#atozchallenge 2016 Reflections

This was the year I thought I had it all together. All my posts for the Challenge were written and lined up in the queue to be released at 6 AM Eastern Time each morning, and I figured great, the A to Z Challenge will take care of itself, I’ll be able to visit the blogs of other people and be a good co-host and leave all kinds of comments and maybe even keep up with the regular features on the blog.

Well, I guess things wouldn’t work out that way. See, April 1 was a Friday, and I have a regular feature called the Friday Five. And, like a fool, I decided that my post for that day would be “five songs that start with the letter A.” And, naturally, people visiting the blog after noon on Friday, when the F5 post was posted, assumed that my theme for April would be music. I do a lot of music here, so it was a reasonable assumption.

I could have done one of two things: I could either comment back to everyone that the song post was just a regular Friday Five, or I could go with the flow and have two themes, one being the portmanteaus and the other being music. I went with the latter option and did two themes. This cut the amount of time to do all that other stuff considerably, and I didn’t get to visit as many new blogs as I wanted. In fact, I didn’t get a chance to visit all the people I normally visit anyway, many of whom (and the number was close to a hundred) were also doing the Challenge, probably because I made such a big deal about it. Of those, I commented on a few each day, and Tweeted out a number of the others to at least give them some well-deserved attention.

My plan for the rest of the year is to go through the list of participants from this year at a more leisurely pace and try to get to as many of you as I possibly can. This was a practice that the A to Z team used to call “The A To Z Challenge Road Trip,” although I don’t know that any of the other co-hosts are going to do it this year. Which is fine. I’ll be on the road, so to speak, and if any of you others are going to do the same, let me know, and maybe we can meet at Denny’s for a Grand Slam Breakfast or something. Or maybe the IHOP for a Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity….


I want to give a special thanks to the members of Holton’s Heroes, my “minions” as it were, who assisted me in keeping my portions of the list as clean as possible:

At the risk of sounding not politically correct, thank you, ladies. It was an honor and a privilege to work with you and I hope we can do it again next year.

I was truly impressed by the talent of the people who participated in this year’s Challenge. Whether you were writing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, posting songs or photos, or whatever you were doing, y’all did an excellent job, and it was a pleasure to visit your blogs and see what you had. I look forward to visiting all of you eventually.

Thanks to all who visited and left a comment or a “like.” I fell way behind in replying to comments, but I will reply.

Thanks especially to Arlee Bird, who came up with this cool idea many years ago. This is the Challenge that got me into blogging. Thanks to all my fellow co-hosts: Alex (the Listmeister), Heather, Pam, AJ, Jeremy (who did all the graphics and set up the shop where you can buy all kinds of neato A to Z Challenge merchandise), Stephen, Lauren, Csenge, Joy and Damyanti.

How many of you have your theme for next year? I know I do…

Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

31 thoughts on “#atozchallenge 2016 Reflections”

  1. Well that was an unplanned additional theme! But it was great. I visited several times and enjoyed both of your themes.
    It was a pleasure being one of your minions. It was fun and I’ll definitely do it again next year (I think I’m going to do the A-Z. I may sit it out next year). Thanks for the introduction to all the new word combos…

    Michele at Angels Bark


    1. I hope you change your mind and do this again next year. If you start now, you can have all the posts written and queued up… HAHAHAHAHA!

      Thanks again for your help.


  2. I think the third time might have been the charm for me. I’ve enjoyed all three years, but I think I’m out. It’s a spectacular event, I love meeting new and interesting bloggers 🙂


  3. Keeping up with one theme was hard enough. Very brave (daft?) to do two. I thought I was more organised this year but still ended up having a couple of panics to get posts done and posted on time. And definitely didn’t do as much visiting as I’d have liked. But thanks for all your hard work. It was still great fun.


  4. Well, two challenges at the same time is impressive. No need to feel obligated to visit a bunch of blogs. The ‘chore’ comments can be easy to smell. 🙂


  5. I was impressed that you had two themes going! 😀 After a short blogging break, I’ll also leisurely do a road trip through the rest of the blogs. If only we could meet at a Denny’s (I’d get the two-egg breakfast, do they still serve that, I wonder?) but Denny’s has not yet arrived here (boo hoo for me). Yes! I think I have my theme for next year. I’ll just have to write it down some where so I don’t forget and also remember where I wrote it down…eeek…


    1. I’ll be honest, I haven’t been to a Denny’s in almost twenty years (we don’t have one near us). I checked their breakfast menu (https://www.dennys.com/food/breakfast/) and they don’t have the two-egg breakfast listed, but I’m sure you could get something close.

      I already have a theme for next year and about half the words. I’ve got a page in Eveernote for it already. Hope to see you then!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I had the same feeling about not meeting enough new people during this challenge. I even wrote it into one of my letters. I’m glad that you suggested that I do this challenge, even if I grumbled about it a bit! As for next year… well, I have a few ideas brewing, so I guess I’m hooked.


    1. It really wasn’t that bad. I had one of the themes finished and sitting in queue, so it was just like I had the one to do each day. But I wasn’t planning on the second…


  7. Hi John – I certainly couldn’t do more than one blog per year … just this year had to withdraw at last minute … still I am prepared for next year!! Well done on creating the two A-Zs running alongside … the portmanteau ones were fascinating … cheers Hilary


    1. I have to say, the portmanteau theme worked out really well. I had a lot of fun doing it, and it got more or less rave reviews. And while I was doing it, I figured out what next year’s theme will be. Do you plan on using the theme you would have usedf this year next year?


  8. I’m in awe of anyone who completes the challenge with more than one blog or in your case, more than one theme. Sorry I didn’t get a chance to visit more often, but I was not properly prepared and had to write most of my posts on the fly. This put a crimp in the social aspect. Congratulations on having such a successful challenge!


    1. I fell way behind on returning comments, which is why I’m doing them now. Like you, I didn’t do much visiting because I was already following so many A to Z’ers. But I have the rest of the year for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. John, I think you did an excellent job! Veterans or newbies of this blog hop ALWAYS learn new ways to improvement for the next go around of A2Z. Your theme choice was interesting, but I failed to make it back over to read your posts. So, like you I plan to go at it easy to play catch up on all the missed posts. You did a great job co-hosting this year. I tip my imaginary hat to you, my friend! Congratulations!!

    2016 #AprilA2Z Reflections


  10. It was fun, John! I’m not sure I want to go with two challenges again next year, but I never say never – it’s my third year in a row doing two each time.
    Thanks for the mention, and for keeping up with me! 😀


  11. Hi John.
    You had two themes going during the challenge? Bravo!
    Sounds like you had your hands full. The main thing is to have fun…and it sounds like that’s exactly what you had!
    Now to think of a short, interactive theme for next year… 🙂
    Writer In Transit


    1. I found that you can make any post an interactive one by ending it with a question. I did that with both themes and got a lot of interaction. Now I have to catch up…


  12. Personally, I don’t know how you were able to do two themes. It was a struggle for me to do one. I had toyed with the idea for a short while of doing a second theme from a now unused blog I run, and quickly decided against it when I was up against the wall and April was looming and I had no posts as yet scheduled.
    Gratz to all your hard work!
    It’s always a pleasure to stop by and visit.
    PS – I finally posted my BOTB results and my Reflections post.


    1. I had all the posts for the one theme done ahead of time, which made it possible. Had I tried writing both in realtime, I would have dropped out, I think. I don’t think I’ll do that again…


  13. Wow, running two themes at once is seriously hard core! I’m thinking about my theme for next year, but I haven’t chosen one yet


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