This year, I was thrilled Lee asked me if I'd like to help host the challenge--this year has been bigger than last year---more than 1700 bloggers! I enjoyed working with the hosting team-- the constant flurry of emails became a pleasant part of my life pre-challenge.
The challenge itself was a bit of a blur, not only because the #atozchallenge noise on twitter swamped me, or that there were too many AZ blogs to visit and there was too little time, or that I was traveling and mostly feeling unwell throughout the challenge--- it was that I winged it all over again.
Despite all the best-laid plans of asking for prompts beforehand, matching photo-prompts with story-starters, and drafting all the posts date-wise--I unfortunately remained me.
The two things that kept me going through the challenge were the e-mails from co-hosts (a truly amazing team) and the comments from co-participants. On some days when I wanted to throw away the gauntlet,visit no one, make no posts and just go to sleep already-- the emails and the comments kept me going.
I can never thank my co-hosts enough.
Lee, the founder, and leader in all A-Z matters, Alex the Ninja cap'n, Tina the scheduling whiz, Jeremy the Badges and Banners creator, and the awesome co-hosts Konstanz, Karen, Jenny, Elizabeth, Matthew, DL, Shannon and Stephen who took care of all sorts of hosting issues small and big--- take a bow please, all of you--- the hosting team of A to Z:
Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird)
Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh)
Life is Good (Tina Downey)
Cruising Altitude 2.0 (DL Hammons)
Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins)
The Warrior Muse (Shannon Lawrence)
The QQQE (Matthew MacNish)
Author Elizabeth Mueller (Elizabeth Mueller)
Breakthrough Blogs (Stephen Tremp)Coming Down the Mountain (Karen Gowen)
As co-host I did the following in the duration of the challenge: (Things all of us co-hosts did, and need to strategise better next year)
Fought the battle of the Word Verification: I've lost count of the number of blogs on which I left comments requesting comment moderation instead of Word Verification. All co-hosts would tell you the same story. I was heartened to note that most participants had worked this out by the end of the challenge.
Fought the advertisers or lame bloggers who added themselves to the list with no intention of taking part in the challenge. Alex did most of the real work though---he manually deleted the bugs from the linky list. (I'm telling you that guy not just writes about distant planets, he probably is a benign extra-terrestrial from somewhere light-years away, with mind-boggling reserves of energy and patience.)
Made it my mission to tell bloggers to make it easier for folks to comment on their blogs. All of us co-hosts did. And again, nearing the end of the challenge, most participants got this.
Tweeted the Challenge via @AprilA2Z , and it was a pleasure reading all the A-Z posts tweeted up. A lot of bloggers helped spread word on the challenge on twitter, and to each one of them, I'm grateful. To those on Twitter not following us yet, please do, so you can keep updated on future A-Z plans.
For the challenge next year, we'd love your help on the above.
Tell us how we can improve, guest post for us at the A-to-Z Challenge site to help raise awareness, and if you have ideas on how you can help us organize better, let us know.
I'd like to end the post with a word of thanks to each and every person who commented on my A to Z posts. I would dearly love to pick a few, but I wouldn't, because this year, while visiting as many blogs as I could as a co-host, I developed a true appreciation of just what it takes to drop a comment a blog. And then to come back another day and do so again.
So all of you who were kind enough to comment on my stories, my heartfelt thanks. And because I really, really mean my thanks, here's an open invite to guest post on this blog or on my other blog Daily (w)rite. If you have commented on my A-Z posts, please feel free to write to me at atozstories at gmail dot com in case you'd like a guest spot. All guest spot guidelines here.
The A-Z linky list would be alive through the year, and I'm working my way through it all over again-- I'm grateful to each one of you who participated. I knew some of you from before, but would not have known a vast majority but for the challenge.
See you all here at my blog and at the A-to Z site, till we meet again for the challenge next year.