Challenge Interview Series #17
In addition to meeting the hosts of writing and photo challenges, this series also includes some of the wonderful participants who make the Denyse’s Link Parties successful. Each linked name goes to a different post. As you go through the interview, feel free to veer off the course and check out some wonderful bloggers’ posts.
Today we will learn the difference between a challenge and a themed link party.
“Link Parties are not really challenges, but they do have suggested themes like challenges.”Denyse
Life This Week
Life This Week is Denyse’s weekly link up that runs from Mondays-Wednesdays Australian time, Sundays through Tuesdays United States time.
Denyse initiated the link up, Life This Week, and has kept it running 51 weeks a year since September 2016. Within the Link Party, Denyse offers a series of regular optional prompts for bloggers to choose from. In this section, you will find links to Denyse’s posts and comments from some of her participants as well as a link to the post they attached to Denyse’s Link Party “prompts.”
Each week for her Link Party, Denyse shares a challenging prompt to stimulate her reader’s posts. (Note: Unlike a regular photo or writing challenge Denyse’s prompts are optional.) Anyone may link one of their own blog posts, no matter what the topic. A link party is simply the opportunity for her blogging community to showcase one of their own posts and have at others in the Life This Week Community besides Denyse respond to it.
“Over the years I have come up with in excess of 240 optional prompts. This is a link up that I treasure as it keeps me connected. There are ONLY two link ups now that are Australian Based. Mine on Mondays and my friend Leanne’s from Deep Fried Fruit for Thursdays.”Denyse
(Note: The linked post is Leanne’s “Goodbye” post on her blog, April 22, 2021.)
In the following example of her optional prompts, Denyse shares her own post on the meaning of “Leaving.”
Interesting, we both see leaving as a good and a bad thing. Very sad leaving people, or people leaving us. Nice post, though a little distressing for you to work through it again, I imagine. But hindsight makes us see through a different lens, and we can never judge decisions we made with the knowledge we had at the time with that extra layer.Lydia C. Lee
A very touching post Denyse which brought tears to my eyes. Many similarities between your Mother’s end-of-life-story and my Mother’s last year. I love the images and fun of taking the grandkids to see their new sibling in hospital. As a mum, this is always a beautiful moment as I am sure it was for you as a grandmother.Jody @ Six Little Hearts
Share Your Snaps
Every 5th week, Denyse invites her link participants to join in Share Your Snaps.
In this prompt Denyse posts some of her pictures, and then other bloggers link to share theirs as well. Her blogging community then can leave comments like the two below, and then in the link form leave a link to a post of their choice.
I love all the colours and flowers in this post. What a great idea to visit a local nursery for photos of flowers. I would never have thought of that. I’m loving the autumn colours at the moment. Your smile is beautiful DenyseJennifer Jones
I love colour, being outside and photographing too Denyse! Your photo collages are wonderful and I fully understand the fun you would have had in compiling them. I hope Hamilton was everything you’d hoped it would be, I’ve heard a lot about it from lots of sources. Four years ago must seem like a lifetime in many ways but it’s well worth remembering and looking at how far you’ve come in that time. Keep smilingDebbie Harris
Self Care Stories
Every 7th week Denyse offers a chance for her participants to post a self care story or update: Self Care Stories.
That was an excellent self care wrap up Denyse! I love your list of things you’re grateful for. I really need to do this and yes I have said this several times before. I will do it eventually! That must’ve been exciting to see Hamilton. I’ve heard such good things about it. I guess I must be in my 6th decade then as I turn 57 soon. It shocks me how quickly I have got to this age. Only seems like yesterday I was 37! I’m so glad that things are going well for you health wise now. I hope it stays that way. You’ve reminded me that here are a few health checks ups I need to get done! Have a great week Denyse! xoMin @ Write of the Middle
As Lydia said, new niggles and issues appear out of nowhere! My post this week illustrates that.
But back to your very detailed post…..I admire your skill of being able to ‘dissect’ your life and look at how some pieces relate to others. Someone once told me what we do each day is irrelevant to how our our life will pan out…..if only they could read your words and see how much each day is linked to each other.Cathy
Taking Stock pops up on Denyse’s blog every ninth week using some word prompts to sum up life over the past months.
- Admiring: the skills of all those who helped to do my upper mouth reconstruction
- Becoming: such an advocate for spreading the awareness of head and neck cancer because it IS rare but it is also growing in numbers of people diagnosed in Australia and around the world
- Curious: about how I ‘got’ this cancer …at times
- Delighted: to be well in my recovery at almost 4 years down the track
What prompted you to begin to host a writing/photo challenge?
This link up started in September 2016 because a friend who was blogging with her own link up each Monday decided to stop both blogging and the link up. I had been thinking about adding a link up but did not want to do so till I believed I was ready. I already knew hosting a link up took some time but I also hoped, if I hosted one of my own, I would gain more readers who add their blog post and comment.Denyse
What is your purpose in hosting the challenge? How does it help photographers/bloggers/writers?
My purpose in having Denyse Whelan Blogs and now this link up is to connect with others. The longer name for my blog is Denyse Whelan Blogs To Connect. Like all new bloggers, I used to be concerned about no-one reading my posts nor commenting, as comments are, as I say “blogging currency”. Hosting my own blog link up helped me achieve this goal.Denyse
How much time does it take to prepare and follow up on your post?
Often it is the writing of MY post that can take the time. I usually have it done a few days in advance. As time has gone on, it takes less time. It may be half an hour to an hour to write my own post, and then set up the link up using the scheduling tool on the blog. I chose 5.00. a.m. Australian Eastern Standard Time because it’s been published before I get up AND the link up has been active for early-to-rise bloggers to add their posts.
On Wednesdays when I respond to each person’s blog post they linked up, it can take around 10 min minutes per post. I sometimes take a break in between.Denyse
What steps do you take to get your challenge ready?
I am a very organised and creative person and coming up with the optional prompts for the year ahead is fun. The thing is that I keep the prompts optional. Some people like to link up a post on prompt but not all. At times, I will not use the optional prompt myself as I may have a post in my series for Head and Neck Cancer, or Telling My Story to get out. I am happy to accept posts, old or new but only one.
This year for example I have used a one/two word prompt with each letter of the alphabet….e.g. A-Announcement; B – Back to; C – Cannot.Denyse
How did you attract people to participate?
Getting people to participate needs to be by word of mouth…via social media and other blogs. Because I have a self-hosted blog rather than a WordPress.com blog, I have to work a bit harder to know when the newer blogs I follow are published. I hope by commenting on those blogs, that the person may be curious enough to come to my link up and join in.
Participation was somewhat helped initially by the blogger who gave up her Monday link up, letting her followers know where the new link up would be. I also post the link up to Life This Week each Monday morning on both my personal and blog facebook page, and via twitter. Over time, as I have become better known with bloggers from other parts of the world because I follow their blogs and comment, some are now finding my link up that way.Denyse
Is your challenge like a club where you put a widget on your website or embed something on your post?
No, but I do ask people to use my widget or a link back to my link up if they can, in their posts. I am not overly strict on this as I do not show others’ widgets but prefer to have a ‘roll’ of links to those I follow and who take part in Life This Week. It’s on the side bar of my page.Denyse
What about a Facebook group or page, or a group in other social media?
My blog has a facebook page and I regularly post there, definitely when I publish and in between times if there is any update I think my audience might find of interest. I have an Instagram account (private – ask for follow) @denysewhelan_blogs and that is linked to a widget on the blog and shows up. I now have my twitter feed (@denysewhelan) doing the same and my facebook page similarly. https://www.facebook.com/denysewhelanblogsDenyse
What specific bloggers do you admire and want to give a shout out to?
There are so many. When I started blogging in December 2010, the blogging community in Australia was just getting going and I attended the first ever Aussie Bloggers Conference in March 2011. Many bloggers and I attended events and conferences to learn more about blogging. The thing that was the most important from those years is how many friends I have made.
Being a blogger, blogging as I do now on a variety of topics, I am so glad to have become amongst friends of all ages…even though I am by far the oldest at 71…I would never have met without being a blogger. I invited some of those original blogging friends to a morning tea in 2019 to help celebrate my 70th birthday. Some I had not “met” in real life till that day!!Denyse
Denyse Whelan earned a B.Ed M.Ed and has almost 4 decades of experience as both an educator and parent in the Australian schooling system, specifically N.S.W. Public Schools. She retired as a K-6 Principal from NSW Australia. She has been blogging for more than 10 years. Denyse is also very well following a head & neck cancer diagnosis in May 2017.
Denyse believes in life-long learning and that learning takes place formally and informally in our lives every day.
Facebook: Denyse Whelan Blogs