Sunday 1 May 2011

These are my Reflections of the A – Z Challenge of 2011 ...

"Many thanks to Elizabeth Mueller
for this great survival award"

I think I’m going to straight summarise .. re the A – Z .. and I’d like to ask everyone some questions on how they administered this mammoth achievement .. and the mammoth is alive and well for now – not buried for 10,000 years under salt waters of streaming tears at The Challenge!

1.      Be Prepared .. work out your posts and get them written pre April 2012 ..

2.      Visit as many of the blogs as possible, prior to the Challenge starting, to

a.       See if you like what you see ...
b.      See if you like the ambience ... is it your sort of blog
c.       Decide to Follow or not
d.      Decide to Subscribe or not

Thank you to Madeleine from
Scribble and Edit 
                    3.      Mistakes I made ...

                              a)      Followed too many
                              b)      Subscribe to too many

                              c)      Question?!    Do you follow ‘everyone’ ...


4.      Results ...  do I want to follow people – when their blog doesn’t interest me .. eg young mothers and babies?

Subscribing – I ended up with 1,000+ posts to read .. I already had a headache – but that sealed it towards a migraine (& I don’t do migraines!!) ... then I had a frothy & cancelled most subscriptions – that’s when I should have been more careful .. I need to re-subscribe to some!!

Do you subscribe? .... and if you don’t – how do you ‘control’/ know which blogs you visit?

A bouquet of sweet smelling roses for you all ....
5.      Don’t get a virus or bug ... that gives you a headache and nausea at the same time as the Challenge is on ...?!  and it lasted the whole month ....

6.      I did feel overwhelmed ... but once I realised I couldn’t do it all .. life was easier – the objective was 26 posts, meet some great bloggers .. and enjoy myself .. and I did!

7.      How do you administer your blogging day .. how do you visit your key blogs (those you’d support through thick and thin), and then the other blogs – whom you enjoy visiting and have a great rapport with?

I copied the list across to an Excel spreadsheet .. made 26 columns for the days .. and added a Follow column and a Subscribe column ... and a note column .. eg for name etc ..

Then for the blogs I didn’t want to follow – but I’d visited I’d note that they weren't my sort of blog  ...

I started before the bug-virus ... noting when I’d visited and commented ..

I may keep this method up now that May is here ... as trying to work out whether I’ve commented or not sometimes the brain is a fuzz wazz ... at least this way I can check and make sure "I'm fair" ... 

The other thing about my notes – is I do like to call a blogger by their name, not their blog-name ... so I like to be able to find that quite easily ..

Carbis Bay Hotel and a glass of
champagne .. sounds good to me!
          8.      Posting .. if people post 6 or 7 days a week normally .. do you comment on them all?

         9.      Because I was ill  - well it’s a good excuse! – I will carry on working through the list and going to meet new bloggers ...

       10.  Re categorising the blogs – that would be difficult .. where would I end up?  No, don’t answer that  ...  but that’s why we need to take responsibility for ourselves and pre-visit as many participating bloggers as pos ... to sort our wheat from the chaff ...

Beachy Head, Sussex

11.  I loved how non-participating bloggers picked up the reins and ran with the idea .. ie highlighting various bloggers that they had found and felt worth while promoting ..

I had a great time .. thanks to everyone who commented and supported me ... and I have met some wonderful bloggers from around the world with some brilliant comments and incredible co-incidences ...

...none more so than on my D for Downs post .. when a German lady couldn’t believe the picture of Beachy Head – Frauke (quilthexle) had made a quilt of it after their visit in 2,000, while her husband had decided to paint a picture from their photos and her quilt ... both hang on their sitting room wall .... so as she said ‘I spluttered into my morning cup of tea when I saw your post’ .... small world?

These are my Reflections on the A – Z Challenge of 2011 ...

PS - I increased my followers by about 50- which is fantastic ... as I do like to keep in touch with them all ..  

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Anonymous said...

This is an amazingly exhaustive list, Hilary, just what I would expect of you.

I've realized you have to decide what Following and Followers means to you. Do you just want to add "icons" to your followers button? I know some bloggers who do. But what's the point? Your comment about finding the blogs you like and want to follow I think is the bottom line.

I'm about to print out past comments of my followers and then decide who I want to follow consistently. If someone has hundreds, even thousands of so-called followers, it's logistically impossible to respond to everyone even in a week--I think! So I've decided that now is the time to make some decisions. I, too, like to respond to a name. I like to see a face. I like to know where the person lives. And only if it's an incredible blog that I really want to follow do I follow someone whose template is white text on black background. Too hard on the eyes!

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday, dear friend. And don't do anything to give yourself a migraine. Nothing is worth that!
Ann Best, Memoir Author

baygirl32 said...

I'll admit I was not nearly as organized! I selected my topic in March and made a few scratches on a piece of paper. Taking my finals in April slowed me down a little, but I opted to use my study breaks as blogging time, to prepare my posts, visit those I follow and then check out new blogs. During the challenge I visited over 1000 new blogs, and NO I dint follow them all (not all subjects appeal to me, and if I follow a blog I like to visit at least twice a week, provided they are regular posters)

Its been great meeting so many people, i will checking in to visit regularly

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Interesting observations, Hilary. I had planned to pre-write a lot of my posts but didn't get to do it. In the end, that worked better for me because I changed my mind on several of the letters and make better choices because of it.

Wonderful to meet you here. Thanks so much for you insightful comments on my posts.


Southpaw said...

Yeah, I followed way too many myself – but they all seem so darn interesting. I hope to get to know the bloggers better this month though. – And I didn’t even follow everyone.

Yup, I got a stomach bug towards the last week. Fortunately, it was only a couple of days for recovery.

I like the term “key blogs.” I’m going to have to use that!

If I join a daily bloggers blog, I usually don’t comment daily. It’s just too much. However, I do read them or skim them just in case they have something I HAVE to know. LOL. I know I have to change my ways if I’m ever going to finish my novel.

I’m doing a little post A-Z post too. It should be ready tomorrow. I think.:)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ann .. sorry I've missed you out recently .. I'll be back ..

I'm happy to follow .. but I may not subscribe.

re followers I guess I have to decide whether I want to subscribe to them too ...

Printing out comments .. - certainly we should do that for the complements that flow in - & they do help enormously .. and we're so lucky people respond positively to us .. as you know and I know that makes a load of difference to our lives.

Black on black or white text on black background .. I agree is really tricky .. but it suits some genres .. and some people!!

Yes I'd add .. where someone lives - gives something to relate to ..

It's how much we can cope with & how much our cohorts are happy to accept from us in our various challenging positions ...

No - migraines I don't have - thank goodness .. this was a 'serious' bug .. sent me to my bed and stopped me visiting my mother .. very unusual ..

Cheers Ann .. you too - I'm here and not far away .. and fortunately nothing much stops me ..

Great reply - thank you .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Baygirl .. if I'd been doing my finals .. I'd have flunked this exam!!

I wasn't that organised - I'd worked out what I was going to do .. one or two changed .. but writing them up was 'easy' after that - usually done on the day ..

If you visited 1,000 new blogs - CONGRATULATIONS .. you deserve a Cadbury Dairy Milk Medal .. I think Cadbury's have been taken over by an American firm now!!

How do you keep track of them?

Yes - I too visit regularly those I enjoy visiting .. and delighted to hear you'll be checking in - thank you!

I'm an erratic poster!! Still see you around ..

Thanks for replying... and so good to see you here .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. yes I was .. and being 'bugged by friends from overseas re Eastbourne tennis tickets and Bed & breakfasts here and the reprinting of a book that a cousin had written in 1994) .. fun times .. I was wilting!!

You're right the followers is an illusory fact .. which in some way distresses me .. I'm at 200 (nearly!) .. but I know most of you .. some of you may have gone .. but a great many are around ..

It's that life I guess .. I'll adjust as times change at this end ..

Karen - wonderful to meet you .. and definitely see you around .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti .. glad you think they're interesting observations. Re-writing was not an option .. one or two I changed direction .. and like you say - better choices were made.

Good to meet you too - & I enjoy the painting historical records and updates I get coming across to your blog ..

See you soon .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Holly .. they are and that's why I followed and subscribed ..

did you Subscribe? ..

and how do you keep up with who you've followed but want to comment on?

I'm a quizzy one .. demanding answers!!

Sickness does not help .. I was ok - just felt pretty awful .. and not desperately inspired for anything ..

Well we have key blogs - friends we've met, whom we relate to, and therefore are key to us - glad you enjoy the term ..

I know but some people you enjoy .. then they post 7 or more days a week .. and I think ""help"" ...

Yup - where the heart is where we have to go .. even if we move away from blogging for a while ..

It'll be interesting to see your Reflections post .. I noted your 'poo' for the code being corrected on Arlee's blog!! Fun ..

Cheers - and see you around definitely .. Hilary

Nicole said...

You have a good point about planning ahead for the 2012 challenge.

I don't follow blogs that do not interest me, so no, I don't follow or subscribe to everyone, lol.

This is mainly because there were a lot of blogs that signed up for the challenge that ended up not participating, so if they won't even step up to the plate to do what they signed up for, then there is no reason for me to consider returning to their my opinion.

I wrote many of my posts on the same day that they were supposed to be up but I did plan many of my topics in advance for upcoming letters. This helped a lot because I collaborated with other bloggers and fellow filmmakers and these collaborations made posting more enjoyable and more efficient.

If I come across blogs that post multiple times in a week, yes, I will comment on all of the posts.....IF:

1. These posts interest me.

2. These posts are short in length.

3. I have the time to do so.

One of these criteria has to apply when I read blogs and I would prefer that all of them apply but at least one has to or else I don't comment on all of the posts. I just pick one that is the most interesting and I comment on that one at leave it at that.


I comment on whatever is the most recent post.

The Madlab Post

Karen Lange said...

Great reflections! May refer to this if I can participate next year. :) Thanks, Hilary!

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
And exceedingly well done for you keeping up with that 'A to Z Blogging Challenge!', yes, complete with the exclamation mark for dramatic impact!
You did an extensive amount of research on your theme for the challenge and I considered it most interesting.
Oh, by the way, I hate the usage of the word 'follower', I wish we could find something different for that.
Of course, I did a satirical alternative to this whole challenge thing. And reflections on the challenge?, well, I know you can reflect these capitalised letters of the alphabet and they will still look the same. 'A', 'H', 'I', 'M', 'O', 'T', 'U', 'V', 'W', 'X' and 'Y' . You're welcome.
Cheers Hilary and take very good care of yourself.
With respect and a bonus 'Zed', your way, Gary :)

MunirGhiasuddin said...

Your blogs have been both inspirational and informative.
Congratulations and cheers on coming to the finish line.
Right now for a couple of days I would like to take a break from writing. Spend some time with my husband, Talking him into eating healthy and going for walks with me. I owe him this. Will read everyone's blogs though as they keep me going.

Theresa Milstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jemi Fraser said...

I didn't participate in the Challenge, but I enjoyed a lot of the posts (when my laptop wasn't in Repair Land). I didn't join because I knew it would be next to impossible for me to complete it .. and I really prefer to blog only a couple of days a week.

I do follow a lot of blogs, and I try to only follow those that interest me and that I will definitely visit. I use Google Reader to help me put the blogs into different folders. I have 1 for each day of the week. I still don't get to them all, but hopefully I visit everyone at least once every 2 weeks! :)

Chuck said...

Hilary, can I just say that I wished you had posted this at the beginning of the is a greatly organized list. I am copying it for future reference...if you don't mind of course. Look forward to seeing you again soon.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Your experience means a lot. Thanks, Hilary, this will really help next time.

Mariette said...

Dearest Hilary,

Yes, your point about calling a blogger by their name I agree 100%. Finding that easily is another point; I put my name with a message to Leave your comment section. Wish all others would do that too; saves time!
Would you please have a look at my blog; a surprise for you awaits...

Lots of love,


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nicole .. thank you - I didn't know (or think through properly) about the following aspect and the subscribing aspect.

I agree non-participants and blogs that will never interest me - I just noted on my Excel list .. then I had that noted

Your film world is a little different and an interesting one for many of us .. and collaborating is useful.

Thanks - re the notes on commenting .. that's what I tend to do - but I write longish posts, but only post once or twice a week ..

Many thanks for leaving your thoughts ... much appreciated - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. pleasure .. the challenge! is .. we don't know/realise til we do it ..

.. in fact Arlee and Alex did do notes on how it should be managed .. but no-one anticipated 1200+ participating.

It'll be lovely if you do participate next year .. cheers - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Gary .. thank you - glad you were able to join in the fun.

Thanks re my posts - I put in things that interest me .. which are usually those extra snippets, that everyone seems interested in too ..

I know some terms are challenging! .. and follower is one of them - but we're stuck with it I think.

Everyone loved your comments and no doubt appreciated you becoming a follower!!

Cheers - you too look after yourself and enjoy the coming weeks .. thanks for being here .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Munir - really appreciate those comments -

I don't blame you for wanting to spend a little time with your husband .. enjoy your walks with some healthy meals in between!

Happy May days .. cheers! Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. you've had a lot going on .. and I didn't want to do the Challenge last year - couldn't see the point etc .. but everyone had so much fun .. and they seemed to meet so many wonderful people - I decided this year I'd like to do it.

I'm sure the comment was really to say well done: so pleased you're going to do it ... and encouraging you to bring some others to the party - by putting the challenge badge up ... last year was the first year.

I agree with you re blogging when you want etc and about whatever .. as you know I'm eclectic in my choice.

The pressure for me - was to write shorter posts .. I achieved that - but not as short as I wanted! Fortunately commenters enjoyed reading them ..

But fortunately it's our choice .. it's just great you're here giving us your thoughts .. delighted to see you .. cheers and have a good week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jemi .. but you're participating and have been round and about - which is wonderful.

Sorry about the laptop repairs - breakdowns happen! Blogging time allocated is of course as you wish .. I can see a great many bloggers taking a break now!!

Reader - you do it via daily folders - good thought .. and visit at least fortnightly ..

Thanks for these thoughts - good to have them .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chuck .. I didn't know!!

I just bumbled along doing my thing - but I like to know what I'm doing!

Arlee and Alex had written some notes - but it's a lot to take in ..

If this has helped - that's wonderful .. I hope these notes are useful generally.

Pleasure .. please use .. and delighted you think it's of value - and I'd love it if you'd let us/me have your thoughts in due course.

It will be a pleasure to see you again .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joylene .. many thanks - appreciate your comments.

It will be great if you join us next time .. but I'll be seeing you Cluculz Lake in the meantime! Cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mariette .. thank you - re the name .. and as you say finding it is one thing ..

.. it's remembering it is another, when you go back to comment on another post a few days later!!

I try and make life as easy as possible for fellow bloggers .. because I'd like my life when I visit their blogs to be easy.

Many thanks for the Kreativ Award .. much appreciated and I'll enjoy visiting the others .. Cheers Hilary

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary, Wow! You have been busy. It all sounds like a lot of hard work but I expect it comes with its own rewards. As for me, well, I am not up to such a challenge I'm afraid - I continue to read and comment as I can and welcome any who come to my blog. I am a sporadic blogger reaslly, three posts one week, only one the next - depends on the demand sof my family on my time. Twitter has me at the moment - social media being an integral part of marketing. Oh dear - life used to be so simple! :-) Well done!

Anonymous said...

I think this is the best list of reflections that I've read! Well done.

Regarding followers, I tend to follow everyone, even people who may write/read in a different genre from me, mostly because I believe there's something to be learned from everyone. The stuff I've learned about writing and blogging along the years has been from the strangest places, not always the typical places. I like that.

Anonymous said...

I follow people who follow me, and the new sites I come across. Hopefully people will return the love and follow me back, but no worris if they don't.

And prewriting posts is a great idea. The more the better.

Southpaw said...

The blogs I followed I placed into a special A-Z folder in my Google Reader. That way this month I can get to know them better.

As for who I visited and commented on, I used Jen's list. Her links are set to red for unread and purple for read (or the other way around). That gave me freedom to randomly click on any name and not worry about keeping a list myself.

Paula Martin said...

Great post, Hilary - I wish I could be as organised. I didn't get around to as many blogs as I intended - that, to me, was the hardest part of the challenge, and the part which I failed!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deborah .. well sort of - but I needed to work a way round as I hate being in a muddle.

Thanks for coming by though and linking up again .. me too - I've been pretty sporadic .. but I'll try and become more regular in my postings.

Well I don't do social media yet - but I expect this year I might get there .. and as you say life used to be so simple!!

Thanks - I'll be over to say hi .. cheers Hilary

doreen said...

Hi Hilary,
My name is Doreen and it is nice to visit you again at the end of this wonderful yet exhausting challenge.
I did not pre-write any of my posts, I had ideas and jotted down notes during the day and at 10pm. each night I sat and typed. Next year I will pre-write a few..for emergencies.
I do not follow everyone I visit. I follow those that seem interested in my story and I in theirs. Sometimes I follow people totally different than myself; because I love to learn about things I have no idea I may be interested in...if that makes any sense.
Have a great rest:)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liz .. thanks for this.

But you see you raised a good point re followers .. followers to me are those 'little' people who pop up as friends in the side bar .. some have a few .. some have many .. & if I get two more I'll be at 200 - whoo hoo!!

Back to followers - how do you tie in to them?

I subscribe and the posts go in Reader and I do subscribe to some blogs, but don't follow them .. eg Seth Godin ..

You're right about the learning aspect and connecting with 'all sorts' .. it's just I don't want to overdose ...

Great thoughts - thank you .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Stephen .. the following bit is easy .. there's no commitment - as you say you hope they'll follow you back ..

.. but reading their posts do you find them - in the RSS Reader? or in Blogger?

Yes - (1) definitely pre-write posts .. and

(2) check out and filter the list of bloggers first .. that would save acres of time

Cheers Stephen .. enjoy some of the break .. see you .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Holly .. thanks for coming back for a back=up comment .. and how you work your Google Reader ..

I obviously must use Reader better .. and learn how to move blogs in there .. I think a post just popped into my Reader on Google Reader - so I'll have a look.

Yes - ok .. I realise the list changes red to purple .. but you don't know whether you like the blogs or not .. 2 minutes later!! if you're me!! Actually I've got a pretty good memory .. thank goodness.

Thanks Holly - I'll check the Google Reader idea out .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paula .. that's too where I failed comprehensively .. but I'll plod through the list .. and see how it goes.

Next year I'll be more organised - but if Arlee and Alex up their numbers exponentially I'll be up a gum tree (literally!!) ..

Cheers - thanks very much .. Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hilary, I just wanted to thank you for welcoming me before the challenge began, and for being my very first "A" comment! I'm sorry that you were sick, but you would've never known it as you kept plowing away! Your organizational method really paid off!
Thanks for following me, and I look forward to dropping in on you! Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie .. you're so kind .. it's an absolute pleasure tying in with you - and I love it when I see your beaming smile!

Was I really the very first!! Well the organisational method went for a ball of chalk .. but I think I might have worked something out for next year .. unless some bright spark comes up with a better idea - which would be wonderful.

Pleasure I'll definitely be seeing you around .. my desubscribing didn't help!! Cheers Hilary

Jannie Funster said...

WOW. Incredible and through analysis of this Hilary.

The more the online social circle grows the harder it can be to keep up. But in my second week i did visit and comment ALL 170 bloggers on the One Shot Poetry Wednesday. I felt good about that, but with life being joyous life, offline calls too, and I could not maintain a plan of visiting EACH poem poster each week. nice to meet new friends tho and i'm sure some will stick as blogging buddies for long term.

we do what we can, and do well to remember to smile and enjoy what we do.

Sorry you are ill. Better now, I hope!!


Mercy said...

I agree with having your posts pre-planned it means you have so much more time to view others. As for following, I return my follows and only add blogs to that, that I love and I want to read often. So far this hasnt caused much strife. But then I havent even hit 50 followers yet :))

K.C. Woolf said...

Hi Hilary :-)

I didn't manage to write my posts before April and I ended up writing most of them in the evening, so I could post them shortly after midnight.

I can't imagine how I would have done, had I been ill!

I didn't get to visit all other participants either. After about a week I had a list of blogs I really liked, and those were the ones I tried to visit regularly. I couldn't manage to take on a lot more, in between posting, a full time job and working on my novel.

I think I did manage to return (nearly) all of the visits and comments on my blog, though. At least I tried.

Great reflections! :-)

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Hilary, I wish I'd come across your blog much earlier in the challenge!

That's quite an extensive summary, so let me answer a few of your queries.

I don't 'subscribe' to any blogs at all, just don't want to load my email inbox up each day.

I control the blogs I visit simply by following the blogs that I take an interest in. So that answers another question too - I don't follow every blog. I'll leave a comment but if it doesn't particularly interest me then I won't click follow - for now!

I ensure I visit my favourite blogs by simply using the blogroll on the dashboard which displays recent posts of all the blogs one follows. So each day I scroll through that list to find everyone who has posted. That's the easiest way for me to do it, as well as clicking that 'Next blog' button or 'surprise me'!

Congratulations on finishing; a great challenge indeed!

Duncan In Kuantan

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

And I just became your 200th follower - guess I like what I read here!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Doreen .. sorry your comment just slipped in during the night ..

Good to see you to - and thanks so much for introducing yourself.

Wonderful you were able to make notes during the day and then put them together in the evening for a post and hit publish.

Actually following is alright - but I do like to subscribe and that is where I'm more discriminatory .. as these are the ones I'll be commenting on in the future.

So like you I like the blogs I like - of all sorts .. I guess we like the people too!

Learning - certainly makes sense to me .. you too have a better May - with thoughts - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jannie .. thank you .. still not sure I've clarified things in my head exactly .. but everyone's involved & that's the point -n'est pas?!! And you've been commenting, but not doing the challenge - thankyou!!

Crumbs .. 170 participants for the One Shot Poetry Wednesday .. and you got to them all - good for you.

I know our hearts want to go places .. but our fingers, brain and bodies can't make the rounds to all the blogs.

You're so right .. we do what we can, and remember to SMILE and BE HAPPY along the way .. as I sure do enjoy my blogging ..

Thanks .. I'm fine now - just irritatingly off colour for the four weeks or so ..

Cheers xoxoxo Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mercy .. it would have made it slightly easier .. but actually writing them wasn't difficult - thankfully!

Like you - I return my followers - thanks for being my 199th!!

The momentum gathers .. but its good .. and you will reach a few more I suspect in the next few weeks ..

Cheers - enjoy the week ... Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi KC .. I managed a few over the Easter weekend .. but usually I was writing mine the day before or on the day .. good for you that you can write and post within a couple of hours .. I do a bit of research ...

Sensible that you stuck with your own list of new bloggers, visiting them regularly .. that was sensible!!

It's that balancing act .. working too and your own writing .. you seem to have got it right.

That's something I need to do .. check and return my commenters visits - I think I probably did mainly .. and we can't do it all .. as you say = you definitely did your bit.

Thank you - glad you enjoyed the Reflections .. Cheers and have a good week ahead. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Carol - well you've got the applicable blog Title - "Better is Possible" ?!?!?

Speechless .. but not commentless thankfully! Cheers good to see you .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Duncan .. many thanks - it's good to meet you too.

Do you not use Reader? rather than email subscribe.

How do you remember!? which blogs you enjoy/ take an interest in?

Ah .. you use the blogroll on the Dashboard of all the blogs you follow - this is something I must check out.

How do you manage with non Blogger blogs? .. or in my naivety - do they show too?

Thanks - it's been a fun time ..

and thank you for becoming my 200 follower = great milestone for me! Thanks for the compliment! Cheers - Hilary


When I heard that the A to Z was again taking place I started writing my poems, sorting through pictures and choosing my music.
Long before 1st of April everything was complete.......except for the many entries that signed up, it was way over the 100 of last year and I did feel a bit overwhelmed in answering so many, well it was inhumanly impossible I commented on as many as I could and knew I had done my best.
It took my mind off of other things going on in my life like a son who now longer wants me, and the fact next week have to have some pre cancerous cells lasered off my cervix as I could be in the high sector for cervical cancer.
I don't usually show my fear but now the challenge is over it's coming to the fore.

Thanks for your comment as always it is appreciated.

Sue said...

Gosh Hilary, this is amazing, it's become the most comprehensive reflection. Congratulations on starting this and for your personalised replies to the very interesting comments.

I do the same as Duncan and use the blog roll on the side bar or in the Dashboard. I only follow if the blog seems interesting, even if they've followed me. I don't play tit for tat. I visited quite a few blogs that didn't interest me at all so I didn't comment. Others I've followed to see what they write about after the challenge is over - they might or might not retain my interest. Alternatively I might be so overwhelmed with the volume I'm following (around 200) that I need to cull even if the blog is great. If the blogger posts more than once a day it goes - I can't manage that. Once or twice a week is great!

I wish I'd been more organised BEFORE it began, and checked out the participants, but I've learnt the hard way.

I lost track of who I'd visited and commented (even without wine!) and need to attend to that.

Your advice on not getting a virus is sound. I hope you recover quickly.

I like it when people sign a comment with their name, and even better when their name hyperlinks to the blog.

Take care, and see you around Sue

sam said...

I really do agree with number 1. Next time I will probably do a lot more planning of my posts instead of thinking of them up on the day. It wasn't that easy to do. Planning could come in very useful.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Yvonne .. I should have been aware .. I'd sort of watched from a distance last year .. and signed in this year at 123 or thereabouts.

Lots of other things going on .. but I did at least work out what I was going to write about - just doing it. Shorter posts helped my cause - a lesson for the future!!??

I think getting my bug solved my problems .. I just 'let go' .. and did what I could .. knowing that I'm quite thorough and would get around eventually - June, July at the rate I'm going!!

I know you've got challenges going on and my thoughts are with you and will be with you .. I hope you've got some good people to hug and support you through this .. think positive and be positive is the most important thing - live life .. with love and thoughts - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. thanks so much .. I usually reply personally - haven't done in the Challenge to save a little time. But here I thought it worth while because I asked the questions and I want to learn from the replies!

I must look at the blog roll (obviously) .. I need to check if it does WP blogs too etc

I think like you I visited, bypassed some blogs, .. not sure how many I'm following right now -it was horrendous! But I guess it will be and I just need to comment occasionally ..

Being more organised - I'll definitely do that next year!! & less wine - well perhaps!

Yes I agree re the name .. it's not a problem if their blog has their name in it ..

and actually my comments come up with my name I see (someone got it right .. helping me at the beginning!) .. so I don't really need to hyperlink the signature - I always sign Hilary ..

Cheers now - Hilary ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sam .. good to see you .. and yes #1 is critical isn't it - next year I'll definitely be more prepared.

I like the idea of a theme - it helps followers/commenters sort of know what to expect .. mine was Aspects of the British Countryside - which left me free to post what I felt like, while within in the constraints of the British countryside .. except X - where I had to visit California!

Cheers - good to see you and enjoy your night out .. Hilary

Ruthie said...

Congratulations on finishing, good job!

Sara said...


When you take on a challenge, you think BIG! I am totally amazed at what you did with this A-Z challenge. I loved the Excel sheet and definitely enjoyed the posts I read.

It's nice that you met so many new people. You have that ability, even online, to attract people to you. I think it's a nice gift:~)

I'm going back now to catch up a few posts. Congratulations on this effort:~)

Golden Eagle said...

I visited some blogs before the challenge began, but not that many, compared to the rather long list!

I probably follow too many people; I know I signed up for a lot of Wordpress email updates, too, so my inbox is going to be crowded . . .

Great reflections post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ruthie .. thank you.. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. you're a star ... thank you - and you didn't join us!!

Just glad to read that you enjoyed the posts .. the Excel spreadsheet only last about 9 days... then the headache and nausea took over - I believe it was a bug ... not a reaction!!

I really appreciate your comments - from this end of the world you don't know what that means. It's a very generous thought of yours ..

Ok .. sounds great - just loved that you shared the journey with me .. even to Z - which I have to say I think is my best post!

Cheers and always lovely to see you .. I'm behind with my Reader - but I'll catch up soon .. BIG SMILES AND HUGS across the pond .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Golden Eagle .. I know we really needed to filter some of the blogs first .. especially when, like I did sign up in the early 100s, but next time I looked it was 600 & rising .. a shock as you say!

Working out where we are now .. is going to take some administration emails are archived and filtered .. my Reader is full ..

Glad the Reflections was of interest .. cheers Hilary

San said...


What a FAB reflections :)


I agree with much of what you said and the questions (and your answers) are brilliant. Some things to consider for next year.

And yep, I plan to officially sign up in 2012 :)

Cheers to you, my friend :)

Hope you and your mom are doing well :)

Oh, and GREAT idea about the Excel...what a go-getter :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi San .. well you were a non-participant who quickly latched on and started highlighting participating bloggers - that was great .. a clever idea!!

Delighted the post has value for you .. and we can all learn so much from each others' comments and thoughts ..

Yea .. I can see the list for 2012 growing fast!!

I think everything's worth trying .. re recording .. I still think I might go back to cardx though .. I'm an old fashioned girl....

Mum is fine thank you - she enjoyed The Wedding and remembered she'd seen it .. so many thanks for that thought about her ..

Cheers to you too .. and definitely see you around .. loved this chirpy comment!! Thank you .. Hilary

Paul C said...

Congratulations on your completion of an ambitious challenge. Your posts always provided something of substance and interest.

N4M3L3SS said...

+1 follower from blog hop, cool blog

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paul .. many thanks .. I enjoyed this - now to visit the blogs I never got to! Have a good rest of the week .. Hilary

@ N4M3L3SS .. thank you

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

Let's just say that any blog I find which I would want to read again, I'll click 'follow'. Otherwise I'll just leave a comment and leave it at that.

My blogroll on the dashboard shows me all the blogs I've chosen to 'follow' so I can keep returning to them.

That's all I do. It's a lot easier than subscribing and having your email inbox inundated with blog news!

Duncan In Kuantan

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Duncan .. thanks .. I must check the dashboard list of blogs out.

Sounds so much simpler ... thanks - Hilary

J.D. Meier said...

Well done.

> to sort our wheat from the chaff
This is something I find myself doing on a regular basis.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. appreciate you coming on and acknowledging I got to the end.

Sorting out the wheat from the chaff throughout our days .. the important things are the things to get to ..

Good to see you - thanks - Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

You are so organised. I haven't got a clue how many blogs I visited. I always try to visit people who have commented on my blog and then I dot around and go for the ones that catch my eye.

I don't think anyone expects people to comment on every blog. This is supposed to be for our enjoyment remember!

Great to hear that your an ex-Leicestershire girl. Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog. I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. I know how painful it was to watch my mother fading but you've had a long time of it and my thoughts are with you.

SueH said...

Hi, Hilary - thanks for stopping over at my blog and leaving a comment! :-)

I tried to look at at least five different blogs during the challenge. Some I liked enough to follow, some even made it onto my blog-roll!

Now the challenge is over, I'd like to see a few more, so I'm working my way though the list!

Small-world 'moment' - my in-laws live in Eastbourne and we make frequent trips down there (in fact, hubby is there tonight visiting them!) - who knows, we could have passed each other in the street!

Following now, so I can keep up with what you're getting up to!

SueH I refuse to go quietly!

Arlee Bird said...

This was an amazingly comprehensive assessment of what not only the challenge, but also blogging in general means to you. You have a wonderful and very organized approach to it all. There are so many things I agree with here. I also like calling Bloggers by name (even when it's a pen name).
I think the bottom line to take away from your post is that each blogger must decide how they want to approach the endeavor and what they want to take away from it and stay true to that. It's not the same for everyone, but we can certainly listen to each other's ideas and learn from them.
This is a great Reflections post as well as an excellent guide to blogging in general.

Thank you for the stupendous effort that you put into the Challenge.

Don't forget to pick up your Winner's Badge at my site.
Tossing It Out

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosalind .. well the thought was there - then the bug struck .. and the thought is there - the organisation didn't get done.

You're right .. but we need to visit to see if we like what we find .. and even that was too much.

I had a few years in north Northants ..but it's a lovely part of the world. Being with my mother is fine and we still have some lovely moments and those are worth so much .. and I've learnt so much ..

Many thanks .. will enjoy reading the Leicester posts .. they're in my Reader. Enjoy today .. and see you around .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. it's a pleasure then I forgot to follow - done that now!

I must check the blog-rolls out - I've obviously got a blank space in my life there .. need to connect my brain!

Another small world moment .. Eastbourne .. oh what a surprise - we'll meet sometime then, I hope!!

Thanks - great to be linked .. and keep in touch .. really small world as you say. Enjoy the rest of the week .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee .. thanks for this - wish I'd actually followed through .. but might sort that! Hate a mess ..

Thanks so much for your comment - appreciated.

That's right - but so often we're going blind into something and not exactly realising what's coming .. I sort of knew ..... but of course then April 1st comes and the Fool is up and running.

I just tried to set things out - so people could see what the options are/were - not sure I've done that as well as I'd like - as there are other things I'd add in .. and my brain has just got into gear about a couple of things ... better late than never.

Glad you enjoyed the Reflections .. and I'll get around a bit more before the summer is over .. and learn how to bring codes over too ..

Thanks - I will collect the winner's badge .. lovely .. cheers - Hilary

Unknown said...

I subscribe to all who comment on my blog however, I can't visit all the blogs so I usually only stop by those who leave a comment on my blog posts.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Clarissa .. that makes so much sense ..
.. subscribing to all who comment ..

.. and then visiting their blogs to leave a comment.

Thanks very much for adding to the mix .. good to see you - Hilary

MTeacress said...

Hi Hilary.
Since I like to write and read, I follow hundreds of similar blogs just to lend my support. I don't keep in touch with all of them - only my favorites. I use google reader folders to separate them from the throng so I can visit them more often. Do you know how to do google reader folders? I did a post on it before the A-Z challenge if you want to take a look.
I gave you a shout out on my blog today. :)

Keith Davis said...

Hi Hilary
Good to see your blog and comments, so vubrant.

As for your challenge, you know me I am a very casual blogger and struggle to get out a post a month. LOL

Sorry I've been such a stranger.
Hope you are well.


Connie Arnold said...

You did a great job, Hilary! I've run across so many blogs doing the A-Z challenge and tried to read as many as possible. I've read some of your and need to catch up on the rest. What a great variety of posts you have and always some interesting information. Thanks!

Theresa Milstein said...

Honestly, I never liked the idea of participating in it myself. But I really want to blog when I want, about what I want. I don't want the pressure.

That said, I enjoyed some of the posts. But I definitely couldn't comment everyday.

I wonder how popular it will be next year.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michelle .. I guess if I was an author perhaps I'd do that - but like you I like to keep in touch.

Yes I actually have just realised (dumb blonde - 'cept I'm a brunette .. with a lot of salt and pepper now!) that of course I can access the Reader inbox that way ..

But I will definitely be over to read your post on the Reader ..

and many thanks for the shout out on your blog - I'll be over too to say 'thanks so much'!

Cheers - a few things clicked today .. dumb me!! Thanks Michelle for these helpful notes - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Keith .. good to see you too - your latest post is sitting in my Reader .. I'll get there!

Yes .. lots going on here - which is fun.

I too had become a casual blogger .. but now must not resort to that again ..

I found the whole process really quite easy and fun .. shorter one act posts probably helped?!

I'll be over by or at the weekend .. cheers and see you soon .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. for some reason your comment didn't want to participate either and has just popped up -I thought you'd been around!

I was worried, but once I'd found the theme - that made life easy .. and then once I realised I couldn't get everywhere and just did what I could .. I've met some wonderful new bloggers

I hope it'll be popular next year - as actually now that we can look round a bit more via the Reflections list .. and I've still got a list of entries - there's new horizons to get to .. but I need to catch up with the present ones.

We shall see in Feb/Mar 2012!!

Cheers - just great that you're blogging and writing .. enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

Patricia said...

congratulations to you for a wonderful achievement and 50+ new commenters...
That is great...

I am sorry I did not read them all - your posts- but tried to keep pace on FB posts...

I am very proud of you and your methodology seems to be a good system

All's well than ends well :)

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary. You've gone to a lot of trouble with this post. I was much more blase - it's over, thank God. Anyway, you've raised good questions re followers and Ann Best has some great input. I always feel I need to follow, especially those with low numbers as I remember how it was to have 3, then 10 followers and think that it wasn't worthwhile. So I guess I try to be encouraging in that way. I got a lot of new followers, but I know many will never be interested in my blog again and you can't keep going back and commenting and getting no respose.

Anyway, more to the point, I've started a Romantic Friday Writers group if you'd like to check it out and feel you could do something like this. Would love to have you join us...


Join the Romantic Friday Writers group. First challenge - Dire Moment.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Excellent tips, Hilary!

I follow a LOT of blogs. While it's impossible to get to each one every week, I like having them in my blog reader. I do my best to get to all or most of them occasionally.

Congrats on adding 50 Followers!

TALON said...

From A-Z you're a terrific blogger, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. good to see you - no worries re keeping up - at least you're on FB..

Thanks - it's trying to simplify things as best we can while we learn and grow.

Absolutely all's well then - enjoy May and the Mother's Day weekend .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denise .. thanks - yes Ann Best made some pertinent answers to my questions .. clarifying choices for us. I too like to encourage bloggers with low numbers .. but they need to comment back and stay in touch .. then their comments will increase too.

Like you - it's building that balance and finding blogging friends who realise the value of/ or interest in the blog and will reciprocate with the right etiquette ..

With some bloggers, I know the balance will never be equal - because they have lots of input .. and I'm there to benefit from them and their commenters with their pertinent input.

Ok - great you've started a new Friday group .. yes - I'll have to check it out .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. thanks so much. I think you're right .. getting to them all occasionally and having our favourites that we go to all the time.

Many thanks re the followers .. I hope they all enjoy being here and participate .. that's what I've decided following is all about .. a community I'm a part of ..

Good to see you - thanks Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talon .. many thanks - I just love your photos, poems and short stories .. well writing in general, but the pictures always give us another perspective - as they reflect your interpretation ..and the banner photos as superb .. cheers Hilary


Hi friend,great post you have here.It's really nice to be back once more to your lovely blog.Hope you good.It has been a while we since connected so I decided to pass by and say hello and also let you know that, I have just posted the "5" steps to mind liberation so come check it up and comment. Will be following you and expecting to share and learn from you respectively.Have a wonderful and fruitful day hoping to hear from your lovely self again. A million thanks in advance.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ebendy .. thanks for your comment - good to see you again. Cheers Hilary

Mandy Allen said...

Hi Hilary, loved the challenge and what a great sum up of your experience you have here. I can't believe you were trying to read 1,000 posts a day! That's phenomenal. I agree that you have to keep track of where you have been, otherwise it is easy to waste time visiting places you have already visited!

Enjoy the journey.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mandy .. no no - I don't think so .. I was trying to get through the 1,000 in the month - failed that too!

Keeping track is the thing .. but visiting lots of different ones each day - that was my intention!!

Good to see you .. and the Challenge was fun .. loved it - see you soon .. cheers Hilary

Amanda Trought said...

Hilary, definitely organised, I did the titles in advance but didn't get to write any posts in advance. Have only followed blogs that have interested me, still haven't got through all the ones in this challenge, slowly making my way. Stay blessed


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Amanda .. the intention was there .. at least I knew like you my titles ... then I had to write the posts .. and now I've filtered my Reader - I'm slightly more in control .. but I do want to get round all the blogs - like you ..

Cheers and thanks for your comment on the first of the Royal Wedding posts .. Hilary said...

I prioriorized those who commented on me and my regulars and then visited some others, but there's only so many hours in the day.

I agree I wasn't interested in following some of them either because their blogs just didn't appeal.

I loved the experience and enjoyed the challenge. :O)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Madeleine .. I think I lost the plot there .. but I was feeling pretty woozy with the nauseous bug.

Still I did keep in touch as best I could and am now sort of catching up and getting back to old friends.

Like you once I'd learnt my lesson I stopped following everyone and just went and had a look see - if I liked what I saw .. I left a comment and followed.

The experience was great though .. and I've met some new wonderful bloggers .. cheers and good to read your thoughts - Hilary

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Hilary I was tempted to do this A-Z challenge but the timing wasn't right for me. Reading your thoughts tells me I did the right thing for this year, but I definitely would like to do it next year (Deo Volente!)

Judy, South Africa

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy .. it's well worth it - lots to achieve from it .. just wish I was as organised this month! Next year I will be ..

Your book promotion is more important at the moment ..

Lovely seeing you - cheers Hilary

Tina said...

I like your idea of a "quiz" to respond to. However, since I'm on a roll with this: Shannon @ The Warrior Muse and I are joining forces in another challenge. We're going to visit and comment at each of the participants, starting with the reflections post. We hope you'll join us!
Tina @ Life is Good , I don't have the time right now to answer them all. But for now:

3.) I've found that just about everyone has a different idea of what it means to follow. My personal belief is that following means that I want to read you regularly and want to be able to find you again easily. I don't follow just for numbers, or the chance that someone will follow me. The purpose of my blog is to practice my writing which is at the hobby stage right now, but I'm hoping for future publishing and of course, a novel.

4.) As to my visiting habits, I have 10 "must read" blogs that I try to read and comment on everything they write. Then I have blogs which are a delicious treat, but can't get to them every day. My following list is much, much longer than my blog roll. There I like to showcase blogs that either are in my top 10, or family members, or friends new to blogging, as well as non-writer blogs. I know some awesome cooks and photographers and crafters and DIYers and feel proud to be able to advertise for them. My blog roll changes weekly.

8.) As to commenting? I always comment on every blog I read. I know how much comments mean to me, and therefore I'm doing unto others as I'd like them to do unto me :-) Even if I'll never be back, I know that I can find something positive to say on each and everyone. Blogging is fun, but does take effort and it's nice when others appreciate your efforts. Phew. Long comment, but I really found your reflections post awesome, in fact, one of my top 5 so far, and I'm cruising towards my first 100. Only 1182 to go! LOL.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina and Shannon .. I wondered when you'd get to me!

I intended to get round to a few more of the A - Z challenge blogs, but just simply haven't - I have the list though. I started doing quite a few .. but then got ill and that kaiboshed the whole thing.

I started clicking the 'follow' button - then realised that was hopeless .. as I wasn't really interested and I'd rather have followers who interest me & who I have followed, follow me back.

So I discriminate my following.

Comments - on the A - Z I commented on many blogs, some again because they simply didn't interest me I didn't .. there was no value to me, nor them.

If they ever got to me and were interested and commented then fine.

I did overdose at the beginning by following, subscribing and commenting on all .. but then it got out of hand .. and way over the top

- so I had to sort all that out - and desubscribed from bloggers I wish I hadn't subscribed to - so had to restart.

Obviously my plan was there, but being 'ill' I was over zealous .. and then had to recover my equilibrium re blogs.

Thanks for acknowledging that this post was relevant to the Reflections of the A - Z ..

I admire your tenacity .. good luck with it all .. I'm sure Lee will make life as easy as possible for us .. but more importantly for himself!!

Good luck with your blogging life .. and all the best for the year .. and another 1182 to go!!

Cheers - keep happy, enjoy summer .. thanks Tina - appreciate that you've answered the Reflections as post .. Hilary