BEDiM 2013 : DAY 5 & A to Z 2013 : REFLECTIONS

(A Blog Every Day in May 2013 Challenge & An A to Z 2013 Challenge Reflections Entry)

I will start with the shortest segment of this double combo super punch to the love cockles of the blogosphere; the BEDiM entry.

Today’s prompt:

Day 5, Sunday: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don't have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member.

This really is a Combo post. A blending of two challenges into one...

Considering all the new friends I’ve made over the last few months, I feel there is no way to single out any one specific blog. During the A to Z I’ve made even more friends, all varying in their degrees of interaction with one another and myself. So instead of focusing on just one, I plan to highlight a handful of bloggers that I feel have been actively keeping up reading/commenting and building connections (whether during the A to Z or beyond).

Before getting there, though, I shall take a moment to reflect upon the A to Z Challenge 2013.

If I Could Do It All Again

The A to Z Challenge was a great experience, regardless of the pockets of stress, and momentary close breakdowns throughout! It opened the door to meeting many fellow bloggers, each with their own topics/themes/voices/styles. It's amazing really! I'm looking forward to keeping along with their own personal journeys through the blogosphere, as much as I hope they are interested to following along with mine.

That being said, however, I think attempting to follow over 20+ blogs (reading, commenting, and replying) was a bit overwhelming for me. I’m a slow reader, and while normally this is no big deal, combined with daily posts — while having to write my own — I could feel myself falling behind. I’ve already apologized, and plan to catch up where need be, so if some particular blogger isn’t okay with that, well I should reassess my bothering to follow along with them in the first place. I view this whole experience as a fun, sociable interaction with the blogosphere.

This may not have been such an issue had I written blogs in advance as advised by the Host/Co-Hosts in March. I am definitely planning to do so next year (maybe I will start right now!). It will cut down on half of the work, and I could spend more time reading fellow blogger posts, comment, and reply. I am amazed at how many people breezed through these difficulties, and I may be a tad bit jealous of them. So, this is one area of improvement I plan to make for next year. I may also attempt a theme. It seems like everyone who focused on a theme had a blast! We will see what I have going on next April before deciding.

It’s pretty obvious I would partake in the challenge again, pending having the time to do so. Most of the Host/Co-Hosts did a great job at interacting with participants and posting encouraging entries to spur everyone on all throughout the challenge. Overcoming my blocks of writing, by blogging every day, was a huge triumph for me. This is partially why I decided to go ahead with the Blog Every Day in May Challenge.

Overall it was a great experience with great people and am looking forward to next year!

Blogosphere Bonanza

Now to highlight a handful of bloggers that I know personally and/or were highly active throughout the challenge and the months leading up to it! A handful you may recognize from my Liebster Award entry back in March. I hope I didn’t forget anyone. I met many people towards the last half of the challenge, but this — honestly — is focused on those met from the beginning. I will still be catching up on unlisted blogs and following along!

Some you may already follow, but if not, check them out! When I visit blogs I try my best to remember to “Like” and Googlemend (Google Recommend — it will be a word... work with me!) each post. I believe in encouraging and promoting blog entries of fellow friends throughout the blogosphere (and I definitely don’t object to the same in return). So sally forth into uncharted realms of the blogosphere and support your comrades and make some great networking connections! You may find yourself some wonderful gems hidden out there just waiting for you to discover them. ;-)
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall: I don’t think she has shared her name with me, but it may be in the labyrinth of her blog. She has been at it for some time and I have some catching up to do. Looking at her numbers, though, I may want to stick to 2013 and beyond haha sweet lord almighty! Some random facts I’ve garnished: Her and her husband reproduce like rabbits, her family plays barn roof tennis (not for the faint of heart), she is a professional shaver, and is devoted to volunteer work. BUT she has a loud laugh, so only blogger buddies!

A Writer’s Journey: Jessica is still someone I'm learning about slowly as I go back over her past blog entries. She is a sneaky lil devil and has multiple blogs (which in a crazy move, involved both blogs in the A to Z challenge with different, but equally entertaining, themes). Her second blog is Closet Geek Gurl. While the first focuses more on her personal life as a writer, the second is her expression of geekiness to the blogosphere; her escape. What I came to find is that she writes books (and is published) about superheroes! How cool is that? I believe it is called Small Town Hero. She can correct me if I am mistaken. It's shaping up to be a series of undetermined length!

Behind These Pages: I met Tamara a few months ago (via The Warrior Muse). I want to say it was around the time we both (All three of us really) participated in a Flash Fiction contest. She just began her new blog, now partnered up with a friend, and I’ve yet to see which direction they plan on taking it. I had just met Tamara when she had to go on hiatus for a stint. She arrived just in time for the A to Z and is ready to rock out with her... So yeah, I'm looking forward to learning more about her and her friend!

Black Coffee and Cigarettes: Kirsten has at least three blogs, and sharing in Jessica’s craziness, she entered two in the A to Z Challenge! Why people?! Why?! lol Kirsten was the one who presented me with the Liebster Award (thank you so much, again!) and — regretfully — I’ve yet to fully explore her main blog. Short Story Ideas: is just as it says. A blog/site offering help with ideas for short stories. The A to Z focused on various prompts, so I still have to double back to try some of them. Then there is Just Ermie: about a character on the run from thought police, serial killer/spies, and most everything under the sun. It’s a lot of fun! Ermie got too far ahead of me, though, and she is a master of disguise. I’ll be catching up to her yet.

Meetings With My Muse: Kimberly has been blogging for a few years, and I’ve yet to delve into much beyond her A to Z posts (which highlighted a multitude of great resource links for writing, publishing, editing, finding agents, etc etc!) I also need to explore those abundance of links. I am curious to see what she posts about outside of the A to Z Challenge. She writes YA Fantasy and Science fiction, but I’m uncertain if published. I’d like to read some of her work.

One to One with Life: I believe Andy had just begun blogging this year, much like myself. His A to Z was a mix-match of philosophy, history, and random thoughts. I enjoyed reading along and he was very encouraging. He simply seems an all around great guy. Doesn’t hurt he has some tech knowledge and likes Doom! I hope he continues his blog, because I feel he has a lot of interesting stories/thoughts to share. Give him some good lovings! I know it can be hard to find readers/followers when starting out.

Poke The Rock: Jette is German, loves to dance, draws freaking uncomfortable things like a bear riding a tricycle with a smiling poop on its head! GAH! But, she draws many fantastical things and is very talented. She is a master of Finger Puppets, and I secretly plan to coax her into making me a personalized EmoJak finger puppet (hoody, solemn expression, bats, and all!) I just have to find the right bribing (or blackmail) material. She doesn’t think she is “deep”, but I happen to know she is in the “Thick of it” with all the challenges she is participating in.

Pull Up A Toadstool: I met Tracy partway through the A to Z. She was also one of those insane folks doing multiple tasks/challenges at once. She was participating in Nation Poetry Writing Month, I believe, while also doing A to Z! She had a lot of thought provoking topics/subject matter and it was great engaging in discussions about them. I will have to take a gander at some of the writing prompts she was partaking in during the challenge. I know I missed a lot, but should be easier to catch up now. She is so sweet, and was always positive in comments!

Randomness and Lunacy: She’s Random. She’s a Lunatic. She’s a Random Lunatic! Jenn was another blogger that always stuck it out through the torrents of posts and comments. She has been blogging and writing for a long time. I believe she has two books published and she is working on another! Actually I’ve found she is working on a good majority of projects. Very ambitious, this one. I should suck the ambition out of her like a vampire :) Jenn loves hockey, music, writing, and she works in her office (command center?) from home yet “bikes” four miles to and from work every day. Now that is awesome! I plan to adopt that regiment.

Simply She Goes: Kianwi had a fun theme of nostalgia for the A to Z. Not only that, but she worked in a contest to guess her age. Prizes included a grouping of nostalgic items from her childhood. I didn’t guess correctly, and I won’t share her age as I’ve learned that can get you slapped depending on the individual! I'm betting she is a slapper, based on knowledge that she coerces her dog to dress up and post blog posts on her behalf to deflect catching flack. I think she coerced Jette into participating in the A to Z too! How rude! ;-) Seriously, though, she is a lot of fun (even more so than I thought with recently garnished intel!) and look forward to going back over her pre A to Z postings and learning more about her! Even if she did try to get Boba Fett and Princess Leia to fall in love...

The Average Poet: I don’t know a whole lot about Robert. What I do know is that he loves poetry! His blog is chock full of his own personal poetry and it's awesome. He also had some (what seems to be) fiction work sprinkled throughout. If you are a fan of poetry I recommend checking out his work. Also, from glancing at his history, he has been blogging since 2005. That is a lot of freakin’ blogging!

The Mind Meanders: Kristen was one of my nominees for the Liebster Award. She had some interesting topics and even interviews during the A to Z. She recently came to acquire a publishing house and has plans to make her dreams and aspirations as a writer/publisher come true! The name of the company is Fey Publishing. Check them out. I believe they are working on the site and have even opened submissions. With everything going on, Kristen is still catching up on the challenge, so encouragement is welcomed. I wish her luck on her business endeavors and am excited to see how everything turns out.

The Tex Files: Tex was a roit! Their A to Z challenge was Grammaticats, which utilized pictures of cats to teach proper grammar. They were cute and hilarious. Crooks even made a guest appearance, in all his full-bellied glory! It sounds like Tex is taking a brief breather, but then I believe it’s back at it! I really liked the Grammaticats a lot, and would love to see more of them. Or something with a new theme would be great. I appreciate Tex’s in-your-face mentality! A very supportive, fun individual. And honestly, quite hilarious!
And last, but definitely not least...
The Warrior Muse: Shannon was one of my original Jakker Trakkers outside of people I knew personally. I’ve already recommended and referenced her blog multiple times. It's full of fantastic information about herself, her projects, writing in general, event/contest/submission information, and more. She has two pieces of work being published (short stories I believe, while her first novel is being queried — did I use that term correctly? lol) and I'm looking forward to checking them out. Shannon is also a Co-Host of the A to Z Challenge, participates in various writing events, and is one busy bee. She is a horror and Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopia fan (how I came across her blog originally), which is very sweet. I'm still learning more about her as I backtrack her blog.
Why Can’t We Be Friends

Most of the below are people I meet during NaNoWriMo 2012. Since that time I feel we have slowly been working on building our connections/friendships. Some of this group have known one another for a long time. I’m kind of the new kid on the block. A handful of the group realized from the beginning how awesome I am. Others take their sweet sweet time, which may be smart. I am a bit odd.
Sideways From Sunday: A friend made from NaNoWriMo more famously known as Number One! I think she is finally allowing me into her “inner circle” now that we are linked by a curse. She has started blogging more often now, and I hope she plans to continue. The topics are random and of a more “journal” format. She may fear whales, but she is good lookin’ and enjoys cookin’!

The Candence Journey: A NaNo 2012 ML and one of three friends of this grouping who joined the A to Z after it began. She is on a journey to unlocking her true inner self, after a lifetime of being what others expected. It’s interesting to keep up and explore her transition along with her as she comes into her own. Her new “self” so to speak. She plans to blog more regularly now that her itch to write has come back. Maybe she will even place up some fiction at some point too.

The Daily Discovery: This blog belongs to a friend I met a few months ago. She is passionate about helping people, and prefers working in the non-profit sector. She is a painter and writer, but her writing fell on the wayside for a time. She was very encouraging to me during the A to Z and I greatly appreciated it. Eventually her words began to flow again, and she even signed on to the Blog Every Day in May 2013 Challenge! How cool is that? I’m glad she is writing again, and hope she keeps at it this time. As long as she doesn’t neglect her painting!

The Pleasantest Life: This is the blog of Number Three and a new friend made during NaNoWriMo 2012. She became inspired to blog again after a hiatus and joined the A to Z late. At this time she is still catching up, but plans to continue. No set theme, but has some important topics she wishes to discuss (hence the delay —  trying to get them just right). She has a great sense of humor, yells her shouts (or shouts her yells?), owns both a cane and a magic walking stick, and walks like a grandma. Grandma status subject to change based on health.

Unfocus: Ah Number Five. He (also from NaNo 2012) joined into the A to Z Challenge from the outside about a week into the event. I believe he is still working on catching up and always has some random repostings/rebloggings (he uses Tumblr, where it seems reblogging is a way of life). But fair warning, a handful are of a mature nature. Hope he continues through to Z. I think he should blog about some of his occult knowledge/experiences!
Let’s Wrap This Up

Whew! That was exhausting! I hope you can find time, over the next few weeks, to continue following along with both myself and some new bloggers! Spread the love!

If any of the links are inaccurate/broken, please let me know and I will fix them up :)

I appreciate all your support and encouragement :) 

If you participated in the A to Z Challenge, have you made your Reflections post yet? Anything you would do differently next year? Do you have an all-time favorite blog you enjoy to read and would highly recommend?