Jamie Gibbs from Mithril Wisdom is no stranger to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. In this guest post Jamie provides some excellent Challenge wisdom that may alleviate some stress come April.
A to Z Blogging - How to wing it in style
It’s certainly no secret that I rarely prepare for blog-type events. I’m usually the one frantically hitting that “Publish’ button mere seconds before each deadline (and on one occasion, several days after it). I enjoy the spontaneity of winging it and the thrill of the unexpected when I blog with little planning. However, writing by the seat of your pants does not mean you should walk into the A to Z Challenge blind. A small amount of planning can go a very long way. Here’s a few tips to wing it without making a fool of yourself.
● Know your theme
Even if your theme is to have no theme, make sure you know the general feel of the posts that you’ll write. Things will be a lot easier when you’re sitting at your keyboard, struggling to find that elusive ‘Q’ topic, if you know that whatever the ‘Q’ is, it needs to be in the realm of, say, Aztec gods (and the answer, of course, would be Quetzalcoatl).
● Prep each day with one word
You have two whole months until the Challenge starts, so grab a pen and paper, and write the alphabet. Go on, do it, don’t be shy. I’ll wait. I’ll just busy myself thinking about dragons.
Right, done that? Awesome. Now think about a single word to go with each letter (sticking with your theme). I hope you left enough room next to each letter to write the word itself. I probably should have mentioned that earlier. Hmm . . .
It may take some time, but using those single words will make your posts so much quicker to write each day. Even if you still haven’t thought of any for the elusive ‘Q’ by the time April rolls around, you’ll have 25 less posts to worry about because of your list.
● Read around. Read widely. Read everything!
The A to Z Challenge is about community above all else. There are hundred of awesome bloggers who are participating, and it would be a shame for you to miss out. Don’t just read the blogs you know, or those who comment on your posts. Don’t just focus on the blogs that are similar to your own. You’ll be surprised how much inspiration you’ll get from reading outside of your comfort zone. Even better, you’ll meet new friends along the way. Everyone’s a winner!
Good luck to all of you, and extra good luck to my fellow winging bloggers. I look forward to seeing you blogging by the seat of your pants - and doing it in style.
I did mine over Christmas as after leaving my daughter's I was alone,
So all I have to do is sit back and read everyone else's.
I'm busy planning at the moment... I want to spend as much time as possible visiting other blogs.
I'm actually planning out my posts right now! Like the poster above me, I want to spend my time visiting other blogs. :)
Excellent advice, Jamie! Funny you would mention Quetzalcoatl, as the movie "Q" was part of my Q post the first year. Because yes, I was winging it!
I too write the majority of my posts moments before publishing them, but I won't be doing that for A to Z!
I've got my theme, and I've got great subjects for Q and Z. What was my tricky letter, you ask? B!
I've been thinking about the posts, jotted some ideas, but it's time to start typing. Don't have a Q or a Z or an X yet. Wait, don't have a Y either. *biting nails*
I'd like to say I'm a winger, but really I'm just someone who does stuff at the last minute because she can't get organised :-)
Love this post, Jamie! Really great advice for those still making their plans. I used to be a winger myself, but since I'm supposed to be all grown up and a co-host and all this year, I will be joining the planners. To prep for that, Life is Good and I have started a training regimen. Post every other day. I think it will help us be a better blog in the long run, but if we go back to winging, that's cool too. At least we will be in our best shape ever come April.
So you think it's weird to talk about my blog as an entity with free will? Get used to it. I'm typing this on Mackie (MacBook, in case you didn't see the coolness of the name right away) while mackie jr. waits patiently by my side should iPhone-ness become necessary. I love toys. And I love how apple toys play so nicely with each other.
Thanks so much for guest posting!
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-Host of the April 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge
The first year I took each day as it came and managed to make daily rounds to visit other bloggers, but it took a tremendous amount of time. Planning ahead frees up more visiting time but playing as you go adds to the excitement and intensifies the challenge of the event. Either way has its own rewards and is a great deal of fun.
Thanks for the guest post, Jamie.
I did publishing and promoting tips last year and as soon as it was over, I knew what I'd be doing this year.
I winged it through most of the Challenge that time around--this year, I want to schedule posts so I have more time to visit other blogs and comment. Though it's fun to write posts and publish them right after. :)
Still planning but I have changed themes about 3 times and the same letters are always my "problem children" I think I might have to hit a dictionary or Wiki for inspiration
Sounds like great advice! I'm still trying to work up the courage (and ensure I'll have the time) to sign up to participate.
:) Something I'm doing tonight! I'm stealing my daughter's dictionary and heading to the bookstore for coffee and quiet.
Great advice. This is almost exactly what I've been doing. I've been jotting down a small outline for each letter as I think of sometihng.
Didn't think of my 'Q' yet. Hmmm
Thanks for the great advice Jamie! I'll have to start getting organized. I joined shortly before the event last year, and felt like I was cramming for finals. I agree with Lee that it still is a great experience either way, but I'll try to prepare more going in this time. Julie
Like you, I am planning ahead, and have solid ideas in my journals. There are about 3 letters that have me at bay; I can't decide between the ideas stirred up by those letters, E K P. X, Y, and Q are settled, however.
Thanks for having me, guys! I'm going to do my best to actually plan this year ... but that likely won't happen (I'll plan for my Q post and that'll be about it, hehe).
I did it by the seat of my pants last year, but I did brainstorm words and keep a running list of topics I might like to post about. It helped immensely some days, and other days I completely ignored my list because I'd been inspired. Great advice in this post, thanks!
Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z
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