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Thursday, April 9, 2015

H as in How Do You Make it Work? - by Matthew MacNish

Hello A to Z Challengers!

How has your April Challenge been going so far?

Personally, I've found a great balance between feeling not so much overwhelmed, but pleasantly challenged, and having great fun discovering new blogs and bloggers at the same time.

Hard is why we call it a challenge.

It's not easy writing a blog post every day except Sunday for an entire month, and even we co-hosts who are seasoned bloggers don't have the easiest time making it happen without freaking out a little bit.

How do we pull it off?

Well first of all, every blogger is different, but I would wager we co-hosts all use similar strategies. First, we schedule our posts ahead of time. There's nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants and drafting your posts the morning of for regular blogging (I do it all the time myself) but it would be really difficult to make that work for the A to Z April Blogging Challenge, and any time you did spend writing a post would be time you couldn't spend visiting blogs.

I don't actually write all 26 posts before the challenge even beings, but I do write about the first 10-15, and then I write another week's worth of posts each Sunday until they're all done. You can of course pick whatever strategy works for you, but we would highly recommend figuring out some plan for writing as many of your posts ahead of time as possible.

Another thing we do is get Help.

Not only do we have another fabulous list of Co-Hosts this year, but all of us have minions/assistant/helpers as well. When you're checking a list of literally thousands of blogs, it helps to not have to do it all alone.

My assistants this year are Sylvie Hanes from Life from An Optimist's Point of View, and Carrie-Anne Brownian/Ursula Hartlein from Welcome to My Magick Theatre.

They help us go through the list, and highlight great blogs with great themes, and also find people who aren't participating, or might need a reminder if they aren't up to date with their posts.

Have any questions?

Feel free to ask questions here, in the comments.

You can also reply to the co-host responsible for your section of the list in the email we sent announcing the challenge.

You can also ask questions by emailing us at contactatozteam@gmail.com. Find us on Facebook, and Google + as well.

Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you are all enjoying the Challenge and discovering tons of great new blogs! - Matthew MacNish

You can find me at My Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

83 comments:

  1. I've done both (writing all the posts ahead of time and writing during the month of April), depending on my chaotic life. This year I've done them all in advance and am enjoying the chance to discover new blogs!

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    1. That's great to hear, Martha! Discovering new blogs is definitely a major part of the challenge.

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  2. Most of mine are written in advance. My plan to have them ALL written in advance fell through, but so far I'm ahead of the game. As they say, "life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."

    Precious Monsters

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  3. Heart Hallelujahs to you all, and heart-felt thanks. From past experience (this is the 3rd I think) it REALLY helps to have most posts scheduled - and I tweak tor edit hem a bit a few days before.

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  4. It has not been easy. But I'm enjoying the challenge :) I don't schedule my posts ahead. I take each day as it comes :)

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  5. Hang in there!
    Have hope.
    Humour helps.
    Hostility hampers healthy progress.
    Ask for help.
    No heart attacks please.
    I have a hunch that hundreds of hearts are harboring heaps of happiness which is heating up the blogosphere.
    Happy H-Day!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I have to admit this post is really timely as I'm at the freak-out moment, probably because this is my first A-Z challenge so I *didn't* do all that. I still haven't started my H post BUT I have a plan for it in my head.. Everything is going to be just fine. This is also really, really fun. I'm surprised how much fun this actually is. Cheers!

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    1. Glad to hear you're having fun :)

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    2. As am I! As long as you get a post up by the end of the day, you're fine. Then maybe try to write 2 or 3 posts on Sunday ... but it's up to you, of course.

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  7. My posts were done by February and prescheduled by the end of March. I'm a total plotter.

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    1. You are the envy of us all, Dani. A real pro.

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  8. I'm probably the only crazy co-host going day by day this year.. But I am having fun! :)

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    1. You are nuts, AJ! But maybe you're having even more fun? Who knows?!? But whatever works ...

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  9. I always write and format my posts ahead of schedule, but I usually don't schedule them but a day or two ahead.

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    1. I'm relatively similar, Alex, but for A to Z I have to get ahead of the ball a bit.

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  10. As a co-host I visit 100 - 150 blogs a day and A to Z starts to be a bit of a grind right about now. But this only happens once a year so I just plow right through. Then I take the first couple of weeks off for may. Except for the Reflections and IWSG posts.

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    1. At least the total list is not quite what it used to be. Wasn't 2013 like 3000 blogs?

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  11. BTW, of all the blogs I visited early this morning - around 6 a.m. - only two of the blogs had their H posts up. For those of you who have your blogs already written and scheduled, why are you not scheduling them for 12 a.m.? Some of us rise early and read A to Z blog posts early.

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    1. I schedule my posts for 6 AM Eastern. I suppose midnight is not a terrible idea, but my traffic spike has always begun early in the morning US time, so that's just how I've always done it.

      One thing I really like about A to Z is that it truly has become a global phenomenon. I sometimes see New Zealand bloggers posting what seems to be an early post for the next letter, when actually it's already tomorrow there!

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  12. You're all doing a great job. This feels like a very friendly challenge. I'm working a little ahead, but didn't schedule much before April 1.
    Play off the Page

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  13. Hard, what's had about it? it's hardly a challenge if you oganise yourself first. The hardest part I had was where to go. Mine is all done & dusted and sheduled to go out daily. Enjoy

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    1. I'm glad to hear it isn't hard for you, Bill!

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  14. Hip-hip, Hooray! This is my 2nd year with the challenge and learned from last year's experience that flying by the seat of your pants, as you put it, is exhausting. I made sure to get several posts together before the 1st and am composing future ones while visiting A2Zers. Next year, I certainly will try to get them all done upfront. Who am I kidding? That will never happen. lol Great word of advice and tips! Thanks for hosting the fun! Now to visit your minions. I'm not sure, if I have yet or not.

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    1. PS: Just wanted you to know Sylvie's URL is broken. I get a database error. Thought you should know, so you can fix it the link.

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    2. Thanks, Cathy! That is probably my fault. I'll look into it.

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    3. It's working for me. Is anyone else have problems?

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  15. I had a few going into it that I tweaked, but now I'm praying for inspiration every day. Miraculously it has been coming. I'm forced to keep them shorter and that's a good thing. Having lots of fun.

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  16. I flew by the seat the last two challenges I did, and this time, because I knew I was also co-hosting, I wrote my posts in advance. I wanted more time to visit blogs! It worked really well, but also means the challenge for me is actually two months, not one. March and April. Because most of March went to writing my posts. It worked very well for me and I've only found a few hiccups, thanks to sharp-eyed readers (finding my typos!) and my intuition. The other night, dead tired, I got out of bed and went and checked the next day's post. SO glad I did, because though I had written it, I had not posted it! Yikes, close call! I have to say, I love my minions too! They rock!!! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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    1. Writing the post the day of could be it's own kind of challenge! I spent pretty much all of 2011 writing my posts (non-challenge related) the morning I posted them.

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  17. My life is so hectic even when I try to plan I usually wind up having to throw my plans out the window. I am trying to get at least one day done in advance, so I can visit more new blogs this year. So far, I am not quite hitting my goal of ten a day. More like five, but it's better than none, right?

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  18. I kind of did my posts like you this year. First 15 done and the others half done. I still have about 6 halves to do.

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  19. Great post, Matthew! I wish I'd had time to be a minion this year too. I can't believe I'm managing to keep up!

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    1. You've been a minion before, right? I think you helped me out one year if I remember correctly.

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  20. Hey nice tips...and it was very hard to pull off last year..this year seems to be an easy ride ;)

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    1. Glad it's going easier for you, Hemant!

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  21. I've been trying to write most of my posts ahead of time, but I haven't gotten as far ahead as I had hoped I would.

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    1. Well good luck from here on out, Robyn!

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  22. Happy Day, Thank you for starting this Challenge, I am having so much fun. And today I have had way to much coffee. I am overly Happy

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    1. Sandys, I am but one lowly co-host. We, ALL OF US who enjoy this thing, owe everything to Arlee Bird. It was his idea, and it is his dedication that has made it what it is today.

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  23. I was struggling with few letters already and we're only at letter "I". I guess the theme I chose for this year is more challenging than the one I did last year. But it's still great! :)

    I am also happy to discover and have more travel blogs to follow.

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  24. Hi Matthew .. even though I decided on my theme this time last year - I am still writing my posts .. and I'm not helping this year, as I wasn't sure how I'd feel after the hip op- all is well - but now it's like all things .. it's getting on with it - taking the full benefit ..

    .. mixing and matching and meeting new bloggers .. and just keeping up - that's the critical bit .. cheers to the next 5/8ths .. happy A-Zing - Hilary

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  25. First-timer, here! HOW does one write them all in advance?? Hmm? Mine are just crazy thoughts in my HEAD spilling out, daily. I've no idea from one day to the next! Huzzah!

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    1. It helps to have a theme, and keep the posts short and simple. But whatever works for you is fine of course!

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  26. I do my posts in March and schedule them. That helps me the best so I can focus on meeting people.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  27. I've done the writing day by day (for two blogs) but I see the value of preplanning.
    Something I did this year was split the list of people I need to visit each day. It's less stressful and a great feeling when I've done the list of the day's visits.
    Have a great A to Z month and thanks for the hard work you guys put in to make this happen.

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  28. A little bit of freaking out makes it fun, otherwise too humdrum... seriously though, this year, I am way more organised than last, and am doing much better at the discovering new blogs bit..happy to hop :)

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  29. I find doing it the night before of day of in the a.m. is the best for me. It is kind of a rush. It is the going around to new blogs and trying to stay focused on such long novel posts that will get me. It is hard to remember the story lines coming back. I try to pick the shortest to get to the most to discover the new.

    As I See It Daily

    As I See It Daily

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    1. Me too. I do really like the blogs that post one continuous story, but I tend to bookmark them so I can come read the whole thing once the challenge is over.

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  30. Well, this is my first year, and I really know only two people that are doing this... Naila-Moon, and Cathy Kennedy. I hope I meet more people. I had one gentleman comment so far and my two friends, but no one else. I sure hope others come soon. I guess I'll have to make time and get out there and let people know I'm here. I just don't ... can't sit that long these days. Between blog work and my spinal stenosis acting up it's the pits, but I love doing this it's so much fun. Who ever thought of this idea sure gets my kudos!!! Have a great day. I see some people are doing there's in advance. What a great idea. Woo Hoo

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    1. Nice to meet you, Marie! I'll visit you right now.

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  31. pleasantly challenged, that is how I am feeling too, thank you

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  32. I love your idea of writing the remaining weeks' posts on Sundays!

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  33. I'm having fun and agree with everything you are saying, but I am doing the scramble every morning to put up blog because my computer is older and won't allow me to schedule it as I had planned. Met a few wonderful people and seen alot of interesting blogs and learned quite a few new words. :) Thank you

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  34. Sometimes one gets bogged down. Hank is here:

    http://imagery77.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-falls-in-iceland.html

    Hank

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  35. You know, its Harder than i thought. Some letters are easier than others. Some days better than others. This is my first a-z challenge.
    What really has kept me going so far is a positive comment from a stranger who has been kind enough to leave encouragement and praise on my blog post. When some one says 'keep writing' ….you just continue even if it's just for that one person who may never visit your blog again.
    But again we blog for the sheer pleasure of writing and there are some alphabets I cannot wait for as I am itching to write on that topic.
    So, I'd almost given up, but recovered …..and now recharged.
    Shalijay from
    https://shalijay.wordpress.com

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    1. I'm really glad to hear that, Shalijay!

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  36. Doing pretty well with the challenge :) Had the posts written beforehand. Only curve thrown at me was work put us on mandatory overtime for this week, sure didn't want that extra hour of work to take away from my blogging time :)

    betty

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    1. My day job gets in the way of my blogging all the time. Just do the best you can!

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  37. Yup, that's about the size of it. :)

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  38. I believe I am enjoying this one more than any other I've participated in so far. And some themes I've fallen in love with!
    Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
    with the A to Z Challenge

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  39. I am loving this challenge :) Here is my post on why you should follow your heart: http://www.consumerpsyche.com/2015/04/lessons-from-life-why-you-should-follow.html

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  40. Thanks for the support! Some days are easier than others....but it's all good.

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