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Monday, October 26, 2015

A to Z Themes Made Easy – Handy Lifestyle Hacks for the Busy Blogger

Photo courtesy of Tristan Colangelo
It’s never too early to start preparing for your participation in next year’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Year after year, themes continue to be one of the best ways to survive this April blog hop with ease. Themes give readers a good idea of what to expect when visiting your blog while helping you better organize ideas into 26 cohesive pieces of alphabetic content.

Choosing a theme does not have to be a daunting task in itself. In fact, it’s as simple as becoming a virtual handyman for some of life’s challenges. If you’re stumped for topics to blog about during the next April A-Z Challenge, consider teaching people how to do quick repairs -- whether that be for damaged household items, bad hair days, or even a broken heart. Don’t think you have any knowledge of tips or tricks to help other people solve everyday problems? You may be able to provide more handy hacks than you think. 

Just recall the last few times you’ve fixed a dilemma that you or someone you know encountered. Now use these instances to jump-start the topics of your April Blog Posts. Here are some quick topics that can be worked in many ways to help you get from point A to point Z, based on my own experiences with quick fixes that came in handy.

Technical/Hardware Hacks
When cassette tapes were still a thing in the early 90s, I used to play them on a boombox style stereo system. The Bad album by Michael Jackson was one particular cassette that I rocked as a kid “until my tape popped” (*extra brownie points for those who can identify the song/artist reference here) one day while playing in the stereo. Determined to not have to throw this cassette away, I grabbed a screwdriver (or maybe it was a kitchen knife…the specifics of that memory has faded after all these years), opened up the cassette and snapped the jumbled up portions of plastic tape off of the spool. I then re-attached the two remaining portions of the music on this cassette, using a small piece of adhesive tape.

Cassettes remain available from some places such as
TurnAroundRecords. 
The result wasn’t perfect – the beginning of the first song on Side 1 of the cassette was now gone, as well as the end of the last song on Side 2 – but I could now still continue to enjoy most of the album.

Cassettes may be a thing of the past but so long as people still like to listen to music, there are quick fixes that you might know how to employ in the age of modern technology. Do you have a neat way to organize playlists on a home entertainment system, tablets or related electronic devices?

How about syncing or migrating your iTunes library on a computer where the system had to be re-installed? These nuggets of knowledge may come in handy for those of us who do not know how to navigate through various software programs and/or devices.

Style, Fashion & Wardrobe Hacks
When one pair of my jeans started to rip in the back, I continued to wear them until the tear became too large. Having no patience to sew or patch-up denim (or really most other garments), I just wore tights under my jeans, to prevent me from unintentionally flashing people during my daily travels out in the street. Sometimes these tights had cute heart patterns on them and sometimes they were solid colored. It all depended on my mood, the climate or temperature and whether the laundry was done or not. Did you ever experience any clothing malfunctions that you’ve dealt with in a hassle-free manner? If so, try to come up with 26 ways to get around the problem, from A-Z, without throwing the garment away!

Food Prep Hacks
Have you ever made a salad only to find out that there isn’t any dressing in your refrigerator or cupboard? What do you do in that situation? When I found myself in a similar situation, I combined some olive oil, vinegar and all-purpose seasoning such as (Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute) to make a quick vinaigrette. Not only did it save me time in contemplating on whether to eat something else altogether or consume the salad dry, this quick fix was also a money-saving solution; I didn’t have to make a trip to the store just to buy some salad dressing.  If food hacks are up your alley, try coming up with an A-Z theme that provides some quick seasoning tips for when people don’t have the usual staples on-hand and need to substitute it with other items in the refrigerator or cupboard.

Productivity Hacks
My morning routine usually involves books, writing and meditation of some sort. I try to read first thing in the morning to get it out of the way because unless it is for research purposes, it’s HIGHLY unlikely that I will pick up any book whatsoever later in the afternoon or evening after my day gets started and filled with other tasks.  Do you have a productivity hack that helps you get things done? Maybe other A-Z participants can try it to figure out if the hack might work for their lifestyle needs.

Providing handy lifestyle hacks to your readers will save you time on writing and publishing blog posts. That time saved could then be spent visiting your fellow participating blogs on the A-Z Challenge list. Happy blogging!

Have YOU decided on a theme for next year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge yet?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers writes about international films, Cinematography and movie goers at The Madlab Post. You can connect with her @MadlabPost on Twitter. 

7 comments:

  1. I still haven't picked a theme. I need simple but awesome.

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  2. I actually still have some cassettes, though I haven't played them in years. I mostly use vinyl these days, having converted over from CDs.

    If you quoted the same song lyric I'm thinking of, that's a Biggie Smalls line. The Rap Critic introduced me to that song when he did a comparison piece of "Juicy" with the dreadful "Started from the Bottom." I had to check out the whole song, and wasn't disappointed.

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  3. I have considered the A to Z of terrible things that hide in the dark. . . . but the first one turned out to be a mirror.

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  4. I've already decided about my theme, figured out nearly all the letters and will be writing my posts during NaNoWriMo :-)

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  5. Alex,
    There's plenty of time and let's not kid ourselves here....your theme will be awesome no matter what it is! ;) Figuring out the "simple" part might be where the challenge begins.

    Carrie-Anne,
    Let's hear it for cassettes! This is going to sound really nuts but I think I still have a bootleg cassette version of the soundtrack to a popular romantic drama film and get this...it's not even mine. I *borrowed* it from a childhood friend but I doubt she would want it today. Ha! You are correct....it is the line from "Juicy" by Biggy Smalls (aka The Notorious B.I.G.). "Started from the Bottom" is catchy and I understand the appeal but wouldn't take it any more seriously than a standard nightclub song. I'm unfamiliar with The Rap Critic but whoever has the audacity to compare that song with "Juicy" (which I would deem as a classic in Rap music) has lost some marbles, in my book. Ha! Thank you for your comment :)

    Rob,
    The theme you considered sounds like it would make for a fun A to Z theme. There are lots of terrible things that hide in the dark and just the other day, Heather Gardner suggested using holidays such as Halloween to spark ideas for themes. I think yours would definitely get some viewers.

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