Sunday, May 1, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge. Reflections

What a journey, what a month.

Firstly a humungous thankyou to Arlee at Tossing it Out and his very able crew for hosting. It's been a massive job for you all, and I appreciate the time and energy that you've all put into this event.

Congratulations, well done!

What I've learnt:
Most importantly, don't tackle two blogs in the A-Z Blogging challenge without preparation! It wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done. It was utterly exhausting, demanding, draining and I'd never recommend it - ever - to anyone who has an ounce of common sense.

I'd seen the buttons around the blogosphere and wondered what the A-Z challenge was about and thought it looked like fun, so entered my 'for me' blog - jumpingaground - that was all fine and good. Then, on March 31st  I had a rush of blood to my head and decided at that late stage to enter my more formal blog. That's plain crazy!

One entry? No worries.
Drabbles? Fine.
Two entries? Insane!

The alliterative Drabbles were fun to write over at jumpingaground , although I found it hard to turn off once I got on a roll. All stories are based on real people and events except Yolanda and her yellow yacht. Many are environment or climate related, others are to do with learning difficulties.

I suspect the idea of writing about bullying had been floating around in my head, lurking, just waiting for an opportunity like this. The structure worked for me. I think if I'd been left to my own devices I wouldn't have attempted it at all or I would have drifted and dithered, with a bit here and a bit there. A-Z provided the scaffolding I needed to do it in one hit.

My list of A-Z Workplace Bullying posts is here.

Before I started, I had no idea how long each post would take. I spent 1/2 a day getting a vague outline together to make sure I would have something for each letter, realised I had something sort of workable, and plunged in. I hadn't anticipated each post would then take many many hours, revising, rewording, checking for accuracy, editing and adding pictures. Some are a bit long, but that's the way they are.

I'm tenacious. This is not good if you're being bullied. It could be possible to hang on and try to make something work when it's destined not to. But for a blogging challenge it's invaluable!

I'll try to remember never to post a comment when I've had a glass or two of wine. It's not good. Now you know why some of those comments were, erm not so clearly written. 

It would have been difficult to have completed the posts without the support and input from other bloggers. Each and every comment helped me get through. This topic isn't fun or popular or sexy - to read or to write. Your comments were, and still are, welcomed and cherished.

Why tackle workplace bullying?  I hope these posts might be a resource beyond this challenge. I'm horrified at the prevalence of ongoing bullying in workplaces. As a Career Development Professional, my clients tell me what happens in supposedly reputable organisations. The people I work with are honest, ethical, have strong morals and act with integrity. Too many workplaces don't value those attributes, they chew up employees, take everything they can get, then spit out what's left. I felt my addition to exposing some of the tactics used by bullies was a small something I could do to support others and perhaps shed some light on this appalling behaviour.

Knowledge is power. My aim was to share my knowledge in a hopefully easy to read form to empower others.

What I've learnt about others. People are generous. Of course I knew that, but it's been underlined hugely. People have supported me by encouraging others to read the information, they've forwarded the posts on and have commented in a very positive way. That's what I dreamed might happen. Thanks to everyone who has shared and commented.

What have I learnt about blogging?
Success is just a word. Running the two blogs in tandem was fascinating. jumpingaground went from something like 22 followers to 83, but I don't get many drop in visitors or many hits. Keyword search data is wishy washy at best.  But it's fun, and it's for me!

In comparison, traverselife went from about 22 followers to 52, which in comparison is 'unsuccessful'. Keyword searches however, show clearly what people are looking for, and I get significantly more hits daily but less or no comments. I've had quiet, consistent, steady support for the posts from people within and outside the blogging community. That's rewarding. People who've contacted me have given me a huge boost, It really makes this feel like a strong community pulling together, and is a reassuring feeling of connectedness. Thankyou.
East Side Gallery. Berlin. 2009.
For me, the month wasn't fun, but it supported my core values and it has been rewarding doing something I truly believe in. I've done the best I can given that it was unplanned and in a sense done on the fly to conform to the challenge guidelines. I'm pleased with the result, and proud I stuck with it. I wouldn't post like that again for a whole month. It took too much out of me. I need a break.

What do I look for in other blogs?
Meatiness, fun, not self indulgent, interesting, challenging without being derogatory or rude.

What next? 
I might do a follow up with something about schools and bullying, add some more links to some good information. Editing needs to happen....drat..... I want to pose the question "Do you bully yourself?" and look at how we're often meaner to ourselves than is healthy. I'm looking forward to eventually writing about the healing process after being bullied. Looking at how we can create rich, full and meaningful lives is something I've wanted to post about, but haven't yet found a structure that feels right. I also want to revisit assertiveness and How to say "No".

Would I recommend this challenge to others? Definitely!

I've just had some insight when I was making a comment on someone else's blog. I went in to this Challenge asking myself what I could GIVE to others. I wasn't focusing on how many followers or comments I could GET.  Hmmm.....

Lastly, I have a newfound respect for everyone who has written a book. How do you do it and stay sane? Characters who wander off and create mayhem, plots that refuse to co-operate - gosh you guys are impressive!

How to make a hyperlink (clicky) signature here



K.C. Woolf said...

53 followers now! :-)

I didn't get round to visiting the 1,000+ blogs in April, so I'm glad I found yours through the Mega Post blog hop.

I'll be back to explore more. :-)

You had 2 blogs in the challenge? Wow. No, seriously: wow!

Duncan D. Horne said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog. Doing two blogs during April would have been next to impossible for me, so that's double well done for managing that!

Duncan In Kuantan

Nicole said...

You're officially a Super Blogger for managing 2 blogs during the challenge. Reflecting on the past month, there is no way I could have done that...yet, I've considered doing it for another blog event that takes place this um, you're post will come in handy when it comes time for be to decide whether to do it or not to do it.

Thanks for covering the subject of bullies, especially bullies in the workplace. It is an issue that many people probably do not know much about and could learn a thing or two from what you write...myself included (I don't know much about workplace bullying).

The Madlab Post

Paula Martin said...

Congrats on completing the challenge - twice over, wow! I managed it too, but didn't get around to as many blogs as I would have liked, so I'm catching up now.

walk2write said...

Well done, having two blogs in the Challenge. I struggled with just one involved. We decided to move to a house from an apartment this month, so it's been much more challenging than I anticipated when I signed up. I mostly did the posts on the fly without much planning, which is usually the way I blog. Posting daily, though, makes that haphazard style a bit more stressful than usual.

Regarding your expertise with bullying in the workplace: I've been watching a fair amount of teasing take place in a classroom situation (all supposedly adult students), and it's really getting under my skin. Do you have any good intervention advice to share?

walk2write said...

In answer to your question: I'm a student.

Angela Felsted said...

It's good to see your take on it the A-Z! Bullying is definitely an important subject to focus on.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Sue,

I know I should have visited sooner, but LIFE is crazy. You were one of the first to contact when the challenge was over.

And now that it is I hope to have more time to visit your blog.

I can't believe you did TWO blogs for the challenge. THAT is very impressive. CONGRATS.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know you had a second blog. This one is great. Having two blows my mind. I struggle with one. Have a great week!

Arlee Bird said...

Thank you for your kind words, thank you for being part of the Challenge, and thanks for these great thoughts in this post. Two blogs was quite an achievement and you managed keeping both going in a very successful manner. Your topics on bullying were very comprehensive and something you can do a lot more with-- very relevant and well done. I think it could be the start of a book. Have you considered taking the topic to a book level? You got a good start.

Again congratulations for doing such a great job and finishing successfully to the end.

Don't forget to pick up your Winner's Badge at my site.
Tossing It Out

Pk Hrezo said...

Wow you did two blogs for this challenge??? You're a machine. Nice to meet you, tho I'm late getting over, but better late than never.

You mentioned my FLOAT balloon from my blog. It's geared toward teens/tweens and if you'd like to post a balloon with a link to the site or facebook page, that'd be great. I know you're focused on workplace bullying, but bullying is bullying and if you're interested in helping spread the word for FLOAT, it's very much appreciated.

Dawn M. Hamsher said...

I guess I didn't realize that you were running both blogs in the challenge (I knew JummpingAground was). That is something. Girl, you need some rest! Prop your feet up and have another glass of wine. :0)

The Write Soil

Langley said...

Sue, you must have been into the wine when you commented on my blog. Just kidding! Yeah, we made it. Nice to 'meet' you. Langley Writes about Writing

San said...

Sue, I simply adore you!! You already know this but I have a habit of repeating myself. No apologies as there is nothing wrong with positive reinforcement :)

Love your reflections post; very well thought out and written. Now go have a glass of wine ;)

An aside, I do bully myself. But I am working on that - always.

Cheers to you, my friend and so glad to have met you through this challenge.


San said...

PS: Crimany, I didn't think about others telling you to pop a cork. You may very well get sloshed tonight ;)

sue said...

KCW, thanks! Yes, two! MADNESS! But I'm here to tell the tale, and to try to get around to visit everyone else. No posting till I've done that. thanks for the follow :)
Duncan, nest to impossible is the correct expression. My brain is mush.
Nicole, hehe, thanks ... Super Sue? I think there'd be nothing wrong with doing 2 IF you're prepared - I wasn't.
Paula, getting round is I think the hardest thing. I'm going to take it slowly.
w2w, Raise your concerns with the teacher, if that doesn't work contact the campus counsellor. There should be an anti harrassment document (each country is different, so you'll need to check local regulations). Keep records of comments etc for evidence, even if you're 'just' an onlooker. My contact details are on my web site if that doesn't help. I'm also looking forward to getting back to my usual haphazard schedule.
Angela, thanks, it was tougher than I anticipated.
Michael, Life is crazy!? Really? No... ;) Lovely to see you here. Thanks for the follow! Why did I think I'd have more time now? I look forward to chatting to you in the future.
Stephen, Thanks, I've really appreciated your support. I manage two by usually having nonscheduled haphazard posting. One formal (this one) the other is pure indulgence.
Lee, er, book ... ? ... scary, intimidating thought. Um, I might need a random 'bolt from the blue' to make me listen to that seriously....OH DRAT, you've planted a seed....Seriously, I couldn't have done it without this challenge. The scaffolding of the A-Z structure and your support have been wonderful. Thankyou
PkH,thanks, I'll try to remember (mush brain not doing too well at present)
Dawn, wine! what a lovely idea. But must write comments BEFORE or they're even more garbled!
Langley, oh drat was it that obvious? Perhaps I'd better stick to the herbal tea?
San, You've done a great job! High five!! Those dratted snipey negative voices are such a pain. Be kind to as kind to yourself as I would's that for a start?!

Thanks everyone for your visits and lovely supportive comments. Each and every comment makes me feel the posts have been valuable or will be to someone somewhere, sometime. I'm now off to have a cuppa with a friend. See you all later :D

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. it's been good to meet you .. I followed on jumpingaground, but not the bullying one .. however it's always good to have that reference point and sometime if I forget - I've a link for you .. which I'll send you in an email ..

I agree wine & comments don't mix .. but we need that wine!

I was going to be super clever and do it all .. but when the nausea hit -that was it .. like your swaying yacht on the rough sea = not for me!!

Cheers good to have met you and see you around .. Hilary

sue said...

Hilary, any good links are welcome, thanks. Yes, the wine before commenting wasn't sensible, but well, it was needed! It'll be good to see you around when time permits, and I'll pop over to your place too.

Josh Hoyt said...

Congrats on making it through the challenge. I am joining you through the blog hop hope to see you around. I like the subject matter you have been posting about.

sri @ Scaffolding chennai said...

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Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I really enjoyed the posts I read. I vented a little in one of the comments about my last employment situation. I didn't use any names, but I felt so much better after "saying it outloud." I'm glad I found your blog. :)

sue said...

Josh, thanks, I hope it helps someone
Sharon, Venting is fine! It's amazing how sharing can help isn't it. Have a look at the FB site eBossWatch - I'll see if I can link here.

N4M3L3SS said...

+1 follower from blog hop, cool blog

Rosalind Adam said...

I have to agree with you. Tackling two A to Z challenges is indeed plain crazy but, hey, you did it so congratulations twice over. I commend you for tackling such a serious issue as bullying. As a retired teacher I know only too well how hard it is to solve the problem without unintentionally making things worse for the victim.

You've certainly done some in depth analysis into your stats during the month. That's really interesting. I often find it difficult to work out exactly how to pitch a blog post.

jabblog said...

Congratulations on completing TWO challenges!!
Bullying is a serious problem and certainly not easy to solve in schools or the workplace. Well done for basing your blog posts on it.

Karen Walker said...

Two blogs - I nearly lost my mind managing just one. Kudos and hats off to you, dear lady. And you're still standing.

Leovi said...

For me it was a nice experience and face a majority of writers. Yes, my A to Z has-been dedicated to titles of poems by poets, Men and Women, all now dead. Something like "Club Dead Poets Society." I left for the end to Federico Garcia Lorca, Murdered by His ideas and one of the Greatest Spanish poets. I have met people that we are still different after challenge. A big hello and very grateful to the organizers.

sue said...

N4M3L3SS, hope to see you back again sometime!
Rosalind, it's a huge challenge isn't it, to assist the target without making it worse. I'm still finding my way, but getting closer with every post - I hope!
jabblog,thankyou, my brain is still mushy! bullying is so prevalent, and as you say so difficult to solve.
Karen, I'm still staggering, but beginning to get to my feet again!

Tina said...

Congrats on finishing the challenge with TWO blogs. Wow. I didn't have time during the challenge to get to all the blogs, but I have a plan. Shannon @ The Warrior Muse and I are joining forces in another challenge. We're going to visit and comment at each of the participants, starting with the reflections post. We hope you'll join us!
Tina @ Life is Good

P.S I'm #147 on the above list.

P.P.S I found that when I disabled the word verification gadget I got tons more comments.

sue said...

Tina, I had planned to do just that, but I'll have an intermittent internet connection for the next month or so, so may not be successful.

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