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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Me and the A to Z: Guest Post from Mary at Giggles and Guns

Me and the A to Z

I'm smiling, no laughing, that Lee wants me to write about my experience with A to Z 2011.

Let me tell you...

See this doppel of me from Facebook? There's a reason it's not a photo. I'm bald now due to A to Z 2011. I'm kidding. All but a few patches have grown back. If I do a comb-over like a middle-aged man you can hardly tell. Honest.

        I watched the 2010 Challenge from the sideline. Most of it anyway. I discovered it late and was embarrassed to join half way through. I promised myself I would do the next one. When registration came up I jumped right in. I started preparing posts in February. I was on it like fleas on a dog. All I had left were my six doozies -- Q, V, F, Z, U and Y. I refused to skip an entry. A couple of times I think I was almost putting up posts only a few hours apart.

       As April approached I watched the list of blogs to visit grow ... and grow ... and grow ... More than once I prayed the monitors would shut down registration. They finally did. At something like 1200+.

       Seriously, guys, what were you thinking? My original plan of scheduling posts and spending xx amount of time visiting new blogs and checking out old friends was lost. No way. After all life goes beyond blog reading. Life, eye strain and headaches can put the brakes on visiting all those sites in 30 days. Best laid plans and all that. I think it was August by the time I got to the final participants. (My humblest apologies inserted here.)

      I notice that a lot of folks hit the high hundreds (and even thousands) with new followers. I didn't gain that many. Maybe because I didn't follow every blog I visited. Everyone handles the whole following thing differently. Some click the Follow Me button everywhere they stop. Some follow only those who write a certain type of posts. Some only follow where they want to return. To each his own.

      Well, A to Z 2012 is fast approaching. I was prepared to blow it off this year. But the more I see that button and read how excited everyone is the more I have to join, no, want to join. Besides, what would I do with all the posts I've already written. They wouldn't make sense to use any other time. That's right, guys, I'm ready. Bring on April!

My hints?

  • Prepare early
  • Keep it short
  • Turn off the darn captcha and word verification. Many participants skip blogs where those are necessary. (Guilty) Imagine 1200 blogs each requiring two steps to leave a comment. That's a lot of wasted time and typing. I block anonymous comments on my blog because of an overzealous shoe salesman. Again to each his own.

THE most important thing to remember ...

ENJOY YOURSELF! Have fun. It's all about the fun and friends, old and new. I'm looking forward to visiting everyone -- hopefully, before the A to Z 2013.


There are just a few days left to submit you A to Z promotion video.  Look in the appropriate tab at the top of the page for more details.    Here's something fun from Tracy Jo Blowers at A Brand New Day.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. Couldn't agree with you more! If this what not fun, there would not be so many people doing it! See you in the alphabet Mary ;)

  2. Yes, those word verifications. Especially the new two word ones. I feel like I'm taking an eye exam and flunking. I'm signed up but worried about the time it'll take. And you've got over 800 followers already. That' great!

  3. Good advice. I promised myself that I'd made a start on the A-Z posts soon, but I'm more of a pantser, so I probably won't get round to it until March 31st :)

  4. Mary has such wit and style - overzealous shoe salesman!

  5. Loved the read and I also love the A to Z.


  6. Yes, get those captcha's off, pleeaasseee :) Some good advice in there Mary. Looking forward to April:)

  7. great post... great advice. it's going to rock the blog world.

  8. Thanks for the advice...I'm gonna need it.

  9. Nothing beats light a light and enjoyable read on a sunny and slightly mild day like this one, so thanks for such a nice post.

    I have a feeling you're going to put the "F" in fun during this year's A to Z Challenge, what with your comedic timing and all. Gotta love it!

    Early preparation is key and I'm seeing the importance of it as I try to adopt that plan this time around but my posts tend to be long-winded, so keeping it short will be a challenge...for me, lol.

    I second your third hint about those annoying captcha steps.

    The Madlab Post

  10. Thank you Mary for your fun look at the A to Z Challenge and those ever important tips you left us with.


  11. Love your special brand of humour - and the advice! Thanks!

  12. As a newbie A-to-Z-er, I appreciate the reminder that this is about having fun and finding new blogging/writing friends.

    I'm not doing this to grow my followers (although that would be a pleasant side benefit); I'm doing it (a) to teach myself how to get into a regular blogging groove that doesn't feel onerous and cranky-making and (b) to find and connect with people whose blog posts make me go "hmmm, interesting" and "oh, yeah! and "whoa, cool!"

  13. thanks for doing this challenge, I a, really looking forward to it. I even started thinking @ topics...

  14. Have to agree wholeheartedly with the Captcha thing - today it took me 3 tries to post a comment on someone's blog, and I was really frustrated. I did away with it on my blog during the A to Z last year and since then my total Spam count has been 2.

  15. Good advice about picking up followers and deciding who to follow. Getting those posts ready.

  16. An overzealous shoe salesman, eh? Sounds like there's a story there!

    Great pointers! And, hey, most didn't make it through all those participants, in August or beyond, so way to go!

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

  17. GREAT motivational post! I completely agree about the stupid "prove you're not a robot thing". Just because they're trying to be funny doesn't mean it's any less annoying. Don't they realize how really hard they're making those now? Maybe it's just me and my still recovering from illness brain, but in my opinion, they didn't used to be this hard...
    I'm impressed you tried so valiantly to visit everyone. Were you one of the many who joined our Post-Challenge Challenge??? I took down the list when it was over, so I can't check...
    Glad to have you aboard for the 2012 Challenge!
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

  18. Great post! This is my first A to Z challenge and I'm really looking forward to it...and a bit nervous about some of the letters. There's so many blogs I want to visit and so little time...thanks so much for the helpful tips!

  19. Thanks for the advice.. and good luck to your first A to Z challenge!;)

  20. Mary - that was excellent, seems we are on the same page about following. My biggest thrill is the "comments" - I'd rather have one hundred followers that comment, than a thousand that don't. But as you each his own.

    You made me laugh too...and that's a huge part of what keeps me going back to a site!

    Cheers, Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z


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