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Friday, January 30, 2015

Multiple By Twelve

Can you believe there's only one more day left in January, 2015? This first month flew by and I expect time to continue its fast wheeling. Have you accomplished what you  hoped to during these first thirty days of the year.

I wrote over 40,000 words during this month, wrote 23 blog posts and didn't keep count of the blogs I visited or how many Tweets I wrote and read 11 books. And that is 1/12th of my year. How great would 2015 be if I multiply those numbers by twelve? A pretty good year.

I don't do the New Year's Resolutions thing but I do make some general plans. January far surpassed my planning. Can I do all that 11 more times?

Look back at your past month. Did you do well? Can you multiply that by twelve? Or can you do even better.

I'd like to think I can all except for one month. APRIL! During that one month, my focus will be on blogging, making new contacts and having fun as well as making sure that participants have a good experience. Have you signed up yet?

Did you accomplish everything you planned on during January? Can you take what you did then and do that much twelve more times. Or do you need to step up your game? Are you better with short term goals or long term plans? Is A to Z part of this year's plan? What works best for you? Daily, weekly, monthly or yearly goals?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Confessions of an A-to-Z Road Trip Participant

How many (estimated) new blogs -- on the previous A-to-Z Signup List -- have YOU read between April 2014 and today? 

Let's be honest, visiting all of them is a massive undertaking. Needless to say, the "move along at your own pace" nature of our Post A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip is a relief for those of us who may have pulled our cars over for a tune-up, more than a few times. Whoever has managed to get through the entire list in April, let alone throughout the rest of the year (where road tripping helps participants get caught up to speed) needs to bottle their superpowers up into a productivity drink, and sell it! 

Having participated in the Road Trip for at least three years, you'd think I'd have this blog-visiting think down to a science. The truth is, like most things in life, I can only visit as many blogs as I am able...when I am able. Sometimes I visit more than a handful of blogs. On other days, I don't visit any at all. While I'm at it, allow me to confess some other things about what transpires during my Road Tripping activities:
  • If I visited, read your content and left a response but you still don't see the comment, chances are it's not's Blogger!
  • When I have to prove I'm not a robot every single time I leave a comment on your blog, this task makes me less likely to visit again. That doesn't mean I won't ever return. It does, however, make me hesitant to bother with the extra steps involved with reading your blog posts...especially when there are a number of other blogs that provide a better, user-friendly experience.
Speaking of being user-friendly...
  • If your blog takes forever to load, I'm not sticking around, regardless of how interesting the subject matter of the post you wrote (and/or the name of your blog) appears to be.
By the time April rolls around, I am certain that I will have not visited all 2,000+ blogs that signed up for last year's challenge. Still, between May 2014 and March 2015, I know I will have visited (many) more blogs that I didn't get to in April -- because of my participation in the Road Trip. That's good enough for me...and the bloggers who were, and will be, on the receiving end of those visits and comments, of course!

What confessions, if any, do YOU have to share about your participation in the Post A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip so far?

How many (estimated) new blogs -- on the A-to-Z Signup List -- have YOU visited between April 2014 and today?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers is listening to Beyonce's "Flawless (Remix)," among other tunes, while arranging this blog post. She currently supports members of the U.S. Armed Forces, discusses emergency preparedness and movies that make you cry at The Madlab Post. Connect with her @MadlabPost on Twitter.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

The 2015 A to Z Challenge List is Open!

Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined below so you sign onto the list correctly!

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends. For more details and its history, go HERE

We recommend short posts, turn off Word Verification, and visit five blogs (or more) a day beginning with the one after yours on the list.

Blogs must be on an open platform – no Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – and comments enabled.

To streamline legitimate blogs from advertisement blogs, the Co-Hosts will be visiting each blog on this list throughout the Challenge. Blogs on the list showing no activity once the Challenge starts or miss five days in a row will be removed.

Please note your blog name and number in all correspondences. Remember that as blogs are removed, your number will change.

There are categories for those looking for like-minded blogs. Select ONE category code and enter it after your blog’s title/name. The code applies to your blog, not your theme for the Challenge and is purely optional. See the first few blogs on the list for examples. However, if your blog has adult content, you MUST mark it (AC) or it will be removed from the list. Codes are as follows:


Be sure to grab the badge and display it in your sidebar so we know you are participating and link to the A to Z Challenge Blog.

For more information we recommend you follow the A to Z Challenge Blog and the hosts:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Jeremy @ Hollywood Nuts
Nicole Ayers @ The Madlab Post
Author Stephen Tremp
Heather M. Gardner
AJ @ Naturally Sweet
Pam @ An Unconventional Librarian
Matthew MacNish @ The QQQE
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
S. L. Hennessy @ Pensuasion
C. Lee McKenzie @ The Write Game
Joy Campbell @ The Character Depot
Susan Gourley @ Susan Says
John Holton @The Sound of One Hand Typing
Lisa Buie-Collard, Author

We also have a Facebook Page
Email address is
Twitter hashtag is #AtoZChallenge and Twitter id is @AprilA2Z

Sign up below and join us for a month of alphabet fun!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Share and Advise

It's nearly here. Sign up time. I know a lot of veteran A to Z participants will be putting their names on that list next Monday. I hope you'll announce it and link from your own blog to this blog on that happy day. But there will be people new to this great event and they could benefit from some advice.

The first year I participated in A to Z, I had only been actively blogging for a few months and trying to grow my audience. I had lots of doubts going into that first year. I was busy in my personal life. I was teaching full time and my daughter was still in high school playing softball which meant attending games two or three times per week. Our firewall at work didn't allow access to blogs so I couldn't do A to Z work even during my lunch break.

I also didn't realize how important it was for my sanity to schedule my posts ahead of time. Or how much easier it would be to create my posts if I had chosen a theme. By the time April ended that first year, I felt frazzled and like I'd failed the challenge even though I managed to post every day. For a short while there, I hated blogging. Only my stubborn determination to never quit something I started kept me going until the end. I ended up getting no writing done on my work in progress and visiting only a very few bloggers every day.

My second and third years went much better as I followed the advice of other bloggers. Things like settling on a theme, scheduling posts ahead of time, and keeping posts short. Though still a challenge, A to Z was fun instead of agonizing. Last year I took on the responsibility of being a minion for Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh and this year I joined the A to Z team to help everyone else have fun. I couldn't have arrived at this point if not for the advise shared by others.

So when you shout out to the world that you've taken on the Challenge, share some advice for the newbies to this April tradition. Tell them what helps you make it through the Challenge. Even something very simple, like 12 cups of coffee per day, may be the thing that helps someone else enjoy April as much as you do.

Are you ready with some advise? Keeping that theme a deep secret until the reveal post? How many years does this make for you in the A to Z?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Turning Over A New Leaf in 2015

I'm often tempted to "Turn Over A New Leaf" when a new year arrives, aren't you?

  • Be a kinder person.
  • Eat more vegetables.
  • Save the world.
  • Have the best theme for AtoZ ever.
  • Floss. 

Here's how I imagine categories of folk might try to turn over a leaf or two.

Book Blogger: Begin blogging in Spanish and become as successful a blogger as Paulo Coelhos.

Novelist: Write the next Hunger Games trilogy.

Chimney Sweep: Have a good facial scrub before the singing begins.


Now this guy would take me literally. What better time to mulch stuff than in January. Those leaves make the earth ripe and ready for the seeds come April.

What's your new leaf? Or do you prefer to ignore the idea of fresh starts in a new year? As for me, I'm off to find a pitch fork and do some turning of the earth. I'm already itchy to plant my April crop.