Saturday, March 31, 2012

Last Round-up: Are You Ready to Meet the #atozchallenge?

Badge artwork by Ada Zdanowicz

Can you believe it?  The A to Z Challenge of 2012 starts tomorrow!

        Are you set to go?   Do you have your Official A to Z Badge (pictured above) in a prominent place on your blog page to identify you as a participant?    Do you have some of the other A to Z Bling (see "Banners and Badges" tab at top of this page under the header) decorating your page to make it more exciting?

         Do you have any of your posts done yet?  If not that's okay.  It will make for a bigger challenge and don't worry, there are plenty others who will be flying through this thing by the seat of their pants.  The main thing is to have a good time with it.  Show off some creative skills and network with over a thousand other bloggers.  By the end of April you should have added a lot of new followers, made a few new friends, and added some pretty impressive bragging rights to your blogging resume.

         In fact, today why not visit a few of these bloggers we've listed below.  These are some of the fine folks who we found in the past week saying something about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on their blogs:

We always manage to get some education in the April Challenge.  Charles the Reader will be giving us a lesson in the French language on his blog The Written Word.

Fantasy writer Angeline Trevena will be blogging about "world building" for her April topic.

Another blogger who has announced her theme is Eliza Wynn at Ellie's Couch.  Here's a clue:  It has to do with music.

Why should you want to blog from A to Z in April?  Amy tells why at her blog Amy's Beads.   Sounds like she's going to put some effort into this.

If you're a new blogger the A to Z Challenge is a great way to dive right in to the world of blogging.  That's exactly what's happening at Raising the Curtain.   She can use some support so why don't you hop on over and greet her.

He's back!  Matt Conlon will be joining us again this year with more brew reviews.  Visit Matt at BrewNewb.

At The Write Game C. Lee McKenzie featured Rachel Morgan's winning video entry and offered the sign up list.  That's a lot of list for one blog post!

We've got some decent blog representation from guinea pigs in the Challenge.  Check out George's Guinea Pig World to see what I mean.

Donna M. McDine says to Write What Inspires You.  She's going to be inspired by the alphabet in April as she also joins us in the Challenge.

Speak Coffee To Me is another blog in the Challenge.  Eileen's going to be speaking the alphabet to us in the form of her favorite fantasy and science fiction books.

Shanjeniah offers her topics for the month of April in a nicely organized calendar.

Mimi at Watercolors By Mimi Torchia Boothby included Rachel Morgan's recent winning A to Z video in a recent post.  Mimi calls herself "eccentric".   I'll let you'll readers decide for yourself.

Beth at Beth's Blog and Project 52 Returns! has some big things coming up for April including the A to Z Challenge.  And she's got a theme planned.    We wish her well.

Some bloggers have found the A to Z Challenge to be a time of self-discovery.  This has been the case with Gracie at The Story of a Girl... and in the process she has also decided on her theme for April.

Jaye Robin Brown has announced an interesting sounding A to Z theme.  Check it out at Hanging On To Wonder.

There's a detailed post at Journaling Woman with another part on Wednesday about her plans for the April Challenge and it sounds pretty good.

For the music fans, Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic has a theme in store that sounds pretty interesting.

Stuart Nager at Tale Spinning will be returning for a second year with more of his imaginative excursions in creative writing.

Taking a humorous look at bloggers, Michael Offut interviews a "tortured artist" about the A to Z Challenge.

If you're a fan of the 80s then Theresa's Tales of Tribulations and Typing Teen Texts will be the place for you as Theresa Milstein revisits the music of that decade.

Dwelling on deeper topics is Angela Felsted who is proposing some topics that might generate some controversy.  A bit of thinking is something we all need to try now and then.

Fans of Paranormal Romance will have a treat from Christine Rains--Writer as she presents an exclusive new work that will only be available during the A to Z Challenge.

There will be 26 days of fantasy flash fiction offered on the blog of Cherie Reich.   She also added another reminder on her Thursday post.

Jemima Pett tells about how preparing for the A to Z posts has helped her clarify and further develop certain aspects of her current book.  She also announces a special gift she's offering during April.

After much internal debate, Geoff at Geoff's Blogs has decided to try the Challenge once again and hope that he doesn't encounter computer problems like he did last year.   This time around this theme will be about the continent where he lives--Africa.

It sounds like SafireBlade will have some exotic offerings for April as she explores other worlds populated by unique beings.   She'll be looking for our feedback about what she'll be writing.

Sommer Leigh got an A to Z Challenge topic thread going in Nathan Bransford's forum section. There are some interesting exchanges here and I want to thank Sommer for think about this.

Sounds like fun coming our way from Jessica Salyer at Just Following a Dream.  She's going to meet the Challenge with a challenge, but she's going to need your help.

Denise at L'Aussie Writer has a fascinating concept planned for April.  She's put some work into this.  Stop by her blog and read about it.

K.T. Hanna needed a bit of coercion but she did the right thing--or is it the write thing?   Check out K.T.s announcement at The Scribble Muse.

There are some giveaways that will be happening on some of your blogs during April.  One will be from Jessica Bell at The Alliterative Allomorph.  Jessica will be writing about her musical influences during the A to Z Challenge and will be drawing from her comments every two days for some very cool prizes.  Watch her blog for details.  For some clues visit Jessica's Website.

Joining the A to Z  for the 3rd year is Bish Denham who now thinks of  the April Challenge as another sign of Spring.   For more lovely signs of Spring visit her blog at Random Thoughts.

Author Alden explains his theme as he gears up for the A to Z Challenge.

A newer blog is Suddenly Seeking.  Maybe some of you can go over and give Kate a follow and bit of encouragement to get her revved up for April.

K.D. Storm tells an amazing story on her blog A Coffee Drive and Adventure Bound Life.  Talk about making April a Challenge!

Jeremy at Geeky Tendencies ran through the last minute check list that appeared on this blog on Thursday.  Is Jeremy's blog ready for the April Challenge?  Check!  Are you ready?

Pamela at The Death Writer has a pretty ominous blogging topic but she's cheery about it and she's ready to go.   I mean go as in start the Challenge not...oh, never mind.

John Holton is going NATO on his blog in April.  If you're curious check out his post at The Sound of One Hand Typing.

Unfortunately, during the frenzy of preparations we've missed some of your past posts even when  you told us about them.  Thank you Beth at By Word of Beth for the lovely words you wrote for us back in February.

There's nothing creepy about Katie Mills succumbing to the April Challenge.  You can read her story at Creepy Query Girl.

During April it will be more movies, more fun at Spirit Called.

One of the entrants of the A to Z Video Contest, Marta Szemik, provides her personal assessment of what the Challenge will amount to--she's got it right.

The Writing Nut gives a retrospective of her posts from last year and looks forward to the pre-May mayhem and the madness of March.  It's all gonna be fun.

Yadin Bromberg gave us still another special post about the A to Z Challenge with a review of April efficiency.  Listen to this young blogger--he sounds like an old hand already and he's just getting started.

Five great reasons to do the A to Z Challenge are presented by Katietesta at A Common Sea.

Erin at  Utah Children's Writers gives a persuasive pitch for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.

Janis at Freelance Transcriptionist Road (how's that for a blog title) explains some of the special things she has in store for April.

Some others who have announced their intent to join in on the April fun are Ruby Bows, Seaside Simplicity, Jay Noel, The Adventures of Nagzilla, Choice City Native, Sabrina Garie,

          Whew!  What a week!  If you can, try to visit today's featured bloggers and get a head start on the Challenge.

         Starting tomorrow make sure you visit at least a few new blogs and leave comments wherever you go.  Let the blogs you visit at least know you stopped by.  When you find ones that you like, follow those blogs and let them know you've done so.  And you can follow them all if you're so inclined.  Make the best of this big blogging networking party.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

10 sure ways to win the #atozchallenge !

That is the best part about the April A to Z Blogging Challenge, we all have a huge shot at winning.

What is a #atozchallenge win?

A win is completing all the 26 posts, receiving lots of comments, visiting as many blogs as humanly possible, and making hordes of friends.

How to do this:

1. Kiss: Keep It (your post) Simple, Short.

2. Get a Theme: Themes make your posts easier for you to write, and for readers to remember and comment on.

3. Post every day: This one is obvious, or you'll be taken off the linky list. I think.

4. Pre-schedule: It is not a crime, but rather a convenience. Feel free to write posts in advance so you concentrate on visits.

5. Check Calendar:  There's a challenge calendar in the sidebar below if you scroll down, follow it so you don't end up posting on S when everyone is on T

6. Turn off: Turning off word verifications increases comments, not spam. I've turned it off for good since last year.

7. Visit blogs: Start with those below you on the linky list so everyone gets love. Aim for at least 10 new blogs a day. I'm aiming for 40, but I need to do my hosting duties.

8. Comment love: Comment unto those who comment unto you, and then loads more.

9. Social Media: Broadcast your posts on all media with the #atozchallenge tag

10. Relax, have fun: It is not just about quantity, it is also about quality.

There, you have a win!

-----Damyanti, A to Z Challenge co-host at Amlokiblogs.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

#atozchallenge: Last Minute Check List

Badge by Ada Z from

          We're almost there!  We've passed last year's sign-ups and as of this writing pushing toward 1400.   We encourage you to sign up now if you haven't done so already.  The list will close on Monday night April 2nd.  After that it will be too late to get you signed up.   Decide as soon as you can so you can start making preparations.  We'd hate to see anyone get left out who really would like to be a part of this exciting and rewarding event.

Is your blog dressed for the event?

          Before we take off on Sunday, now is the time to get your blog in order.   Do you have the official A to Z Challenge logo (pictured above or find code in sidebar) displayed in a prominent place so you are readily identified as a participant?   In my blog travels of late I've run across some blogs on the list that show no indication that they will be taking part in the A to Z Challenge  Please display the A to Z badge prominently, preferably toward the top of the sidebar, so we know you're in the Challenge.

           For those who prefer to use one of the other badges on the "banner and badge" page of this blog or your own design because of matching color schemes, again please display this badge prominently.  Make it obvious to visitors that you are participating.

            Also feel free to dress up your blog with any additional badges and banners that will make it more festive.  Co-host Jeremy has created a stunning array of blog bling which can be found in a tab at the top of the page.   Feel free to decorate your blog for April.

Stay in the game!

            Starting Sunday April 1st make sure you are posting with the current letter prompts.  If you do encounter a problem that might cause you to be absent for a day or two, please make sure your most recently displayed post provides an explanation so we know your intentions are good.

             If we see a blog that stays inactive for five days or more or if we see a blog that shows no indication that they are actually participating in the Challenge, we will pull that blog from the list so as not to waste the time of the bloggers who come to visit you.   The list is intended for A to Z participants only and not for advertisers or blog-hoppers just trying to get noticed.

             If you do encounter a problem with posting (illness, computer crashes, emergencies--things happen we know), let us know and we will work with you and try to help in any way we can.

A Warning to those on Blogger

            Have you noticed this message at the top of your Dashboard:

                Blogger is getting a new look in April. Upgrade Now.

             The Blogger dweebs are at it again and conveniently timed for A to Z.  I haven't messed with this yet because I am concerned about it.   According to the Blogger Blog there will be an option to switch back to the old interface--if I understood this correctly.  If we have this option I plan on switching back to the old format for April.  I guess I'll change it to the new interface in May because they say that all blogs will be changed eventually.

             I thought I might give you a heads up in case you hadn't seen this message.  If you're brave you can experiment with it before Sunday.  Some of you have already changed.   I hope this doesn't whack a bunch of us with a huge monkey wrench, but I guess we've probably survived worse.

Do the right thing

     You may have received an email already from one of the A to Z Team members or you will receive one soon.   I'm going to provide a copy here as well just in case you don't see your e-mail.  This pretty well gives the basics of what we hope you'll consider doing to make the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge the best experience it can be:

    The A to Z Challenge kicks off on Sunday!
As a co-host, I’d like to thank you for participating. The Challenge is all about discipline and making new friends. Your blogging skills will be sharpened and you will meet a lot of cool new bloggers in the process. The A to Z Team has worked hard this year to make it the best Challenge ever, and once it is over, we invite you to post your thoughts and reflections on the Challenge on Monday, May 7.
Here are the basic guidelines:
Post on a topic or word that matches the corresponding letter of the alphabet, starting with “A” on Sunday, April 1, then every day except Sundays after that. (B is April 2, C is April 3, etc.)
Visit fellow Challenge participants starting with the blog immediately following yours on the sign up list. Aim to visit five blogs a day; more if you have time.
Keep posts SHORT!
Turn off word verification. Make it easy for others to leave comments.
Make it easy for others to follow you. (Move that Google Friends Connect widget or other following device high up in your sidebar.)
Use the official A to Z button. Link back to the A to Z Blog -
Have fun and make new friends!

         Any questions?  Let us have them in the comment section.   Get ready to have the best A to Z April Challenge yet.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Keep Posts Short and Easy to Read!

There are several ways to encourage comments, including making it easy for people to leave comments and by visiting other bloggers. Those are good practices anytime. There is one more thing you can do during the Challenge and it’s critical – keep your posts short.

There are over a thousand participants in the Challenge. We’re encouraging people to visit at least five new blogs a day (starting with the one immediately following one’s own) but many will visit far more. That means time is of the essence.

And short posts are a must!

What is a short post? Definitely under five hundred words. Probably under four hundred, and even shorter is better!

The purpose of the Challenge is to make new friends. If your posts are long, participants are far more likely to skip your blog and move to the next. You’ll miss so many opportunities for new friends. Plus writing long posts takes time! You could spend that time visiting new blogs instead.

In addition to keeping posts short, they need to be easy to read. Long blocks of text are hard on the eyes. Break text into smaller paragraphs. Add images. Highlight or bold some of the text. Pretend you are cooking and spice it up!

And since I want to set an example (and I just made myself hungry) I’m making this A to Z tips post short!

Ninja Captain Alex is one of the A to Z Challenge co hosts and can be found HERE

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting To Know Host - DL


Name: DL Hammons
Blog: Cruising Altitude 2.0
Other Online Info: 

Google+: DL Hammons
Twitter: DL_H
Facebook: DL Hammons
Goodreads: DL Hammons
Publications: None


1. What is the most daring thing you've ever done?

At our company gathering last year I got up in front of 50+ executives and informed them all that in my spare time I was a WRITER!
2. What is your favorite article of clothing? I have this one hat the I wear backwards when I'm writing.
3. What is your favorite monster? The xenomorph from the Alien movies.
4. If you had to dress up as your favorite literary character, who would it be? Sherlock Holmes.  Big surprise, given that I write mysteries.
5. What is your favorite fairy tale, urban legend or nursery rhyme?

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.
6. What is a cause near and dear to your heart?  Stopping bullying.
7. What's the strangest item you've used as a bookmark? A cocktail straw.
8. Do you have any nicknames?  What are they and how did you earn them? On-line I've used Misbehaving and Imposter for user ID's, but in the real world I've been hung with the moniker of BoneIt's genesis comes from Hammons....Hambone....Bone.  :)
9. Name one habit you want to change in yourself:  I'd like to be less introverted, but that's not going to happen.
10. Tell us something interesting or shocking about yourself:  I'm a military brat, so I really don't have a hometown.  I lost my last baby-tooth at the age of 53.  I have no sense of smell...never have. And yes...I can still taste.


1. What was your favorite A-to-Z post from 2011?  I'm an A to Z virgin.
2. What brought you to the A-to-Z originally?  Tell us about your first A-to-Z:  I was brought into the fold by Arlee, who offered me this opportunity to "change my stars". (Any Knights Tale fans out there?)  Part of my changing things up for 2012 was to make it uncomfortable in my comfort zone...and I think this qualifies.
3. Are you doing a theme?  Nope...I'm winging it, but most of my posts will be about letting my readers get to know me better.
4. Are you writing & scheduling posts in advance? About half of them are written and scheduled.
5. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet, and why?  What letter do you like least?  I have three of them actually.  L...S...U  Geaux Tigers!

I hope you've enjoyed these questions and answers.  Don't forget, you are welcome, even encouraged, to ask any additional questions you might have in the comments section.  Or feel free to answer the questions yourself!  We won't tell.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Just the prescription...for clearing your mind

Hello there! 
Join me, Jenny Pearson, co-host of the upcoming A to Z Challenge, for a relaxing walkabout!
Before we begin...I want to welcome any and all newcomers - are you looking for answers to your A to Z questions? Please visit our FAQ Tab - you are sure to find answers to all your questions there! If you’re still stumped visit our Contact Tab and fire off a question to us...we are here to help!
Now, about this walkabout
Are you feeling topped up with all the information on the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How of this Challenge?
I hope so...because this post in NOT about any of that. It’s about sitting back, enjoying a little West Coast scenery and letting your mind clear as we start the countdown to when the FUN really begins - April 1st. 
In a matter of six days we will all be showcasing our thoughts, ideas, stories, pictures, and whatever else is hiding up our sleeves in the upcoming third annual A to Z Challenge.

To that end...I went for a walkabout and in the fresh, crisp air of a glorious day I was able to relax and clear my mind.
Come join me - it’s what the Challenge Doctor has prescribed.  (click on any picture to enlarge)

Pan Pacific Hotel, home to the Five Sails Restaurant. 

View of the North Shore, from behind our new Convention Centre.

2010 Olympic Cauldron

Downtown Vancouver & Granville Street entertainment.

Relaxing dinner and a peaceful evening sky.

Now, as a little after dinner wind down

I’m please to announce all my posts are ready for the Challenge. I  would like to invite each of you to visit, during the Challenge, and enjoy what I have written, just for you.
In approximately 4,000 words, divided into 26 parts I have told a tragic tale, which will be posted in its entirety on May 1st. Each letter is featured extensively in its corresponding post. 
I had incredible fun with my choice for this year's Challenge...and, suffice it to say, I found it very challenging indeed! Hence the need for many wonderful walkabouts, like this one!
Now...we will have no more stressing, if you are new and have just signed up, the fun for you will be to enjoy the spontaneity of each day’s letter...remember, just have fun!
I am looking forward to visiting you!

Happy Blogging


Sunday, March 25, 2012

#atozchallenge: Sunday Summary March 25, 2012

Challenge begins next Sunday!

Once again we want to give a big congratulations our video challenge winner Rachel Morgan you can see her video here and find links to the other videos as well.   If you haven't taken the time to watch the videos and congratulate the video creators for a job well done, I hope you'll do so.

The mentions are still being made.  Here are some that we found:

Zyogbv came to Earth in time to take part in the April Challenge.

Ellie seems to be wavering at Ellie's Blank Book but at least she waved.  She's trying to decide which of her blogs she should enter in the A to Z.  Ellie, you could of course enter them all.  And what do you know--the next day that's exactly what she did.  Oh what fun you're gonna have!

Colin D Smith will be changing things up a bit on his blog in April in order to accommodate the A to Z Challenge.  He's a first timer and we hope he'll find it a worthwhile blogging experience.

I guess Jackie at Jackie's Bookbytes is entitled to change her mind and that's what she did within one post.  Now we'll have to wait and see what she has in store for April.

Making plans ahead of time for the A to Z Challenge is first time A to Z-er Stacey Mitchell.  We wish her luck with April.

A to Z veteran Duncan Horne from Our Home Called Kuantan puts the A to Z Challenge into perspective and shows how easy it can be.

Want a cupcake?   How about a Cadenza?  Denise has "C" covered at her blog Cupcakes and Cadenzas and now she's busily at work on the rest of the alphabet.

The blog A Common Sea will be joining a sea of other bloggers for the big April splash.

This Challenge we'll have an opportunity to learn about Jamaica from Joy at The Character Depot as she pursues this theme by the letters.

Yadin Bromberg announced his A to Z theme this week.  He's already been learning from other bloggers and on his way to developing a very credible blog.

Miranda Hardy has got a theme and to answer her, uh, yeah, Miranda, we want to know how wacky you really are.   I like Miranda's theme--check it out.

The Left Wright Brain put out an encouraging word for the Challenge.

Hmm--have you ever thought of the A to Z Challenge being like a county fair?  That's the way Michelle Gregory imagines it on her blog Beautiful Chaos.  Good analogy, Michelle.

Lisa at Jezri's Nightmares is going to run in the April Challenge and has no plans of trying to hide.  She's put  her cards all on the table in her blog post where she reveals her theme of 'Monsters A t o Z".  Now that sounds like fun.

If you like television then you'll have to visit Stephanie Scott: A Girl and Her Diary during the Challenge, but why wait?  Stop by and say hello now.

A Daft Scots Lass is one you might want to watch--as in anything can happen.

Notes in a Book is going to use the Challenge as a means of blog revival.  This is a good way to do it.

Pam from 2 Encourage is back with us again for another year and we find that encouraging.

We'll have another blog summary next Saturday along with some last minute check up items.  But be sure to stop by here everyday.  Lot's of good info still to come.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Guest Post from Hilary Melton-Butcher

     Today we have a creative diversion of ideas.  Just for fun here are some A to Z's from Hilary Melton-Butcher from Positive Letters, Inspirational Stories

English: A Murder of Crows, Westonbirt A Murde...Image via Wikipedia

The A, B, Cs of collectives nouns ...

Those wonder words that evoke disruptive thoughts in our minds such as  a murder of crows ...  here’s my list:

Polar Bear

Aurora of Polar Bears

Bellowing of Bullfinches

Convocation of Eagles

Dole of Doves

Exaltation of Larks

Flush of Ducks  
Gang of Elks

Head of Curlews


Impalas ... ah! A couple of ...

Journey of Giraffes

Kindle of Kittens

Leap of Snow Leopards

Murder of Crows

Nye of Pheasants

Obstruction of Dons

Parliament of Owls

Quiver of Cobras

Rush of Pochards

Sedge of Cranes

Trip of Dotterels

Unkindness of Ravens

Vagary of Impediments

Worship of Writers

X for I don’t know what!

Yakkety yak ... a herd of

Zealish Zebras .. live in small harems, or larger herds

What else can you think of to help Lee in his build up for the A – Z April challenge ... any other collectives that amuse you? 

Cheers – Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

The Blogging From A to Z April Challenge starts next Sunday!  Are you ready?

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting to Know Your Hosts - Alex


Name: Alex J. Cavanaugh
Blog: Alex J. Cavanaugh
Other Online Info: Twitter and Goodreads
Publications: CassaStar and CassaFire


1. What is the most daring thing you've ever done?
Starting a blog! And launching the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Really, I'm not much of a thrill seeker.

2. What is your favorite article of clothing?
T-shirts and lounge pants. Although I do look sharp in a suit!

3. What is your favorite monster?

4. If you had to dress up as your favorite literary character, who would it be?
Agent Pendergast – black suit, black shirt, black tie, and black shoes in a black Rolls Royce!

5. What is your favorite fairy tale, urban legend or nursery rhyme?
Crop circles – so fascinating.

6. What is a cause near and dear to your heart?
PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids (Don’t squish – catch and release!)

7. What's the strangest item you've used as a bookmark?
Do Sticky Notes count?

8. Do you have any nicknames? What are they and how did you earn them?
Ninja Captain Alex – and that was given to me by my blogger buddies!

9. Name one habit you want to change in yourself:
Is perfectionism a habit? Because sometimes I wish I could scale that back a bit.

10. Tell us something interesting or shocking about yourself:
Believe it or not, I never wanted to be an author!


1. What was your favorite A-to-Z post from 2011?
Probably the first one of the Challenge, the Letter A Last year my theme was to feature blogger buddies and for A it was Chuck’s Apocalypse Now and RaShelle’s A No. 2 Pencil Stat.

2. What brought you to the A-to-Z originally? Tell us about your first A-to-Z:
I found the Challenge a few days before the first one began in 2010. I was struggling as a blogger and decided what the heck, I’d give it a try. I made fifty new blogger buddies that month and my blog was off and running!

3. Are you doing a theme?
Oh yes! Big surprise…

4. Are you writing & scheduling posts in advance?
Of course!

5. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet, and why? What letter do you like least?
Well, C is rather easy for me. (I wonder why?) X is probably the biggest challenge.

I hope you've enjoyed these questions and answers. Don't forget, you are welcome, even encouraged, to ask any additional questions you might have in the comments section. Or feel free to answer the questions yourself! We won't tell.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Nicole from Madlab Post with A to Z Survival Kit

        Nicole from The Madlab Post returns with part 2 of her survival tips for the A to Z.  She's talking about stuff bloggers should be doing Challenge or no Challenge.   You can let us know what you think in the comment section.

 Save your blog posts on an external CD-R or Drive

       Those of you who have a habit of writing your blog posts within the post editor should carefully consider either copying and pasting the text into a word processing document or writing the post in notepad or MS Word, etc. and then pasting what you wrote into the post editor. Doing so can prevent the annoying setback of losing everything that you just wrote when your computer crashes or when your internet browser freezes or when the blog page you are working on suddenly reloads itself because you mistakenly clicked on the reloading icon in the browser or hit a shortcut key to go open another web page by accident…silly, I know, but as the saying goes…shit happens.

       The key takeaway here is to do your best to minimize the risk of this same shit happening to you while you’re Blogging from A to Z. Have a way to access your 26 blog posts and any related media (photos, URL addresses to online references where you found information pertaining to your posts, documents with ideas or schedules for you’re A to Z blogging tasks, etc.) anytime and anywhere.

Reach out to Fellow Participants for Help

        Arlee, Alex and the other Blogging from A to Z hosts do a great job of helping Participants with navigating the challenge with ease and they probably answer dozens, if not hundreds of questions and requests during the challenge. The thing that many fellow bloggers may forget to remember or not realize is.....the hosts are blogging too and maintaining the backend of their own blogs while also managing the front-end and backend of the A to Z challenge, which is a LOT of work.

       I mentioned all of this to say....don't underestimate the abilities of your fellow bloggers and A to Z participants when it comes to seeking help with some aspect of the challenge that you don't understand, seeking morale support, troubleshooting or any other need that you may have that is related to the challenge.

      Doing so can give the hosts more room to focus on their main tasks at hand, which are making sure that the A to Z Challenge is operating as smoothly as possible.

Have Alternative Means to Access the Internet

        Last week, I woke up and found my internet access gone. This must be a mistake, I thought. After all, I paid the damn bill. After troubleshooting, checking plugs, restarting a modem, etc. I finally called my internet provider, who told me that there was a power outage in my area due to some problems with their equipment on their end. They expected to have the service restored in 48 hours…..a length of time that seemed like FOREVER to a multitasking, freelance writing, Netflix streaming, work-at-home Twitter-addict like me. Imagine if something like this happens to YOU during a time when you need internet access the most. This is why bloggers can benefit from having alternative sources of internet access, just like it is important to have a substitute blog.

      Get a public library card that allows you to sign up for time at a computer station within the library, find a friend or relative who will let you use their computer to publish your blog posts or visit a local coffee shop that offers free WiFi. Maintaining resources for internet access also helps you travel more without having to be stuck in front of a computer for 26 days. Right now, I know of at least two retail stores and a bank in my city that provides free WiFi. You know what this tells me? It tells me that I can perform many of my Blogging from A to Z duties while running errands outdoors….all in the comfort of a local Starbucks or Greyhound bus. So, if you lose internet access, wherever you normally get it, there is no need to fret. Just buy a latte’ and keep it moving!

Do YOU have what it takes to Survive the A to Z Blogging Challenge?

        Whew!  I have experience with some of these things that Nicole mentions here.  Which of the above tips have you tried if any?  Are there any other suggestions that you have to offer?

         Here's another one of the video's Nicole submitted to the A to Z Video Contest.  Prompts for the second half of the alphabet:

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