Monday, May 7, 2012


FYI. As Alex Cavanaugh mentioned: several sites were hit with malware warnings this past weekend. Some of us, because we were link to those sites, have also received warning flags—even after removing the links. Over Coffee is absolutely clean from all malware.  


This was the second challenge I followed and while I didn’t participate officially, I did put up articles that corresponded to the letters when I could. I tweeted and Facebook articles where I could and visited as many blogs as I could. I met so many new people, read so many interesting articles and commented on them. There are so many fascinating people blogging these days.

What I noticed more this year was the camaraderie between most of the bloggers. That was cool. I also noticed this year, many had particular themes that were interesting to read. An enormous amount of work went into blogging everyday and making the articles interesting. I loved the humor. Face it, blogging every day, visiting blogs everyday is exhausting and many of the blogs I visited humorously alluded to scraping the barrel for both energy and creativity to put those articles up. Daily.

I loved the separate A-Z blog site. This year it was so much easier to follow the participants. The co-hosts worked together both in supporting the contributors and providing encouragement and help along the way. This on top of contributing their own articles.

Round of applause on a job well done host team!

I had people ask, what’s the purpose of such a challenge. It’s too much, too time consuming, and time that could be used for other things, like writing.

Here are my thoughts on doing blog challenges: 

  • Creativity and presentation isn't limited to writing fiction. The whole purpose of writing blogs is the desire to share something with others. Whatever your something is, you have to capture and keep your readers’ attention.

Think of the teacher who has certain points students have to know. The teacher can make it fun and engage the class or just present the facts—cut and dried. Boom. They’ve done their job and probably lost half of the class to daydreams. There is a seminar you have to attend for work. Certain facts have to be relayed. You can make it interesting or a boring monologue. It’s up to you.

It’s all in the presentation.

So challenges like A-Z sharpen those skills. Challenges teach you to think outside the box about subjects that may or may not interest everyone.  It stretches you. If you think about it, you can make just about any subject interesting to your readers by knowing your audience and streamlining the subject matter to meet and capture the majority of that audience. Again presentation and playing to your strengths to get your thoughts across to that audience.

  • The other lesson that comes from such challenges is disciplinefor writers. You have a deadline. To meet it you have to write every day or regularly and you have to juggle life with that writing. Thought has to be given to what and how you’re going to write. It takes discipline to sit your butt in the chair and get it done.

  • The third lesson that comes from such a challenge is learning how to promote you and your writing or blog. Promotion isn't always comfortable, is it? Regardless of whether we are introverted or extroverted, promotion is a necessary task. The challenge allowed each participant to strengthen those skills. Helped all to see we can promote and make connections. Making those connections weren't as difficult as many thought. Connections, networking, cyber friends.  All good things, and you learned could be yourself and accomplish good promotion for your name, your blog, and your writing.  You didn't have to be anyone but you.

As Frank Sinatra sings, “I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption. I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this, I did it my way. Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew when I bit off more than I could chew. But through it all, when there was doubt, I ate it up and spit it out. I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way.”



welcome to my world of poetry said...

As you say I think each of the bloggers did the challenge "My Way"

Great post to read and I too am free from those virus;s I had a few come up that was "Suspicious" so didn't go back to those


Jo said...

I was still told your site was infected this morning, but I came anyway and this time it let me in.

I agree with your thoughts, I never thought about discipline and deadlines although I guess I deal with them daily.

Always love your posts Sia

Jill Lynn said...

Great post, Sia. And way to go on your diligence to assure your blog is bug free.

John Philipp said...

Google warnings don't scare me. HA! I say, HA!

I like your reflections on blogging. Makes me think about it differently. Thanks.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yvonne, I thought you'd like the My Way reference, lol!

Oh, this whole warning flag thing is just awful. Over Coffee has never had malware or suspicious anything. I use google tools to check regularly because of all the spammers.

This warning came from a bestselling author I featured 7 months ago, who was hack and I had her blog link in my sidebar--you'll notice I removed my side bar blogroll completely.

Thank you for the support!

Johanna Garth said...

I couldn't agree more about the discipline piece. That's the hardest for me.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jill, Hugs sweetie for the support.

And you know me well and my overkill diligence on anything malware and viruses. Still painful to have it up, though.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jo-many time we take deadlines and discipline in stride. Like you say, we do them daily. But really, blogging is an extra thing we do. Sometimes, we're scrapping to find something interesting to say and pub on the dates we say we will. Some feel they can let that slide.

As for the blog--sigh. It hurts to see the flag. I've worked so hard to keep my blog fresh and inviting as well as bug free. It's hard to have a flag when you've done nothing wrong. Thank you for the support.

Other Lisa said...

So sorry about the malware warning! Hopefully you will get it removed soon!

I am a big believer in writing every day. I think it's an essential discipline. When I take days off I have a really hard time getting back into it.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Love you John! Thanks for the laugh.

Yes,when we're blogging for a purpose, in our case because we're writers.Creativity takes many forms. Blogging is a way to promote you and gain name recognition as well as gain followers. We can do that by making our blogs interesting.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Johanna--discipline is not always easy, especially when it comes to blogging. But when we look at it as a way to keep our writing skills sharp, and promote by keeping our articles interesting, it puts us in the proper perspective.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lisa, hugs. Thank you for your support, sweetie! This whole flag thing is very hard to deal with for me. I hope it's cleared soon, too.

I hear you on writing daily. It does help keep your fingers and the creative side of your brain in tune.

Vivian A said...

Second attempt. Got an error message when tried to login with my comment :(

I avoided and sped right past the scary Firefox traffic cop--he can eat my dust--and made it through unscathed.

Sia, a good blog is a tremendous amount of work. The dependable postings on a regular basis--time frame not so important, but just a schedule is what me want to visit. Of course, like everyone else I get busy and distracted and need a water balloon tossed my way to remind me occasionally.

Love meeting new authors and getting a real in depth interview instead of just a book blurb and so PR lingo--AND this is what you provide. So THANKS!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Love you Viv!

I like giving a glimpse of the writer as a person. I want them to focus on who they are and show that to the readers. Makes the readers see things to like in the author. Promo for books are everywhere. I, personally, get tired of having the BOOK thrown in my face all the time.

So, I have the authors talk about life and lessons. I'll take care of promoting their book. So the articles are all about them and not their book.

Lisa Brackmann gave me a compliment. She said my blog is a place for writers to congregate and talk. That's what I want.

Elizabeth Loupas said...

I spit on Firefox's malware warning! Ptooi! :)

I only wish I had more discipline. Any discipline. And as far as promotion goes, my mother always drummed it into me that nice girls didn't talk about themselves. Hard to silence that persistent inner voice.

Sia, I know how hard you've worked on your blog and you know all your fans and friends will follow you, whether you stay here and beat the warnings into submission, or launch a site of your own.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thank you Elizabeth!

I just HATE the idea of having to start fresh and especially so since none of this is my fault.

Google is great about a fast slap with a flag, SLOW about removing it even when there is no reason to have it.

Betsy said...

I do agree! My favorite thing about the challenge was the new bloggers that I met! There are so many wonderful, talented and inspiring people out there! And it was fun, wasn't it?

Betsy said...

I do agree! My favorite thing about the challenge was the new bloggers that I met! There are so many wonderful, talented and inspiring people out there! And it was fun, wasn't it?

~Sia McKye~ said...

Betsy, it was fun even with me being an unofficial participant. But I did cheer everyone on. I met some new and wonderful bloggers--like you--along the way!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. great Monday Musings on the A - Z .. well done and delighted you enjoyed it ...

It is meeting new friends and seeing the themes old friends turn up with .. just fascinating ..

Glad that mally stuff has gone - have a fun year .. cheers Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

So glad you got your blog cleared again. I know how frustrating it can be. I wouldn't have wanted anybody to have missed this post.

You really pinpointed it here. A to Z is, as I have always said, a personal challenge--a test of ones abilities and stamina. I agree with everything you pointed out in your Reflections post.

Thank you for this.

A Faraway View
An A to Z Co-host blog

EvalinaMaria said...

Congratulation on finishing the challenge. I didn't visit all blogs during the challenge but, cross my heart, I'm visiting every single one with reflections post!

Evalina, This and that...

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lee, thank you. You had your share not long ago.

I agree, it is a personal challenge and one that teaches a writer so much. Thank you and all the co-hosts for making it really special this year. You all did a marvelous job.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Evalina, I think there were like 1500 names listed? I don't know who would be able to get to them all. I know I didn't and there were a few days I sat 3 hours at a stretch reading some.

Hilary, I so enjoyed your castles. YOu did a marvelous job of them.

Barbara said...

Great way to reflect on the Challenge :) Congratulations on completing - YOUR way :)

English Speaking Zone