The April A-Z Blogging Challenge is finally over, and I want to get a few thoughts down before I forget them:
1. It was fun. I did not mind being held to a stricter-than-usual "plan" for a month, and the continual post deadlines were a good influence on my writing discipline. No, not every post was spontaneously "inspired." I confess that near the end of the month I got a bit tired, and some of my posts in the final week and a half were a bit brief. But I brought the goods to the table every time, and furthermore, some of the shorter, less elaborate posts that were perhaps more mechanical than spontaneous were nevertheless the most content-rich, like the Eyepecker, the Undead Stirge, and the Undead Yeti. In sum, I liked participating in the challenge and felt that I was able to retain a high level of post quality across a wide array of gaming-related topics.
2. In terms of my method, I had already written a few of the posts (my Sea of O'SR Islet key, the two LotFP module reviews) when I accepted the Challenge, and I wrote almost all of the others in advance of their post dates. Only two -- "Sloth of Death," which was awaiting its artwork, and the last one, "Zappo the Wondrous" -- were completed the same day they posted.
3. I should note that illustrator Kelvin Green, who drew the Dimetrodons and the Tree Wilden, was a dream to work with -- a real pro. When I mentioned (in #2 above) that one of the posts was "awaiting artwork," I did not add that I asked Kelvin for that particular piece at the extreme last minute, and he delivered a stellar piece of work in record time! Look for more works by the esteemed Mr. Green in future Lands of Ara posts and releases.
4. My personal favorite Lands of Ara A-Z posts are the Wraithstone Island key, the d30 Encounter Tables, the Dimetrodons, the Eyepecker and Sloth, and the musings on the "x-factor." And while the first three of those posts would have been completed regardless of the existence of the Challenge, the last three might never have been written had it not been for the peculiar demands of the A-Z thing. So kudos to the A-Z Challenge for motivating me to get those terrific CBoA monsters out there!
5. The Lands of Ara's most visited A-Z posts according to Blogger stats include G for The Grinding Gear, S for Sloth of Death, I for Islet, H for Hammers of the God, and F for Fight On!
6. I feel compelled to mention some of the anti-A-Z Challenge sentiment I have seen in the OSR Blogosphere (see examples here and here). I am interested in hearing from people who were actively annoyed by the Challenge -- what bothered you about it? Why was it so unappealing / off-putting for you?
7. Fortunately, some folks have already responded to my #6 query: see the insights in these comments.
8. My participation in April A-Z came from wanting the literal challenge to write 26 posts in one month on pre-chosen themes -- that's it. I didn't really browse other participants' blogs except when those participants were OSR bloggers I normally read anyway. But I DID read other OSR people's A to Z posts, albeit selectively in most cases. [Along this line, I particularly recommend The Jovial Priest's A-Z series on the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide -- pretty damn great!] I didn't really change what I usually do except to predetermine what the month's posts would be -- note, however, that I did sneak a few other ones in there, like a couple of installments of the DMG Level Stocking Project and my OSRCon DM'ing Announcement.
9. In the end, I'm really glad I participated. It was my first really "sustained" writing project in the blogosphere. I am not completely sure if I would do it again -- I'd have to strike upon some really cool theme to make it spark for me -- but I had a good time challenging myself this year.