A to Z Challenge

Reflections for A to Z Blogging Challenge 2024 #AtoZChallenge #AtoZChallengeReflections

Learn more about the challenge here.

April is thankfully over. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but it was quite exhausting. (Just like every year, right?)

atoz 2024 winner badge

Let’s start with my blog posts.

Thankfully I had access to library systems or I’d never have been able to do this.

I’m glad I got the posts done before April, as the internet decided to stop working properly (see Instagram post below). I did have to go in and post some of them when the scheduling feature didn’t kick in for some reason (something with AI — it can’t be the internet not working, or Gremlins, for that matter).

A swirl of colour. Image credit.

My top commenters in April 2024:

And Susanne Matthews was my top “liker” in April.

My favourite blogs from April 2024:

Some old favourites, and a couple of new ones:


Besides scaring myself each day when I opened my blog to post on Pinterest? (Totally happened more than once.) All the research and writing I was able to do on the villains in my writing. I got a lot of ideas for some of my series moving forward. And I had a blast looking for modern culture examples for each of my monstrous fae. Also, I got a lot of reading done. So many good books had been languishing on my TBR for so long, and now I got the privilege to read them.

I learned a lot in this cabinet of curiosities called the A-Z Challenge. From learning about which plants I should sow when, to tragedies of war in the twenties, to book recommendations and more, I had so much fun (when I got the chance to read and comment on blog posts).


Before the month even began, the internet went down, so people had issues loading my website and commenting. Out of my control, yet irritating. ETA of the ships sailing to fix the cables are about now, so the cables should be fixed by the end of May… Some cables were broken because of seismic activity, others due to sabotage.

Some blogs were entirely in Italics. And though I liked some of the themes, I wasn’t going to put myself through the pain of reading so much Italics to read someone’s blog. #SorryNotSorry

Though I commented a lot, some of those comments went to the spam folder or had to be approved by the blog owner first — and several comments later (as in days later) it seemed that the blogger just ignored approving those comments and replying on them. What’s the point of taking part in a blog hop if that’s how you approach it? Personally, I checked my spam folder and and other places for comments once a week (usually the weekend) and replied on all those comments and visited back.

And on Goodreads, some of the books I had on my want to read list (TBR) was suddenly not meeting catalogue standards (as in: they’re not really books) so they couldn’t be reviewed. I had loads of discussions with the Goodreads Librarians to fix this issue that kept cropping up.

So maybe it’s mostly AI that’s the issue here…

How I approached this year’s A-Z

I made a copy of the Theme Reveal list and of the Master List and then highlighted my favourite theme reveals on the first list for future visits. Then I visited each participant on the Master List, highlighting in red those who weren’t participating/didn’t allow comments/were dodgy in some way (like broken links or website not working). I shared this list with Jayden who controls the spreadsheets to make her life a bit easier. Then I took a copy of my copy of the Master List and removed all the red, highlighted in green those from my Theme Reveal list, removed everyone who had a continuous story/marked adult content/had a theme I’m not interested in. That took the list from over 200 blogs to 100. Then I visited the blogs left on my list and decided whether I wanted to read the theme for the month or not. I whittled the list down to 25 blogs. And that is a reasonable number of new things to read about and keep up with for the month.

So I had a lot of comments on my A post as I had commented on everyone’s A post on the master list (if their blog allowed it). But after that, not so many. Each weekend, I’d go in and save comments from the spam folder, answer comments, and visit back for that letter the person had left a comment on. (Okay, so the first two weekends…)

During the week, I made sure I kept up with Instagram (my own and the A-Z one I manage for the team). Thankfully, all the graphics were made before April. It also helped that I had written and scheduled all of my A-Z posts before April.

Yeah, for those who don’t know: I joined the A-Z team as the graphics person. And I enjoyed it very much.

About halfway through the month, my health took a turn for the worse and I had to scale back on screen time. Each time bright light hit my eyes, a migraine attack soon followed. Not fun. I’m used to these things happening (anything from the season changing — which was now — to not sticking to my circadian rhythm can trigger a migraine). Combine that with some emotional stress from the month before, sinusitis and people getting a kick out of burning down the veld (wild fires), I was a bit of a mess. So I didn’t comment on blogs again until the final weekend… Let’s not get into how that all impacted my writing, my day job, and taking care of all of my animals (fur and feather babies).

But I did it.


Of course I’ll do this again next year. Not only do I love the energy of the challenge, I also get a lot of work and reading done. I’ll probably plan everything out (again) while all healthy and cheerful, then have to pivot at some point for health reasons. But it’s worth it.

So, that was this April’s A to Z Challenge. I look forward to hear what you liked about my posts, what you disliked and what you would like to see in the future. What was your favourite part of blogging during April? Any favourite themes or blogs?

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12 thoughts on “Reflections for A to Z Blogging Challenge 2024 #AtoZChallenge #AtoZChallengeReflections”

  1. I admire people like you who did everything, write, scheduled posts, before April. I wish I’m that kind of person but I like writing a post a day, it had became a challenge for me as I don’t post daily. And it is a challenge to comment on blogs continuous as there are problems that comes up like any ordinary day. I’m sorry to hear you were unwell during the challenge. But you carried on and that’s what mattered.

    I didn’t visit you as I was not interested in your theme, book recommendations, book reviews. Okay, maybe I’m not entirely sorry about not visiting as people can pick and choose which blog they want to visit. I was a bit lax this year with commenting and I was slightly sorry for that but I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the challenge this year.

    Congrats on finishing the challenge.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Have a lovely day.

  2. It’s awesome that you posted on so many books and completed the Challenge. I appreciate the comments you left on my posts. My biggest annoyance with some blogs was trying to comment and having to click on 20 photos of motorcycles, stairs and bicycles in order for my comment to get published.

  3. I appreciate that you explained your strategy for managing how/why you chose which of the blogs on the sign up lists to visit and read. I used a similar approach, but your strategy is much more efficient than mine.

  4. Eww what a lot of adversitites for bloging. Good for you to overcome all of them. I hope time will tame Goodreads and the Gremlins – I’m sure they are to blame for the mishaps, when it’s not the cyberworms gobbling up data.
    Your ideas as for how toio shave the list down to size are good, Thanks!

  5. Thank you for visiting my blog and thank you also for preparing the graphics and contributing to the success of the challenge.

    Congratulations on completing the challenge despite cable difficulties and migraines.

    This year I have found that wordpress have handled spam comments much more aggressively in the past. I have set all comments to be approved before they get added. I also used ot hsve a large number of spam comments and I needed to read them all because every now and then there would be a comment from a genuine reader. Recently all the spammy comments have disappeared and during the challenge there were one or two genuine comments in the spam folder from time to time. I worry that some genuine comments were weeded aggressively by the wordpress AI.

  6. Congratulations on navigating through the storm of difficult circumstances to finish the challenge. I, like you, was very intentional about my participation and was a little frustrated at times by others not being that way, but I’m an all in guy who shouldn’t expect everyone to be like me. I’m glad I did it this year but I think I’m done. I’m not a blogger. I’m a writer who didn’t write in April because I was busy blog hopping. Anyway, good on you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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