Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A-Z Challenge - Preparation is 9/10th of the Work!

Today we welcome Julie Goucher from  Anglers Rest.  A second year veteran of the A to Z Challenge she's learned a thing or two along the way and is going to share her thoughts about preparing for the A to Z Challenge or any similar event for that matter.  Since some of you have indicated that you want to plan next year in advance, perhaps Julie's suggestions can be of some help.

Whenever we start a DIY task at home my impatient self wants to get cracking and let the work commence. My husband routinely tells me that “Preparation is 9/10th of the work and I hate to admit it, but he is right!

Starting any project is difficult, but once the creative juices are flowing the rest is easy. So, were you organised for the A-Z Challenge?  Here are perhaps some tips or contemplations for next year,and I know it is a year away, but remember, preparation......

        What is the point of taking part?
        Sharing information you already know & increase awareness
        To assist you to develop your knowledge
        Meeting other bloggers and seeing what they have to say
        A combination of all three plus more

        What do you want to write about?
        New topics
        Topics of Interest
        A Mixture of topics

        Do you want to use pictures and photographs to illustrate your theme or the selected letter?

        What do you plan to do with the 26 posts you create in April 2013?
        Publish into a anthology
        Develop your alphabetical post into a longer piece of work
        Nothing, apart from sharing it with readers of your blog

1.      Look at the planner for April 2013 and see what date each letter on the alphabet falls on

April 2013


1  - A
2 - B
3 - C
4 - D
5 - E
6 - F
8 - G
9 - H
10 - I
11 - J
12 - K
13 - L
15 - M
16 - N
17 - O
18 - P
19 - Q
20 - R
22 - S
23 - T
24 - U
25 - V
26 - W
27 - X
29 - Y
30 - Z

2.      Decide a theme or devise a plan of what topics you want to write about. Remember you don’t have to have a theme!
3.      How much data do you already know about the subject you have chosen, or do you need to do some research?
4.      Identify the gaps - typically Q, X & Z but perhaps there are others
5.      Can the gaps be covered by written word? Or can they be covered visually. Can you think outside the box? For the letter of X, I recently used a photograph of stamp. The stamp showed an aeroplane and the picture of the wingspan of the aeroplane was in the shape of an X.
6.      Can you link your theme to other World wide, National or local events?  - ANZAC Day, Easter

Between now and the end of March 2013, plan and write when you feel like it. There is not any pressure. The challenge is a fun process and half the fun is the planning your own posts. Get your creative juices flowing!

1.      Get a piece of A4 paper and mark the top with the Letter of the alphabet and the date
2.      Jot down all you know about your chosen subject making a note of gaps in the writing that you want to fill and any photographs that you need to locate, scan and perhaps tweak.
3.      When you are happy with your data, write your blog post and set as a draft post with the correct date.
4.      Aim for the beginning of March 2013 to read over the prepared posts and make amendments to those spelling mistakes and then hit publish. Your blog will then self publish at the time you specify.
5.      Make sure that word verification is turned off to make it easier for fellow participants to stop by and leave a comment.
6.      From the 1st April 2013 spend your time responding to comments left on your posts and visiting and making new blog friends.

Julie Goucher
Blog Name - Anglers Rest
Twitter - @juliegoucher

You might also enjoy reading Julie's Reflections post.

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Having done all three challenges I think I know how to start, take part and finish.
Good write though.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Great tips!

Tina said...

This turned out just great, Julie. Lee - good intro. Thanks so much for helping out this over-scheduled schedule woman.
Tina @ Life is Good

Jarm Del Boccio said...

Very helpful, Julie...I'm placing this in my "A toZ" folder for reference!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was prepared and ready this and last year. First year, not so much.

Unknown said...

Every year I wing it to some degree. I should start planning for next year, because I know there'll still be at least one day I forget about :)

Li said...

I pants it my first year, and planned about a third this year, which worked out pretty well (although I got caught short twice and had to post photos to fill the gap). I think next year I might write about half of the posts ahead of time...I still want to write a bunch "on the fly" because I often come up with better stories that way.

Heather Murphy said...

I don't think I could've made it through without preparing first

Cassmob (Pauleen) said...

Great summary Julie! Far better than the mad scramble ensuing from learnign about A to Z at the last minute. Very good advice.

Dino said...

This is really encouraging as this was my first challenge and despite not knowing what to expect, or where to start I pretty much followed your advice. My list featured on my Y post ( I'll definitely be doing the same again next year as it meant I never got stressed by the challenge and had plenty of time for blog hopping.

Mimi said...

ah you gave me an idea. someone could blog about holidays all over the world (like Anzac day)
but not me!! uhuh!!

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

Julie Goucher said...

Great that most of you felt the post was useful. I very often plan posts in advance jotting in a notebook or simple notes that I use as a prompt. I have a tentative plan for next year!

cleemckenzie said...

I wish I'd had this info before I tackled the a to z for the first time this year. Really very helpful. Thank yo!

Sharon said...

Thanks for the tips. I look forward to reading your posts Julie.