Z … is for Zoom in.

Z[1] is for zoom in. This is my first attempt at the A to Z Challenge, and although at times it was hard work, I feel that I’ve been rewarded in several ways. The best way I can demonstrate my appreciation to the organisers, moderators and my fellow participants is to give them a big thank you.

It feels appropriate that I should do it by way of highlighting them here. Among my list are a couple of good sites I found during my blog patrols, so although not participants, they were worth finding.

The list below is in no particular order apart from the first person, who I believe played a huge part in the success of the overall project.

A handful of the blogs I followed through April, which includes participants and non-participants:

http://amloki.blogspot.co.uk/ Damyanti was added to my Blogroll recently, and it was from her that I found out about the A to Z Challenge 2014.

Damyanti has been one of the hosts that kept this monster running smoothly, but it would be remiss of me not to mention the others: Lee, Alex, Tina, Jeremy, Nicole, Stephen, Heather, AJ, MJ and Pam. I am listing their blogs at the end of my post, and I will be visiting each one after the challenge.

* http://janiceheck.wordpress.com/ Janice for advice on punctuation, grammar and written English.

* http://gypsyshutterbug.com/ Tara is worth following if you haven’t got time to go around the world yourself.

* http://loebick.com/ April is a wife, writer, woman, reviewer and blogger worth checking out.

* http://charitywrites.blogspot.co.uk/ Charity and her children have taken followers on a journey back in time with Dr Who. I have loved this blog through April.

* http://lynnelives.wordpress.com/about/ Lynne is a writer and painter and has lived all over the UK.

* http://princessofdragons.wordpress.com/ Princess of Dragons will provide any and all information on these mythical beasts. This has been another favourite site of mine throughout April.

* http://sydneyaaliyah.com/ Sydney is a Contemporary Romance writer and her debut novel it due for release in June 2014.

* http://www.stephaniefaris.com/#!stephie5741blogspotcom/cgvp Stephanie is an author of fiction, and non-fiction (technical).

* http://www.murderousimaginings.blogspot.co.uk/ Yolanda has a site worth checking if you have murder in mind. Another personal favourite.

* http://b-due.com/ Becky has a site and history to look at if you need to take stock of life, or want to feel inspired.

* http://juliejordanscott.typepad.com/ Julie wears many hats in life, and her blog contains quotes, questions and prompts.

* http://julialundauthor.wordpress.com/ Julia is a writer with her debut novel only recently available. It’s a great read.

* http://echoesofthepen.com/ Paul is a novice writer, a book reviewer, and shortly to be an online interviewer. If you want to get the word out, impress him with your book and get him onside! He’s also a nice guy and writes a decent short story.

* http://stephenthom.wordpress.com/​ Stephen is a young musician and novice writer. He needs some support and encouragement.

* http://wktucker.com/ Kathy is a natural storyteller. Her site will be staying on my Blogroll.

The A to Z Challenge 2014 – team:

* http://tossingitout.blogspot.co.uk/ Lee

* http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.co.uk/ Alex

* http://kmdlifeisgood.blogspot.co.uk/ Tina

* http://www.beingretro.com/ Jeremy

* http://www.madlabpost.com/ Nicole

* http://authorstephentremp.blogspot.co.uk/ Stephen

* http://hmgardner.blogspot.co.uk/ Heather

* http://frodofrog.blogspot.co.uk/ AJ

* http://mjjoachim.blogspot.co.uk/ MJ

* http://unconventionallibrarian.com/ Pam

Given that there were over 2000 participants, I think these guys, and Damyanti, mentioned in my intro, are all owed a debt of gratitude. I will get in touch to thank each of our support team in the coming days.

After today, I’ll trim the blogs I follow, but however many are on there, I will do my utmost to make regular visits. I hope you’ve enjoyed this experience as much as I have. From today, I’ll be working on my latest novel again, having left it to simmer since the beginning of the challenge.

I’ll now add this post to my main menu ‘My A to Z Posts 2014’, so it will be there for open reference for one and all. Now, out of recent habit, I suppose I’ll have to write a post for tomorrow. Take care everybody out there and I’ve got a thought for you to take with you with your writing in mind.

‘If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got’

From a tired, but satisfied participant who started the challenge with 30 followers. Bye!

M … is for Mutual (Support)

M[1]  is for mutual, as in mutual support.

Now, how am I going to spin this into a writing connection?

We all enjoy what we’re doing; writing. We all recognise that if not a lonely life, it can be safely construed as a solitary life. Outside of your shed, study, or wherever you write, you may have family or even friends. They may or may not make all the right noises when they see your work, but let’s look at our blog-life.

Instead of using this post to talk about writing, I thought I’d touch on what we’re all doing right now – blogging and communicating. We’re strengthening ties and creating a better, larger, writer’s community.

Is it good to see a ‘like’ about your blog?

For me, the answer to that is yes, and no. I can’t see the point in telling somebody new that you ‘like’ an aspect of their blog, unless you qualify it with the reason. If you give a ‘like’, give a comment the first time, even if it’s brief. There is an exception to this theory. Once you’ve established a rapport with the blogger, and actually written a comment or two, an unsupported ‘like’ is still nice to see – it shows you’ve made the time to get over for a look.

Why is it so important?

It leaves a bitter taste to find that somebody has ‘liked’ about four aspects of your blog, and clicked on ‘follow’, simply so that you will go and check out theirs, possibly even deciding to ‘follow’ it. In the last month I’ve had five such attempts at using me to increase ‘followers’. I’ve grown wise to it, and the transgressors have been unceremoniously removed. This blog is still very much a learning process for me.

Is this a rant?

Most definitely not. I did feel though that, now that we’ve reached the halfway point on this rather excellent challenge, it was time to show my colours so to speak.

I refreshed my blog at the beginning of the year, and started from scratch. My previous blogging efforts were going largely unnoticed. I now have 59 followers according to my statistics, but I know it’s not accurate so I’ve got a couple of ‘red herrings’ to find. I’m actually following about 40 blogs, and though it’s hard work at times, I want to see how things look at the end of April.

Don’t worry, we’re nearly there; the point is coming.

My aim is to have a manageable list of blogs, where there is mutual support between myself, those who follow me, and those I follow. If I have 30 ‘followers’ who are actually ‘following’, I will respond in kind. If I have 50 followers, I will work hard to support them.

I’m not expecting that there is a closed group of blogs, like a Facebook group. Good manners and integrity suggests to me that it doesn’t have to be a reciprocal exercise, as long as we are faithful when we hit that ‘follow’ button. If the target blog gets boring, then ‘unfollow’. It can be that we are following 25 blogs, but we have 50 followers. Even an occasional response to comments is good manners.

I know there are some out there with followers in three figures, and I salute you. You are what blogging is all about. My actual writing time is too precious to follow too many blogs. I will however work to support any writer who feels they need an opinion, a tip, or even a listening ear. I am not beyond asking for those things myself. No, sadly I’m not perfect or infallible, but I’m working on both.

What I’m saying in a nutshell is, that those of us that are serious about writing and blogging don’t really need ‘hangers-on’. We do need genuine, like-minded individuals, who can see beyond their own screen, and want to help, and be helped.

Okay. I think I’d better stop writing, or the decent folk among you will stop reading. By the way, there was no intent to injure any blogger, mentally or physically with the contents of this post.

Thank you once again for reading, and where appropriate, following. I’ll see you tomorrow with ‘N