#atozchallenge | Reflections of a two timer and what comes next.

I jumped in again and am now a proud two-time survivor of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. I learned from last year that the majority of my time would be spent visiting and engaging with other bloggers. I didn’t want to have something as pesky as actually writing a blog post get in the way which means that this annual one month challenge was in reality an intense two month process.

I researched, wrote and prepped everything in March while in April, other than some minor edits, I focused on all the social aspects of the challenge which is one of my favorite parts.

Click on any picture to jump to a slide show with hyperlinks to my A to Z Challenge Post associated with that image.

Many of my goals for participating in the challenge were similar to those that I set last year including:

  1. Expand My Content. I recently hit a few milestones on my blog including my first year anniversary and my hundredth post. Just as I celebrated completing my first A to Z challenge, I continue to be proud of and celebrate all the milestones I achieve on my site which now includes being a two-timer for the A to Z.
  2. Write Consistently. I am excited that I have successfully  maintained a regular and consistent blogging schedule (for the most part) but nothing compares to writing 26 days of content in one month. It’s always an adjustment to transition back to a normal blogging schedule but I always approach it with more inspiration after the challenge.
  3. Improve My Writing. I’m confident this goal will remain no matter how long I continue to write. There is never an end to getting better at writing. However, practice does help! This challenge improves my writing skills in two ways – all the writing that I do and all the reading that I do. I love stumbling upon other bloggers during the challenge who have fun, creative writing styles and engaging posts.
  4. Highlight Maine. While I had focused on Maine for last year’s challenge too, this year I drilled down and picked one specific area: Made in Maine. I enjoyed researching and learning more about my theme and it helped me build up another area of my site so it was a double win.
  5. Connect with Other Bloggers.  This is without a doubt my absolutely favorite thing about the blogging challenge. Getting to meet, engage with and learn from other bloggers. It was a little more difficult this year without the Linky List to visit every site as each letter had a new “list” to choose from and in the end I think a lot of those I connected with happened to have similar posting schedules to me so I was able to find them easier. But still, I did meet some awesome bloggers who I will continue to follow and support.

I took a few days off to enjoy achieving another successful year of participating in the A to Z Blogging challenge, but now it’s time to figure out what comes next as I continue to work on expanding and growing my blog.

As I finish up this recap, I wanted to again thank all my fellow bloggers for the support and encouragement they provided during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. As always, it motivated me and helped me stay on track. It really makes a difference when you know someone is actually reading and engaging with your posts. Thank you!


38 thoughts on “#atozchallenge | Reflections of a two timer and what comes next.

  1. lindamaycurry says:

    I first followed your blog last year because I knew I would have a very short time in Maine the following month. It was very short (one day on a cruise) but I have learnt a lot more about it from your blogs. Maybe I’ll get to go there again but it is a long way from Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy says:

    Congrats on making it through again – I got here last year through the Challenge, and I know a lot of my blogging friends came through doing the Challenge before. It’s a lot of work, but I felt it was well worth it (and now, I have upped the blogging to the point where I don’t have to participate to get the daily posts out and the like – so it has been very successful!).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Arlee Bird says:

    Congratulations on finishing your second Challenge!

    Your goals are in line with the primary points that I’ve emphasized throughout the history of the Challenge. Connecting with other bloggers is a big time investment, but in reality this is one of the main ways of getting readers for ones own blog. It’s a logic that many new bloggers don’t realize for a while and I think some never get it.

    Someday I hope we can get the list concept perfected to where it works well without an intensive labor process for the co-hosts. It’s always been my most important goal in making A to Z better.

    Thank you for providing your thoughts about the 2017 Challenge and thank you for participating in the Challenge during April.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      Yes, I certainly see where managing the list has a downside. Without the list I was still able to visit many other bloggers I’m just not sure I hit as many different ones as I would like but honestly I didn’t have a lot of extra time left over so it was probably moot for me in the end. I always love the challenge and the opportunity to connect with other bloggers.


  4. Katie thecyborgmom says:

    I really enjoyed your theme this year 🙂 Thank you for all the visits to my blog! This year was the first year that I didn’t have most of my posts written at least a week in advance…if I participate next year, I will need to be better prepared…I felt too overwhelmed this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I prepped more for this year’s challenge and I liked that it freed up more time to visit other blogs although it meant a lot of work in March too. It always amazes me how much time visiting, reading and comment actually takes. I enjoyed visiting your blog this year too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pamela says:

    Well done on your second year. I love how you highlighted so many great crafts people and wonderful things to see in Maine – it’s definitely on my list of places to visit in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Donna (@Girl_Who_Reads) says:

    I enjoyed your A-Z posts. I haven’t done my reflections post yet. It will be next week when I have my regular day to “write about whatever”. I think I too visited mainly those blogs that had a similar schedule as me, though I tried to get a variety. But it was hard to keep up with who I visited. I think a daily linky list would work better. That way you get only active posts without the mess of scrolling through all the comments. I’m going to try at least once a week to visit more blogs from the challenge. That way I get to see what their “regular” content is like. Girl Who Reads

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      It was a fun theme to research this year. I enjoyed learning more about local artisans and companies. I probably had enough material for three times as many posts. I’m sure I’ll use it someday.


  7. Arti Jain (@artismoments) says:

    Hey Karen, Thank you for visiting my blog.
    I must say your blog looks super impressive. Those hyperlink buttons look very inviting. I shall have a look –one post at a time.
    I’m intrigued about your focus this year–i.e. made in Maine. I like locally made things and try to find local artisans and artists whenever I travel to a new place. Even if I end up not buying anything, I end up meeting some very creative and fascinating people.
    Reflection Post

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mandy says:

    Lovely review post. I like how at the end of your post you listed goals as you move past A-Z. It’s really hard to get back into the normal “swing of things” after A-Z is over. I’ve been sick, so that’s really had an effect on me and my blogging the past two weeks. 😦 I love your made in Maine theme. Has that encouraged you to purchase more local since you’ve learned more about your home state? Can’t wait to see how you more forward from this challenge! 🙂

    With Love,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I did purchase more local stuff as I worked my way through my Made in Maine theme. It was a lot of fun.

      The challenge is always getting back to a good regular routine once it’s done. I’m still working on it and hope to gear up again this week.


  9. leannelc says:

    I didn’t do a Reflections post for the A to Z Karen – I think I was too exhausted by the end of it! But it did boost my page views and I met a few new friends (yourself included) and that was a big bonus. It’s such a relief to be back to my normal blogging schedule again – but who knows, maybe I’ll be back for a third go too in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Weekends in Maine says:

      I’m still working on my transition to my normal blogging schedule but hope to be back on track this week. It’s always exhausting at the finish of the a to z challenge, but usually by the time April rolls around again I’m ready to give it another shot. It’s fun to connect with other bloggers through the challenge.


  10. Louise says:

    Congrats on finishing for a second year in a row. I really enjoyed reading your posts throughout the challenge and learnt an awful lot from them – so thank you for that.

    I am impressed that your planning only took an extra month! If I do it again next year, I will certainly be writing in advance again and will give a bit more thought to structuring out again in advance as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jeanne Bryan Insalaco says:

    Congrats on your second year in the A to Z. They are so much fun! I know time gets away from us, and then April is here. This time I prepared 6 months out on my All About Nancy Drew posts and if I hadn’t, I’d never have been able to finish this year… as other things got in my way. I’ll be looking forward to what ideas you have for next year. Stay in touch. https://everyonehasafamilystorytotell.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

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