My wife, Namratha, was the one who introduced to me to the AtoZ challenge last year. It didn’t matter then – I didn’t even have a blog. But she did participate and completed it successfully. Somewhere during last year’s AtoZ challenge, my blog was born. Wait, what?
See, this was actually supposed to be a dummy blog from which I intended to put ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on my wife’s blog posts. That’s the whole reason my blog has this unreasonably long and absolutely weird name – ‘Loose End of the Red Thread.’ I had absolutely no idea on what to name the blog, it was supposed to be a dummy one right? I was sitting with the WordPress signup page open on my bed, thinking about a blog name when I realized that I was tugging at, you guessed it, the loose end of the red thread from a pillow. And I was in the blog-o-sphere!
Somewhere in June, last year I decided to use this dummy blog as a repository for the stories running in my brain. The stats for the first few months was exactly five posts and five views (obviously Namy!). I wasn’t bothered too much, but somewhere in the corner of my mind there was a little irritation setting in. After being encouraged by my single reader in the world, I started taking part in bloghops and weekly challenges and slowly cultivated a few followers.
And before I knew, it was March again and the next edition of AtoZ Challenge was upon us. I decided on a theme (y’all should be knowing that by now. :D) and started writing with the aim of being ready when April 1 came. I had 17 posts done by March end.
The first week went rapidly – My posts were scheduled, I got a lot of reading done, commented on as much as 80~90 blogs a day. AtoZ was easy-peasy! What were all these people moaning about?
And then my laptop decided to screw me!
My less than a year old Alienware laptop just conked off, refused to boot. Along with it went all my unpublished stories for AtoZ. After a great first week, I was almost on the verge of quitting after G!
But then I was hit by a huge bout of indignation. How can a bloody laptop defeat human will?
So, I rallied. Armed with my six year old Dell laptop, I set upon writing stories afresh. I had even forgotten most of the stories I’d written for the AtoZ Challenge. But this was actually the best thing that could have happened to me. I realized my new stories were far, far better than the ones I’d written till now. So, Yaay!
Because, I was spending time on researching on various topics before writing the stories, I had very less time to read other blogs. From 80~90 a day, my reading came down to 20~25 a day.
Enough reminiscing, on with the reflecting…
- After completing the AtoZ challenge almost two times over, I’m a much more confident writer than before.
- I believe in reciprocity. If someone reads my post and comments on them, the least I could do is return the favour. I’ve tried my level best to visit the blogs of almost all the bloggers who have visited mine and commented on my stories. I know I haven’t achieved 100% in this regard, but I have bookmarked those I haven’t and I fully intend to read their posts in the coming weeks.
- One more thing I do religiously is reply to comments. In this, I have achieved 100% success rate. It’s basic courtesy, you know.
- A massive bloghop like AtoZ Challenge is an opportunity to get to know bloggers previously unknown to me. I’ve had the good fortune to meet quite a few of them – Sayan, Sonia, Shipra, Tina, Ruchi, Rohan, Roma, Meha, Suchita, Priya, Deepa, Stu, Debs, Tasha, Zalka, Sharri, Debbie, Emily, Medha and Jai. I also was reacquainted with bloggers like Akshata, Natasha, Balaka, Lavanya, Anagha, Iain, Keith, Sascha, Rowena just to name a few. I’m sure I have missed a few names here. Please forgive me. It was not intentional.
- One thing I did observe was quite few bloggers were concerned with their blogs not hitting expected targets in terms of page views or comments. Some were actually aggressive in hounding for comments. Guys, forget the metrics and write for the sheer pleasure of writing. In fact, I have produced some of my best work near the end of the challenge and those have not had the same amount of views or comments. It happens, guys! Like the Frozen princess sings – ‘Let it go!’ Visit other blogs, read, comment and leave a link there to your blogs. Do it gently, with respect. That will get you traction, trust me.
- A very special shoutout to my Twitter DM Group. You guys are awesome, you flat out Rock!
What else? Bit tired after April, need to catch a bit of break soon. I hope to see most of you guys across the blog-o-sphere. Cheers!
In case, if you haven’t read few of my posts, you can find them here.
Oh! Do check out Namy’s blog here. She’s awesome.