Friday, May 9, 2014

Aftermath of the A-Z Challenge

“Remember that thing I did last April, when I was blogging almost every day?”

“Oh no, not that again!”

“Well, I’m doing it differently this year. It’s almost done. I’ve got almost everything written out except for Y and Z.”


Three days later:

“I thought you said you were done with writing that thing.”

“Well, the writing is mostly done, except for Y and Z, but it still takes time to get photos, format and post them.”

“What? You didn’t say anything about pictures?  Can you just do them all today, so that all you have to do is click a button? Just get it out of the way!”

So that’s how I ended up one Friday blogging until 10 pm so that all the posts were finished. I didn’t get to blog hop much mid April because life was pressing, from dealing with chicken caretaking (like um, discovering 18 eggs under the house) to helping with the roof project (like looking for fallen drill bits swallowed by the black hole of a gulch by our house) , and there’s also that four letter word, W O R K.
One day towards the end of the A-Z Challenge, I was able to catch up on blog hopping. Holy smokes, why was everyone on W? Oh my gosh, I had forgotten W.

I had written W, but forgot to post it. Oops. That’s why it’s good to blog hop once in a while. It keeps you on track.

This is my second year of the A-Z Challenge. If you haven't read my posts, click here to read about Hawaii from A - Z. Last year, I was sliding by the seat of my pants, barely finishing a post by 11 pm or midnight the night before. This year was more organized. I even participated in some A-Z chats on twitter, which were a delightful diversion from blog slogging.

After a long week of too much work
Does anyone know what movie this is from?
This is what I think of as "blog slogging" during the A-Z Challenge. 

What I like about the A-Z Challenge
It’s as much about the connecting and networking as it is about blogging for each letter of the alphabet. Doing it the second time around, I could see the value of spending a certain amount of time writing and posting and three times as much time networking and hopping. That’s a 1 : 3 ratio. Now there was someone I met on twitter who said she was visiting 300 blogs which she had handpicked ahead of time. Whoa. But you can carry it to that extreme if you want.

It’s diverse with a wide range of topics and people involved. Most blog hops I’ve encountered have a narrow focus: women, writers, video, or a geographical location and the A-Z Challenge has a good cross section of topics from travel, recipes and writing to --- fill in the blank.

What was different this year from last year:
·        Doing it the second time around, bloggers I met the first time who were participating again this year showed up instantly and I found myself also wondering about other blogs I had visited frequently last year. So even though I didn’t have a twitter retweet team this year, and never got around to really creating one, I still felt very supported. The #AZchats on twitter on Thursdays at 1pm and 8 pm EST were very fun.

·        Real research on Hawaiian history and culture. Not just Wikipedia and google searches. I actually went to the library and read books to make sure I wasn’t blowing sunshine up everyone’s [fill in the blank]. I didn’t feel like I made things up last year, but my credibility was based on what I remembered and what I could find online.  I actually got very interested in Hawaiian culture, and have been wondering how to make time so I can study the language.

Just a few library books on Hawaii.
I love my theme, by the way. I could blog about Hawaii until the islands melt.

·        I “got” the A-Z challenge on a deeper level, about the networking. I started following more blogs with “Google Friend Connect” on the Blogger platform, seeing it more as a flowing stream of topics to occasionally dip into rather than an obligation to read all the latest posts.

·        On the #writestuff twitter chat hosted by @penpaperpad during April (3 pm EST on Tuesdays), one of the questions was “Do you get tired of reading other people’s blogs?” At  least three of us were participating in the A-Z Challenge: New Fatitude, Mental Mosaic and myself.

·        Created a Facebook page for the blog. I still haven’t added a Facebook icon to the blog, and there’s still a million things to polish and reformat and redo, but it’s been something I’ve been putting off for a year. The A-Z challenge was a good kick in the pants to get it done.

·        Activity on Google+. Some bloggers I met last year found me on Google+ or vice versa and that became another way to share posts and connect.

What was the same as last year?
·        It’s still a blog slog. Meaning slogging away at the computer for hours either writing, editing, formatting, looking for photos, and sharing on social media.

·        A few comments still did not show up on the blog but were visible in my comments folder. I had to physically add them in the Disqus comments format so that I could see them.

·        Still balancing between home life and blogging life. There were several days where all I did was click a button and share my post. Luckily, on the last day of April, I got to thoroughly mine my comments folder for missed comments, spam, and actively reciprocate comments.

Partial Bibiliography (not in order!)
Dunford, Betty. 1987. The Hawaiians of Old. Revised. Honolulu: Bess Press

Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Samuel H. Ebert. 1986. Hawaiian Dictionary, Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
Simonson, Douglas and Ken Sakata. 2005. Pidgin to da Max 25th Anniversary Edition. Honolulu: Bess Press.

Menton, Linda and Eileen Tamura. 1991. A History of Hawai’i. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Sakoda, Kent and Jeff Siegel. 2003. Pidgin Grammar: An Introduction to the Creole Language of Hawai’i. Honolulu: Bess Press.

Kamakau, Samuel Manaiakalani. 1991. Ka Po’e Kahiko: The People Of Old. Honolulu: Bishop Museum.

Schutz, Albert J. 1998. A Pocket Guide to the Hawaiian Language. Island Heritage Publishing.

Buck, Peter H. “Te Rangi Hiroa” Arts and Crafts of Hawai’i. Volume XIII. Death and Burial. Bishop Museum Press.

Brandon, Reiko Mochinaga. 1993. The Hawaiian Quilt: Honolulu: Honolulu Academy of Arts.  

Brandon, Reiko Mochinaga. Honolulu Academy of Arts, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Mission Houses Museum (Honolulu, Hawaii), Daughters of Hawaii. 1989. The Hawaiian Quilt = Rakuen ni saita nuno no hana: Hawaian kiruto ten. Tokyo: Kokusai Art.

Serrao, Poakalani and John Serrao. 1997. The Hawaiian quilt : a spiritual experience : reflection on its history, heritage, designing, quilting methods and patterns. Honolulu: Mutual Pub.

Jones, Stella M. 1995. Hawaiian quilts. Honolulu: Daughters of Hawaii : Honolulu Academy of Arts : Mission Houses Museum.

Arthur, Linda Boynton. 2002. Contemporary Hawaiian quilting: At the cutting edge. Waipahu, Hawai'i: Island Heritage Pub.

Hammond, Joyce D. 1986. Tifaifai and quilts of Polynesia. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press.

Some blogs I’ve enjoyed visiting, in no particular order. It’s not everyone but it’s a start:
Mop Dog (wry Hungarian humor and culture)
View from the Top of theLadder (fun drawings and light stories)
Jocelyn Rish (font madness!)
Marlene Moss (grammar tips + horses)
Yeakley Jones (genealogy)
Brandon Ax (animal trivia + writing)
Stephanie Faris (writing)
Donna on Palawan  (San Diego theme) 
Patricia Lynne (short flash fiction) 
Mental Mosaic (instagram travel pics)
Smidgens Snippets and Bits (funny, poignant poems on caretaking)

Mahalo or thank you to everyone who commented and participated!


  1. Blog slogging. I like that term. I've been blog slogging a lot lately. I suppose if it was a paying job, I'd dislike it very quickly. This is a great review, Courtney. Thanks for mentioning my blog. Also, thanks for posting your bibliography. I like to read about Hawaii, both for fun and research.

    Courtney, I've nominated you for a Liebster Award. You can "pick it up" and get more details at this link. :-)
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

  2. Congratulations Courtney, sounds like you had a good plan and despite a few glitches you achieved success. Interesting how much more you learned this year. Keep up the good work.

  3. Thanks Susie! Uh oh, I still have Liebster awards to give away too!

  4. Thanks so much Dan! Maybe you'll do A-Z next year?

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