Friday, February 17, 2017

Why I Love #AtoZChallenge (And You Should, Too!)

I started my blog so that I could join the A to Z challenge. I happened upon it while stumbling around the web. Blogging wasn’t something I considered doing before. I thought blogs were either public journals or sale pages in a nice disguise. The A to Z challenge opened up a new world for me. I discovered not only the different types of blogs, but that there is a community here. Most of my online friendships were born as a result of the A to Z challenge. Nearly all of the blogs I follow take part or have taken part in the challenge. When I’m looking for an expert in a certain area, I go back to the challenge blog and start my search there. (This has worked surprisingly well.) Planning posts for the challenge resulted in my publishing a reference book. Even though many of us are exhausted by the end of April, we look back with fond memories and find ourselves grateful to have taken part.

Friendships are easier to cultivate when people start with a common ground. The thousands of us in the A to Z challenge all have a blog and have all signed up for this blog hop. The challenge provides a conversation starter. (“Are you enjoying blogging from A to Z?”) Each post gives an opportunity to get to know someone better. Every comment is a chance to engage with someone online.

Community is born out of blog hops like this one. We have the common interest of blogging and the common goal of getting to know other bloggers while increasing our own blog’s views. When you sign up for the A to Z Challenge, you essentially move into this online neighborhood. The hosts are like the community homeowners association, in that they keep the blog running and are here for support. We care for each other at the A to Z challenge. Bloggers who want to connect with and support each other will always belong here. Together we have a positive influence on each other. The A to Z challenge isn’t just another blog hop— it’s a shared experience that leads to shared history.

Knowledge is a lifelong quest. With so many bloggers in this challenge, it’s almost impossible not to learn something new when you hop from one blog to the next. The discoveries made during the challenge lead to an increase in social network sharing. People often enjoy telling a friend about a new recipe they found, a book they now want to read, a previously unheard of place to visit, a song that’s a new favorite, a tip that’s going to make life easier, etc. We can positively associate the A to Z challenge with fun learning and personal growth opportunities.

Goal Achievement is important. The best A to Z challenge participants want to see everyone here succeed and have their needs met. Our Twitter chats usually include people offering links to blogs that have almost no comments. We want April to be a month where everyone not only has an alphabet of posts, but also feels they’ve been engaged with by peers. Many find they love the challenge more when setting the following goals:

  • Having a post for every A to Z day 
  • Commenting on a set number of other blogs 
  • Replying to received comments 
  • Connecting by following blogs 
  • Connecting through other social media

What are your goals during the A to Z challenge? What do you love most about this blog hop?

by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer
Please visit the blog of @JLenniDorner Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer @JLenniDornerFollow @JLenniDorner on Twitter please WhatAreThey on Facebook pages


Janet said...

Agree to all of the above! Last year was my first year and I was so excited for it to start again this year. My goal is to find at least one new blog to visit every day, in addition to keeping up with all my new found friends from last year, most of which I have continued to follow all year and I am happy to say some of them have followed me back!

Anonymous said...

I've made a bunch of friends thanks to the challenge and I always discover new blogs each year.

Noah Dietz said...

I'm really pumped for this year myself, I feel like it's gonna be a great time.
Song a Day

nashvillecats2 said...

Thought you may like to know the following: When Arlee Bird wrote on his blog back awhile that he was going to do a post each day in April of a different letter of the alphabet and would anyone care to sign up, I was the first ever person to do so. I have completed each Challenge since though due to the changes I am still considering about this year. I really enjoy the challenge and the inter action bewtween new and different blogs. I do have my challenge all ready for April but find the changes confusing. Arlee discovered a wonderful challenge and I think it has become a "Must" each April.

Gossip_Grl said...

For me, I am entering this year for more blog exposure. The majority of those who read my blog are TAM's. That is a short acronym for the addict's mom. This blog is my way of sharing awareness to the problem here, and particularly in my community. I just want other parents here to know they are not alone. The stigma of this disease is horrible. We want others to know that none of us held our babies and thought, I think I'll raise a heroin addict. Remember those who struggle daily with drug addiction is someone's child. They are brothers, sisters, moms and dads, they are uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and cousins. TAM's want you to know our loved ones can and do recover from this. They can go on to lead healthy lives. The Chronicles of Loving a Heroin Addict

Debbie D. said...

I love the A to Z Challenge too, gruelling as it is. ☺ The friendships and connections all over the world are the best! My goal for this year is to (for once, after three previous failed tries) get all of the posts pre-written and scheduled so I don't have to "pants" it the rest of the way. That has been the worst issue for me, along with struggling to respond to comments in a timely manner. It's called a challenge for a reason, yes? The wonderful sense of accomplishment when it's completed is exhilarating!

Nilanjana Bose said...

I love the research and learning that happens for both the writing and reading part of the Challenge! Finding like-minded people/blogs is a huge bonus. Intense fun month. I'm aiming for the fourth survivor badge this year.

Anonymous said...

Last year was my first year for the A-Z. I did it on time and finished it! I am still a bit intimidated by it, though. I actually started getting ready with another theme just before the "No list" post went up. I thought, "Oh, what?" But, I am still getting ready and plan to do it! Nest year I may go themeless...maybe...if I can get up the confidence. *wink* Annie at ~McGuffy's Reader~

Anne M Bray said...

I am so enchanted (no other word) with this challenge. This will be my 3rd year. Am tempted to do it on ALL my blogs (I have a lot), but will restrain myself to do it on two. Or three.

My first year, I created the bulk of an art exhibition from the images created for the challenge.

Am happy to say for 2017 I obtained completion on my first A-Z set today, which will post to my WP blog (most posts already "written" -- they're images -- and scheduled, yay me).

KB/KIM said...

2nd year participating! We loved the challenge of creating a post everyday for a month. We made friends, gained followers, and added a tremendous amount of content to our InkSistersWrite blog!

Paula said...

Most of my online friends have come about because of A to Z as well. I haven't decided yet if I am going to participate. I did for the past three years! But I will continue to read blogs and make new friends!!

Amrita said...

All of this and having fun.A to Z is hectic and loads of fun .That's what I want to do .Blog ,read and have a party.

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Just before coming across your blog post, I was glancing through my blog page labeled My "Hawaii" A-Z Challenge Posts 2011. (Would you believe O is For an Ode to Obama; and S is for Successful Paradigm which begins: While trying to determine how I could implement Donald Trump’s advice for success, to “Be Everywhere,” I developed an interesting plan.)
I've been participating in A-Z ever since! I love the structure of the 26 posts, the daily routine of posting, and visiting other participants' blogsites knowing what to expect (which letter) but also being totally surprised.

shalz75 said...

It's going to be my first year in this blog hop and I am very excited abt it. I made heaps of blogging connections during the #nablopomo 2016 and hoping for a similar fun. I found tonnes of new blogs which I follow to date and look forward to many more in AtoZ. Just hope i don't drop midway

shalz75 said...

It's going to be my first year in this blog hop and I am very excited abt it. I made heaps of blogging connections during the #nablopomo 2016 and hoping for a similar fun. I found tonnes of new blogs which I follow to date and look forward to many more in AtoZ. Just hope i don't drop midway

Ishieta said...

1st timer here... jumping right in :)
new to blogging proper ( & to this world - looking forward to Learn & have some fun & read & meet interesting ppl.

Leanne said...

I did the challenge last year and thought "Never Again!" but now I'm getting just a little bit excited about it and putting my thinking cap on - it really is a challenge that's good for my blogging and for connecting with others.
Leanne | cresting the hill

Barbara In Caneyhead said...

The AtoZChallenge makes blogging seem like it was when I started out in 2005 on AOL Journals: a real community! That is my favorite part of it. All the commenting is another fun part. Each year I find a few themes that I look forward to each day like they were my favorite TV show! And each year I find a few more bloggers I want to continue seeing/reading/getting to know.

Unknown said...

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Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. Get St Patrick’s Day 2017 Parade Details information there.