Now that the whole frenzy of the April AtoZ Challenge is behind me and I can afford to look back with a bemused, even benign smile, it is time to reflect. Time to reckon, kya paaya kya khoya (what did I gain and what did I lose), and what did I learn.
This was my first ever AtoZ Challenge, which I took up pretty much as a spur of the moment decision. I wanted to test myself, to see if I could face the demands of a daily writing challenge. I had to point to prove to myself. I think, after having successfully completed the challenge, I have done that. It was definitely not easy. There were days when I struggled to get a coherent sounding post out because I was just so tired of thinking. There were moments when I wondered if I would get through the month, especially those couple of days when I was ill. But luckily, I pulled through. My four-month-old blog is definitely reaping the benefits in terms of new content and page views!
This brings me to the second learning of AtoZ, one which was infinitely bigger and more important in many ways. I’ve been blogging regularly for a few months now, but it’s been more or less a solitary activity. The AtoZ Challenge and the Twitter DM groups that Blogchatter created around it, was for me a unique experience. Bloggers visiting each other’s posts, commenting, encouraging each other, was a great thing to see and experience personally. To me, the best part of AtoZ was the sense of community that I found and the lovely bloggers I met and became friends with.
I won’t be able to name all of them because then this post will become too long, but I will definitely name the ones that I did manage to visit and connect with more or less on a regular basis. Here they are, in a happy random order, just because I’m bored of alphabetical order 🙂
Namratha who wrote poetry and prose inspired by a cause. Always gave me something to think about. I went back to pick a favourite, but realised I loved all her posts 🙂
Priya of the infectious smile. She writes these stories that make you come back for more.
Ashwini who wrote on a feminist theme. Well researched and thought out posts, the kind you wish more men would also read. I loved the beautiful and hopeful poem with which she ended her series.
Shilpa had me at “travel” lol. Since I’m a passionate traveller and my other blog is a travel blog, her posts really resonated with me.
Seema whom I discovered half-way through the challenge. Her travel stories are highlighted by her beautiful sketches, which I am hoping to see turned into an ebook someday. I have to go back to her blog and read more now that I have time.
Akshata who created a beautiful serialised story about Myra, and through her talked about so many important issues facing our society. Beautifully done.
Deepa whose blog is even newer than mine, and who wrote about a number of things about life. Always heartfelt, wise and extremely kind to other bloggers. I believe we will stay in touch.
Purba the young poetess. She kept introducing me to new forms of poetry and different emotions every time I read one of her poems. Loved them.
Kalpana who had a photographic series about Delhi. Thanks to her I revisited a number of places in this city, at least virtually. Now that the AtoZ madness is over, I hope to read the rest of her writing in peace.
Nupur who applied principles of the Gita and Upanishads to life in simple, easy to understand writing.
What next? Well, To Better Lives will take a break of about two weeks. A well earned rest, before coming back with new ideas. I also need to get some content out on my other blog Nomadic Dreamz which has been languishing without my TLC. So this month I will be giving it some much-needed attention. If you like travel blogs, I’d love to have you visit!
Thank you for being a part of my April AtoZ journey, and have a wonderful May!