lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

A-Z Reflections

This is the fourth year I have taken part in the A-Z Blog Challenge, and I enjoyed it very much, as usual.  Thank you to Arlee and all the other organisers and minions for their hard work.

Here is my traditional little photo of my assistance dog in celebration of having finished again:

DSC07866

This year has been different in a few ways.

I wrote many of the posts in March and scheduled them, finishing in the first week, in the main. This meant I had more time to leave the poems for a while and fiddle when I could see them more clearly.

I also had more time to visit other blogs.

I also at last learned why I had been finding it impossible to comment on some Blogger blogs – the problem seems to be with Google and Chrome. If I use Safari, or my laptop, I can comment – hooray!

I tried to comment on every single WordPress blog apart from those that really did not appeal (AC or overtly religious). I keep finding more so not sure I managed that!

And I have been visiting all the Blogger blogs not already visited – especially those with poetic names!

Some observations:

Many blogs had names that bore no relation whatsoever to their content – and had no clue by category code, either.  Oh, how much easier would my life had been if I’d known who was a poet – I’m sure I must have missed some! Please, next year, make sure you linky name gives a good idea what you are doing.

Some excellent blogs had few or no comments. Why? Surely they should at least had some, from the people making their way down from above. Could it be because they weren’t commenting themselves?

There were a lot of blogs that were so long it just took too long to read them. 300 words max makes reading enjoyable and commenting easier! 

There were more blogs than usual it seemed to me that had given up and had not been removed. It’s one of those small irritations to find someone finished at G and the letter is now U.

But it’s a positive and rewarding exercise, and I found some lovely, exciting, interesting blogs.

What would I like to see? Blogs divided into categories. You could put your blog into a maximum of two. Then you would be able to visit all the ones you were really interested in and then do ones that intrigued you by name after.

The list wouldn’t look so daunting.

You wouldn’t have to have a key right next to your window to check what those darned categories had been shortened to.

Or at the very least names of blogs giving the content of the A-Z, not of the blog in general.

Free chocolate for everyone that makes it through! That wouldn’t be difficult, would it?

Thank you to all the lovely people who commented on my blog, especially those that commented on almost every one. Here is a list of some of my favourite blogs and bloggers this year:

Ula at https://broccoliaddict.wordpress.com/

Ben at http://benjamindraws.com/

Birgit at http://createdbybb.blogspot.co.uk/

Anabel at https://anabellibraryworld.wordpress.com

Jeri at https://storytellingmatters.wordpress.com/

Veronica at http://owlwonder.com/

Liz at http://lizy-expat-writer.blogspot.co.uk/

Helen at http://atozofrome.blogspot.co.uk/

And lastly, I noticed as I went through some of my notebooks that I sketched many of the animals as I was thinking, so I photographed them and here some of them are – mostly at the beginning of the alphabet, as I couldn’t find one of the ones I was using last!

Blog sketches

My next big challenge will be photos of Lola my assistance dog with lots of Shaun the Sheeps from Wallace and Gromit – last year we visited 80 Gromits to raise money for Lola’s charity, Medical Detection Dogs. If you’d like to see some, the entries are in my sidebar.

So long, A-Z Bloggers, and thanks for all the fish! Sorry, visits!

 

 

63 Comments

  1. greyzoned/angelsbark

    Congrats on finishing! I’m just now getting rested up. You have some really good suggestions. I think it would be cool to have the blogs grouped into categories. I also found it a drag to have to keep referring to the two-letter key because I couldn’t remember what they stood for either. Give Lola a big hug from her blog-fans. 🙂
    Michele at Angels Bark

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you, I will, I was just giving her a little cuddle!

      Like

  2. Anonymous

    Hi LIz ~ your comments are spot on. I also worked in advance — starting in January to give me time to “work slow” and to go back to revisit some posts. And I totally agree that the sweet spot is 300 — 500 words, max.
    Also, thank you for coming to visit me. It’s really inspiring to meet creatives from all over the spectrum — and the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, someone! I’m very curious as to just who someone is…

      Like

  3. Liking those sketches. Congratulations, again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you, Celia! I managed to take them out of focus and in yellow light, so not that attractive, but I can’t keep my hands still while thinking!

      Like

  4. Sounds like a long task. I enjoy looking at blogs through the categories that interest me.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great ideas for better engagement. I enjoyed your theme and still have some of yours left to read. Next year, I’m writing all of them ahead to enjoying more reading. Congratulations on finishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Antonia! Congratulations on finishing as well!

      Like

  6. Great sketch. Free chocolate? Ooooh. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jamie – and, well, if you don’t try, you won’t have a chance of achieving your goals…!

      Like

  7. Ula

    Congratulations, Liz. I really enjoyed your poems and information on the different animals. I learned a great deal. I have to agree with you about long posts. 300 words seems sufficient. Thanks for the shout out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ula

      I forgot to write that you have a great idea about the categories. It would be nice to find other blogs more easily. And I admit my blog name revealed nothing about my theme. So nice we found each other.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is! Yes. Broccoli addict, I could have eschewed you, if I hadn’t also been a broccoli addict…

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    • Thank you, and a pleasure.

      Like

  8. I have to confess to only commenting on WordPress blogs, though I follow a couple on blogspot it is just a pain and to time consuming posting comments on there, doesn’t help this laptop is a dinosaur but it was also the reason I moved my blog from there to WordPress a couple of years ago as I constantly was told the same thing from friends 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have no idea why it should be so. Arlee said he doesn’t like commenting on WordPress blogs because he has to constantly refill hs details in, and that is a pain, but usually it’s just a case of typing one letter and the details fill in themselves. Some you still have to fill in but they seem to be blogs on Weebly and smaller type blog hosts. Blogger blogs often have things to check you are human – I lost count of how many I had to match pictures and words for, and also had to fill in my details on most of them, so yes, WordPress blogs, on my laptop which will do either, were still the easiest to comment on.

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      • I guess they make it hard in the hope you will defect to the other site while pretending it is to protect people from Spambots

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved your challenge as I love animals and thank you for the shout out:) I love all your suggestions and certain issues. I thought, as soon as I started looking at others that i should have put my name plus what i am writing about. It would have been more fair to others. Yes there were some blogs I could not leave comments on. I feel bad that I know little how to make things easy for everyone to comment on my blog. I am unsure how to remedy this. I also did not read long blogs because it is just too time consuming even when I found it interesting. Great ideas!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well done on finishing the A to Z. . . I am a blogger fan and have no problems commenting on either blogger of WordPress, but I do prefer Blogger as once it is set up correctly it is easier to comment on.

    Rob Z Tobor

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Rob! That’s so strange as I have a Blogger blog, and a WordPress blog, and find it much trickier on Blogger. I opened the Blogger one just to make it easier to comment. I wonder why commenting on either is tricky – it should be easy! Nothing more painful than being desperate to tell someone something and find you can’t comment!

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  11. Lots of good ideas, Liz and many I would agree with but I certainly would have to do a rethink of what my theme would be if I could only post 300 words!! Although I visited loads of blogs I’m afraid I didn’t get over to your blog whilst the Challenge was going on so I will probably catch up again during the Road Trip. Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for the mention! Some good suggestions there, especially the one about chocolate…..
    I agree about being put off when there are too many hoops to jump through to comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. emilia m.

    as to the comments – well, I guess some blogs are popular and some aren’t ? 🙂
    and to the “categorizing” blogs – there are some that are full of all sorts of forms… I know mine has some poetry, some prose, chapters of a first book ( too proudly named for sure, but still 😀 ) – everything. 😀 how to categorize it then? 🙂
    myself – loved the challenge and gained so much experience from it!!! 🙂
    but oh so many blogs I am discovering just now… so what 🙂 better late than never, right? 😀

    all the best!!! 🙂

    Like

    • Aaah… I found some fabulous blogs with few comments. You could categorise that as ‘mixed media’! Almost impossible to visit them all, although I know someone last year did… yes, luckily they will still be there!

      Liked by 1 person

      • emilia m.

        and that’s the good thing 😀 We have the whole year now to keep visiting all those that we found plus the ones that we’ve missed 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is true, emilia. I got a few visits during the year, which were quite surprise!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. It was very difficult to keep the list shiny. We tried to encourage people to catch up if they’d fallen behind. The idea about the tags is a good one. Every idea to improve the experience will be considered. Congrats on earning that chocolate.

    Like

    • Hello Susan, I missed this, thank you, yes, I suspect it’s a gargantuan task. You organisers are all brilliant. I’m still waiting for the chocolate, though… *taps fingers*

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  15. Lots of good ideas Liz! I didn’t do my blog posts ahead of time and found it harder to visit blogs as much as I would have liked. This was my first year doing this and I ended up learning quite a bit and how to make it better for next year’s challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always easier after the first time! Good luck with next year…

      Like

  16. lv2trnscrb

    Visiting from A/Z; didn’t have a chance to visit you during the challenge, so I thought I would visit those on the reflections list. I totally agree how hard it was to comment on some blogs; I didn’t think of commenting through Chrome; will have to try that next year 🙂

    So true too about blogs that had little or no comments. I do wonder too if they didn’t visit but I have to say those I visited, I got about 20% that visited back.

    All in all it was a great challenge! Good luck with your next challenge 🙂

    betty
    http://viewsfrombenches.blogspot.com/

    Like

    • Thank you Betty, I’ll come and see you when i am on my other computer!

      Like

  17. When the Cat is Away

    Thank you for your reflection – they were really useful to me! First of all, it’s funny, but it didn’t occur to me that I could use another name on the link list than my blog name! I’ll definitely do that next time, even though my blog name contains the word cat. It’s however a saying, so it could be anything else than a blog on cats! I wanted to use the category (AN) for animals, but it somehow didn’t show on the linky list. (Well, truth is, I most likely forgot about it!).

    As for post length, I totally agree with you, but wrote too long posts myself. Well, the reason for that is simple: I wasn’t “really” participating in the challenge, meaning that I planned my posts. I just continued blogging as usual. I’ll definitely change that next year, and then I can also write shorter posts.

    I agree with blogger, but not all blogspot blogs are the same. I don’t like that I can’t read the original post whilst commenting (unless I remember to open the comment function in a new tab). I mainly write ‘content comments’, meaning that I refer to something in the post.

    Oh dear, I should probably write shorter comments as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wonderful, this comment nailed it! It’s a wordpress blog and I posted automatically with my wordpress.com username (which I use for Jetpack), and didn’t link to my blog! (Only via gravatar). Sigh. WordPress isn’t that easy either. So when I can’t deal with neither blogspot nor wordpress, it’s probably me, not them. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there! Thank you! Yes, all blogger blogs have different comment boxes – WordPress do too though!

      Like

  18. I vote for the free chocolate! 🙂 And I think your idea of dividing blogs into categories is a good one. Although I must admit, the random selection has meant that I have found some great blogs that I might not have visited otherwise. Congrats on finishing the challenge!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – I imagine that you’d save time by going and seeing all the ones you want to see first, and then you could boing around at random! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I didn’t find you during the challenge, but through your reflection. If you have a moment to visit, you will see that both of us discussed similar things about what works and what doesn’t. I really agree with you that if the same of the blog doesn’t lend itself to what to expect than the category a blogger signs up for is a must. I started with all the (WR) blogs because I am a writer. It helped me tackle a BIG list. It is a great experience (my 3rd year) and worth all the effort. Congrats on finishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congratulations to you, too, Stepheny! It’s a bit addictive after the first year, isn’t it?

      Like

  20. Congrats on 4 years of the challenge! This was my first (but only because I just started the blog in October). I will most definitely be back for more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Mary! I only started my blog a couple of weeks before my first A-Z, it was crazy, but by the end I knew how to use my website, for sure!

      Like

  21. All your suggestions are relevant Liz and many of us have experienced similar frustrations. I didn’t manage to find you yet in making my way through the bloggers during the challenge but pleased I found you now. (Linda)

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Good observations! More than one person commented on the category system this year, I think it’s definitely worth talking about. Also, congratulations on completing the challenge! 🙂 I’m glad you had fun 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I very much enjoyed your reflections post.
    I think so many of us had problems with the blogger blogs, I do confess that at one point I kept my reading and commenting to WP only, which is a pity, but I still have 11 months to work myself through that list. I followed a few blogs early on that just stopped, one was a continuing story, so stopping in the middle just leaves the reader wondering…
    I think that maybe there need to be a few more categories, such as “eclectic”, I didn’t know what category to choose, as I had no theme set (hopefully I’ll have one for next year).
    My mission for the days to come is to once again have a look at the blogs of people who have commented on mine during the A to Z challenge, I do hope that I have not left anyone out during April, but there can always be an exception.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Solveig! It is a pity about the Blogger/Wordpress thing, the two platforms should get together and make it easier!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess that that would be too monopolistic or something and that they are rivals. Maybe blogger just had to reconsider how to let non members leave comments.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes… i hope it does!

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Your summations were spot on. I appreciated your honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Susan, thank you. I’ve had a few days off, so will be visiting again soon!

      Like

  25. Thank you for stopping by my blog the other day. I love your idea of dividing the list into categories and limiting how many you could submit your blog to. Congrats on finishing!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Congratulations on finishing the challenge. I liked many of your suggestions and have to admit I’m guilty of a few of the problems . My post were too long. I will write shorter ones next time. This was my first year that I did not write all of my post in advance and that was a mistake and left far less time for me to visit other blogs. I did include (WR) in my title , for writing , but I only put my name as the title and that couldn’t help anyone decide whether or not to visit . I also noticed quite a few blogs with few of no comments and I was concerned that if this was their first time they might not participate again , but Alex explained that perhaps those bloggers didn’t realize that they needed to comment on other blogs as well. Who knows? I love your idea of having blogs placed in categories or a list but I don’t know how hard that would be – to create categories inside the linksy sign up thing.

    I will visit again now that the challenge is over. Thanks for sharing your ideas for next year.

    Melissa Sugar
    @msugar13
    Sugarlaw13@live.com
    http://fictiontoolbox.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Melissa, thank you, I’ll come and visit you now!

      Like

  27. Hi Liz – I’ve enjoyed browsing your blog and as someone who has recently started a blog, your observations are very useful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Susan, thank you, I had a look at your extremely interesting blog earlier, love it!

      Like

  28. Arlee Bird

    Thank you for your Reflections and for joining us for yet another year of alphabet fun. I don’t know what to do about some of the complications–the perils of blogging I suppose. Still you found something rewarding and fun and in the end that’s what really matters most.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin’ with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Arlee – I think what I wish for most is the categories divided. But, yes, it certainly triggers a lot of poetry from me and that is very useful, a deadline is a powerful thing!

      Like

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