Most beautiful view comes after the hardest climb and this holds true for the #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge.
I came to know about the month long challenge via Twitter. I have been following Blogchatter since a year now and had earlier participated in the #MyFriendAlexa campaign. For bloggers, Blogchatter is an ideal platform to find a relevant audience and to build a community. It serves as a platform to connect with like-minded bloggers and to learn from others.
Blogging for me has been a way to express and pursue my creative interests. It is always refreshing to connect with fellow bloggers and get insights on what they liked reading. Blogchatter has further helped me to enhance the blogging experience.
When I read about the BlogchatterA2Z Challenge, I was instantly interested and was wanting to write true stories. I started thinking about a lot of different themes, some practical and some not so practical. The idea of writing 26 blog posts on a single theme in a span of 30 days was intimidating but the opportunities that it could create were motivating. It seemed like an absolutely solid plan to build up on an idea and analyse a topic from various angles. The repository of content that would be created could provide the readers with a holistic approach to understand the theme.
I tried to understand what interests me and if it fits into the practical approach. I tried to understand who would like to share their stories, who can inspire through their stories, will I be able to include relevant pictures about the theme – so on and so forth. Realizing that writing an engaging piece of content on a daily basis can be challenging, it was important to keep the logistics simple.
Born and brought up in Kolkata, I have a lot to talk about the city, a lot of beautiful childhood memories to share and experiences with hawkers that dot the lanes here and make up the city’s culture. Owing to all these reasons, my chosen theme for the year was – Hawkers of Kolkata
The entire experience took me to various parts of the city and acquainted me with the lesser known stories about people who we interact with almost on a daily basis. The roller-coaster ride that it was, the challenge had it’s own share of ups and downs but on the last day, I was only filled with joy to have successfully completed the challenge.
Here are some of the lessons that I learnt –
1. Plan in advance – Having a few posts ready in advance helps to make it through the challenge. It keeps you in a better position to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
2. Keep it short – Owing to the nature of your theme, it helps to keep the blog posts short if possible. Everyone is trying to complete their posts and therefore reading long blog posts during the challenge can get difficult. Plus, writing long posts would require more time. A blog post of about 400-700 words should work fine. You can always revisit the blog posts later and make them more detailed.
3. Share links to previous posts – At the end of the blog, you can either include a link to a page that lists all the blog posts for the A2Z Challenge or can individually list all the blog posts with their link for the readers to visit. This makes it easier for the readers to discover your blog posts and helps to improve the engagement rate.
4. Social Media helps to build a connect – A lot of communication goes on on social media, especially on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Follow the official hashtag and look at the social media platforms as a strategic option to participate in conversations and come across like minded bloggers.
5. Keep the logistics simple – I had earlier thought of writing about first time experiences of street children. Their first visit to a restaurant, first movie experience, first visit to a museum and so on. I had thought of also helping them have such experiences. At the right time I realized that while the thought is good, it isn’t practical and keeping the logistics simple helped me to complete the challenge.
6. Have fun! – Don’t get overwhelmed with all the action that is happening. Don’t feel pressurized to always have the best lines in place. Enjoy the process and take it easy. You will emerge a finer blogger and a storyteller by the end of it.
Working on the posts, linking them on the Blogchatter links and promoting via social media can get quite time consuming and demanding after a full day at office. But, it gets better as you go and the immense support that you receive from all the other participants, motivates to chase the finishing line.
I had almost given up and could not write for almost two weeks. It was because of the encouragement that I received on Twitter and from friends, that I continued and finished all the 26 posts. Unforeseen circumstances can make the challenge all the more challenging. But, looking back at all the 30 days, I have enjoyed every minute of the excitement and the thrill. Having readers from all across the country and even beyond to visit my blog was a rewarding experience. The tweets to motivate, inspire, rejoice and celebrate added on to the element of joy. I’ve never before been such a diligent blogger and never before known my city from the angle of it’s hawkers.
Dying trades, inspiring stories, age-old practices, innovative ideas and more – I discovered so much while meeting the hawkers. I’m glad to have chosen this theme.
I’d like to thank every blogger who have helped me to keep going.
I’d like to thank the Blogchatter Team for the endless support and for the live sessions on Facebook and Instagram to enhance our understanding about writing styles.
I look forward to more such experiences and to be a consistent blogger. You can choose to read any of the 26 posts for the BlogchatterA2Z Challenge below –
9. Ink of Love
12. Larger than Life
15. Against all odds
22. Vendors on Bus