Monday, June 2, 2014

Here's an Idea!: Playing Favorites (#atozchallenge)

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Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

Not Sure What to Blog About?

          One of the more common reasons bloggers offer for not participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is, "I don't know what to write about."   In fact that's a common complaint I hear about blogging period.  Personally I find that to be a rather curious excuse when topics to blog about are all around us.    Furthermore, if you have a theme in mind then the prompts for daily blogging can come even more easily if you let them flow.

        With this post I begin a series which I'm calling Here's An Idea!   I'll be offering some good suggestions that you might want to consider for the 2015 Challenge.  If my ideas don't quite work for you then maybe my brainstorming might start sparking some other ideas in your own mind.  Let's come up with some month long blogging themes!

People Love Lists

      One thematic approach that I've seen used in past Challenges is a series of lists from A to Z.  Lists can be favorites, worst, best, funniest, or most existential--or you name it.  Possibilities are endless when picking the approach you can take with this idea.

      Once you've decided on a general theme you can start the lists for each letter.  If you start now you can keep adding to your list over the next several months leading up to next April.  You can make the list as long or short as you like and expound upon it as much as you like.

        Coming up with a list is fun and usually easy.  When you get stumped you can always hit a search engine for other similar lists or ideas to inspire you.   Starting early will give you plenty of opportunity to go back to add new items to your list.

       An advantage to using lists on blog posts is that you can engage your audience more easily and stimulate their minds to interact with you.   Everyone has their own opinions about what should be on a list.  You can have fun creating yours and get the audience involved thinking about what would be on their own list.  The list offers a great opportunity to ask questions that lead to comments and blog post sharing on social networking sites.

         I used the list approach on my own blog Tossing It Out in 2013 when I offered examples of movies in various genres or with certain thematic ideas.  For example, A for Auto Accidents in film, V for Venice in film, and Z for movies about Zoos.    I had a great time coming up my lists and my readers seemed to be entertained as well.

         Think for a few minutes about the list concept for April and I'll bet your mind will run rampant with great ideas.   In fact you might want to start compiling your lists right now!

Focus on Favorites

         Rather than a list you might want to focus on favorites.   This can be anything, but it will work best when you are considering things about which you are passionate.  Excellent fields of examination are favorite films, books, songs, places, or foods.  Others have done these sorts of posts in past Challenges as well as in everyday blogging, but there's always room for your point of view.

          And when you're dealing with favorites no one can say you're wrong.   You can invite some debate if you like to get readers involved in discussion.  Or you can ask your readers about their own favorites.  Most people enjoy weighing in on a topic such as this if you've presented it the right way.

          At my blog Tossing It Out I'm currently doing a series about preferences and why people like what they like.  In this series I'm talking about some of my favorites or what might be considered "the best".  What I'm doing in my current series could easily be expanded into a month long A to Z theme.   Who knows?  Maybe I will go with this as a theme!   No reason why you couldn't do something similar as well.

          Most of us like to tell others about discoveries that grab our attention and things that we like.  This is a fun and easy topic that adapts itself so well to Blogging from A to Z.   Take a minute and give this some thought:   What are your favorite (fill in your own topic) and then start listing them.   You'll probably start coming up with so many that you could fill Aprils for years to come.

          Please take a look at my current series to see what you could do with something like this.   While you're there don't forget to answer my questions and leave your answers in the comment section.   The first post of the series is The Greatest Story Ever Written? and I'm still looking for opinions on this.  I hope you'll weigh in with your own.   Other posts in my series are about "Favorite Types of Music" and "Favorite Movie"(coming on Wednesday June 4th).   You can find and follow this series at Tossing It Out.

         Some brainstorming now might even help you with your everyday blogging if you are one of those who gets stumped for ideas at times.   The ideas are out there and they're easy to find.  Just start making a list!

         Do you ever find yourself unsure what to write about on your blog?    Do you enjoy reading through lists?    What kinds of lists have you used on your own blog?

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Jo said...

One trouble I perceive in doing the A to Z - whatever one writes about for the 26 days is often nothing like what one would write about for the rest of the year so people who start following you become disappointed.

cheerfuloptimistic said...

I used a few lists for A to Z this year. In fact, a lot of my posts are lists of things - reasons for something, movies, quotes.

Tina said...

I like the list idea a lot. It's so wide open...Favorites is another good always have good ideas, Arlee ;-)
Tina @ Life is Good
On the Open Road! @ Join us for the 4th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip!

Nicole Pyles said...

I'm actually having a hard time getting motivated for my blog these days! I think I loved the April challenge because it inspired me to write each day and now I don't have that demand anymore!

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

Lists can be a lot of fun. I usually have only done lists in a meme. Thanks for the tips from our founder.
Life & Faith in Caneyhead

Indywrites said...

Of course I am unsure of what to write many times.
I do like going through lists but don't make any except shopping lists.
But after the challenge I have started appreciating lists. Might even do a few.

Anonymous said...

I had fun with the "Favorites" theme this time around -- my first -- and wrote about my "Fictional Favorites." For 26 days, my blog was all about my favorite fictional characters from books, movies, and TV. I'll probably do something similar next time around.

Michelle Stanley said...

I'm trying out ideas for themes to use in the next AtoZ challenge. One idea keeps sticking out, so I will develop it and see if it works. Your suggestions are good ones, as I want to be better prepared and may start a list. Michelle

I have a few theme ideas for the next AtoZ challenge, but one seems to stick out, so I may work on that and see what develops. Your suggestions are good ones and making a list could work for me. Michelle @

#1Nana said...

Good suggestions. I've done A to Z for two years now, but never used a theme. I was afraid that I couldn't come up with enough material within a theme for the entire month. Theme-free allowed me flexibility. I like the list idea.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't think I found that to be true very often. Maybe their April theme gets more focused on a specific area, but I don't see that writing style or general character of a blog should change much. If it is drastically different then a statement should be made at the top of the blog page. If a blogger has developed a good relationship with the audience then those followers will likely be willing to follow them after the Challenge. But I'm sure there are some few deviant cases like you describe.


Arlee Bird said...

There is logic and structure to lists. It's like using an outline.


Arlee Bird said...

Not my original ideas, but it's good to remind others because sometimes they haven't discovered the idea yet.


Susan Scott said...

Thanks Arlee for the encouragement! Making lists is a great idea ... let the imagination be pricked and go from there.
Garden of Eden Blog

Arlee Bird said...

When I start dragging I'll come up with a series like I'm doing now. I think a lot of bloggers get in slump periods.


Arlee Bird said...

I've often used those meme lists when I just want to come up with a post. In fact I usually keep a few in my future post queue to use when I want something fast and relatively easy. Some of those have been very popular with readers and they'll end up using them on their own blogs.


Rob Z Tobor said...

I have never had a problem with ideas for the A to Z and probably never will.

Anonymous said...

Naturally I make lists of books. I love reading other people's lists.

Arlee Bird said...

You've given me an idea for a blog post. Why not use a shopping list as a prompt?


Arlee Bird said...

It's a great idea. And when an idea works and gets a good reaction then it's worth repeating. Next year I plan to repeat an old idea.


Arlee Bird said...

There's always something new or old to use as a theme. Gosh, that's given me another idea.


Arlee Bird said...

You have time to experiment. By next April you should have it down.


Arlee Bird said...

You can even do lists theme free. More flexibility, more possibilities.


Arlee Bird said...

Listing is the all purpose tool for developing ideas and you can keep building upon lists.


Arlee Bird said...

I'm a sucker for lists and from all blogging research I've read, lists are something that attracts everyone.


J Lenni Dorner said...

Excellent post.
I've done a list every Sunday this year. It has made for some interesting thoughts.

Arlee Bird said...

Often one list will lead to another on your own blog and it prompts others to follow your lead with their own lists in response to the one you've done. I've seen this happen many times.


Kevyn Knox said...

I never have any problems coming up with things about which to write. I can babble on incessantly about pretty much anything...and nothing. What the A to Z Challenge did for me (other than act as a fun way to spend the month of April) was to help inspire a new regular series I have now started doing on my blog (All Things Kevyn). It's called The Alphabet Game, and it entails cramming the entire month's run into one (rather lengthy) post. Each one will have a different theme. The first one is the Cinephile Edition. If you have a chance, come on over and check it out.

See ya 'round the web. All Things Kevyn.