Well, April is over. I survived the A to Z Challenge (and I trust you did too, Dear Reader). Time for the Reflections post, wherein we consider what and how we did.
First, I managed to do all 26 posts. Only a couple were written at the last minute, so I think I did pretty well at staying ahead, even though I was gone for the first week and had no access to my blog. So the basic requirement was fulfilled.
Theme: I enjoyed my theme, and I think readers did too. Using lots of photos was clearly a win, and also fun (but at times rather time-consuming, especially when a topic sent me to the slide archives and the scanner). This was really just a variation on last year's theme (National Parks and Wilderness areas), which was also a great excuse for a lot of pictures. My biggest concern was that it wasn't what I usually do with my blog, which is mostly write reviews and short fiction. On the other hand, I did do some of those, and since last year I have been putting more photo days into my blog. So maybe I didn't go too far off.
Visiting: I get about a D- on this one. I was scrambling all month (not just with the blog; I had other things that ate up my time) and didn't have enough time or energy to go wandering about the blogosphere. I'll have the chance to remedy some of that during the A to Z Roadtrip, and starting with the Reflections. In a way, I like that better, as I am likely to see what the blogs are about when not doing A to Z. Sometimes I follow blogs during the event only to find that their regular subject matter is of little interest to me.
Visitors: I don't think I got as many visitors as last year. I think the reason for that is directly related to my lack of visiting. Let's be honest: A to Z is about building audience, and you do it, oddly enough, by being an audience. Tit for tat, as it were. I didn't do much tatting, so... On the other hand, the visitors I had seemed to enjoy themselves. I hope a few of them will also check out my guest from B is for Mt. Baker, because Tom Dempsey is a fantastic photographer, in addition to being my brother-in-law.
Let's be honest. I blog in large part to let people know about my books. I do that in part, oddly enough, by writing about other people's books, as well as by writing short fiction. If my blog isn't making people interested in what I have to say, then there's a problem. The thing is, you also have to build an audience. A to Z is about that, and it is not a bad way to do it.
But...this year, I don't think it worked. I spent almost all my writing time on the blog, meaning my books didn't get worked on. And because I didn't have time for visits, I didn't get a lot of views. I think that, much as I enjoy the fiesta, I need to think hard next year about whether or not to do it. I might also need to ask myself if I'm doing too many other things and prioritizing them over my writing (answer: yes. Some of them need to be prioritized, some need to be ruthlessly dumped). I enjoyed creating my posts, but I need to work on my books. I committed a couple of years ago to making my writing a "real job," but it hasn't much looked like it this winter.
And one last, gratuitous photo to close with, an almost-abstract from the Eureka Dunes in Death Valley National Park that has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.
|It's a long and winding road...|