Monday, May 9, 2016

Looking Back on This Year's A to Z

During the month of April last year, I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge - one alphabet-themed post per day (except Sundays).  I had such a good time with it that I did it again this year.  My posts were loosely organized on the theme of downsizing, minimalism, and small-home living that I've learned in 14 years of living on a small boat.  I started with A is for Anchoring Out, Anger-ing Out, and ending with Z is for Zout en Zwarte Peper (Dutch for salt and black pepper). Now that the dust has -- sort of -- settled and I've caught my breath, a few thoughts I had on this year's Challenge.

Like many things in my life, this was a lot of work, and a lot of fun. And, like last year, I wrote all my posts on-the-fly. This I can't figure out. I knew better, I knew that I had committed to participating again this year and I had months to work on pre-writing these, but it just didn't happen.  I needed the pressure of a deadline, it seemed, to both inspire me and to make what I was writing about timely. I had pre-planned my general topic for most of the letters, but that is about all. Must be a function of my personality style, as I mused in one of my posts.

The absolutely best benefit for me in doing this year's challenge was finding five other boat-related bloggers who were also AtoZ-ing. The social benefit of the AtoZ has been amazing -- I've already managed to meet up with one of these bloggers in "real life" and have plans to meet another next month; maybe someday my path will cross with all of them. There is absolutely no way I could have kept on track without the daily support and comments from them.  A big, BIG shout-out to (in alphabetical order):

(A sixth boat-blogger also participated, but Little Cunning Plan's AtoZ was informational about anxiety, generally as related to boating, and I didn't find the blog until toward the end of the challenge.)

The second-best benefit was finding the wild, wild variety of blogs out there, as other bloggers stopped by my blog or I stopped by theirs. I learned about old-fashioned printing presses and common themes of diversity in folk tales. I met an author each of whose characters did an AtoZ guest post, and a poet who posted a poem a day that ended with a word for the next day's letter.  As one blog led me to another, I read about people who were born enslaved and later were freed, musings about life lessons in India, a series of original recipes for easy to prepare comfort foods, interesting sites in Arizona.

My own writing got a push and I was delighted to see my stats for growing audience too, as we head out for our summer sail.  And speaking of stats:

Favorite one to write: J is for the Joneses

Overlooked, and wish it got more visibility: R is for Rebaselining

Most surprising (I didn't know it would go in this direction when I started writing it): L is for Leaving ... On A Jet Plane

If we're in a location with solid internet I'll probably play again next year.  Maybe maybe I'll get more of the posts written in advance so I have more time to visit other blogs.  (But given my track record, yeah, I doubt it).


  1. Great reflections post! I admire you for writing them on the fly :) I did that the first year and it was a struggle to get it all done :)

    Great too that you found some other sailing blogs; I think that's the main thing about the challenge; how it helps find blogs out there that we might not be able to without such a comprehensive list represented with those that signed up to participate :)


  2. Interesting to see which posts were most popular. I'm hoping we'll be out cruising next year which will mean internet challenges. Maybe I need to write and schedule all of my posts for next year now :-)

  3. Thanks for the shout-out, Jaye. I really enjoyed "meeting" you through the challenge and hope our paths cross in the real world one day soon.


    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

  4. I'm so glad I found your blog through the A-Z challenge! It was a lot of fun... like you I didn't pre-write posts like I should have, but we made it! I was so inspired by reading your blog that I'm doing the 333 challenge this summer. --Lucy

  5. Fantastic that you have met some of the bloggers you found here (or are planning to) in real life :)

  6. I enjoyed your blog a lot. Great find. Your musings on life afloat and in general were very perceptive. Safe travels and use sunscreen

  7. So glad to find your blog as now I see there are other boat life blogs to visit. I had found SV Cambria but none of the others you mention. I'm also interested in minimalism and downsizing, but not quite to the boat life level yet. But I love reading about it. Fascinating.

  8. Thanks for the shout-out, Jaye! I need some pressure as well to get and keep me going. And, writing every day is part of the actual A-Z challenge! :-) Is that second blogger you are going to meet, me? Or, will you add a third? :-)

  9. Arggh! Guess I missed A to Z. So glad I've found Life Afloat; getting to know you (and your writing) better!