Zero in on the month that was : Curtain Call on #AtoZChallenge

I love watching theatre performances. Other than the live performance, raw emotions and unfiltered voice what appeals to me is the curtain call. Every single person behind the scene gets recognised for the magic created on the stage.

I put up a performance all through the month of April. You may not have realised this, but I was creating one post everyday with each alphabet.

It started with A on 1st April and is ending with Z today.

Today is the curtain call for #AtoZChallenge.

And I would like to zero in on how the month unfolded, the efforts put in and the results seen.

Rehearsal and Pre-production

I started writing this blog in March this year. I had planned to put up one post per week. I have a job and lately I have come to enjoy relaxing in evenings, watching TV, sleeping on time, waking up early, going for walk etc. I did not want stress and so one post per week sounded good.

Then I stumbled upon this community Blogchatter on Twitter. I was just going about reading when I saw their hashtag #blogchatterAtoZ. A little research and turns out this is 10th year of this challenge, that takes place in April every year, which was initially started by a blogger.

He probably wanted to write regularly, and honestly, what an idea sir ji!

Writing everyday is easier said than done.

I contemplated and contemplated and decided at the very last moment, on 25th March to go ahead and participate.

Truth be told, my target was to reach mid-way. Reaching the end was out of question!

But it was a well thought out decision. I knew what I was doing and why I was doing it. Here’re my reasons :

  • Shift blog to independent hosting
  • Build Twitter Profile
  • Build Medium Profile
  • Create a content repository that can be an outline for video making
  • Write

Even with 13 alphabets, I would have made a good start.

Now AtoZ challenge is initiated with a theme reveal post in March. But because I was undecided till late I did not do a theme reveal or any announcement that I will be doing this.

And so I know a lot of people on my social profiles must be weirded out with my daily postings. “This woman either does not do anything or goes full crazy”, isn’t it?

Anyway, so first I thought I will write the story of my startup HAW- Hands at work in 26 posts. But then I can’t bring myself to write single post on it yet, 26 would have been too tough and emotionally draining.

Then I realised, the blog itself has a niche. I can continue writing about related topics in finance and see how far I go.

In my mind, I was starting another investment journey. Investment of time, effort and skill.

And I realised within one week that I had grossly underestimated the journey.

The Act

I decided I will start with writing about money, then put in some concepts, then some from experience, some from observation and will see how it goes.

Transferred the blog to independent hosting before start of the challenge. Lost out on some amazing love you all showed on my initial posts though. Lost out on followers too.

Next, I linked the blog to Medium and made a writer profile and publication on Medium. It automatically posts on Medium under my writer profile. Then I just have to change a few setting and put it for publication.

Twitter, I just decided to post links everyday.

I would come back from office at around 7.30pm, rest a bit and sit for writing at around 8.30 pm. And everyday I was sleeping at around 3.30 am.

I realised writing needs a lot of reading and research. I would spend hours reading, and because I was writing concepts and finance, sometimes I would sit doing calculation on excel entire night only to realise that I still have to research more before I write.

After everything I would sit and read blogs by fellow bloggers. And then get up in morning, go for job, come back and the cycle continued.

I was not watching TV, or sleeping on time, or waking up early. Entire “relaxing” schedule was tossed on its head.

And then I realised why participating in a community set up is important. You are motivated when you see everyone doing it. You are motivated because it is just one more post. Then just one more.

I tried my level best to write in variety and still keep it relevant. On days that I was unwell or could not write, I also used posts from my buffer. But they are far and few.

Just like in investing, I realised, here also consistency is the key. And so I kept on writing.

In between, M shifted back to Bangalore, Game of Thrones started airing and we had new product launches at office, so office became a little hectic (which is a rare occurrence and so very cherished too).

But this writing time had become my time. I started looking forward to it.

Cold Coffee, laptop, lit up room and writing.

And so one post at a time, here I complete a month!

The Applause

Like I said I looked at this entire challenge as an investment. And investment has benefits.

At the cost of sounding full of self, let’s see what I gained :

Content — I wrote 26 posts on blog which if I had written as earlier planned (one per week) would have taken more than 6 months!! I now have 26 topics to probably convert into video or audio blog. So that makes it 78 possible pieces of content in total. Not bad!

Readers : This was great! I have upward of 1000 views in month of April. These stats honestly at the moment mean nothing more than an assurance that you all are reading what I write. I have got reassurances through blog comments, likes and FB comments. A huge motivating factor for me to write everyday. So thank you!

Subscribers : Well this one is messed up. I did gain subscribers but for some reason they are subscribed to my earlier blog and not independent-hosted blog. It is such a big MEH fact, but technology and specially website management is new to me. So it is okay. I at-least know people liked what I was writing and subscribed. If you are one of those, you may want to re-subscribe by entering your mail ID again. Truth be told I have no idea what you get if you subscribe. That is next on my to-do list. To figure out everything on this blog!

Twitter : I now have 26 tweets on Twitter handle. Again, 26 content pieces to promote, whenever I plan to do it.

Medium : This is super amazing. First thing first, She Talk Cents is now a top writer in Finance category 😀 This is a result of consistent posting with #Finance. It came as a surprise to me.

Next, two of the articles were selected by Medium editors for distribution. The selected articles get wider distribution and therefore more views. They get paid too, but Indian writers unfortunately cannot yet enroll for that. Medium gave me 974 views!

And last, I have a publication on Medium now. Now you can also write for STC and build your Medium profile as independent writer parallely. Write to me if you wish to contribute, I have trained myself to guide you for this!

Knowledge & Habit : This by far beats everything else. Through this challenge I could figure out the time that suits me, the place and the set up that puts me in writing mood. And I read so much! It made writing a habit for me. Writing for 30 days is not easy, but now I know it not impossible too.

The weight gain : Well, I have a love story going on with my weight. Everything I do, my weight gets involved somehow. The tossed up schedule had adverse affect on my weight. This, too is on my to-do list. Yet again.

The Closing note

Yet another experience that taught me benefits of consistency and discipline. Of investing in something you believe in. Of doing your part and not stress about frills.

I had a good time with my first AtoZChallenge. I also got to read many amazing bloggers and writers.

I would recommend it to any blogger reading this. It is tough but it is worth it.

The best feeling is to take up a challenge and complete it.

I will probably go back to one or maximum two posts a week. I also look forward to starting podcast series for STC.

Let’s see how far it goes.

All the world’s a stage….

And as a performer for this act, I loved having you as my audience.

And I cannot be more thankful for the alphabet family to finally end at Z!

Originally published at She Talk Cents.

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