Straight talk from the sisters about blood, sweat and ink
2015 Blogging From A to Z Mission Debriefing
Mission Code Name: 3, 2, 1… BLASTOFF to Stellar Writing
Security Clearance: Unclassified
Mission Objectives: To meet new life forms and engage in shared and mutually beneficial discourse on a range of topics.
Mission Status: Success!
Co-Commander Rivera’s reflections report:
While it is never easy to commit a month to a venture of any kind, this team jumped into our second challenge with enthusiasm.
Pre-launch tips that worked: We feel the best thing we did this year was create the 3, 2, 1 theme. Having a predetermined post structure helped create continuity and make them easier to write. Creating a custom graphic also worked in our favor. Big smooch to my hubby who is our go-to guy for graphics. He also did our site favicon, the feather logo and our Weekend Coffee Share cup. Thank you, honey! The logo was amazing once everyone started promoting on social media using the official letter image, and made our posts stand out from the rest. Now that the challenge is over, we’ve had a number of requests from our friends to turn the 26 posts into an Ebook. The fact that we have a solid structure to each post will make that an easy transition, and we are considering the Ebook as a summer project.
Some of our mission highlights were:
Hitting our 400th post. May not sound like that many to some bloggers, but for us it was a huge deal. K is for Kittens! This was Heather’s favorite post to write, and it inspired me to write the goofy S is for Sins. The two lighthearted posts gave us a much-needed break from being so serious, and we think our readers welcomed a bit of comedy during the mid-month slump as well. T is for Trello! This one turned out to be our most popular post. Sharing great writer tools are something Heather and I feel passionate about. We know writers don’t have spare time, so when we find something that works we want everyone to know about it.
Comments meant the world to us:
Whenever people said a post was useful and they applied it to their own story, it made us happy. It was inspiring to see non-writers dropping in and talking about how our posts helped them make sense of a book they read. One of our top commentators was Sue Coletta. She was always upbeat and willing to share her own experiences and insights. In breaking news, Sue just extended an invite to us to guest blog on her Murder Blog and I have accepted. Another of our top commentators, Shawn Griffith from Down Home Thoughts, has submitted a pitch to guest blog for us and we have accepted. The benefits of comments can be far-reaching.
What we learned this month from others:
Heather selected my P is for Pinch Points post. She had never heard the term before. And as we learned from the comment section, she wasn’t the only one!
We also selected a wonderful new blog discovery made very late in the challenge, Brittany Constable’s blog. Brittany did a literary analysis of books/films with an eye towards advice for writers. The posts were well done and funny too. So please pay her a visit and spread some blog love.
I also want to give a huge shout out to Hannah Givens for her blog Things Matter and her A to Z posts on LGBT characters in comics. I hear lots of writers paying lip service to the “We Need Diversity” mantra. If you mean it get over to Hannah’s blog. And feel free to make a shopping list and support some fellow writers who are actually writing diversity!
Blogs we enjoyed:
Really there are too many to count. Some of my favorite themes were, the photo on Alex Hurst and Elizabeth Hain‘s blogs. And the monsters who ruled at Part Time Monster and Melissa Barker-Simpson‘s blogs. Way to rock the month ladies. But those are all trusted writers that I knew from outside the challenge! As for new blogs? Well, I subscribed to a few that really bowled me over, but as for the rest … well during the next few weeks I’ll be revisiting these discoveries, and reading what a normal blog post looks like. From there I’ll start to figure out who to follow full-time. I fear it may be a large number since I enjoyed so many blogs this year.
Heather’s favorite find was Pensuasion, a theme that pitted two movies against each other and had the readers vote on the which one was best. She liked it because it inspired so much reader involvement and it was fun to read the comments. The comments really are amazing during A to Z.
What didn’t go too well:
Some of the letters still challenge the crap out of us. Z is my nemesis. I licked it again this year by using a totally unrelated word to writing. Hopefully I made it work with Z is for Zymurgy. Heather struggled with the letter Q, but came up with the post Q is for Questions. Other than those two letters, we really didn’t struggle too much, and only two letters got changed to new topics from the original master plan we created in March.
I started the challenge strong and managed to visit over a hundred new blogs to me in the first half of the month, while also keeping up with my friend’s blogs pretty well. Due to a family crisis, I lost all my steam by the end of the month. I feel like I disappointed myself and my friends by slacking off on my blog visits, but my family needs to come first. I’m hopeful everyone understands.
Plans for next year’s A to Z Challenge:
A bit too soon for us to start planning, but we will both be on the lookout for a cool new theme, that’s for sure. Heather and I like the idea of writing something fiction based next year, but we don’t know how our readers would like that. However, next year is light-years away, we have time to weigh the pros and cons before we make any plans.
Wow, what a month. We adding so many new followers, and made some amazing new friends. The outpouring of support for the blog in the last few months has just been phenomenal. Today Heather and I make a very big announcement…
In the last four months we have equaled the blog traffic Write On Sisters did all last year!
We are grateful every day for every visit and for every comment. 2015 was the start of a whole new chapter in the Write On Sisters story, and we are humbled with the response. We couldn’t ask for better readers or blogging friends.
Robin trained as a professional historian and worked as a museum curator, an educator and historical consultant. She writes dark young adult fiction, with diverse characters. She's currently querying a novel, and working on two new manuscripts that started off as NaNoWriMo projects. You can follow her on Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/robin.rivera.90813) or on Twitter @robinrwrites. However, Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/RRWrites/) is where her inner magpie is happiest of all.
View all posts by Robin Rivera