It is all over now. Almost a month of posts on one main subject, and two additional posts by way of an epilogue. I set this challenge to myself, and it was the only one I have ever taken on, in five years of blogging. I chose Films and Cinema because that subject has been the love of my (long) life so far. The only alternatives were History and Photography, but I had a feeling that films would attract more interest, and I was right.
So, my considered thoughts. It’s hard work, harder than I expected. For every word typed on the posts, many more were discarded. For every film mentioned or featured, ten more had to be left out. For a lover of films, it was sheer torture. The research was hard too. Even though I have seen so many films, and had most posts already worked out, I still had to remind myself of dates, casts, and other small details. Twenty-six days of being accurate, making difficult decisions, and presenting posts worth reading was a challenge indeed. (Even though I got a ‘day off’ with ‘X’!)
What about the positives? Well, they were many. New followers, engagement on posts, a huge number of comments, and a real sense of camaraderie too. All my previous followers, and those new ones, pitched in with some great ideas and suggestions, numerous re-blogs, re-tweets on Twitter, and their own thoughts and conclusions. Despite the work, I can honestly say that I have never had a happier or more positive blogging experience. Daily views and visits were, by my standards, quite phenomenal. Even when some letters attracted less interest, others kept up the encouraging averages. In case anyone was wondering, the most popular letter as far as views were concerned was ‘S’, with the troublesome ‘X’ being the least viewed.
Tips from me? If you are thinking of doing anything like this, then here are some guidelines.
1) Make written notes as you go along. Otherwise, you might well forget your choices, and those original thoughts.
2) Write some posts in advance, as many as you can. You can always edit them later, and it takes the pressure off of having to make sure you come up with one each day.
3) Answer comments, even if you don’t agree with them. Doing something like this is all about involvement in a community. If you cannot be bothered to reply, then why should anyone comment in the first place?
4) Set time aside. It takes a lot of thought, and a fair bit of time and effort too. Make sure you have that time available to give it your best shot. If you are not sure, then don’t start it.
But it was never about stats, rewarding though they may be. It was about fun, interest, engagement, and good friendship. That’s what blogging is about for me, and I could not be more delighted.
It will be strange to go back to ‘normal’ blogging, that’s for sure.
Would I do it again? The jury is out on that one.