AtoZ, Blog Challenge

#Reflections – My first and I loved it | #AtoZchallenge 2017|


I had missed last year’s #AtoZchallenge by a whisker, prompting me to make a strong mental note for 2017. When March rolled in, I posted my theme reveal post with loads of fanfare. But when the other bloggers started panicking over themes, how many post written, etc I started to re-think this challenge.

After all these were seasoned bloggers, many in their 3rd year of #AtoZchallenge and they were panicking! I was going away for a bday trip and then had a house move on the anvil in April. How will I pull it off – was the thought that started nagging me.

Then there was the constant talk of Alexa, ranking, numbers – all of it put me off further! Is this why we write?

If writing was going to become such a pain, why should I do this? I can’t have a passion which is stressful!

Despite all these misgivings, I forged ahead and am glad I did.

I only wrote 4 posts in advance, rest were written as the days went by and in no chronological order. There were days when I had no desktop or internet connection.

Through it all I realised that the best way to tackle a writing challenge, any and not just this, be very clear what you are going to write about and why.

My learnings through this challenge can be summed up as below!


  • If you could, write 4-5 posts in advance. That ways you gain momentum and time for next posts.
  • Choose a time to write daily and stick to it
  • Don’t get affected by what others are doing or not doing; includes no wasting time on social media!
  • Read comment and share others posts with meaningful words.
  • Appreciate good writing and let them know too
  • Don’t write long posts. 350-500 is good enough to tell your story. Beyond that gets too much to read. Shorter posts are most read and easy to write too.
  • Don’t play the numbers game ; read for the love of reading and not for counter reads!
  • Interact with your readers daily by replying to their comments.
  • Write from your heart and not for the gallery or numbers or………
  • Dont be the proverbial frog-in-the-well for there is a whole world of excellent writing and helpful bloggers out there.

I managed to read 50 blogs some days and only 10 on others. But my readership remained constant and I am so grateful to all my readers for their support and encouragement. They really made me glow with their comments.

I had chosen to write about the journeys within a travel, emphasising on the journey and not the destination. While composing each post, I relived each moment and was able to infuse my initial joys into all of them. The veracity of my posts is reflected in the  excellent feedback on ALL the posts. Folks have commended my photography and wished to travel with me in future. Someone has wondered whats my travel plan for next years #atozchallenge! 😉

My theme reveal post had a 1500+ hits while [C] Chai Jai was the most popular, as per my blog stats! On an average I got a 100 views daily on my posts. Could have I asked for more? For someone who is barely 6 months into a self hosted blog – this is all huge!!!

Ofcourse I had some favourite reads and mentioning them here for their exceptional themes, writing styles and positive demeanour throughout the #AtoZchallenge – I learnt a lot from them all and couldn’t wait for their next post!!! (And no I didn’t miss out anyone – this is my exact list of impressive blogs)

My Fav:

Roshan dished out a daily dose of goodness via his tales of kindness and selflessness that left me in tears every morning; tears of joy at the thought that the milk of kindness is not soured and awe at how ordinary people have gotten up to do extraordinary things which have been life changing for others.

Simply Marquessa fictional journey of a woman dealing with the end of her life by living every moment left, is stunning in expressing emotions and made for a compelling read for me. (I hated the end though!!! 😉 )

Sanchie explored the myriad poetry forms by composing poetry pieces on each of them with such poetic licence that left me in awe of her mastery at this literature form.

Anmol Rawat and his spooky tales of dread, horror and always always unhappily ever after type of ending. But I had to just read them everyday! (Read at your peril!!)

Shailaja for her brilliantly chosen oxymoron and then a 100 word fictional tale spun around it – each and every tale did justice to her chosen O-moron!!!

Leanne’s midlife ramblings are so full of wise words and practical advice that its made me look forward to midlife now 😉

Kalpanaa ‘s blog on everything divorce was a catharsis for me to read and helped me offload some baggage.

Parul for her thoughtful posts on life as it goes by and things that pop up in the head to give us a reality check.

Nilanjana for the lovely peek into the Arab world via music, architecture, words and more.

There were some more that I was hooked to, but they ran out of steam in some of their later posts, or posted too late for me to read up and have missed being in my list!

Plans are now afoot for converting my posts into an E-book that I plan to send across to my non-blogging world of family and friends.

Next year – hmmmmmm!!!!!! lets wait and see 😉

” In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take”

Did you participate in this years #AtoZchallenge? 

Have you written a reflections post?

Please do leave your link in my comment box, I would love to read it!


My journey so far in the #AtoZChallenge

A – April Fool

B – BodyArt

C – ChaiJai

D – Dolphins

E – Emu

F – Flower Power

G – Grapestomping

H – Halitosis High

I – Innovation

J – Japanese Kalbelia

K – Kathakali

L – Leather that weathers

M – Mother India

N – Nonchalant morning walk

O – Once upon a Time

P – Parsi Palate

Q – Quirky cafe

R – Ravanahatha

S – Summer Palace

T – Taaza Thindi

U – unzymotic

V – Vanillabeans & Peppercorns

W – wish upon a star

X – xenodocheionology

Y- You have got mail in Udaipur

Z – Zen in a glen

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37 thoughts on “#Reflections – My first and I loved it | #AtoZchallenge 2017|

  1. You did a fabulous job of your first attempt at this challenge. Your lessons are all spot on and I’m glad you did justice to the theme. I loved the post on the camel henna design!

    Thank you for the shout out and your kind words. Much appreciated, dear Shalini 🙂

    1. Thank you Shy – you are one blogger who really impresses me with her humility and write style! In the past few months your counsel on the blogging idiocy of others, really gave me strength!! Friday post I slay these demons too – Kattappa style!!! 😉

  2. Congrats on successfully completing for first A to Z. Surreal, isn’t it? It’s a challenge that sucks energy for me but also gives me more than I can imagine. I loved your theme and knowing that you wrote as you go sounds so good. Commendable feat. Plus the pictures made me go green on some days 😉
    Thanks for the shout out! Humbled and honoured. ❤️

    1. Thanks so much Parul. You write from the heart and give so much of yourself in your posts – I loved reading them and am sincere in my feedback on it! I look forward to helping you out with your leh trip – lets chat on phone whenver you are a bit free!!!

  3. Congratulations on the #atozchallenge. I am so late that i missed reading your posts during the challenge with a full time IT job i could only manage to post mine each day and reading a handful of blogs.
    Every weekend i would decide on doing the reading and commenting bit but the thought of opening the laptop on a weekend too would ruin all my so called plans 🙁
    Thanks for sharing the list of your fav blogs am surely going to check them out as well along with yours.
    Since yours was a travel theme please drop in on my challenge where i talk about #AmazingAndamans thats my hometown 🙂
    Happy blogging!
    P.S – hope you have settled in your new place !

    1. Hey thanks Sneha- I know how its been with time to read all the blogs; I couldnt read your everyday either!!!
      Congrats to you too for completing the challenge!!
      Yeah have settled in now!! Thanks 🙂

  4. Brilliant job. Congratulations on acing the challenge! So glad that it all worked out smoothly for you.

    All the best for the ebook and future writing. And thanks for the shout out, appreciate it.


  5. Oops another year of missing the A-Z challenge! I think they should allow procrastinators like me the opportunity of doing the April challenge in May. And then I may end up doing it in June 🙂

    1. Ha ha ha!!! Next year just gear up if you really wanna do it Subroto – it was super duper fun for me!! 🙂

  6. Congratulations on completing the challenge with such a grace, S! I loved reading you all month and learned so much about places on your blog. And as for the first time, you did brilliantly well and made some superb connections all the while!


    1. Oh wow Geets thats such a super stuff to hear – thanks so much yaar!! I have seen shout outs for your posts on other peeps blogs and felt good to note that! Congrats to you for that – your posts did make an impression, like I kept telling you!!! 🙂

  7. Awesome job!!!! Congratulations on successfully completing the A-Z challenge. Your posts were very interesting and prove how it’s the journey that’s more important than the destination. Hope to keep reading articles penned by you in the future. Thanks for the support you gave us too!!
    Prasanna from Team Mocktailmommies

    1. Thanks so much Prasanna – its been a fun challenge to do and yes I loved reading your posts too and hope to continue the association in the future too!! 🙂

  8. Congratulations on finishing the challenge, Shalini! I seemed to have missed your posts too during the challenge. Or probably, I did read one of it but I’m not sure. Nevertheless, I’m happy we could make it to each other’s reflections posts! Cheers!

  9. Congrats on doing so well! I loved your posts and pictures…still catching up of course! And thanks so much for the shoutout! xx

  10. That’s great for a maiden challenge for me & you! Helpful tips.
    I joined in on D-day & had no Theme-Reveal post 🙂 Cheers! All the best!

    1. Hey thanks so much Anita- I dont think we read each other much. Guess it does get too much to do during the challenge. Thanks for dropping in on my reflection post!! I hope you had a great challenge; will drop onto your post too!! cheers 🙂

  11. I’m glad you were able to do this challenge. I believe this is the first time I’ve heard of it (though I’ve probably seen it somewhere, and I just don’t remember), and it definitely sounds like it could be a fun challenge. Though, I honestly don’t know what theme I’d choose if I were to think of doing it next year. Guess I’ll just have to look around at other blogs for ideas. Sometimes that’s the best way to improve as a writer.

    1. Thanks Raney – choosing a theme is not so tough as it is to conjure up posts relevant to the alphabet each day. I look forward to seeing you try your hand at it next year!! And yes please do check out other terrific blogs that one gets to read here! 🙂

  12. So glad you joined in and enjoyed yourself! Your blogging philosophy is very similar to mine. Not about numbers first, but thoughts, expression, getting to know a cross section pf people. Your posts I caught, I enjoyed very much!
    Very colorful with a polished look.

    1. Thanks so much Barbara – I cant remember ever getting such a wonderful compliment on my writing and posts ever- you have simply rocked my blog with this!!! Thank you so much 🙂

  13. I’m really glad you enjoyed your first challenge – it can get a bit overwhelming when you try to incorporate everything you hear and I think you had the right idea. It should be fun!
    I love your tips, although if you know how not to waste time on social media please do let me know haha. I’ve lost count of the times I say I’m going to have five minutes and before I know it an hour or two have passed 🙂

    1. Ha ha ha – its quite tough to actually let go off social media but I did scare myself enough to let go as I had tonnes to do. Guess priortizing helps..

  14. Congrats on completing the challenge, Shalini. I will try to read at least some of your AtoZ posts if not all. I have participated in the AtoZ challenge 2 years ago. I sure missed the fun this time too. Maybe next time I will join again. 🙂 And yeah, those are some good tips, Shalini.

    1. Thanks so much Vinitha – please do read, I will look forward to your thoughts on the same!!! 🙂

  15. Hats off to you. Have been planning to take this challenge for a long time- but have never been able to make it.
    Kudos to all you bloggers u take it head on.

    1. Thanks Viyoma – it was my first time and was pretty thrilling for me. Even I am surprised at how well I could manage it!

    1. Thanks Menaka and isnt that the most amazing feeling as a blogger!!!! Kudos to you too for surviving this!! Cheers 🙂

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