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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A to Z Challenge Sign-ups start today! #atozchallenge

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Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined below so you sign onto the list correctly!   Please do not just sign up without reading and then come back to ask us to correct your errors!
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       The list is open.  You can now sign up.  Please enter your information carefully with your correct blog URL (address) so that the link goes to your blog main page (and not a specific post).  Before doing this read below about the new category codes we are offering.

       If you still are not familiar with what the A to Z Challenge is then click the tab at the top of this page that says "What Is Blogging From A to Z".

       Also, please stop by the co-hosting blogs to let them know that you have signed up for the Challenge.  Show us your appreciation by becoming a follower of our blogs and introduce yourself to us.  You can find the list of A to Z co-hosts to the right of this page about halfway down the sidebar.  While you're on the sidebar please become a follower of this blog and click that you "Like Us" on FaceBook.

        Once you've signed up, show others that you will be part of the A to Z Challenge by adding the official A to Z badge to your blog site.  Use the code on the sidebar to create a badge that clicks directly to the A to Z Blog site.  Or if you prefer to just add the image, then please add the A to Z Blog URL so your visitors can click on the badge to be directed to this blog site.  Your help is very important in letting others know about the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge.


       Since the more the merrier for this mega-networking event, help us spread the word: 
  •  Tweet it on the #atozchallenge tag
  •  Blog about it
  •  Connect with us on twitter via @AprilA2Z 
  •  Connect with us on Facebook 
  •  Add us on Google+
  •  Guest post AZ Challenge tips from now till end March on the main blog if you're a challenge veteran 
     
           For more information and to stay on top of developments, I recommend you follow the  
    A to Z Challenge Blog (@AprilA2Z) and the hosts: (please follow both blogs and twitter for updates!)


           We have Contact Us and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) tabs at the top of the A to Z page in case there are things you need to know or problems that you may have concerning the Challenge.   Let us know if you find a link that you think is faulty or directs you to a non-participating site.  We are going to try to keep the list filled only with active A to Z participants, but we will need everybody's help to do this.   After today, the A to Z Linky list will be found at the tab at the top of the page that says "2013 A to Z Challenge Sign Up/List" .    

     This year, per many of your requests, we're introducing Blog Categories for Participants. This is entirely Optional, other than for blogs with Adult Content, which will be taken off the list unless marked (AC). 

    If you'd like to pick a category, please choose One from the list of 22 categories listed below, and add the code after your name/ blog name while signing up on the linky list. e.g. Damyanti Biswas - Amlokiblogs (WR)

    Only the codes from the following list will be admissible, in the format they are presented below, in capital letters enclosed in parentheses:  e.g. (WR)   You may sign up with just your blog name, and include none of the following codes.   But please note that once you have decided on a code, you won't have the option to change it.   Multiple entries of the same blog, and ad sites will be deleted.

    -----------------------

    1. WRITING :                          (WR)

    2. BOOKS:                              (BO)

    3. FILM :                                  (FM)

    4. PHOTOGRAPHY:               (PH)

    5. GARDENING:                     (GR)

    6. CRAFT:                               (CR)

    7. ART:                                    (AR)

    8. MUSIC:                               (MU)

    9. CULINARY:                         (CU)

    10. LIFESTYLE:                      (LI )  

    11. FASHION:                          (FA)

    12. PERSONAL:                      (PR)

    13. SOCIAL MEDIA:                (SO)

    14. GAMING:                           (GA)

    15. EDUCATION :                    (ED)

    16. POLITICS:                          (PO)

    17. HISTORY:                           (HI)

    18. SCIENCE:                          (SC)

    19. HUMOR:                             (HU)

    20. TRAVEL:                             (TR)

    21. MISCELLANEOUS:            (MI)

    22. ADULT CONTENT:             (AC)



           There's lots more to come on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge Blog so keep checking back on a regular basis so you don't miss any news.  Now get your link on the list if you've decided to be a part of this year's Challenge.  The list will be open for sign-ups until April 1 so if you're not sure whether or not you want to participate you will still have plenty of time to decide.  But get your name on the list as soon as you've made your decision.  There are new blogs to discover, bloggers to meet, and networking to be done!


    Here is the 2013 A to Z List:


    *******************
    Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined above so you sign onto the list correctly!   Please do not just sign up without reading and then come back to ask us to correct your errors!
    *******************


    Sign up now or as soon as you've made your decision to join us in the 2013 Challenge. You'll be glad you did!


    *******************
    Please read and follow the sign-up instructions outlined above so you sign onto the list correctly!   Please do not just sign up without reading and then come back to ask us to correct your errors!
    *******************


    If you have any questions or comments please let us know in the comment section below.


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    Tuesday, January 29, 2013

    A to Z Challenge Sign-ups start today! #atozchallenge


           The list is open.  You can now sign up. Yes, it's not the 30th here in the US, but it is elsewhere, so HERE YOU GO! Please enter your information carefully with your correct blog URL (address) so that the link goes to your blog main page (and not a specific post).  Before doing this read below about the new category codes we are offering.

           If you still are not familiar with what the A to Z Challenge is then click the tab at the top of this page that says "What Is Blogging From A to Z".

           Also, please stop by the co-hosting blogs to let them know that you have signed up for the Challenge.  Show us your appreciation by becoming a follower of our blogs and introduce yourself to us.  You can find the list of A to Z co-hosts to the right of this page about halfway down the sidebar.  While you're on the sidebar please become a follower of this blog and click that you "Like Us" on FaceBook.

            Once you've signed up, show others that you will be part of the A to Z Challenge by adding the official A to Z badge to your blog site.  Use the code on the sidebar to create a badge that clicks directly to the A to Z Blog site.  Or if you prefer to just add the image, then please add the A to Z Blog URL so your visitors can click on the badge to be directed to this blog site.  Your help is very important in letting others know about the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge.


           Since the more the merrier for this mega-networking event, help us spread the word: 
    •  Tweet it on the #atozchallenge tag
    •  Blog about it
    •  Connect with us on twitter via @AprilA2Z 
    •  Connect with us on Facebook 
    •  Add us on Google+
    •  Guest post AZ Challenge tips from now till end March on the main blog if you're a challenge veteran 
       
             For more information and to stay on top of developments, I recommend you follow the  
      A to Z Challenge Blog (@AprilA2Z) and the hosts: (please follow both blogs and twitter for updates!)


             We have Contact Us and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) tabs at the top of the A to Z page in case there are things you need to know or problems that you may have concerning the Challenge.   Let us know if you find a link that you think is faulty or directs you to a non-participating site.  We are going to try to keep the list filled only with active A to Z participants, but we will need everybody's help to do this.   After today, the A to Z Linky list will be found at the tab at the top of the page that says "2013 A to Z Challenge Sign Up/List" .    

       This year, per many of your requests, we're introducing Blog Categories for Participants. This is entirely Optional, other than for blogs with Adult Content, which will be taken off the list unless marked (AC). 

      If you'd like to pick a category, please choose One from the list of 22 categories listed below, and add the code after your name/ blog name while signing up on the linky list. e.g. Damyanti Biswas - Amlokiblogs (WR)

      Only the codes from the following list will be admissible, in the format they are presented below, in capital letters enclosed in parentheses:  e.g. (WR)   You may sign up with just your blog name, and include one of the following codes.   But please note that once you have decided on a code, you won't have the option to change it.   Multiple entries of the same blog, and ad sites will be deleted.

      -----------------------

      1. WRITING :                          (WR)

      2. BOOKS:                              (BO)

      3. FILM :                                  (FM)

      4. PHOTOGRAPHY:               (PH)

      5. GARDENING:                     (GR)

      6. CRAFT:                               (CR)

      7. ART:                                    (AR)

      8. MUSIC:                               (MU)

      9. CULINARY:                         (CU)

      10. LIFESTYLE:                      (LI )  

      11. FASHION:                          (FA)

      12. PERSONAL:                      (PR)

      13. SOCIAL MEDIA:                (SO)

      14. GAMING:                           (GA)

      15. EDUCATION :                    (ED)

      16. POLITICS:                          (PO)

      17. HISTORY:                           (HI)

      18. SCIENCE:                          (SC)

      19. HUMOR:                             (HU)

      20. TRAVEL:                             (TR)

      21. MISCELLANEOUS:            (MI)

      22. ADULT CONTENT:             (AC)



             There's lots more to come on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge Blog so keep checking back on a regular basis so you don't miss any news.  Now get your link on the list if you've decided to be a part of this year's Challenge.  The list will be open for sign-ups until April 1 so if you're not sure whether or not you want to participate you will still have plenty of time to decide.  But get your name on the list as soon as you've made your decision.  There are new blogs to discover, bloggers to meet, and networking to be done!


      The 2013 A to Z Sign-up List is here.

      Sign up now or as soon as you've made your decision to join us in the 2013 Challenge. You'll be glad you did!

      If you have any questions or comments please let us know in the comment section below.


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      Blogging Basics: Hyperlink Signature


      Last week, we discussed the basics of blog hops and memes, and how to make connections with them.  This week, we'll discuss how to make a hyperlink signature to put on the comments you make on others' blogs, which will allow them to find your more easily.

      The five pointers last week were: 1. Be Interested, 2. Participate, 3. Follow the Rules, 4. Visit Other Participants, and 5. Advertise the Hop/Meme.

      When you comment on other people's blogs, you want them to be able to track you down to return the favor.  This can be tricky or time consuming sometimes, so the easier you make it for them to find you, the more likely you are to get a return visit.

      Some people have multiple blogs, which makes it hard to know which one you need to visit.  Clicking on each blog to find half of them empty or not having been updated can be frustrating.  The same goes for trying to track down someone's blog when you get bounced all over the place.  When their profile connects with Google+, for instance, you often have to go to the "About" page to track down their blog, though if they update their daily posts there you can click through there instead.

      In order to make it easier for people to track you down, follow this method of hyperlinking:

      1. Choose your link.  Do you want them to go to your main page, a specific page or a specific post?

      2. Choose your signature.  What do you want it to say?  Only a portion of it will be visible.  I'll give an example below.

      3. Make your hyperlink.  This is what it looks like:






      Notes: You will insert your own URL between the quotes ("http://yourwebsitehere") and your blog or destination in place of "The Warrior Muse" (>Your Website<)

      4. Add your signature.  Note that the only things that will be visible after you post are where it says "Shannon at" and "The Warrior Muse."  Anything within the carrots (<,>) is invisible once you hit post.

      Note: Make it say whatever you want.  My signature isn't gospel, just an example.  I will often change it for something specific, like a blogfest, so that it says something about the blogfest and directs them to the related post, rather than my overall blog.  (Ex. Shannon, visiting from the A-to-Z Challenge)

      5. Post it following your comment!  That simple.

      I've become accustomed to typing it out as I go along, but when I first started I used someone's example, made my own, then emailed it to myself so I could always copy it from my email and post it wherever I was commenting.  Figure out what works best for you, and go from there.  People will appreciate you providing them a hyperlink, and you'll appreciate them visiting you.

      May you find your Muse.

      Shannon
      The Warrior Muse

      Monday, January 28, 2013

      ARE YOU READY FOR THE 2013 A TO Z CHALLENGE?



               THE 2013 BLOGGING FROM A TO Z APRIL CHALLENGE SIGN-UPS WILL OPEN THIS WEDNESDAY JANUARY 30TH!

                  A lot of you been asking when the Linky List will appear and now it's nearly here.  You will find the sign up list here on this blog as well as the blogs of all of the co-hosts.  It doesn't matter which blog you sign up at.  It's all the same list.

                  Here are the co-host sites where the list will appear:

      Arlee Bird      Tossing It Out                           @ArleeBird
      Damyanti Biswas      Amlokiblogs                    @damyantig
      Alex J. Cavanaugh      Alex J. Cavanaugh        @alexjcavanaugh 
      Tina Downey     Life is Good                          @TinaLifeisGood
      DL Hammons         Cruising Altitude 2.0             @DL_H
      Jeremy Hawkins       Retro-Zombie                  @iZombieJMH
      Shannon Lawrence        The Warrior Muse         @thewarriormuse
      Matthew MacNish       The QQQE                      @MatthewMacNish
      Konstanz Silverbow       No Thought 2 Small      @KonstanzS
      Stephen Tremp        Breakthrough Blogs            @StephenTremp
      Livia Peterson       Leave it to Livia                  @LiviaGPeterson
      L. Diane Wolfe        Spunk on a Stick                 @SpunkOnAStick 
      Nicole  Ayers      The Madlab Post                      @madlabpost

      More about the Challenge:

                  You don't have to sign up only on Wednesday either.   The list will be open for sign-ups until April 1.  There is an advantage to signing up early on though.  It's mainly for networking purposes and establishing contact with other participants early on.  If you start visiting participant blogs in the months leading up to the Challenge you can make new friends and renew old ones with whom you may have lost contact.

                  Once you sign up to the list, be sure to announce it on your own blog so your followers will know about the Challenge.  Tell them what it's about and encourage them to join in on the fun.   Since a big part of A to Z is about networking, the more we have participating, the more new bloggers we can meet and have visit our blogs.   You can really give a boost to the amount of followers you have between the time you sign up and the end of April.  And remember--more followers means an increased potential for readers on your own blog.

                 So now's the time to shine.  Show the blogging world what you can do.   Make new contacts and introduce yourself to others.   April is the time for Hyperblogging.   Join the fun and come out of April a changed blogger.  There are a lot of bloggers who will back me up on that.

                 If you were a past participant, how did A to Z affect you?   If you would like to do the Challenge but feel like you can't, what is holding you back?    What would you like to tell others about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?



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      Thursday, January 24, 2013

      10 Tips to Ace the AtoZChallenge

      Win the #atozchallenge !
      As your co-hosts, it is always our effort to make the challenge bigger and better than ever before. As we enter our fourth year, I thought it might be a good idea to go over a few ways to ensure you ace the Challenge.


      1. Kiss: Keep It (your post) Simple, Short. With so many blogs to visit, your visitors would thank you.

      2. Get a Theme: Themes make your posts easier for you to write, and for readers to remember and comment on. Not necessary, but makes things easier.

      3. Post every day: This one is obvious, or you'll be taken off the linky list. You don't want to annoy your visitors with a post 6 days old.

      4. Pre-schedule: It is not a crime, but rather a convenience. Feel free to write posts in advance so you can concentrate on visits. I'm doing it this year.

      5. Check Calendar:  Begin A on April 1 and skip all the Sundays. If not, you'll either be ahead or behind others, none of which is very desirable.

      6. Turn off: Turning off word verifications increases comments, not spam. I've turned it off for good since last year. Moderate your comments if you suspect you might be trolled.

      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 50, but I need to do my hosting duties.

      8. Comment love: Comment unto those who comment unto you, and then loads more. Try to answer all the comments you receive.

      9. Social Media: Broadcast your posts on all media with the #atozchallenge tag > follow @AprilA2Z on Twitter, and also Facebook  and Google+

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

      There, you have a win! 

      PS: This year we'll have Categories for blogs, in response to those  who found the list too big and unfathomable. This will be our first effort, so bear with us while we fine-tune it. More on this in the posts to come.

      Tuesday, January 22, 2013

      Blogging Basics: Blog Hops/Fests & Memes

      Last week, we discussed the basic ways of making connections in blogging.  This week, we'll touch on the next step, which involves taking part in blog hops, blog fests, challenges and memes.

      Last week's steps were 1. Visit Blogs, 2. Leave Comments, 3. Follow Blogs, 4. Have Something to Say, and 5. Respond to Comments on Your Own Blog and Visit Back.

      Before we get started, we should probably define the terms we're discussing:

      1. Blog Hop/Blog Fest: This is a virtual party that often involves a theme.  People sign up to participate in whatever the theme is.  They then post to that theme on their own blogs during the designated time period.

      Ex: The A-to-Z Challenge.  We challenge participants to blog every day except Sundays during the month of April.  Further, we ask participants to go in alphabetical order with their posts.  Any theme will do, as long as the basic rules are followed.

      Note: Blog hop and blog fest are fairly interchangeable and don't necessarily have a different meaning.  For the rest of this post, they will be referred to as blog hops or, simply, hops.  Challenges, campaigns and any other types of hops/fests will be included in this simple definition.

      2. Meme: An ongoing blog hop, of sorts, that occurs repeatedly and consistently, such as once per week.  These are always to a theme.

      Ex: Wordless Wednesday.  There are many different iterations of this meme, but they usually involve posting a photo or image of some sort once per week, rather than posting a written or wordy post.

      Why do people do blog hops and memes?

      It's a fun and easy way to meet other people.  Why do we have parties and meet-and-greets in person?  Same reason.  You get a bunch of people together so they can meet, rub elbows, forge relationships, and enjoy themselves in the process.  And when it's done via blogs, no one has to spend money on food and decorations.

      How can they help me make connections?

      When you participate in a hop or a meme, you sign up on a linky list or submit your name/blog in some fashion.  You're then expected to try to visit other participants, and the same is expected of them.  This means you have people dropping by your blog who might not have done so if you hadn't both signed up for the hop/meme.  Exposure may gain you readers/followers.

      What are the basics in participating in blog hops and memes?

      1. Be sure you're interested.  Don't sign up for every single blog hop or meme you happen across unless you are genuinely interested in doing so.  Choose only those you actually want to take part in.  If you don't enjoy the hop/meme, it will be obvious in your post.  And if you sign up for too many, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed.

      2. Participate once you sign up.  Don't sign up for hops and memes only to draw people to your blog.  You must follow through and put your post up on the appropriate date.  While you may think it will benefit you just to have people drop by, despite not taking part, you may find it harms more than helps, as people are deterred by your lack of participation.  (Note: Honest mistakes happen.  Don't be afraid to address that you forgot to put up your post once you realize what happened.  People will understand.)

      3. Follow the rules.  Yes, sometimes the rules may be flexible, but try to keep to the overall idea of the original hop/meme.  Don't sign up for a blog hop about cats and post about UFOs.  Follow the rules as they've been set out, so that you aren't cheating other participants or the hosts of the fun of the hop/meme.

      4. Visit other participants.  Try not to just throw your post up then leave it.  You should make an effort to visit at least a few of the other participants and leave comments for them.  If you truly enjoy the topic, which you should if you signed up, you'll enjoy reading other people's take on the topic.  Get out, have fun, rub elbows.  The main point in a hop/meme is to meet other bloggers you may have something in common with.

      5. Help "advertise" the hop/meme.  If they've made a badge, be sure to put it in your sidebar.  Even better, link the badge to the host's site, so others can participate if they'd like.  Put the badge in your hop/meme blog post, along with a link to the host's site.  If you can mention the upcoming hop/meme in advance, try to slip that in somewhere.  The more, the merrier, so you want more participants to share in the fun.  Be sure that you make it clear that this post is part of the hop/meme.  If participants are confused about your post, there is a good chance they will skip it.  I always try to put the badge beneath my introduction or at the top of the post, so participants who are stopping by know they've reached the right place.

      The best way to learn about a hop/meme is to participate and learn as you go.  Just bear the above pointers in mind and jump in with both feet.  Hops and memes are meant to be fun, so don't be too serious about it, and don't allow yourself to get stressed out about it.  Enjoy yourself!

      May you find your Muse.

      Shannon
      The Warrior Muse  




      Monday, January 21, 2013

      Building Your Blog Readership Through the #AtoZChallenge

      Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
      Image via CrunchBase
            Some of the best blog topic ideas come from you the readers.  Today's post comes from an inquiry I received from a participant on the LinkedIn thread Show Me Your Website.

              Daron Henson, who blogs at Daron Henson--Freelance Writer, asked:
      Do you know the linkedin.com groups that are specifically tailored to showcase our writing and our websites?
      I am looking to expand the readership of my blog.
             
               Here is the answer I gave him:

                I'm really not that familiar with the LinkedIn groups.

               My best suggestion is time-consuming but it does work if you work it right.

               Establish yourself in blogging circles and focus on those that deal with writing.   You must visit other blogs and build up relationships (blog friendships) with the bloggers.  Eventually, if you've done your job right, you will have loyal followers who will visit you and be willing to comment and help you with your work.  The other blogs will have great information to share as well.

               Once you have started exploring the blog communities, start looking for blogfests and contests.  Many sites offer opportunities for you to share your writing with others,  Just remember, it is a give and take thing where you need to read a few stories and comment on them in order for others to be willing to reciprocate with yours.

              Until you have become a huge success where readers are flocking to your works, you will have to do some networking which involves a lot of interaction.

              Also, consistent quality posting is a must.  You should develop and adhere to a blogging schedule so readers come to expect something at specific times just like they would anticipate the arrival of a favorite magazine or turn on the TV at a designated time to watch a favorite show.  Presence on the web requires regular visibility.   Not every day in my opinion (except during April of course!), but at least once or twice a week.  Regular posting will be good for you as a writer as well.

              These are a few of my tips.  For another angle you may want to consider the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   You can really build up a big following and readership if you play this the right way.  Website at:   www.a-to-zchallenge.com.

      Good luck!
      Lee

               The April A to Z Challenge is not only an ideal way to extend the reach of your blog and expand readership, it's a challenge designed to make you a better blogger and writer, instilling greater discipline in writing.  You will improve your habit of posting with regularity and coming up with unique and solid content.  The networking opportunities are valuable.   And in addition to these reasons, the A to Z Challenge is great fun.   Sign-ups begin on Wednesday January 30th.  Be sure to be a part of this year's A to Z!

             See Shannon's post on this site tomorrow for some more great blog building tips.



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      Thursday, January 17, 2013

      2013 What Discoveries May Lie Ahead

      Science and technology have utterly transformed human life in the past few generations, and forecasts of the future used to be measured in decades. But big changes arrive faster and faster these days. So here we’ve shifted our forecast to the near-term, because we’re right on the verge of some extraordinary stuff. These are the trends and events to watch out for in 2013.

      Medical Innovations Poised to Transform the way we Treat Diseases
      • Targeting tumors with specialized drugs
      • Performing your own EKG at home
      • Making DNA analysis quick and inexpensive
      • Turning gene therapy into reality
      • Setting antibiotics loose on cancer
      • DNA sequencing for routine checkups
      • Letting your body fight cancer
      WSJ Reference (You've got to read this article)

      First Alien Earth: Many astronomers believe we will find the first Earth-like alien planet will be discovered, an epic discovery that would cause humanity to reassess its place in the universe. Reference

      We Are Not Alone in the Universe: No, I’m not talking about aliens. China and India have major space launches scheduled and will join us in space. China will be sending a landing craft to the moon and India will send an orbiter toward Mars.

      Dark Matter: dark matter could be found by looking up into space. Scientists analyzing observations of cosmic gamma rays in 2012 discovered an unusual excess at a particular energy emanating from the center of our galaxy. One explanation for the signal is that dark matter particles are colliding and converting into high-energy radiation. This coming year will no doubt bring new data, better analysis, and maybe, just maybe, evidence that pins down dark matter once and for all. Reference

      Other possible breakthroughs for 2013: Quantum computing. Robotic limbs powered by the human mind. Exoskeletons. Space probes. Space telescopes. New propulsion technologies for rockets that will allow us to go to Mars in 40 days. All bigger, badder, and faster.

      But what’s truly amazing will be the shift from government and corporate research and development to the private sector. Then there are the amateur scientists who practice their craft in their garage or basements. Look for amazing advancements from all three arenas in 2013! 

      And I'll be covering as many as I can. Stay tuned!

      Tuesday, January 15, 2013

      Blogging Basics: Making Bloggy Friends

      As we near the 2013 A-to-Z Challenge, we'll be speaking increasingly on all topics A-to-Z.  In the meantime, though, let's focus on blogging overall.  Today, I thought I'd talk about how to make connections in the blogging world.

      Blogging is a social medium, but people's reasons for engaging in the blog world differ.  Some are here to sell books or other products by creating a platform, some want to meet others and hang out, some are more interested in reading than sharing, and some just want someone to hear them.

      For each reason to blog, there are dozens of types of blogs.  Parenting blogs, reading blogs, writing blogs, photography blogs, exercise blogs, history blogs, dream blogs, political blogs.  You name it, there is likely a blog for it.  This gives us the ability to visit all manner of blogs, and to invariably find something out there we want to read.

      How do you reach out to all of these bloggers and get to know them, though?  How do you meet and forge relationships online?

      This is easier than you may think, and really depends upon how much time you have.  Here's a quick rundown of how one might connect with other bloggers:

      1. Visit blogs.  Pretty simple, right?  Hunt down blogs you're interested in.  Do a search on the topic you're looking for + "blog."  Head on over and check them out to see if you're interested in what they have to say.

      2. Leave comments.  Once you've found a blog you're interested in, read their posts and leave a comment for them.  Make it a real comment, not just a passing "nice blog" type comment.  Address the topic they're discussing and/or ask a question about the topic.

      3. Follow blogs.  If you like what they have to say, follow in the way you prefer.  Options include Google Friend Connect, RSS feed, follow by email, etc.  Choose the option you like best and follow it.

      4. Have something to say.  It won't matter what you're doing on other people's blogs if you're not talking on your own.  Know what you want to blog about, then do so.  Be yourself, use your own voice, and talk about something that interests you...and that you feel will interest other people.

      5. Respond to comments on your own blog and visit back.  When someone happens along and likes what you have to say enough to leave a comment on your blog, be sure to reply in some way.  You can comment back in the comments, reply back to each individual comment (on blogs that allow that), email a response to those who have allowed that possibility, or respond to them on their own blog.  No matter which response you choose, you should also try to visit them back at their blog to return the favor and see what they have to say.

      There are many other ways to get to know other bloggers, but these are the basics that will get you started.  After that, you can explore other ways to make connections, such as blog hops/fests, memes, guest posting, guest hosting, interviews, etc.  Most important is that you find out what works best for you and go from there.

      May you find your Muse.

      Shannon
      The Warrior Muse

      Monday, January 14, 2013

      A to Z Team 2013


      Another Challenge, Another A to Z Team! 

              Well, folks, it's official!  The 2013 A to Z Team is in place and we have another great line-up for you this year.   Our Team is here to help you with the Challenge and inspire you along the way.  We will be having some extremely helpful posts from the A to Z Co-hosts in the months to come.  You will want to be sure to check in daily to see what's new as well as reminders about things you may have forgotten.

               Since this 4th annual Challenge is occurring in lucky year number '13, we have thirteen A to Z Team members to help make the Challenge a success.  Most of the team are members from last year who have returned with a lot of experience behind them, while there are three new ones coming on board to take the place of those who couldn't make it for this year's Challenge.

              So without further ado, say hello to The 2013 A to Z Team:

      The A to Z Team 2013!

      Arlee Bird      Tossing It Out                           @ArleeBird
      Damyanti Biswas      Amlokiblogs                    @damyantig
      Alex J. Cavanaugh      Alex J. Cavanaugh        @alexjcavanaugh 
      Tina Downey     Life is Good                          @TinaLifeisGood
      DL Hammons         Cruising Altitude 2.0             @DL_H
      Jeremy Hawkins       Retro-Zombie                  @iZombieJMH
      Shannon Lawrence        The Warrior Muse         @thewarriormuse
      Matthew MacNish       The QQQE                      @MatthewMacNish
      Konstanz Silverbow       No Thought 2 Small      @KonstanzS
      Stephen Tremp        Breakthrough Blogs            @StephenTremp
      Livia Peterson       Leave it to Livia                  @LiviaGPeterson
      L. Diane Wolfe        Spunk on a Stick                 @SpunkOnAStick 
      Nicole  Ayers      The Madlab Post                      @madlabpost


      Who Are the New Team Members?

               Livia Peterson started her blog Leave It To Livia last May, heading full force into the blogging world to make her presence known in many ways including landing a place on the A to Z Team.  Her blogging niche includes movies, entertainment, and, of course, writing.  She's ready to take the blog world by storm so be sure to head on over to her blog and become friends with her now.  We think you'll like Livia.

               L. Diane Wolfe was already in the blogging circle that I fell into nearly four years ago and I feel honored to be a part of her blog circle of friends.  Diane is an expert on writing, public speaking, marketing, and promotion.  In other words, she's a valuable contact to have.  You can find her at Spunk on a Stick.  If you're not following her blog, then now's the time to head on over and do so.

              Nicole Ayers from The Madlab Post is probably a very familiar name to A to Z'ers by now.  In fact you may be wondering, "Isn't she already on the A to Z Team?"   Nicole has been responsible for our Friday posts over the past several months as she sat in as an unofficial Team Member.  Now it's official--Nicole is part of the Team.  If you are looking for some inspiration about A to Z themes you may want to check out some her previous Friday posts on that topic.  And be sure to follow her blog if you aren't doing so already.

      Follow The Leaders

            The links to all of the Team blogs can be found in the list above.  If there are any that you are not yet following then hop on over to their blogs and click the "Follow" button.   You will want to check in with all of these bloggers on a regular basis for the latest A to Z Challenge news and for helpful tips about the Challenge and blogging in general.

            The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Blog is another must for all Challenge participants.  Up until April we will be presenting plenty of information about the Challenge, the participants, and the Team members.  You don't want to miss any of the posts here, especially between now and April.

             If you haven't done so yet, explore the tabbed pages above.  Some are still being updated and revised.  If you need to contact the Challenge administrators or individual Team members go to the "Contact Us" tab.   If you have questions about the Challenge then first read "What Is the A to Z Blogging Challenge?" and if your questions aren't answered there then look at "FAQ" to see if your questions are answered there.  If not, just ask us and we'll find you an answer.

              The sign up list will start on Wednesday January 30th.   We're ready.  Are you?

           

      
      
      
      
      
      
      
      
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