that with occasional how-to posts for these young readers to chew on. Soon, I'll be having a regular columnist who posts guest book reviews on my blog, but that's not up yet. Under construction, you might say.
    Anyway, don't feel that you have to pop over to my blog now, but you can if you'd like to. I enjoyed reading your post. Like you, I won't be doing the A-Z this year. My schedule just won't allow it.
    Best to you, and have a good day.

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    1. If you have a new post -- I haven't checked my blogroll yet today -- I'll definitely be visiting.

      I think the writers' blogs, like your own, provide a great service. I was only commenting on the odd fact that that kind of blog seemed to show up a lot when I took part in the 2014 challenge.

      I'll try to keep in mind that I should send you some notice next time I post a multi-parter. Thanks for the suggestion, and thanks for the lengthy comment. Much appreciated.

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  3. Hey, I haven't missed a post of yours in years, that I'm aware of, along with many other bloggers. Go OCD...or no life....we'll go with OCD.

    Agreed. I rolled my eyes at no list, as it does seem like more work. Screw that. I'm just posting as I post, people find me they find me, if they don't that don't. Really just a slack month for me in a way anyway as I can just use the alphabet instead of coming up with something out of the blue.

    And yep, author blogs are fine, but the "look at me, look at me" ones or the ones that only post when they have a book release or something pfffffffffft. Then you got the stupid ones with the fancy ways to comment that make you sign up through other crap just to comment. Then you got the "great post" idiots. Then you got the "I followed you, follow me back?" ones. Whoopi. You followed me. Like I give a crap? They never say a word other than telling me they followed, yet expect I'm going to follow them. Nope!

    Okay, I'm done.

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    1. Wow, my rambling post inspired a rambling comment? Haha.

      Yeah, the "I followed you, follow me" people -- who often disappear immediately after -- always made me wonder why they bothered.

      I can't really blame the writers who publicize their own books. Writing a book is quite an accomplishment. As you well know, having done so many yourself.

      It does drive me nuts when several writers' blogs run cover reveals for their fellow writers at the same time. Seeing a bunch of people writing essentially the same post can be tedious. But no one's to blame. They're all trying to do their part for their friends.

      Hm. The internet explorer browser at the library won't let me comment on today's post on your blog.

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    2. Yeah, all for tooting one's own horn, but only showing up to do that and nothing else, meh. haha makes it easy to comment with the cover reveal. But you can only say "great cover" so many times.

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    3. I agree with both of your points here.

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  4. I didn't skip to the end. Another post about sex rules––I knew you'd get stuck on that concept. I read as many blogs as I can and comment unless I can't think of anything to say (doesn't happen often).

    Love,
    Janie

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  5. I always try to comment even though I have fallen a bit on occasion. I hate that but I find time is the key. You are right about people who blog to just get money or plug something. I have joined the A to Z but we shall see how it will work with posting on their site each day.

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    1. It seems that the new format will be very time-consuming. However, it can be a lot of fun, too. Hope you have a good time. And since I follow your blog regularly, I'll be reading all your A-Z posts, even if I don't get to comment on all of them.

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  6. I decided years ago that blogging should be only for your own enjoyment....not to get followers, readers, money or anything else. A lot of people do the A to Z Challenge and commit to following each other for that month alone. Rarely do you find a kindred soul to keep as a regular after that. I haven't done the challenge in years....still thinking I might like to do it again. Better decide pretty soon!

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    1. Yeah, I understand that a lot of people follow your blog for that month alone, but too many signed up to follow who didn't after that, if that makes any sense.

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  7. I read your post all the way through with a great deal of interest/empathy because so much of what you say (or ramble :) ) is almost exactly how I feel/echoes my experience. I too shall not be doing the Challenge this year. It was fun last year but used up so much material - and with similar results to your own. I plan to look in at other 'Challengers' next month, but will continue with my own weekly or fortnightly posts.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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    1. I've seen a lot of commewnts on various blogs by people saying they won't or can't join in this year. But since they had well over 1,000 participants last year -- I don't recall how many -- I doubt the A-Z is in any danger of going away anytime soon, as at least one blogger has suggested.

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    2. Oops. Typo in the previous comment! There's no "W" in "comments," as far as I can remember. :)

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  8. Ok, I do follow you and enjoy your posts. I am not sure I comment on all posts. I have never done the A to Z as I cannot commit to it everyday. I am really not about gaining tons of followers. I don't even have 100. I blog to entertain my wandering mind. I have made a few amazing friends and that makes it worth the time and effort.

    Sometimes a rant is needed...



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    1. Heh. Before this blog, I had one called "David'Z RantZ."

      As I said in the post, I don't expect every reader to comment on every post. Your comments are appreciated when you do leave them, I must say.

      I have slightly less than 100 "followers." I estimate that I have two to three dozen actual readers, although there are enough people who drop by to give me a couple of hundred hits on the average day.

      Delete
    2. On a side note you were a sky fox slipping in as number one;)

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    3. Thank you for noticing. I've only managed to be number one on Pat's blog somewhere between five and ten times, I'd guess.

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  9. I get it completely about the "followers" and comments. I did the A to Z in 2014 and found some pretty cool blogs to follow, and some of those people followed me in return. However, I was careful to only follow the blogs I found interesting (I'm not a "follow me and I'll follow you" person). A lot of the traffic fell off after the A to Z was over, and I wasn't able to participate the following year, so even more people stopped commenting or visiting. I think the biggest change for my blog, though, was when I had to take over a year off and then tried to come back again. I not only wasn't able to post, but I wasn't able to visit most people either, so it's been a long haul to get things going again. I get a solid handful of commenters (and thank you that you're one of them!) but I have to wonder who the viewers are in my stats if not many are commenting. Are we getting through to anyone? Making them smile? Teaching them anything? We may never find the answers.

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    1. When you took your time off, I just kept you in my blogroll, so when you finally did post, I knew it almost immediately.

      I often wonder who's viewing my blog, and why. I get a lot more hits every day than I have followers.

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  10. Quite a few people I know aren't doing the Challenge this year because of the listfree format and the daily link posting. I am going to miss that camaraderie of known faces - I will be participating. We'll see how it goes, I have a feeling it'll make the challenge tighter and free of the linkdumpers, but then I am an incorrigible optimist :) I was a minion last year, so I know how much work it is to maintain the list for the co-hosts. Can't blame them for wanting to do away with it.

    To be honest, most of the traffic and following that happens during the A-Z quietens down considerably after April. I basically use the challenge to expand my knowledge base of poetry and blogging, the follows and traffic etc are great extras to have, but not the primary motive.

    Blogging as a whole has quietened down generally, lots of inactive blogs around, so that's affecting traffic/comments too...

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  11. Well, I still plan to keep up with the A-Z entries of the blogs I already follow, like yours. That should be enough to keep me busy for the month of April! Let's see if I can publish a few posts myself next month.

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    1. I plan on doing that too, read my regular blogs in April, and post for the WEP bloghop...The first two years at A-Z I was at 800-900 and got very few visits, then I got in at 50-something and got loads...the position of the blogger on the linky list makes a difference, at least it did to mine, though technically it shouldn't. Another reason to be glad the list's gone...hope to catch your posts as and when you publish. Hope April is a good month for everybody, blogging-wise and otherwise.

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    2. I vaguely remember a suggestion on the A-Z blog that you should start by checking out a few on the list that came before your link, and a few that came after. That's what I did in 2014, IIRC. I know I could never even come close to visiting them all, with several hundred listed!

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  12. I gained a few regular readers each year and found a few each year I wanted to keep following. I write first and foremost because I like to. GEtting comments and input does definitely make it more enjoyable.

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  13. OMGosh, I feel entirely responsible for your non-participation in the A to Z challenge. If only I commented more!
    I don't like the no linky-thing this year either. Lord knows I don't have the energy to cross post and promote myself. Which might explain why you're the only person who ever reads my blog.
    But I'm ever so thankful that your out there!

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    1. Ha. You don't have to blame yourself. :)

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  14. I actually have a friend of mine who I think has read and commented on every single post I've posted for the last almost four years. I never thought about it until now - but she deserves some sort of crown or something. She's a personal friend who has encouraged me to pursue writing. That is indeed a rare gem!

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    1. Every post? That's pretty impressive.

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    2. Well, maybe not every one. She may have liked a few and not commented. But, I honestly think she has read every.single.one.

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  15. I saw your comment on an a to z post so came over to see who the silver fox was. And now I know. I agree that commenters in a to z or other group efforts usually drop off after the challenge is over. And I don't know why people don't comment.

    Finding Eliza

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    1. Thanks for checking out my blog. I visited yours this morning to return the favor, and it seems like you had an extremely interesting A to Z this year. I'll be returning there.

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