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Friday, January 22, 2016

Six Benefits of the A to Z Challenge

The Linky List opens for the 2016 A to Z Challenge on Monday, January 24!

If you’re still contemplating whether you will join us or not, let me give you some really good reasons why you should. There are benefits for those who make the effort.

1 – It will stir your creativity. You have twenty-six posts to write for the month – what are you going to say? Will there be images? Will you have a theme? You’ll need to put on your thinking cap (not the one with the foil – that’s so aliens don’t read your mind) and come up with some entertaining or interesting posts.

2 – It spurs research. You might have to search for some facts and figures. Your theme might involve history, a person, or a place. You’ll learn as you research for you posts. (Double bonus!) And if you are a writer or have something you need to research, what better way to kill two birds with one stone. (Triple bonus!)

3 – It teaches discipline. You’ll have to post or schedule one for twenty-six days. That’s six times a week. If you’ve struggled to maintain a regular post schedule, this will get you in the habit. It will also discipline you to visit those who comment and seek out new blogs.

4 – It forces you out of your comfort zone. Is posting almost daily for a month a challenge? You bet! You’ll have to stretch to reach the end. Your blog might be languishing in obscurity, but you’ll be prompted to visit new bloggers almost every day. Coming up with posts and/or a theme will also be tough. But you’ll reach the end and realize – you did it!

5 – You’ll grow your blog. If you take advantage of the Linky List and all of the other participants, you’ll visit many new bloggers, and many will visit you. You’ll gain exposure. Your following will grow. Your reach will extend much farther in just one month’s time than you could in six months. (Time saver!)

6 – You’ll make friends! This is the greatest benefit. You will connect with other bloggers who share your interest. The Challenge fosters a camaraderie that lasts well beyond the end of April. Years from now, you’ll look back and realize some of your very best blogger buddies came from the Challenge.

I know what you’re thinking – really? That will happen? Yes, it will! How do I know? Because in 2010, I participated in the very first A to Z Challenge. There were only a hundred of us, but I am still very good friends with several participants. (And I’ve gained many new friends in subsequent years.) My blog following doubled that month. I learned I could do more than I ever thought possible with my blog.

So, what are you waiting for? Come back Monday and join us!

Co-host Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh is the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars, and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. His blog can be found HERE


  1. Umm, maybe. Lots of things to consider first. Last year was great, Alex!

  2. This is a great challenge for bloggers, I'm already promoting it in the blogosphere.

  3. Hi Alex - Monday on my calendar is the 25th - but no worries ... everyone will find us.

    I couldn't agree more with all your ideas ... and you need friends if you're an author - they help spread the word.

    I so nearly did the first year of the A-Z - but probably started at the right time a year later and haven't missed a year since, and I'm 'themed' up for 2016.

    Lots of opportunity to try things, spread our wings etc .. wonderful journey to be on - cheers Hilary

  4. Yes to all six points!
    This will be my 6th A to Z Challenge. I missed the first year.
    I also made lots of connections during my first challenge. Many of the bloggers have become good friends.
    See you all on Monday for the sign-ups!

  5. This will be my 6th challenge as well.
    I have a half baked idea for this year's theme, but I need to figure out what my Y and Z posts will be.

  6. Have it marked on my calendar to sign up come Monday :) Looking forward to it!


  7. This will be my third time participating. I've marked the sign up date in my daytimer and hope to sign on early. ☺

  8. All of your points are so true. My blog is a hobby, and I have really enjoyed the friends I have made through A to Z. I look forward to doing the challenge again. I'm working on my posts now so I can visit more during the challenge.

  9. I can't wait! Last year was my first year participating and I can't wait to take part again :). I was thinking of possible themes in the car on the way to work this morning!

  10. Hi Alex,

    Although your points are valid, I find the A to Z Challenge to be tedious and personally, I wish it would just go away. It hijacks the blogging world and I get so tired of seeing it during the month of April.

    With respect and another point of view,


  11. Dear Gary, the anti A - Zeer. You seem to have gained friends through it anyway Gary, especially when you did backwards.

  12. My third time this year. Loved it each time. April will be an amazing month! All six are good reasons to sign up, separately or combined....

  13. I'm participating two for the third time. Looking forward to it!

  14. Friends OOOOOoooooooo not me I am the black sheep of the A to Z, the Elephant in the room,snake in the grass, the light bulb in the bathroom, the mouse in the trap, the crow on the allotment. . . . . Well I think I am although I might be the mirror on the wall or the exit sign in the restaurant or maybe just a bit mad.

  15. Looking forward to it! I already have a few post scheduled :D This will be my first time ... I'm a 'newbie' haha!

  16. Will be grand again this year I'm sure.

  17. See you tomorrow...even though today is the 24th? ;)

  18. All good reasons that have worked for me and my blog. Going into its 7th year, the Challenge is appreciated and enjoyed by many.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  19. I definitely want to take part in this Challenge as I always struggle to maintain Consistency and Post regularly .Hopefully from now On I can Post Regularly as writing everyday not only Just forces you think but also makes me write down the thoughts and at the end of the Year it really brings smile on my face when I read all my memories :)

  20. What is meant by word verification? I am not clear on open platform ...I have a WP blog. What is meant by a theme for the month?

    1. Word verification is a code required to leave a comment. It's those squiggly letters or something like of that nature that is required to prove that you're not a robot.

      Open Platform just means anyone can access your blog posts and leave comments on them. Your WP blog should be okay as long as you haven't disabled comments.

      For April some bloggers choose a theme for all of their posts. It's not necessary, but it can make your posts easier for you and more enticing for readers to come back to. A theme can be virtually anything. For example you could make all of your posts about animals in general, you could focus only on animals in a specific geographical area, or anything else. But as I say you don't have to have a theme. Many bloggers find having a theme makes the month of posts easier to accomplish. Some have even published books after the Challenge based on their chosen themes.

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

  21. I was a first time player last year, and the only thing I remember doing is coming up with a word / topic with that letter for the day. Not sure I understand these picking words and/or subjects. Is that monthly ? Hmmmmm


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