Ding dong the Challenge is dead! Which 'ol challenge? The A to Z 2016 Challenge! Okay, not dead dead, but over (had some weird deja vu there, maybe I used this for a previous A to Z). I definitely wouldn't want it to be dead, considering it's a blog hop event that actually inspires me to write. Daily. So, while there may be a lull in posts throughout the year, April is chock full of content!

This year was pretty intense, but honestly, not as intense as I thought it would be. Considering I was participating on all four of my blogs, I was certain that I was going to ultimately fail. Doomed from the start. As it turns out, I somehow managed to do just as well, if not better, than when I'd only enter my single blog into the event.

I'm proud to say that I only fell behind and had to use "Coming Soon" placeholders regularly with one blog, Dreams in the Shade of Ink. This was something I expected and almost all of those were finished an hour or so later. Some took a bit longer, or are maybe still ongoing... In my defense, however, I maintain that this was a result caused by a situation that arose while writing my Flash Fiction for the challenge. I'll talk about it on that specific blog's Reflections post.

I did have one night where all my late night hours had caught up with me and I passed out, leaving all four blogs barren, with no drafts written, two hours shy of deadline. I have to admit that I thought that would be the end of my lofty ambitions for this year's A to Z! But I managed to pull through it and push past the finish line.

The Good

I hate to admit it, again, but the themes really help a ton. I'm someone who loves randomness, and it can work, but having some set guideline is really beneficial, especially when you have to come up with something new every day. I feel like I, Jak's theme of 2016 Highlights worked well as a balance between random and predetermined. I only knew what a handful of entries would be, the rest I had to wing it.

I believe I had a variety of topics throughout the challenge and so I didn't find myself becoming bored or overly repetitive.

The Bad

I quickly discovered that I hadn't had quite as many things I was excited for in 2016 than I had originally thought. Where I thought the challenge would be a breeze on I, Jak, there were moments where I was afraid I'd not be able to come up with a topic! I believe I even had a few where there was a topic of interest, but not exactly something I was extremely excited for. I'm looking at you Zooloretto!

Another downside to my chosen theme is that I believe I could only use it once every other year or so, if that. Many of my listings were of annual events, so unless I could come up with different subject matter bearing the same letter, much of the topic would be regurgitated. I mean, there wouldn't be much change in an entry like Black Friday between now and a few years out.

So this may be a one and done theme. I think I can live with that.

The Ugly

The biggest downside to this year's A to Z challenge was definitely caused by attempting it on multiple blogs, and that was the complete lack of social interactions. I didn't go out gaming, even missing International TableTop Day! I didn't stay in gaming. I didn't go see any movies. Most of my Grandma Day's were spent catching up on writing. It was exhausting. As expected I didn't get to do much visiting of other blogs either. I tried to keep up a system, but it was soon defunct. I'll be continuing to visit throughout the next month or three.

Then there was my girlfriend having to deal with my constant anxiety about it all!

In The End

It actually mattered. Despite some of the hardships that came along with the challenge this year, I found I was able to maintain multiple blogs throughout. I don't think I've written so much since NaNoWriMo 2012! I would definitely do it all again, and maybe, just maybe, I will participate on each blog every year from here on out.

If I do, though, I really need to plan ahead and maybe have some posts written up and ready before the challenge begins. I know I say it every year, even when participating with just a single blog, but I have yet to learn my lesson...

Thanks to all of you who were encouraging and supportive!

Did you participate in the A to Z Challenge 2016? If so, what were your thoughts? What were some things that worked? What didn't? Would you participate again? If so, what would you do differently? Did you follow along with I, Jak's A to Z 2016? If so, did you have any favorite posts? Any thoughts on how to improve next year?