Monday, May 7, 2012

A to Z April Challenge: Reflections

I had never heard of the A to Z April Challenge until I stumbled into it.  Kathy of Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy was announcing her participation.  I was curious and followed the link.  The requirement that each entry be short sold me. Everyone had already started, but there was still time.  I signed up. 

But honestly, I got cold feet.  Hopping from blog to blog sent a clear message that most participants were professional and would-be writers, poets, homeschoolers, and crafters.  I began to doubt anyone would be interested in my family history.  I wrote an email to the hosts to say I changed my mind, but just before I hit SEND, I changed my mind again.  What the heck.  I don’t have that many readers anyway, so what difference would it make?  At least the daily letter would give me a focus.  I’d have fun by myself.

Now the organizers of the A to Z April Challenge want to know what I think.  So I’ll answer their questions.

1.       Did you meet new bloggers with similar interests? Are there any you would like to feature and share with others?

It turns out I wasn’t by myself.  Several participants visited me every day.  That’s so nice of them.  And I found new blogs that I looked forward to, and – I must admit – I was disappointed if they didn’t post first thing in the morning and I had to wait on them.    

·         Sue of Collectin Texas Gal is a family historian too, and her blog is an inspiring blend of research and creativity.

·        Dana of the Daily Dose writes about motherhood and writing.  I enjoy her humor and outlook, and she always responds to comments.

·         M. J. of Lots of Crochet Stitches posts beautiful pictures and instructions about crocheting.  I don’t crochet, but I looked forward to how she applied the challenge to her craft. 

·        Tammy of Heartstring Quilts is another crafter.  I don’t quilt, but I love quilts, and Tammy is a professional quilter.  I now come here to get my quilt-fix quilting vicariously with the best.

·        Lucy of Lucy B Goosey felt like a kindred spirit as she used the challenge to teach some grammar. 

2.       Did you enjoy posting daily? Was time management an issue?

Since I’m retired, I can write whenever I want, so posting daily is never a problem.  I went away for a week, so I had to write about 7 posts in advance because I don’t have my research on my laptop.  A few of those entries suffered as a result.  Yeah, they really did.

3.       Did you have a theme or did you wing it? Was it easy to come up with ideas for each letter, or were some harder?

My theme was the same as the focus of my blog:  family history. I have never been in love with my blog, but A to Z made me love it.  Within the structure of following the alphabet I had the freedom to be random with the people I wrote about.  Quite the paradox!  It was fun to be creative with challenging letters like Q and X.  The hardest letter for me was M.  (See Question #2)

4.       Did you stumble upon sites still using word verification? Did this prevent you from leaving a comment?  

Many participants still use word verification, but that doesn’t bother me.  I commented just the same.  I do not have it on my own site because I’m not worried about spam.

5.       What will you do different next year?

Right now I have no plans to do anything different with my theme.  I’ve gotten some ideas of different ways to treat the letters.  For example, Collectin Texas Gal was doing family history too, but instead of limiting herself to people’s names, she used letters for places or collective words like “S is for Sisters.” 

More reflections on the A to Z April Challenge are just a click away.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Sounds like you had fun with this. I know I agreed reading your posts. If it is done again I'd like to give it a try.

  2. Good to hear your reflections post.

  3. I am impressed with how well you fit your theme into the challenge.


  4. I'm glad you decided to participate. If you hadn't, I may never have found you in the blogosphere! I enjoyed your theme; family history is one of my interests as well.

    Thanks for mentioning my blog. That was really sweet of you. :)

  5. there are a lot of professional writers out there (I found it intimidating too, since I am not) glad you decided to stick it out! congrats on finishing

  6. Hi Wendy! I didn't know that you discovered it through me, but I am so glad that you did and that we have gotten to know each other better.

    I love how you tell your family stories, they are always interesting and full of fun little facts. It is neat to see all of the research that you have done and how you put everything together. Of course, I enjoy the pictures too.

    Did you know that many times you were my Dear Reader on this challenge. I would think, oh, I bet Wendy will like this one! I'll check out your new friends blogs too.


    Kathy M.

  7. I am soooo very glad I found your blog and the AtoZ Challenge! As Ambassadors for the 1940's Census Project and participants in the AtoZ Challenge, we were destined to meet, and of course our Family History Themes really cinched it. I looked forward to everyone of your Family Posts. It was a pleasure meeting your ancestors and reading about them through your interesting and fun facts as well as all the amazing photos.

    Thanks for mentioning CollectInTexas Gal in this 'Reflection Post'...I appreciate your reflections on my posts. I look forward to keeping up with your blog....Sue

  8. I enjoyed your A-Z posts. I especially loved the photos.

  9. Just finding your blog through the a-z reflections. My folks love geneology too. My dad has printed a binder with as much history as he could find on the Baker family. It is fascinating. Have you ever seen the show "Who Do You Think You Are?" about celebrities researching their ancestors? It's very good. Nice to have found you!

  10. Thank you, Wendy! I can't tell you how much I looked forward to your comments and encouragement during the challenge. Truth be told, I feel like I've made a new blogging buddy, and I'm really glad you still visit and comment on my blog. Who knows, maybe one day you'll pick up a hook and crochet - or not. You are still always a welcome visitor at my place:)

    As for your me that you had any trouble at all. I enjoyed discovering your blog and look forward to my visits here, which will continue, btw. This is a wonderful place to wind down and learn about real people from history, and you share your ancestry in such delightful ways. I'm so glad we were able to meet through the A - Z Challenge. That's the best part of the whole thing, making new friends. Don't you agree? Have a wonderful evening, my friend:) I'll look forward to visiting with you again soon!

  11. "that most participants were professional and would-be writers, poets, homeschoolers, and crafters." - You're not alone. My blog is a personal blog about our family life which to be honest I never thought anyone but family and close friends back in England would want to read. Turns out I was wrong or there are lots of voyeurs out there. ;-)

  12. Congratulation on finishing the challenge. I didn't visit all blogs during the challenge but, cross my heart, I'm visiting every single one with reflections post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Evalina, This and that...

  13. Thanks for the Reflections and most of all for being a part of the 2012 Challenge. You made a unique contribution to the event and this was actually one of the blogs that I revisited the most times.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out