A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A to Z Reflections 2014 #atozchallenge

About Wrote By Rote

         This blog has been my pet project since its beginning in October of 2011.  At that time my main blog Tossing It Out splintered out into three additional blogs in order to move my interests in memoir, dreams, and Bible study onto their own sites and leave the main blog with more focus on issues of writing, promotion, and controversial topics.  The memoir pieces that I had been writing on Tossing It Out had been particularly popular and since I have a strong interest in writing memoir Wrote By Rote has been the blog I've been trying to grow.

         For the 2014 A to Z Challenge my thematic approach was as follows:
"During the month of April I will be doing a different spin on my memoir posts. It starts with a song. Each song will be followed by a brief essay that is evoked or inspired by that song. You might want to click on the YouTube link to hear the song as you read the piece I've written. Or you can listen to the song lyrics first and then read. Whichever way you choose, I mostly hope you'll read and leave a comment with your thoughts about my post. "

April Results

            Since the opening of the 2014 sign-ups Wrote By Rote has gained another dozen or so new followers.  If you are not yet following I'd love it if you'd be so kind to click on the "Join This Site" button in the sidebar at the right.   It would be nice to see the block of followers hit the 300 mark as a result of the 2014 Challenge.

           During the month of April my highest number of views came on day two with 161 visitors and my best day for comments was on the opening day when I had 26 comments.   As would be expected, after the first few days my numbers dropped significantly to an average of about 50 views per day and 10 comments.  This is much lower than my average per post views during the rest of the year when a post gets an typical average of about 250 views, but keep in mind that this rate is for posts that are active for a period of a week rather than posts coming up daily.  And my comment per post rate averages at about ten most of the time so that rate shows little change.  Taking into account the six posts per week count in April, my weekly numbers are considerably higher.

           The turnout was somewhat disappointing as most of the time I was promoting Wrote By Rote by using the signature link to this blog in all of my comments.  Reciprocated visits nevertheless mostly went to Tossing It Out.  I don't know whether to attribute this outcome to a fear of clicking on the links in the signature or the bloggers I visited just going to my main blog as a matter of habit or clicking on the name that leads to my profile.   Not many visits were reciprocated to Wrote By Rote.  

         Also it is important to add that I fell very short in my visiting to other blogs and leaving comments.  This was mostly due to issues with slow computer or internet as well as other interferences to my blogging activity.    I'll blame most of my shortfalls on all of my blogs to this factor.  There is a direct correlation in regard to reciprocated visits based on numbers of blogs commented on.    I scored very poorly on this account and my stats show this.   I don't blame the Challenge as much as I blame my own performance.  The large numbers of participants certainly diffuses visits on all blogs, but the active blogger is more assured of increasing visits to their own blogs when they show more attention to other bloggers.

My A to Z Posts Can Still Be Read

        I still have hopes that some of you might go back to read through my Challenge posts and leave your comments.   This is the blog that I had hopes would have the most readers.  My thanks go out to the following readers and I include what some of them had to say about my April posts on Wrote By Rote:

        First a somewhat lengthy endorsement from Faraway Eyes at Far Away Series:
I’ve read all of these A to Z posts this year.  I have not commented before this because I didn’t want to be tempted to start in on some of my own ‘stories’ that might relate to your post. Cheap, I know, but then, ‘you know me’. It’s my opinion that NOTHING should take away from the sheer beauty of your words here.
Today I decided to come back because I wanted to tell you something about you. These are marvelous posts, wonderfully written, the best thing I’ve read anywhere in the A to Z Challenge (or elsewhere for that matter) EVER. I have also been reading and following your posts at ‘Tossing It Out’ and perhaps if I was more interested in marketing or currently had something to market I would be more excited, but really it’s just more of what everybody else is posting, BUT these stories here are something I could read/listen to all day.
You state openly that your desire is to be a published author. Well, my friend, here is your ‘gold mine’.
I hope you don’t take this wrong, but after reading Wrote by Rote, I’ve decided you are a writer with real author potential and not just a yakker, like most of the bloggers out there. Oh look, now I’ve offended a whole ‘nother group of folks. Oh well, like I said earlier; ‘you know me’.
Please feel free to use any portion, or all of what I have said in your A to Z Reflections post. Actually I would be honored. I wish more of the A to Z posts were this interesting and well written. I've been faithfully following about a half dozen or so of the A to Z blogs, and some of them are really interesting, but not as well written as yours. So many of them are the same old, same old. So many of the participants are writers or at least wannabe writers, that it becomes easy to see who has any chance of making it as a real author. 

          Teresa at Journaling Woman, who posted her A to Z entries at her memoir blog The Ruralhood with some her own wonderful stories with accompanying photos, was another regular visitor at Wrote By Rote with uplifting comments like:  "You know what???? I'm really enjoying your Wrote by Rote posts. Love your choices of songs and artists."   My thanks to my long time blogging friend Teresa.

           JoJo at Tahoma Beadworks & Photography blog was incredible in her support at not only this blog but my other blogs.  I believe she left comments everyday and on a few days at my dream movie themed posts at A Faraway View  she was my only commenter.  A long time supporter of the April Challenge JoJo didn't participate in the A to Z on her own blog, but she played a big role behind the scenes as a member of Tina Downey's Terrific A to Z Team.   Thanks JoJo! 

            CW Martin at Tilting At Windmills said:  "What a wonderful life you have led. Every story makes one wonder how you packed it all in."

            I want to give a special mention for the support given by my long-time blogger friends Larry Cavanaugh at DiscConnected and Stephen T McCarthy at Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends.

            A big thanks also to all of the rest of you who visited and commented during April and the rest of the year as well.  I hope you will keep coming back.

For more Reflections Posts see the Linky List which will open on Monday May 5th at



  1. Thank you so much for the shout out! I enjoyed reading everyone's posts and working for Tina. A-Z sure makes April fly by.

  2. Oh also, I forgot to mention, I am not sure the page view or post view stats are accurate because they count every time the blog owner goes to the post to respond to comments. If I have 30 page views, at least 12 or more are from me going to read and respond to comments.

  3. (tips hat) It was an enjoyable ride...

  4. I'm kind of in FAE's camp now...
    I think I prefer this blog to 'Tossing It Out'.

    Thanks for the blogdorsement, Brother Boid!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  5. Wrote by Rote is a blog I enjoyed every time I visited, and I think it's not just because you've led a varied and interesting life, but that you know how to describe it so vividly that we can picture ourselves there, beside you.

  6. The A to Z challenge was interesting--I had a lot of views and they dropped after the challenge--I hope that means people are just resting, not that they aren't interested in reading other people's blogs after the challenge is over. I'm still out there, reading and commenting and looking for great blogs to read that aren't just promotions for other people's books.

  7. JoJo -- On the dashboard there is a setting that can be clicked so your own visits are not counted. I use that so I think my views are pretty accurate.

    CW -- I enjoyed writing it all.

    StMc -- Gotta give credit (or is it blame) to the guy who got me into blogging.

    Lynda -- I consider that quite a compliment. Thank you.

    Stephanie -- I think a lot of bloggers are resting, but next week I think they'll be back to business as usual.


  8. Lee-

    I'd never been able to get to this blog, so it fell off my radar. I went to a concert with Stephen T. and he mentioned your A to Z theme and sent me a link.

    I loved the idea, although often found myself thinking of how the music impacted me rather than digesting your memoir (sorry).

    I was kind of late to the party (I think it was April 20, but I've since caught up.


  9. I've enjoyed many posts here in the past. Wish this challenge had turned out a little more the way you'd have hoped, especially since we owe it all to you.

  10. I commented on both, but I only commented on Wrote by Rote when I followed the link back from a comment. Lots of times I followed a link back from the linky link and that one led to Tossing It Out.

  11. I need to do my reflection post.

    Hugs and chocolate!

  12. Larry -- If my posts got readers to think about their own lives then I think that's a good thing to. I believe that should be a primary object in memoir writing.

    Barbara -- I really can't complain though. Eye on the future for the blog as I write about the past.

    Faraway eyes -- Back atchya.

    Sonia -- Since Tossing It Out is still my main blog that is the one that still is my headquarters for blogging. If I increase awareness here for those who are interested then that's okay with me.

    Shelly -- Yes, you have until Friday to get your Reflections post on the Linky List.


  13. Hi Lee - I have to say I probably went to Tossing It Out as your main blog ...

    We meet new friends and open new doors on the learning front - you had the most brilliant idea with the Challenge and I'm so pleased for you (and for me!) that it's grown into being an admired Challenge ...

    I'm not terribly musical or entertainment oriented and English - so some posts will pass me by ... but you touch many and that's great.

    So a big thank you for starting the most amazing Challenge and opening those doors to meet new friends ... cheers Hilary

  14. You got some amazing comments there.
    As always, it's good to read your reflections. We have you to thank for another fun year. I missed this blog but will go take a looksee now.
    Huge thanks for all the work you and your co-hosts and helpers put in again.

  15. I will definitely be coming back to read your A-Z posts here. I had so much fun visiting blogs during the challenge but there are so many other blogs that I didn't get to visit and some that I particularly liked, I didn't get to come back to as often as I wanted to so now I can take my time and not feel rushed and go back and read more of what I like. I like your Wrote by Rote blog and am looking forward to spending more time here. Thanks for all your hard work with this year's A-Z! It was fabulous.

  16. That is certainly an impressive recommendation.

    In my (shiny new) wordpress dashboard, under comments, it shows me links to who commented. (Not the link in what they wrote, but, I don't know, what they put when they filled out the form or logged in or something.) So, maybe that is how people directed to the other blog when trying to reciprocate? Just a thought.

    Stopping by after the #atozchallenge to check out your reflection post!

  17. As a memoir author, I will be spending more time here, for sure.
    Again thank you for all you do. You are my blogging hero.

  18. Lee, like you, I had Challenges keeping up and as time passed the comments slacked off, but interestingly my blog stats indicated that people were looking at the posts.

    By the sound of it, you carried some awesome posts during the month.

  19. Hey Lee,
    As you know, we co-hosts are jumping around like crazy, and this year, one of the decisions I made was to NOT visit all the co-hosts' blogs, knowing they'd understand, if anyone would. The nice perk of blogging though is that the posts stay there, so I can still read about your "wonderful life" ;-)

    Thanks for a great Challenge, and as always, for your honest opinions.
    Tina @ Life is Good
    A to Z Team @ Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014

  20. I recently started reading your posts while blooging through the AtoZ list, so recame a follower, and you, likewise. Now that the challenge is over, I intend to return often. Michelle@ http://writer-way.blogspot.com

  21. Thank you so much Arlee, this was surely the best platform for learning and sharing our passion for writing. Although I got to know about this challenge 12 days late....guess I did make the most out of it!
    Kudos to the whole team for managing it so well!

  22. Just letting you know that I also stopped by here. I enjoy your stories.
    Play off the Page

  23. Aww, I REALLY enjoyed your Wrote posts. You are a good writer, so keep on writing. And thanks for mentioning me! I appreciate you bunches.

    As always during the A-Z, I considered quitting. I also ALWAYS tell my daughter to please tell me next year not to join the A-Z Challenge. She doesn't stop me--ever. What's wrong with her. :)

    Great job! Congrats on completing!

  24. Hilary -- Since Tossing It Out is my main blog that's where people naturally gravitate I guess. The music was merely the inspiration for the stories. No need to understand the music.

    Lynne -- I appreciate those who visited and commented and thank you for coming here today.

    Angels -- Looking forward to your guest post here.

    JLenni -- That may be one reason--I don't know for sure.

    Doreen -- We need to talk about a guest post!

    JL -- A drop is to be expected during such a grueling month, but it's nice that some still keep coming.

    Tina -- I know what you're saying. We had to spread the love to as many as we could and we were in enough contact as it was.

    Michelle -- It's all about community!

    Vinodini -- Next year you'll know it's coming!

    Mary -- There were several that I didn't mention and I appreciate all of you.

    Teresa -- Content for future books! That's what you're creating during A to Z.


  25. I enjoyed this 2014 more than previous A2Z challenges. Kept the posts short, put in some graphics, and followed many (194 blogs Plus the bloggers I usually check in every day-about 15) the total came to 434. What a ride.

  26. Finally returning the visit and follow from way back in mid-April!

    Congrats on another year of A-Z. I guess change is hard for some people to accept? I imagine that in time, this blog will have the same success as the last one!

    Until then, I look forward to more of your posts!


    Writing Through College

  27. I've read through a couple of the posts on this blog, but I'm hoping to go back and read through the rest, now that things have slowed down.

  28. Been a pleasure reading you and being part of the huge A to Z. It's my first and totally worth.

  29. First time on this blog is today--reading the reflection. Guess I am a little backwards. :) I'm following this blog now and I'll be back to read some of your A-to-Z entries over the next few weeks.
    Congratulations on all that you ave accomplished this April!
    Mary from The View from my World

  30. Susan Kane --Networking was more stressful for me this time due to computer slowdown issues and just trying to keep things going on my blogs and for the Challenge in general. But overall I'm thinking that this was the best year for the Challenge itself. Thanks for your participation.

    Sam -- When I have 4 blogs it's probably a bit much to expect anyone to keep up with more than one of them. But that's not necessarily what I've tried to do.

    Loni -- Please comment on any posts that you visit.

    Vishal -- Glad to hear the positive report.

    Mary -- Thank you! And congratulations on your accomplishment as well.


  31. Arlee, how lovely of Faraway Eyes to say what she did! I ditto every word! Glad you tossed that out! Hope you're taking a well deserved break and that the computer is not acting up or down any longer.
    Thank you a million times Arlee for your invaluable contribution to this challenge.
    Garden of Eden Blog

  32. Susan Scott-- Yes, FAE's words gave me such a good feeling I had to share them. No break yet and still dealing with the computer ups and downs. Such is life!


  33. Once again I find myself wanting to thank you for another wild April blogging from A-Z. I am not sure if it is because I am getting older or what but I found the whole experience exhausting this year. Felt very much like running a marathon! I still found the elation of completing the challenge euphoric. It is a high! I had hoped to visit more people but the A-Z group I belonged to on Face Book kept me plenty busy! This year was the most creative year yet for me writing fiction, haiku, and creating art throughout. I loved it and discovered throughout the month that is where I need to focus my energies from now on. So thank you kind sir for that!! I have never had more than one blog in the challenge...or ever. I think when there are so many blogs to visit from everyone your best bet would be to focus all of your A-Z posts on one site. Then you are assured of getting the traffic where you want it to be. Blessings to you Arlee!! I will be making the rounds on the road trip and will see you along the ole blogging trail. ♥

  34. Kathy -- Good report. I know what you're saying about the exhausting nature of the month. Maybe next year I'll only do one blog, but I've thought that for the past 2 Challenge. Thanks for this uplifting comment.


  35. First, thank you for being the brains behind the AtoZ challenge. I am in complete and utter awe that you were able to maintain more than 1 blog for the challenge; I felt overwhelmed just trying to complete it with 1 blog. I did not visit as many blogs during the challenge as I had hoped, but now I'm hoping to get caught up this summer and find some incredible blogs.


Tell your story. Express your thoughts. We want to hear from you. This blog no longer accepts comments from "Anonymous"--That guy is really starting to bug this blog. If you want to leave me a comment then please register if you aren't already--it's easy to do and I really want to hear from you.

Arlee Bird