A to Z rookie. Yep, that’s me. So you’ve got to be asking yourself…how can someone who’s never been through a month of April blogging every day, write a survival guide? And an even better question, why should I pay attention to anything he has to say?
Both very good questions, so let me answer them for you. First, I don’t live under a blogging rock. Even though I haven’t participated for the past two years, I did follow along and read a ton of posts. I know what I liked, what worked, and consequently what didn’t. Second, you know what I spent a good many years doing for my job in the real world? Planning and scheduling! Third, you know what else I used to do in the real world? I wrote instruction manuals and trained new employees about the stuff in those manuals. And finally, I’m motivated. I have two goals for this post…to encourage somebody who’s not signed up yet to do just that…and to reassure those of you out there who are nervous about committing to what seems like a massive task and show you how easy it can really be. You can do this!
To make it all the way to April 30th with your sanity intact, you’ll need a survival kit. I’ll show you a couple thing’s to place in that kit, but I’m sure they’ll be plenty more recommendations offered in the comments below. Pick and choose what makes sense to you.
First item to place in your kit is also the most important. If nothing else makes it, this one item is an absolute must. Take an index card, or a small piece of paper roughly the same shape, and write on it this one word in bold letters. BREVITY. As of today there are 661 bloggers signed up for this challenge and we are expecting something north of 1,000 when April gets here, so part of the challenge isn’t just writing a post every day but also visiting as many of the other blogs as possible to sample the awesome writing talent on display. Uploading long diatribes, regardless of how fascinating the subject might be, cripples this initiative. So keep your submissions short and to the point. They’re easier to write…and read….that way. The fact is, the shorter your post is the more comments you’ll probably receive. :)
Next item to put in your survival kit, instructions on how to utilize the scheduling feature on your blog. Posting every day doesn’t have to mean writing every day. There are six weeks until April gets here and if you wrote and scheduled two posts a week until then, you would have 12 of the 26 letters/days covered before the month even begins. Start today…right now as a matter of fact…stop reading this post and write one of your post for the Challenge. Planning ahead will save you a lot of anxious moments.
So you’re more of a pantser than a plotter, and no matter how many good intentions you had when April 1 arrives you haven’t written a single post yet. No problem, time to pull out that next item from your survival kit. A tea spoon. I know how standing at the doorstep of April contemplating blogging every single day can appear daunting, overwhelming. The key is to not concentrate of the whole and instead break it down into pieces, small bites. Take it one.post.at.a.time! If you find some extra time to punch out a couple posts ahead of time, great, but don’t sweat it if you can’t. Just worry about today’s bite! And remember that BREVITY card? Small bites!
What else should be in your survival kit? Definitely something like a playlist for your MP3 player customized for the A to Z Challenge, or some of your favorite CD’s, maybe some type of aroma therapy or your favorite exotic coffee. This is not intended to be a stressful event, and if you utilize some of the items in this survival kit you’ll avoid most of that, but still there are some participants that do get a little tense. To combat this I recommend you utilize the items in your kit that best help you find a sense of tranquility that will help you through those times. Remember, we want this to be FUN above everything else!
Last, but not least, duct tape. Every self-respecting survival kit includes duct tape!
I hope I’ve helped some. I’m here, along with all of the co-hosts, to see that you have an enjoyable experience. A survival kit filled with at least those five things will take you a long way to surviving April in one piece, but it’s only a start. If you have a suggestion for something else that needs to find its way into that kit, just leave a comment below.
Have a great weekend!