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Friday, February 10, 2012

Get Yourself a Theme Song!

Many of you have already planned your A to Z posts. However, I’m sure some of you still wonder what the heck you’re going to do for the Challenge. I understand - I’ve been in both situations. And in case you’re wondering, planning posts around a theme was much easier than winging it!

The first year, I don’t think any of us really knew what we were doing. The closest I came to a theme was that my posts were all entertainment related. Movies, music, games - you name it. For Q, I blogged about Q*Bert and “Q.” Yes, the crappy 1983 movie “Q!” I was desperate…

The second year, I realized I needed a plan of attack. I was a co-host last year as well, and I knew I couldn’t be floundering around for post topics. I at once hit upon the idea of featuring two blogger buddies per letter. Some of the letters were challenging, but I stuck with my topic until the last couple letters. (Thank you, Matthew – QQQE was a much better choice than “Q!”) As an added bonus, everyone really liked my Challenge theme.

You may think A to Z a challenge enough without adding the limitations of a theme. But choosing one overall subject for your posts really allows for a lot of creativity. You could select any topic under the sun and run with it. The only limitations are in your mind. A theme also helps you to plan ahead for each post, which frees your time during the Challenge to visit other blogs.

So, start brainstorming now! Avoid total brain freeze when you reach the more difficult letters. Believe me, you don’t want to post about crappy movies like “Q.” I’ve already done that!


Ninja Captain and A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Alex J. Cavanaugh


And related to today's topic comes another entry to the A to Z Video Contest.  Today's submission comes from Dale Smurthwaite at Smurfin' the Web.   Hop over to his site and say hello.  If you are interested in knowing more about the A to Z Video Contest click on the appropriate tab at the top of the page.   Now rock out to Dale's video:






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31 comments:

  1. Lol, well my blog already has a theme, so I guess will stick with posts about writing!

    I know what you mean though - I attempted the challenge on a couple of my blogs last year and I found it so hard, I dropped out halfway through. :( Hopefully this year it will be easier!

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  2. It's easier for me to be random about it - maybe that's my theme....

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  3. @Tonja, same here! My blog has no theme and I like it that way. But I totally agree about preparing what we're going to be writing about in each alphabet before hand.

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  4. Great points Alex, my A to Z is already done and awaiting for April 1st.

    Have a great week-end.
    Yvonne.

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  5. I'm counting the challenge to be a prompt because I perform better under pressure :)

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  6. I'm working on a list of ideas for themed posts right now, but predictably, I'm having a lot of trouble over some letters!

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  7. I discarded a lot of themes, and decided to just stick with posting all original fiction. Maybe that IS a theme...

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  8. When the challenge finished last year, I'd already selected my theme for this year.

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  9. Great Video and I can't believe how fast April is approaching!

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  10. Best A to Z promo video yet! I'm off to post on Facebook and Twitter.

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  11. that is some solid advice, funny i spent some time figuring out what i was going to do... 21 letters done, 5 to go... now it's the second guessing each post, gar i am such a rain-man.

    ozzy rules!

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  12. COUNTDOWN BEGINS...
    ONLY 50 days left!!

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  13. Seriously awesome video. Randomness is a theme right? :P

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  14. This is my first challenge, and I recognized IMMEDIATELY the need for a theme...otherwise this is just too open-ended. I'm really glad to hear I'm on the right path!!! Thanks Alex! Can't wait for April!

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  15. Theme picked! Now, to figure out what to do with all those letters.

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  16. I'm still trying to figure out this year's theme. Last year, I wrote "dear ____" letters. *hopes to come up with something soon*

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  17. I like the idea of theme, Alex, and I've chosen mine for the A-Z Challenge. I've got the ideas down on a calendar for April. The toughest letters for me were X and Y, but I managed to be creative.

    Creative use of interpretation is allowed, yes? Just checking.

    Re - the Origins blogfest - Looking forward to reading all the posts on Monday!

    Liked the video - seeing all those album covers was enjoyable. Great art work on some of those.

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  18. Oceangirl, that's funny!

    Sarah, even my theme last year wasn't bullet proof.

    Lisa, I think it's a theme.

    SL, I was just a mess without one. Really think it helps.

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  19. Theme is the only way to go, unless you're super, over-the-top creative and have loads of time on your hands. Even with a theme, I struggled to keep up.

    Talking about the limits of a theme, I might actually suggest (if you pick a theme) that you keep it very narrowed. I did a writing toolbox 'thing' and while it afforded me a lot leeway, it was almost too broad. It was hard to focus at times.

    The fun thing about A-Z is there is room for all types of things. Simple, like a music video each day, or complex like a short story for each letter. (If you do the latter, start writing now! :)

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  20. My general theme is about writing. Might have to stray off topic for that durn 'Q'

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  21. I started out with no plan and eventually migrated toward science posts. I've had this year's theme stewing in the back of my head for months--now I just have to start writing the posts! I even have a Q subject; J is the one that's giving me trouble this time around.

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  22. Love this promo vid. Theme you say. Theme song? Ah, I like music,but I'm afraid mine could be Mission Impossible. OK,I'm working on a better attitude. I Will Survive.

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  23. As always, Captain Ninja, you come through with some good advice! I'm theming it...and about ready to announce...

    Tina @ Life is Good

    Co-Host of the April 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge

    Twitter:
    @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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  24. Yes, a theme is good! Planning is also good.

    I also agree with a previous post that recommended doing A to Z in the spirit of your blog.

    Ex. If you write about movies, but do the A to Z about animals, then A to Z followers might be disappointed when you go back to writing about movies. You captured them with animals.

    I think that was some great advice!

    The Write Soil

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  25. I found the theme naturally emerged from the posts as I began to put them together. This was more straightforward for me as this is my first year participating.

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  26. EJ, done it both ways and having a theme is the only way to go.

    Susan, you'll think of something!

    Golden, I', sure a J subject will hit.

    Tina I will announce mine right before the Challenge begins!

    Dawn, sticking with one's blog theme is a good idea. I veered off mine last year, but it worked because that is now part of my new theme.

    Suze, first year? You'll dig it.

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  27. Thanks for all the comments on the video. Like I say I dont know it music is going to be the actual theme of my A-Z blogs, I just liked the idea as a promo. Glad you all like it though =) Looking forward to April. Better get my thinking cap on..

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  28. My problem is my blog's already pretty much book based, so I'm working on fitting A - Z into the theme I already have. I really need to get a plan made, though. So far I think I only have to definite posts set up.

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  29. Still working on a theme! I'm better under pressure, which is why I procrastinate so frequently. Believe it or not, I think a theme may be more challenging than coming at it last minute like I did last year. Still undecided, murg.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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  30. Both actually work for me. Sometimes when I have a great theme, I am able to write several different topics circulating on that theme but at times, it is also quite fun to just come up with something interesting out of the blue. Creating music, for various kinds of reasons, can be inspiring not just for listeners but also for those who love making tunes (those who play their instruments with mandolin picks for instance) to express themselves as well. It also gives me a so called “timeout” especially when my mind seems not to be working straight head. Thank you for sharing your insights.

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