Friday, May 3, 2013

A to Z Challenge Reflections, Ninja News, Celebrating Small Things

Congratulations to everyone who completed the Challenge! Be sure to grab your survivor badge.

Before I dive into my Reflections post…

Ninja News

Very special thanks to ML Swift for his IWSG post. Mike started a monthly spotlight feature, and Wednesday it was me. And I was completely blown away! I was truly humbled, Mike. I’m just a dude with a blog, a guitar, and a couple books trying to do his best…

THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy concludes in THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE. 
By Donna Hosie

Natasha Roth and her older brother, Arthur, have removed the magical darkness that had fallen over the land of Logres.

But all actions have consequences….

Available May 31, 2013

My Challenge Reflections

This was my fourth Challenge and my third as co-host. That first year changed my blog forever, which is why I will always champion it.

Once again, this year was massive. We have an awesome team in place and worked hard to make it the best experience for everyone. The codes were something new this year and that seemed to work very well.

The introduction of minions was a Godsend. I thanked them Tuesday, but I can’t begin to express enough thanks. My Ninja Minions rocked. They really helped keep the list free of ad sites and non-participants. And helped this Ninja keep his sanity.

I was pleased so many liked my theme. It was a lot of work. Between selecting movies, characters, blogger buddies, song, trivia, not to mention finding links, images, and adding the Ninja News and formatting, each post took a minimum of four hours to put together.

But it was worth it to feature twenty-six of my blogger buddies, most of whom thanked me in an email or on their blog. I picked everyone and everything with care, making sure every post was special to that person.

My only regret is I had over sixty names on the original list and I wished I could’ve highlighted everyone. There’s always next year, although at this point, I have no idea how to top this year…

My thoughts, the good and the bad:

I did gain a big batch of new followers and found some cool new friends. I also became reacquainted with some older followers through the Challenge. (Yes, I need to update my blogroll soon…)

Some of the themes were really amazing. I intend to interview some bloggers for the A to Z Blog again this year, highlighting their awesome themes.

Some themes worked better than others. Many writers highlighted their books in a unique manner, such as Nancy Thompson, Julie Flanders, Carol Kilgore, L. Diane Wolfe, and Charity Bradford.

Others posted snippets of their work: Gwen Gardner, LG Keltner, and Christine Rains. Nick Wilford even wrote his day by day, using words suggested by commenters that corresponded to the letter of the day!

And some other cool themes included Mary Montague Sikes’ animal painting a day, Father Dragon Al’s dwarves preparing the Dragon Cave for the tour, Golden Eagle’s daily science, Clarissa Draper’s mind puzzles, and Elise Fallson’s “ology” series.

I confirmed my geek twin in Lynda Young - scary how similar our tastes and how much we have in common!

There were a few who had really long posts. We encourage short posts, but I wonder if we shouldn’t suggest a word count, such as 200-400?

I didn’t encounter word verification very often, which was great!

Comments and blog visits:

This deserves a section all by itself!

Many people see a surge in comments during the Challenge. I normally post every other day, so mine tend to dip a little, which is fine.

I knew I was in trouble when my A post garnered 263 comments. (And since I reply in batches, about 250 of those were unique.) I may have clones, but no way I could keep up with that.

And the comments didn’t dip below average until the end of the third week.

Whoa…

I told Lee, I think there may be such a thing as too popular.

Every day my Blogger Buddies folder in my reader would hold 150 or more posts. Add new followers and comments, plus my section of the Linky List, and you’ll start to get a feel for my daily experience. I’ll admit it was more than I could handle, and I had to skip a few blogger buddies now and then just to maintain.

So for anyone I missed or did not return your comment, I’m sorry! Next year I’ll make more clones…

Did anyone else drown in comments?

Overall, another amazing year! Lee, thanks again for your vision. 

As for VikLit’s Celebrating the Small Things – I’d say surviving the Challenge qualifies!!



What were you thoughts now that the Challenge has ended?

Do not sign up now! Wait until you have posted your Reflections and then come back to add the exact link to your post.




Enjoy May’s IWSG posts? What are your thoughts on this year’s Challenge? Did you make some new friends? Have any issues? What themes were cool to you? Ready for next year? Who else went into hiding on Thursday?

And who else is seeing Iron Man III this weekend? I won’t be seeing it until Saturday as I’m seeing something even better tonight. Will explain next week…

145 comments:

L.G. Keltner said...

Thanks for mentioning me here! I loved reading your posts for the challenge, and it doesn't surprise me that it took you so long to put each one together. The fact that you put so much time and effort into it just shows how cool you are!

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

An excellent reflection post Alex, our fourth together ( we shall have to stop meeting like this...lol)

Here's to next year.

Yvonne.

Donna Hosie said...

Thanks for mentioning the cover, Alex. My own reflections post is coming, but in the meantime, Iron Man 3 is awesome.

J.L. Murphey said...

I addressed my comments about A to Z this week on my blog as you well know. Alex, I want to thank you for your continued support.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Great reflection, you really are a wonderful blogger Alex. Ellie's ..Ologies had be laughing all month long. I have added so many bloggers to my blogroll I have to sit over the weekend and pick the best for my top 100. Didn't realize I had over two hundred on my blogroll before I even started until I had like another 100. Yes, I'm nuts. Thanks for commenting on my A-Z posts.

And completing the challenge is definitely something to celebrate.

Jeremy [Retro] said...

i did a horrible job, had some great folks stop over and say hello... i wasn't able to keep up, though i did appreciate everyone's comments. i am going to make that my topic of reflection... i think this year i played better behind the scenes as one of our co-host. mostly cause of unforeseen issues, we all did a great job and... to those who need it, my thoughts and prayers to them and their families...

i think that makes sense...

Misha Gericke said...

I ended up unable to keep up at all. Which is probably the reason why I think this was my last challenge.

It's fun, but now I'm starting to feel like it's taking too much time away from what I should be doing in April.

Ray Rousell said...

Although I didn't take part, I enjoyed reading your posts. Don't know how you found the time to post let alone read all your comments!!!

Patsy said...

I didn't take part in the A to Z but I enjoyed the many posts I read.

Melanie Schulz said...

I think this is the first time in a month I've been in the top ten on your comments list. But maybe not, maybe someone will jump in while I'm typing this. Just wanted to say thank you for all your encouragement during this challenge. I have no idea how you do all that you do.

Brinda said...

There were a lot of very interesting posts and themes out there. I can't imagine how people had the time to write LONG posts...???

mlswift.me said...

Reading your reflection on the A-Z showed me how successful a project it was! WOW!! I've still got all of mine mostly written, so I'll be doing it next year. I went to a lot of them this year, and they were great! I really liked your theme.

"I’m just a dude with a blog, a guitar, and a couple books trying to do his best…" You see, Alex, you're so much more than that, but that one sentence shows me what a fine man you are. It's things like that that made me follow.

Plus...I'm learning so much from you on how to handle hosting hops and fests and getting it all done (without going crazy). I just have to get my visiting downpat like you have.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Seeing something better tonight? Enjoy! That sounds fairly mysterious, though. :)

Congrats on the challenge...that's a ton of time to put into each post, and add commenting into that and...it's a full-time job!

Annalisa Crawford said...

I was impressed that you still had time to visit my blog, even though I wasn't taking part. And now I've seen your numbers, I'm even more impressed. Your theme was great: it was a thrill to be included, and I discovered some new bloggers too. I hope you give yourself a small rest before normal service resumes!

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I loved your theme Alex. And I was so incredibly honored to be among on of your blogging buddies that you mentioned. It was the highlight of my A-Z Challenge. Thank you so, so much. I really enjoyed posting so much, but like you ended up drowning in the comments. I still have a list of 40ish blogs I'll be visiting in the next couple weeks because I fell so far behind. Either way, I really enjoyed the challenge far more than I anticipated. Thank you for all of your hard work!!!

Man O' Clay said...

Alex, thanks again for all your hard work - it doesn't go unnoticed. April was, well, a challenge. But I now have a rough draft to a short story that I think is okay. It was worth it!

Sandra Almazan said...

Four hours per blog post? Impressive, but I personally would rather work on my stories.

There is a chance I might actually see Ironman III tomorrow, but I have a feeling my friends would rather watch something else. So close to re-entering pop culture, but so far...

Jemi Fraser said...

Even though I love the challenge and think it's a fantastic idea, I didn't participate this year. Last year I lost all my writing time to keeping up with the comments and blog buddies' posts. and I still didn't feel I visited enough new people (I tried to add in 3 a day). Responding to 250 comments is incredible! You did an amazing job both with your theme and with your responses!

Heather M. Gardner said...

Nice post!

It was great as usual.

Your posts were so cool.

Thanks for all your hard work.

Heather

Yolanda Renee said...

Being recognized on your blog was the highlight for me.

I haven't decided regarding next year, I'll probably wait till next year to decided. :)

Would love to go see Ironman this weekend, but will most likely wait for the video release. I need to find someone else interested.

Have a great weekend, and congratulations on your successful A to Z blogging!

Donna K. Weaver said...

You're just amazing, Alex.

And I can't wait for Donna Hosie's new book. I so enjoyed her series.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Wow Alex 260 comments??? I can't even imagine! I think next year I will participate in the A-Z. By the way I am going to be doing my top-10 movies post soon (a little late to the party on that one, I know).

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, LG! And I really enjoyed reading your story.

Yvonne, next year!

Donna, you're welcome, and I look forward to the movie.

JL, and you did so well!

Sheena-kay, I need to organize mine as well.

Jeremy, you had a lot you were dealing with - I think half the team was hit with crap this past month.

Ray, it wasn't easy.

Brinda, that's a good question!

Mike, really appreciated your post - thanks. At least you are set for next year now. And always willing to help anyone with blogfests and such.

Elizabeth, almost! Good thing my workload at my job was light in April.

Annalisa, I will enjoy a break tonight!

Kimberly, you are most welcome! Maybe we can both catch up.

Sandra, I have nothing to write now anyway. And my friends were more important.

Yolanda, you are welcome!

Optimistic, please join us! And will be watching for your movie post.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I thought Nick's and Julie's themes were great, too! And I still don't know how you managed to do yours... :)

I didn't mind if regular blogger buddies didn't visit quite so often during the Challenge because I knew they were off visiting bogs on the list. I just hope everyone comes back! :)

randi lee said...

Alex, I've missed your posts! I promise to catch up and read the rest of the challenge posts I've missed once I finally get a post up of my own (it's been a good two weeks.) Following your A to Z challenge has been great fun. I especially loved the fact that you highlighted other bloggers. That was really great of you! Also loved your top movies because so many of them were faves of mine as well. Anyway, I hope all is well with you and I look forward to catching up on some reading!

Justine Dell said...

That's it. I'm doing this next year. Nothing will stop me. NOTHING, I SAY!

Thanks for being such an awesome Ninja, Alex.

~JD

Jo said...

I had problems keeping up so how on earth you did so I fail to comprehend. You did though, and you even managed to visit and comment all through the challenge, I am impressed with both you and your clones.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm always amazed at your number of comments. It takes me a fair amount of time just to scroll through them all to get to where I can comment. :)

L.G. Smith said...

I enjoyed the A to Z as an observer this year. But, wow, everyone I knew was posting six days a week. There was no way I could keep up with everyone's posts. I hit most once or twice a week maybe (I was supposed to be on a break after all). Don't know how you kept up.

And thanks again for including me in your A to Z theme! It was an honor. :)

Laura said...

I couldn't keep up with my comments and I didn't have nearly as many as you did, so I don't blame you there! I think the next month will be spent going through my comments and visiting people I haven't had the chance to yet :)

Pat Hatt said...

I admit, even having the posts done months in advance, keeping up with all the blogs and the comments and replying to each one, was quite the task indeed. But made some new blog friends along the way so surely worth it at the end of the day. And word count? Pffft the cat is too wordy haha

Shell Flower said...

Dude, even with clones that's a lot of comments to keep up with. It would be a little scary to be that popular. ISWG was amazingly awesome this month, too, surprisingly. I thought a lot of folks would be too burn out to do it, but I had more comments than ever. Blogging isn't dead!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Madeline, I hope they all come back as well!

Randi, just glad you are back!! Thanks.

Justine, join us!

Thanks, Jo.

Charles, sometimes they scare me.

LG, you are most welcome!

Pat, your posts were never too long.

Shell, not dead at all! Tons of IWSG posts.

M. J. Joachim said...

Your theme was wonderful, Alex. I met some really neat bloggers here. It was only my second year, but I think the challenge was so much easier to navigate this year. Even though I'm still overwhelmed with the number of participants, and I still have a list to continue hopping through, it was so much easier than last year.

Al Diaz said...

I already said it but I'll say it again because dragon likes to brag. I already saw Ironman III, hahaha.
Anyway, I think what you are able to do is not something everyone can do. Visiting all those sites, responding to all comments (even the normal ones). My experience with the blitz and even the visits resulting from your featuring me (suddenly rushing above 100) was enough to make me realize I am no Alex Cavanaugh -even if we share our first names-.
I do have a lot to say about my first time experience in the Challenge. I'm just working on the approach.
I left an answer to your comments in the cave, whenever you have time, go back to check. :)

Ella said...

Enjoy your something better ;D
Sounds fab!
It was a great challenge-I wish I could of commented more, but there is always next year :D

Great job as always Captain! I am trying to recruit some of the Navy so I can compete with you, lol!
Navy vs. Ninjas...nah! tee,hee

Rusty Webb said...

4 hours per post. You are a man of iron! I really enjoyed your month.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - you have an amazing blog touching on so many subjects - many of which I am at a loss about .. but that's just showing my age! I collect one or two bloggers as I go through ... books, shows etc ..

Congratulations though and so pleased you're around - helping so many deservedly so.

You have a knack of selecting just the right aspect of a blog post and incorporating it into your comment .. something I need to learn.

Thanks for all the visits and todays .. cheers Hilary

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

There were too many great blogs. I agree with you about the suggestions for short posts. I loved getting all the comments but I was no where near your number.

mshatch said...

I am glad the challenge is over but it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot not only from researching my own posts but checking out others. I also found some new fun peeps to follow which is always a bonus. Definitely agree that there were some long posts that I just couldn't wade through and so skipped to the next. I tried to keep mine as short as possible altho I expect I went over the 400 words here and there :)

jaybird said...

This was my first year and I really learned a lot. I found a lot of great new blogs and made some new friends- but it is definitely called a Challenge for a reason!

Laura Eno said...

I can't even begin to fathom how you do it all, Alex, even with clones! Your theme rocked and it was great to meet the people you featured.
The people featuring the worlds they're writing about were cool. A chance to learn more about their worldbuilding.
The dwarves preparing the dragon cave at Al's were fun! And I'm not sure I'll ever forgive the 26 days of cookies at Scribbles from Jenn or Hilary's feasts at Positive Letters. :)

Beverly Fox said...

Boy, and I thought I was overwhelmed with blogs to comment on! Sheesh!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

How you do all this and work a day job is astounding to me!

There are some 3rd world countries with fewer folks in it than our challenge.

My reflections on the Challenge were posted on the last day: A IS FOR ADIEU.

I had fun -- sorry that some of my posts were long -- as in your kidnapping into Outer Space by the ghost of Mark Twain!

I found old friends, discovered new ones -- and realized I like doing things backward. :-)

May the rest of this year bring nothing but happy surprises to all of us!

Debra McKellan said...

Whoa. That's a lot of comments.

That trilogy looks interesting. I like brother/sister stories. I will have to add it to my Goodreads.

Em-Musing said...

Being that I didn't participate this year and only checked in a few days to read other's posts, I appreciate the recap. Have a great weekend.

michelle said...

I don't think that anybody laughed as hard as I did, in this year's challenge. I had the time of my life!
The downside is that I didn't really get to visit new blogs... I was too busy responding to comments on my blog. The good thing is that I definitely forged stronger bonds with some bloggers.

Writer In Transit

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I honestly do not know how you do it. Father Dragon said if I left a joke I could get a dwarf...we'll see if that helps.

Deniz Bevan said...

I loved doing the challenge this year, I think it was the liveliest one I've been in. Fun being a minion of an assistant too!
Only one snag - some lovely people commented on my blog, but when I clicked on their names I got a "this profile is locked" type message. I feel badly that I was unable to see their blogs!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Alex, thank you so much for following my paintings for the Challenge. They took a lot of time--I should have known:), but I loved finally trying to create a Painting a Day! The down side was that I didn't have time left to visit as many blogs as I wanted because there wasn't any time left.

Thank you for being the supportive Ninja Captain King!

Mary Montague Sikes

Rhonda said...

Great reflections post, and congratulations on being too popular. After reading this post, I wonder if my AtoZs were too long as a few came close to 500 words. Your theme was really enjoyable. Thanks for hosting, thanks for all the visits.

Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com

Elsie said...

Congrats to all those who participated. And, yes, I think a word count would be a great idea for you guys. I don't see how you can visit everyone in a challenge or link list and read a 1500 word post.

Tyrean Martinson said...

The Challenge was awesome, as always. My ability to keep up ...well, that's another thing. I'm going to be slowly making the rounds through that A to Z list as the year goes on. I definitely made some new friends and saw some cool themes including yours, Diane's Michael Di Gesu's, Father Dragons and Mark Means'.

I would love to see Iron Man, but my weekend is already crazy full - if my oldest daughter gets over the flu in time for her 8th grade graduation. If she doesn't, we still won't see Iron Man, but we'll watch some movies at home.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I would have a heart attack if I had that many comments.

Thank you so much for mentioning me.

S.K. Anthony said...

It certainly qualifies as a big celebration and you did such a wonderful job I can't wait to see what you do next year. Well, I can wait for you to rest and come up with ideas to top it off lol

Have a great restful weekend ;)

Julie Luek said...

Everyone worked hard for the A-Z series.. congrats to everyone. And the article by M.L. Swift was well said and deserved.

Leovi said...

Yes, wonderful results in your challenge, no doubt you've worked hard and are well deserved!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I think the challenge was a huge success, but I agree that you need more help if it continues to grow, Alex. I could have handled more as a minion. 30 to 40 would have be okay.

I don't know how you do it. There's is no way I could keep up.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

MJ, glad it was easier to navigate.

Al, I'll see it soon enough! Glad you had a lot of visitors that day. And just went back to see your answer - that is really cool.

Rusty, does that make me Iron Man?

Hilary, I do? Thanks.

MsHatch, yours were all very short.

Laura, hopefully the Eat Healthy Bloghop will offset Jenn's cookies!

Roland, most of yours just look long due to the space, like mine.

Michelle, there were some funny definitions!

Deniz, that's a bummer!

Mary, your paintings were wonderful.

Rhonda, you had a lot of pictures though.

Tyrean, I hope she makes her graduation.

Thanks, Julie.

Joylene, you were awesome.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I only did the challenge once, and I was surprised how hard it was to blog every day. Add to that, blogging something people will want to read is a challenge. I was really impressed with the quality of posts this year. No one disappointed. Congrats to all. Thanks, always, for your hard work, Alex.

xoRobyn

Suze said...

Gosh, Al. I read your reflections with a sort of awe. I can't believe you still made it over Subliminal every time I posted in April even though I wasn't posting for A-Z, just going around to participants' blogs to comment. My non A-Z posts were all well over 400 words. You amaze me with your loyalty to your friends -- as many of us as there are!

Have a great weekend, bud.

ilima said...

So many great A to Z themes. I'll have to take notes for next year.

I'm watching Iron Man tonight. I think my husband is going to explode with geeky excitement.

Lisa said...

Can't wait to see IM3! Great comments on the blog challenge, and your explanation of what you had to do for yours made me really appreciate what you do. I will work on shorter blog posts from now on and not just for the challenge. I did get better towards the end! The posts from the IWSG were/are good and I've enjoyed the back and forthing of them. Still checking in on some I missed... Thursday I didn't post on my blog, but I still visited others and commented. This is addicting.

Carol Kilgore said...

I loved participating in the Challenge and meeting so many new people. I averaged visiting about five new blogs every day from the list, and received about 2-3 new visits most days to my blog.

I received about 40 comments every day and I responded to each on my blog and back on theirs. I can barely keep up with that, much less write. I have no clones.

So the downside is zero fiction written during April.

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

Congratulations on your fourth year Alex!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Awesome that it went so well for you. I think it's in large part because of what a great blogger friend you are.

I enjoyed reading the posts though I didn't come everyday and even what I did took a lot of time. I'm glad it's over, so I can write more. I was worried my own blog would be quiet since I don't participate but was happy to see it was a super busy month.

Elise Fallson said...

You put a lot of work into this challenge and it shows. Loved your posts. I'm glad the list will stay up so I can continue visiting blogs I didn't get a chance to during the challenge. And thanks for the mention, glad you liked the ologies. (:

Andrew Leon said...

There is a -small- possibility that my posts will be shorter next year because of the theme I'm considering, but, then again, it's me...

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I loved all of those themes you mentioned and Michelle Wallace's wild vocabulary theme as well. Oh, and DL Hammonds. Those were great ones.

I learned tons this AtoZ!

Jackie said...

This year, the A to Z challenge was different, in that, I was prepared. Last year, I didn't schedule my posts ahead. Talk about stressful!

Empty Nest Insider said...

You did an amazing job hosting and creating a wonderful theme for A to Z! I can't believe how much you've accomplished! I'm still trying to get caught up.

Julie

Suzanne Furness said...

Even though I didn't take part in the challenge I visited quite a few posts and was amazed by the diversity and work that had gone into them. I visited some new blogs and found some new buddies so enjoyed taking part from the sidelines. Well done to all involved.

J. A. Bennett said...

You, too popular? Never! Your theme was awesome. I gained a few new friends becasue of you :)

SC Author said...

Wow! Congrats, it looked like it was a huge success!

Alexandra Heep said...

The hardest part for me was dealing with my computer. It is hard to visit some big sites that challenge this old piece of you know what. I did return every comment though. Since I had a maximum of 8, that was not too bad.Although, on a bad day that could take at least an hour.

roe2me said...

Wow you're super busy. All I did blog wise today was post photo excerpts for my novels and comment on blogs. It's great you enjoyed A-Z Blogging Challenge. Thanks for commenting on my IWSG post. Congrats Donna on your latest book and excellent work Ninja Minions.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Enjoyed all your posts, Alex. I think you deserve a tiny break.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Suze, I didn't want to forget my friends during the insanity.

Ilima, I know I am!

Carol, I don't think anyone did much writing.

Natalie, that's good to hear!

Elise, you're welcome.

Andrew, make it so...

Jackie, that would be stressful!

JA, that's good to hear!

TS Hendrik said...

I didn't drown in comments like you did but then I wasn't able to get around to other people's blogs like I'd planned on. Life kept getting in the way. I'll say this for the challenge, I had been thinking of quitting blogging, if I hadn't pre-written all the posts for the month, I probably would have. So the challenge kept me going.

You're going to reach a point where you have to get a ghost commenter to hit sites for you with as many blogs as you follow. Cheers on a great theme Alex. I didn't comment often but I did read all your a-z posts. Loved the way you tied your favorites to bloggers.

Anne said...

I agree, there can be such a thing as too popular. When you have trouble keeping up with those core people you can become overwhelmed. I don't do anywhere near what you do and I have no idea how you handle it all. You remain consistently charming with each person you comment on.

Cherie Reich said...

That's a good idea to have post word limits. It could be useful.

And I'm still drowning when it comes to blog comments. But I will get to everyone. It might just take a while. *sighs*

Carrie-Anne said...

None of my A-Z posts had above 25 hits, and the most amount of comments I got for any one post was 10. I'm still wondering how some bloggers routinely get like 20+ comments on every post, to say nothing of 100+!

T. Drecker said...

I wish I could see Iron Man this weekend! Thanks again for the challenge (I'll ignore the new gray hairs it gave me), it was amazing. And love Donna's book. Have you seen all of them lined up together? -beautiful!

Gail said...

I am glad it was such a success. I am not surprised.

Tami Von Zalez said...

I agree on keeping posts short, I probably missed some excellent writing by clicking out of a long-winded one.

From one AtoZ cohort to another ~ cheers!

thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

Julie Flanders said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Alex!
I think this was my favorite Challenge yet, possibly because I really enjoyed being a Minion. You and the rest of the hosts did a wonderful job as always.

Enjoy Iron Man 3!

The Golden Eagle said...

Thank you so much for the shout-out! :)

I met several new people through the Challenge. Not as many as in past Challenges, but that's my own doing since I didn't visit as many new blogs as the past couple of years.

LD Masterson said...

I wasn't a participant but I enjoyed the A to Z as a spectator.

I'll be eager to hear your comments on Iron Man 3. No time for me to see it this weekend.

Melissa Bradley said...

I was going to write my reflections post, but I am exhausted and will do it on Monday along with announcing my field trip to the Ninja cosbolt.

There were so many cool themes and I am still visiting blogs. I hope to make all of them before the year is out.

Sarah Chafin said...

Great reflection post. I think the 200-400 word count sounds like a good idea. Overall I thought that the challenge was amazing.

Johanna Garth said...

Even though I missed a big chunk of April I loved coming back and reading all the cool themes. Some really talented writers out there which always inspires me.

farawayeyes said...

As you know, I wimped out and did not participate in the Challenge this year, BUT I did enjoy it, by reading the posts of others. Some really great themes this year. a

Alos, I didn't work off the list and try to visit a tone of new people, but all the same many bloggers like yourself introduced me to some awesome bloggers.

All in all in was a win/win situation for me.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Alex, this was an amazing year and yeah some of the posts were way too long. A limit would be a good idea.

Christine Rains said...

The Challenge was fantastic this year. I didn't get to as many new blogs as I wanted, but I did meet some very cool new people. I think going through the linky list is an all-year round job! Have a wonderful weekend. :)

Christine Rains said...

Oh! And thank you for the shout-out. I'm happy people liked my snippets because I did cut them down a lot compared to last year's posts.

Liza said...

This was the fourth A-Z? This says so much Alex, when so many other bloggers have dropped off. I've said it before. You are amazing.

Jay Noel said...

I did A-Z for the first time last year because of your recommendation. I love finding new blogs to check out and follow.

It's the best part!

Jean said...

You are a great inspiration and I enjoyed hanging out with some of your awesome minions, too.
xox jean

Jean said...

OMG__Ironman III O can't even type! I forgot!!!!! aggghhtrrrrhhh!!!!
jean xox

Rob Z Tobor said...

Well done, I think this many comments would scramble my mind, luckily or unluckily depending on how you view it I had fewer page views in April and comments were in general limited to my die hard follows.

Keep up the good work I am impressed.

Rob Z Tobor

M Pax said...

I'm glad you had a good experience. Me, not so much.

I visited 5x more folks w/ hardly and visits back. I gave up by Q and went back to visiting friends. I know some folks have hang ups about visiting sites outside of blogger. So, I'll attribute this to a blogger blogfest thing and at this point, I wouldn't do it again.

LynNerdKelley said...

Alex, you are a lean, mean, bloggin' machine! Surely you have some kind of super powers. I'm blown away at all the work you did for the A to Z posts, plus keep up with the comments and new followers and others who didn't even do the challenge. What an inspiration to other bloggers. I'm sure those 26 bloggers you featured were on Cloud 9 when they saw your posts about them. Very awesome way to pay it forward. Have a great weekend and catch up on some R&R!

Helena said...

I wasn't a participant but I really enjoyed reading blogs with the A-Z challenge. So if nothing else, I'm pretty good at being a blogfest groupie.

Jeff Hargett said...

My reflections post goes up at midnight. If I'm still conscious then, I'll post the link. Otherwise I'll do so tomorrow.

I read Mike's spotlight on you, Alex. Nice indeed!

Cathy Keaton said...

You're amazing to be able to do something like this, Alex. I could never handle it. Congrats on getting through it and hosting it, even!

Jai Joshi said...

It seems to me that the A-Z challenge was a wild success! Congratulations, dude! And while I'm sure the minions helped out loads, there's no denying that you're the inspiration behind a lot of it.

Jai

Scribbles From Jenn said...

250 comments??? Yikes! Of course all those kind words couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Glad to have survived another challenge, too.

The Desert Rocks said...

Thanks for the badge. I'm glad I survived! Seems I didn't have a surge of visitors but that's okay because the best part for me was meeting new bloggers and seeing new ideas. Congratulations to you for being too popular!

Patricia Lynne said...

The challenge this year was amazing. I'm glad I went with a theme. I may not have had as many comments as you, but I was happy with the amount I got. =)

Cassie Mae said...

I'd say it was another successful A to Z year. :) You are too hard on yourself because you are seriously amazing to visit a million people and still respond to your own comments. I challenge you to give yourself a good fist bump and tell yourself you're awesome. Then take a breath ;)

Clarissa Draper said...

Thanks for mentioning my blog. It really means a lot. I had a lot of fun this last challenge month.

klahanie said...

Hi Alex,

A good reflective reflections post. And I know a lot of the folks you have highlighted here. Some excellent themes.

Your theme was admirable and altruistic. Indeed, good sir, your ideals are what we share.

My concerns about the A to Z was that a number of people wrote postings that were far too long. I was very concerned from my observations, the amount of folks who put themselves under too much pressure. That needs to be addressed. People need to relax and brevity might be a good start.

I was so concerned about those under pressure, that my underlying alternatives to the A to Z was to hopefully give some light-hearted relief to those who were or weren't struggling with it all.

I know you drowned in comments. I can relate to that in my own way, even though I of course, didn't participate. Like you, I was commenting on in excess of a 100 people per day. On top of commenting back to each person on my site, an entire day was gone.

If there is another A to Z, I would hope that all folks join in with the intention of a sharing, caring community. Kudos to you and all those who participated.

Now can we please have blogland back. Thank you :)

Happy weekend to you.

Gary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

TS, don't want you to quit!! That is unacceptable.

Anne, thank you!

T, yes I have.

Julie, you're welcome. And it's different when you're involved, isn't it?

Golden, you're welcome.

Melissa, Monday will rock!

Faraway, glad you made new friends that way!

Christine, you're welcome.

Liza, thank you.

Jay, cool!!

Jean that made me laugh.

Mary, I'm sorry!!

Thank you, Lynn.

Helena, we need those.

Jeff, it was amazing.

Patricia, no one wants as many comments as me...

Cassie, did that and more!

Clarissa, you're welcome.

Gary, many have mentioned shorter posts, and we need to address that. I tried not to stress, but you understand my plight. I keep trying.

Erin L. Funk said...

I didn't participate in the challenge, but I read a lot of other bloggers' A-Z posts and thoroughly enjoyed them. Twenty-six consecutive posts is a long haul and you guys did great!

Robin said...

I will do a Reflections post. I have been going non-stop since the A to Z ended that I haven't had time to post anything. All of the stuff that I put off during the A to Z caught up to me.

VikLit said...

Great reflections post! Definitely worth celebrating completing the challenge ;)

John Wiswell said...

A limit starting at 200 words would be too short for me and would cut most of the really interesting posts I ran into. I guess it depends what people want out of it, and what they want to accomplish with their posts. I wonder if there is a way to sort by length intention...?

You did an amazing job across the blog hop, Alex! Thank you for all of your work.

Teresa Coltrin said...

It was a very busy month, ole April. I thought about giving up a few times, but I'm not normally a quitter. It is tough though. The posting is the easy part, the visiting and following others then going back to the new followers who have returned every day to yours -- gets complicated.

I wanted to visit more blogs than I did. But, I did visit hundreds. I'll have to figure out how many I visited.

Sandy Campbell said...

I had a lot of fun! I am looking forward to next year, and when does the list pop up for that?

Did my reflection yesterday, and I must say will miss terribly the day to day blogging...Wish something else would pop up! Lol...

Sandy

Nancy Thompson said...

As soon as Thursday rolled around, I jumped on a plane. Not getting good Internet so I can't post a Relections commentary. As for The Challenge itself, I'm glad I finished, but I was too busy to make to many blogs. After a while, I just kept to my few most precious friends. Thanks for the mention. Believe it or not, highlighting my book was not my intention, but rather came in handy when I needed an example.

Brandon Ax said...

I wish I had caught it in time to join in, but I still was able to make the rounds and meet many cool bloggers, yourself included. I still remember coming to your blog and thinking, he really has no followers? How? Then boom, ninja army.

Allison said...

I loved your theme, Alex. Thanks for putting so much time and effort into it. I had a great first A-Z. And going to see Iron Man this weekend!

Allison (Geek Banter)

Milo James Fowler said...

Another successful AtoZ, Alex! I don't know how you managed to stop by my blog in addition to all of the others -- and I wasn't even participating this year. Much-appreciated, as always.

Leovi said...

This was my third year of challenge A to Z, and my reflection is an index where tolas include lyrics.

Red said...

I am looking forward to strolling the linky list. Last year I found more blogs to follow and some really interesting reading in the quiet time after the challenge. I am glad you leave it up.

Spacerguy said...

This year is the third challenge for me shooting the trek at readers. Jeremy Zombie did a great job co-hosting.

Its been an awesome time having everyone around for sips of saurian brandy with me warping over to their blogs. We had one heck of a party!

I've made friends but I agree there should be a word limit to encourage enthusiastic bloggers to keep it short and sweet. I felt like I deserved a prize after reading some marathon posts, LOL but seriously I just didn't have the heart to tell them. Small is beautiful.

Medeia Sharif said...

Sometimes it was hard to comment, but I ended up doing it every day. I enjoyed the different themes.

I love all of Donna's covers.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

John, I think sorting by length would only hurt those with longer lengths.

Sandy, always blogfests! Next year's list will open in January.

Nancy, your theme worked very well!

Brandon, yeah, scary big army.

Milo, you are a friend - I will always visit!

Red, that's when I intend to find more.

Spacerguy, I hear you!

Liz Fichera said...

My hat's off to all those who participated in the challenge. Maybe next year for me! :)

J.L. Campbell said...

I'd guess that you started putting your posts together way before the Challenge started, based on the combination post and feature you did.

I did make a few more friends, which is always good and it was a pleasure helping out.

Sherry Ellis said...

I think it was so nice that you featured 26 other bloggers in your A-Z posts! Very creative! This year was a double challenge for me. I'm in the middle of trying to move to Georgia, so it was extremely crazy trying to post and visit people. I'm afraid I didn't get to meet as many new bloggers as I would've liked.

Tina said...

Nicely done, Ninja Captain! Yes, I drowned. Certainly not on the same scale as you did, but with all the info@ emails (which of course ended up being long conversations as we worked out issues...) took a lot of my time, as well as co-host duties. I'm still returning comments and visiting visitors, but as I'm working through the reflections list, I'm hitting a lot of them that way. Wish I had more time...but don't we all!
Thanks for covering the list. Amazing job, once again.

Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Liz, would love to have you join us.

Joy, you were a big help, and yes, the Challenge portion of my posts were all completed before it began.

Sherry, moving sucks a lot of time.

Tina, considering what you were going through during the Challenge, I'm amazed you kept up at all! Well done.

Chuck said...

Alex, I for one have no idea how you do it. I knew when I read your theme and first post that you had to have spent a huge amount of time on each one.

Getting out and visiting and commenting and replying to comments and on and on....you must never sleep. Or you are sickeningly well organized.

Your minions were lucky to have you as their leader and I was lucky enough to always get a comment from you.

I must say though, your question about drowning in comments made me laugh very hard! I cannot even imagine 263 comments! And it would be a little scary to see that many.

I enjoyed the Challenge (and the challenge within the Challenge) and look forward 2014!

Lynda R Young said...

I didn't seek out many new bloggers during the challenge. I hard more than enough blog comments per day to handle. I still picked up a nice surge in new followers which was awesome. I should say this in my own reflections post. Hmmm, lol.
I'm a little slow leaving a comment here because well, I just needed a mini break over the weekend! hehehe.

Yay for the geek twins! Surprising, huh!

Denise Covey said...

I think you do need a clone Alex, but it wouldn't be the same, would it?
Donna Hosie's new book looks good.

EvalinaMaria said...

Too popular? Never! Thank you for being a great host and congratulations on keeping up with all the posts. Well done!
Evalina, This and that...

Gwen Gardner said...

Wow, thanks for the mention, Alex! I appreciate it. And I'm so proud of my survivor badge.

Your theme was one of my favorites, even though I don't really know much about movies. It gave me the chance to know some of the bloggers through your reflection. Awesome! Thanks for hosting!

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I finally got my Reflection post up. Huge accomplishment as far as I'm concerned since I've been down with one of those terrible colds for days. Arrg!

You're right about their being so many amazing themes this year. I wish I had a couple of clones just to visit more blogs.

Arlee Bird said...

I was probably down in comments, but I wasn't visiting as much as I should have been.

Having the assistants / minions is a great idea that I think we should definitely keep in the future.

It was a pretty great year I think.

Thanks for your dedication to the Challenge.

Lee
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Chuck, I will always visit you! Yeah, that was more comments than even I could handle.

Lynda, Super Geek Twins unite!

Gwen, you're welcome, and thank you.

Lee, want to borrow the machine?

Arlee, you know I will always be there!

Trisha F said...

I certainly didn't drown in comments, but I drowned in that massive participant list and my attempts to visit every blog on it! This was just not possible. Maybe next year if I schedule my posts (ha) I will have better luck visiting everyone. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey, Alex,

Just added my link/post....

Another successful A-Z challenge. CONGRATS to us ALL!

Kern Windwraith said...

Thanks, Alex, for all you do to make this challenge such a success. I'm so glad I decided to participate again this year.

I don't know about the word count thing. Quite a few of the posts I read and loved must have been over the 400 word mark, but because they were well written and entertaining, it didn't bother me at all. And, let's face it, if people don't want to read the whole post, they won't. That's what's great about A to Z--there's something for every taste!

Connie Gruning said...

This was my first challenge and I'm hooked! You and your minions did an awesome job!!!

Peanut Butter and Whine