Monday, February 24, 2014

What Would YOU Like to Know About Your #atozchallenge Co-Hosts?

You may have noticed that we've already had some of the co-hosts introduce themselves to you. We like to do this each year so that you have an idea of who we are, what we do, and so that you can find out some just plain fun or silly facts about us.

In the past, we used a question/answer format where each co-host chose from a list of questions as a basis for how they wrote their “About Me” posts. We're doing it a little differently this year. We are – gasp – free-styling it! Everyone is doing his or her own thing.

For example, since Jeremy was literally laid up with his ankle, we wrote his for him. (In case you were wondering, all million or so of you who left such nice comments, he was really touched by the tremendous support you showed him. As a Team, we are very grateful and say THANK YOU.) Heather's buddy Stormy the Weather Gnome introduced her.

There are still some of us who like the question/answer format and that's where you come in. YOU get to ask the questions! Just as a sample, here are some from the past:

"When writing, do you prefer to compose your first-draft by hand, on your computer, or using Morse Code?" (Mina Lobo)

"If you could sing any song with the artist who wrote/performed it, what would it be and with whom?" (Tracy Bermeo-A2Z Mommy)

"What's more important, space exploration, or under-sea exploration?" (Matt Conlon)

"Name an item that you have too much of." (Nicole)

"Favorite childhood memory" (Tina)

We currently have 34 questions. We are greedy. We want more. We want fresh questions!

We have a great chance for that since we have so many new to the A-Z Challenge participants! As co-hosts, we just love it that more and more people are hearing about this Challenge and joining! But wait! It gets better. This year we have many people who aren't just new to our April adventure, but also new to blogging! Brave people who aren't afraid to say, “Yeah, sure, I'll try that!

We're also just as excited that so many are returning. We have bloggers who are doing this for the 4th and 5th time. In case you haven't heard – this is year 5. It's fun to wander around the list meeting people (you are doing that, right?) and seeing the “A-Z Survivor” badges which you get when you're done. I think they're kinda like gold medals...

So hit us with your best questions. Anything goes. Not saying that a co-host will be brave enough to answer your outrageous question...but there's always the chance. (Honestly, it will most likely be me since I'm NOT the shy one in the group...)

~Tina, for the A to Z Team


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. it's always been fun to find out more about our hosts, co-hosts etc - their background, their writing skills etc ... now for a question ... what brought you to blogging? ... and how did you find yourself doing the A-Z - I know some us knew Arlee early on - but others perhaps not?

It is a mega time .. and (Ar)Lee and all the hosts do a wonderful job, while the minions (I'm a team Tina minion .. though I need to catch up with that) ...I hope help along the way and set examples for others to follow ...

I guess as I'm one of the first to comment here ... I have one request ANYONE WHO HAS WORD VERIFICATION ON THEIR BLOG PLEASE TAKE IT OFF ... check as it may not be obvious, unless some brash English bird emails and asks you nicely before the A-Z starts ...?!

Good luck - enjoy - it's a wonderful way to meet supportive, fun, productive bloggers ... cheers and happy week to you all - Hilary

Anonymous said...

Great post Tina, How far in advance do you prepare your Theme and complete your A to Z before the challenge begings?
Enjoy your week.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tina -

May I ask one question only? That's not my question!

I have q's about WordPress and BlogSpot, which are the primary blog hosts I'm aware of. Having encountered numerous confusions/snafus with technical aspects in my short blogging tenure, I'd like to know how you selected your host? Did you try more than one? Why, specifically, did you select the one you are using? What are the pros/cons of WordPress v BlogSpot? As a newbie, what proportion of my time should I be spending on design/managing site v my writing? Do your readers give you feedback on design/useability or solely on your writing content?

A huge shout-out thank you to A to Z hosts and co-hosts for your encouragement, support and hand holding. I SO appreciate it. Probably be back later with a few more q's.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, here's one -

At the end of a long day.... wine? beer? music?? walk?? chocolate?? pet your pet?? sex??

JoJo said...

Uh.....of course my mind's gone completely blank of questions. Oh OK I have one: Do you believe in Sasquatch?

Stephen Tremp said...

Is it worth the money to go deeper into space, visit the Moon and Mars, and mine asteroids?

Tina said...

@ Hilary: That's a great question! It's a bit different of a journey for each of, but a great topic for an "About Me" post. Gold Medal for you, you brash English bird (that's not an insult, right?)! I'm so thrilld you're my minion AGAIN.

@ WORD VERIFICATION: In case you haven't heard, we all want you do DIE. Since that's not possible, GO AWAY. There's a wealth of information both posts and in the FAQ about why this is THE BEST MOVE FOR YOUR BLOG TO GUARANTEE A BETTER CHALLENGE! After the Challenge, you go ahead and shut those doors right back up nice and tight and don't let any commenters in (that was sarcasm font).

@ Writing for Pleasure: another Gold Medal question! I'll let you in on a secret...well, I can't, loyalty you know...but I think that the answers to this would really surprise you! Since you were the FIRST person to sign up on the FIRST linky during the FIRST year of the Challenge (THIS MAKES HER FAMOUS!) I will say this: as for me, my theme is a continuation of my previous two themes. So yeah, it's something Swedish. Write what you know ;-)


Susan Scott said...

Thank you! Also would appreciate answer to Sammydetroit re wordpress and BlogSpot and also to add about word verification - NOTHING is more off putting.
Question - is there an 'ideal' length for blog? Is 500 words too many?

Guilie Castillo said...

Mwahahahaha *flexes claws evilly* Okay--here goes:

Name three frustrating aspects of being a co-host participants might not know. NO, CAN'T ANSWER WORD VERIFICATION, THAT ONE'S TOO EASY.

Guilie @ A Hop Within A Hop: The A-Z Theme Reveal!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

But word verification is the worst!

Susan Scott said...

Arrgghhh, I went for a walk to clear cobwebs from cluttered head from constant computer - and realised I forgot to ask YOU the question-

Would you EVER tell anyone your darkest secret?

Rob Z Tobor said...

As a regular blogger using my trusty old PC in my slightly chaotic office full of rubbish, dust and stuff, I do have a nice simple question that has probably been asked before, although I cant remember seeing it. not that, that means a lot not with a scrambled brain and the memory of a goldfish.

I was wondering where people tend to do there blogging, it at home in the comfort of the log fire on their iPad or in the office hiding from the boss (if they are not the boss) or are they in cyberspace as they travel about using one of those fancy phones with no buttons I dont understand. Or maybe like me they are using old technology the size of a suitcase that goes into overdrive with anything resembling moving pictures. . . . or even sat by a lake fishing for trout. . . .

I must learnt to type a bit better . . . . . . Ho Hum (hopefully it will make sense now)

Arlee Bird said...

Ask enough of the right questions and I might be intrigued enough to answer some of them. I enjoy answering questions almost as much as I like to ask them.

Wrote By Rote
An A to Z Co-host blog

Tina said...

@ Sammy D. - that question is THE debate among bloggers. People have strong opinions about their chosen provider. Not sure if this is cheating or helping or not, but I'm sorta going to answer that one right now. To the best of my knowledge, all the co-hosts have blogger blogs. Your other question about design of blog vs. time on writing, that's tougher, more of a philosophy/blog post question...not that it hurts to ask. Now your question, that's an easier one, and it might get picked by several... ;-)

@JoJo: LOL. I'll answer that one...

@ Stephen: very good...kinda like my colonize Mars question last year...

@ Susan: I'd love to hear ALL the co-hosts on this one...we've certainly debated it...

@ Guilie: wow, you want to see behind the curtain...let's see who bites...(actually we don't bite, we eat cake and least Pam and I do...)

@ Susan: I've told plenty my deepest, darkest secret already...recently...on my blog...

@ Rob: really good one. I know for a fact that there's a huge difference in this among the co-hosts. I hope many choose to answer your question.

@ Arlee: glad to see you're considering playing. Email me about that date I was offering (no, I'm not asking him out, we're talking schedule here...) (sheesh people...)

Thanks all! Great questions!

Anonymous said...

C'mon, co-hosts, I'm a newbie blogger but I'm a very late bloomin' blogger. I don't have that many years left to write and blog and live - I guess I'll track Susan down and see if her DDSecret gives me any insight. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Also - what has surprised you the most about your blogging community? One particular comment or reader stand out? A surprising friendship? An enemy??

Nicole said...

Great way to seek out some fresh questions for this year's free-styling posts about us Co-Hosts, Tina! You've presented the "ask" in such a fun way while still being clear on the details :)

I want to answer most of the questions that have been presented so far from this year's participants. It's going to be a challenge to narrow down the ones that I'll incorporate into my blog post....especially since I've already assembled fresh questions from a selected group of individuals, so I have my own list of 36 (yes, 36!!!) fresh questions just for me. Oh how in the world will I choose? I think I might incorporate them into an "About Me/FAQ" page on my blog or in a series of online videos, maybe. Hmmm. Decisions, Decisions....

#atozchallenge Co-Host Blogging at The Madlab Post about alphabet letters and indie cinema.

Nicole said...

SammyDetroit, your initial comment the very least...four different questions and (as Tina mentioned above in her comment) the topics of blogger design, management and reader feedback are tough to answer in blanket form; they can get pretty complex when addressed because the particular topics of marketing, design, reader feedback, etc. are each in a league of their own, covering a separate area of blogging and as much as we wish there was a one-size-fits-all answer on all of these topics that will work for every blog, the reality that we're all dealing with instead is that of having different needs and experiences; our differing experiences affect how we would answer any questions about marketing, design and reader engagement.

While our answers about such topics can be helpful to new bloggers, there is no guarantee on how useful it is because it all depends on several variables...many that all boil down to your own individual goals as a blogger and what you want for your blog; For example, the same blog design strategies that would benefit a musician's blog is likely different then the design strategies that would work for a blogger who writes technical blueprints for recycling old furniture and living simply; this goes for newbies just as much as it does for seasoned bloggers who've been at it for some time.

Many of us are learning this blogging stuff through trial and error, and then sharing tips and tricks along the way in case they may help other bloggers, all while knowing that our answers and experiences are unique to our blogging activities...meaning that while we might try to offer tips and information on these topics, there is a high chance that each reader/blogger will still need additional information, particularly information that caters to his or her unique situation or objectives.

There are many blogs and websites on the internet that provide great information and resources for new bloggers; dozens of previous posts here on the A-to-Z blog offers tips covering everything that you need to have fun blogging before, during and after the challenge in April and it is a great starting point. Here are a few posts that you might want to check out, as they can help provide some information that could be useful to you on your new blogging journey, particularly for marketing/promotion, receiving visitors, building followers and gaining comments:

How to Hyper Blog Like a Pro by Yours Truly

It's about the Numbers (A "What Works" Post) by A-to-Z Challenge Founder Arlee Bird

Running a Successful Blog by Jolie Du Pre

How to Help Bloggers Connect Across Platforms by Susan

While it would be tough to tell guide you on matters involving marketing, design and reader feedback for your own blog, the entire A-to-Z Challenge community of bloggers can tell you what worked for us and what didn't. Using that information can help you figure out what methods, strategies, etc. you might be interested in implementing on your blog.

We look forward to reading your A-to-Z Challenge blog posts this year!

#atozchallenge Co-Host blogging at The Madlab Post, with motion pictures in mind.

Anonymous said...

Nicole - Thank you very much for taking time and thought to answer me, and for the referrals to helpful blogs. I didn't mean to be flippant, and I do understand the individual nature that makes it difficult to provide guidance. I was rather naïve to think I'd be spending all my time thinking and writing, not typing and trying to figure out WordPress (or wondering if I would have an easier time on BlogSpot). I will take all that you've offered to heart, and again, do appreciate your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Blogging was an accident, Hilary. I'd started on a writing site, discovered blogging, toyed with it until I liked it better than the writing site, and voila, blog all the time now.

My first year with A - Z was on the fly, Writing for Pleasure. After that, I decided it was better to be prepared, especially when I entered my crochet blog.

First answer for Sammy Detroit - This is the first blogging platform I discovered, and I never found a reason to change. Time spent depends on moods, desires and whether or not you have to write, because the words won't stop. I spend a lot of time writing. Once or twice a year, I try to give a complete overhaul. Anyone can suggest anything to me. I'll always consider their ideas, though that doesn't always mean I'll change something. Most readers comment on my articles.

#2 - Family...sometimes t.v., sometimes music, sometimes games, sometimes just hanging out because we can.

Jojo - No, but I believe in cavemen.

Stephen - Depends on what the goal and mission is.

Susan - Depends on the topic. Mixing it up works most of the time, providing medium length posts on average, shorter posts - especially for blog hops, and longer post (provided they don't ramble too much) when the topic merits the discussion for them.

Guilie - Making it too hard to follow the blog, sending me to another page or someone else's post when I land on a blog, just to get to the page the blogger wants me to be on, making it difficult to leave comments on a post.

Alex - Agreed, especially when you have to try it 2 and 3 times!

Susan - Secrets make me cringe.

Rob - Mostly at the kitchen table and on the patio. Sometimes on the couch.

Lee - Some of these are pretty good.

Sammy Detroit - The warmth and kindness is what stands out most to me in this community. I've made more friends than I can count here. Who knew the Internet could be such a welcoming place to write and work?

Thanks for all your questions everyone. This was fun!

Tina said...

@ Nicole - wow thanks for all your insight and help. Sorry that I forgot you hosted your own blog...I sure appreciate you taking the time to offer your thoughts, though.

@ SammyD, another good're just a powerhouse of ideas. And chocolate lovin', eh?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks MJ .. great to know your path to blogging. Mine: I wanted to learn more about the internet and its machinations .. and through that opportunity started blogging and haven't stopped. I had an initial hiccup trying to decide my 'category' ... and decided I just wanted to engage myself, my stroked mother and my elderly uncle ... hence my erratic, eclectic postings that continue on for 5+ years now. I don't fit the mould - yet the blog works, and I'm lucky ... I do consider my audience for my posts ... and I do my best to engage with fellow bloggers ... I don't go for numbers, though to keep on going up is wonderful as we all know.

Warmth and Kindness and intelligent help .. are just great around here ... cheers to you all - Hilary

Jo said...

Not really nosy so can't think of a question. I'd love to see a picture of the Ninja Captain Alex though.

Anonymous said...

M. J. - Thank you for taking time to give us your comments. I am receiving your posts via email, and Tuesday's "Following Blogs vs. Visiting Blogs" is excellent information. I follow a lot of blogs now to see writing styles, topics, blog designs, etc. There are several that have already become favorites, and I do leave specific comments about something in the post. It's easy because the posts evoke something in me. I think that's the essence of "following" vs "visiting".

Tina said...

@ Jo: don't we all...