Wednesday, March 22, 2017

If the List Doesn't Exist...#atozchallenge

         What?!!   No list?!!

          Judging by the Theme Reveal test run it seems a good many of you had no problem working without a list.   After all, it's nothing like walking a high wire without a net.  No list ain't gonna kill ya!  And, by golly, the Theme Reveal proved that!

            I can't say for sure because I didn't count, but by all estimations it appears that well over 200 bloggers participated in the Theme Reveal event as of my writing of this post on Tuesday afternoon where I am in Pacific Daylight Time.  And that count is just estimated from the comments on this blog.  There were also theme reveal links left on other social media outlets.  I'm not sure how this all measures up to the over 500 links that typically appeared on the Linky sign ups from previous years, but one good thing is that everybody who did leave a link left a link to a blog that was actually participating.  So in my view that's not too bad.   I'd call the Theme Reveal a success and an good indicator that those participating in A to Z 2017 will catch on just fine.

           However if there is still trepidation with any of you about participating in the upcoming A to Z Blogging Challenge without a list, never fear for I am here with some consolation and a few hopefully helpful suggestions.

There Is A List If You Look For It

         Actually there are many lists available to you if you aren't on the social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook.   Those platforms will provide all the links most of us can handle in a day's time, but some of you just don't like to be on any sites like that and I can't say that I blame you for feeling that way.  However, there are many other ways to find A to Z Challenge participants.

          You can find a lot of A to Z participants by going to some of the blogs of other participants you already know and going through their comment sections and visiting the blogs of those who commented.  This is a way to meet other bloggers with similar interests even if you aren't doing A to Z.  A well frequented comment section can keep a person busy for a good while.  You might not always find A to Z participants, but you might make some other new blogger friends.
         Use a search engine to search terms like Blogging from A to Z 2017 or #atozchallenge.  This can be work, but it can also yield interesting results.  After all search engines like Google provide the biggest lists around. You might have to weed through all sorts of results, but if you're a search engine (Google) fanatic like I've become you might enjoy this method

         Look for other bloggers who have set up their own lists.  The blog community site Blog Chatter has a list of bloggers who are participating.  Other bloggers might have compiled similar lists on sidebars or on special pages--keep your eyes open for these (if you have one on your own blog you can leave a comment below with your link).   I've started one on my own site and intend to continue adding more blog links as I blog through April.  My link list can be found at Tossing It Out. I doubt whether I'll be able to keep it loaded with every participating blogger, but this is my experiment.  Maybe you'll want to try compiling your own list.

         Use a blog reader app such as Feedly.  This is something I've never gotten the hang of using, but I know many of you probably already use this method.  I sometimes used to use the reader Blogger had on its site and found it to be helpful when I remembered to use it.  Maybe some of you more adept at using readers can offer some more help in the comments.

Sometimes Work Is Involved!

       Even with the Linky List we sometimes had to weed through blogs we didn't want to read or that weren't participating or had fallen behind.  Successful blogging does sometimes require doing some of your own work.   Not all of you have that much time to spend on blogging so I understand the desire for shortcuts.  The fact remains that effective blogging requires effort.

       If you've ever wondered why you don't get many comments or it doesn't seem like you get many blog visitors, it's mainly because you aren't promoting your blog enough and not visiting other bloggers like you need to in order to get reciprocated visits to your own site.  I learned this early on in blogging.  In fact that's why A to Z began and that's how I made it grow.

       As Alex J Cavanaugh stated in an earlier post on the A to Z Blog, when I started the very first A to Z Challenge in 2010 there was no Linky List.  I created a sidebar list using some of the methods I've outlined above.  This required work on my part, but it was worthwhile.  Just look where we are now.  You think Blogging from A to Z in April is too difficult?   Well, it can be.  But if you do it right, do it with a method to your madness, use practical approaches, and pay attention to what is going on, then you'll find that it might be easier than you thought and it can be actually fun.

      After all, I called A to Z a Challenge for good reason.  My Challenge to myself was a way that I learned a great deal about blogging and networking.  I extended that Challenge to others and they came and they too conquered that Challenge.  You can do it too.

      If you're still concerned about not having that Linky list to lean on, then think again.  The lists are there and if you don't like the lists you see then create your own.  This is called customization.  You decide what kind of list will suit your needs and then make your list out of the lists that exist.  They exist everywhere if you look for them and you don't have to look that hard.

       This year's A to Z will work and it will work well.  You might have to do it your way just the way I did it my way that very first year, but this is all a learning process.  Blogging starts with expressing yourself.  If you want to share what you've expressed then you will have to do some networking.  A to Z is about networking.  That's how it started and that's how it still is.

         Are you ready to network?   Fine--follow the advice I've laid out in this post.  And if none of this makes much sense to you and you'd still like to Blog from A to Z in April?  That's fine too.  Just blog like you always blog, but pay closer attention to what's going on with others and with the action on your own blog.  This is all a learning process.  But it's also fun.  Don't worry. Don't stress.  Just blog.




Click said...

My one concern with not having a list is that I schedule my posts well in advance as I'm not on my computer everyday. I was worried about not being able to post the links on the A to Z blog posts each day.

I've got around this by getting the blog post Permalink and copying it into a Gmail draft with all the HTML/formatting for what I want to say in the comment.

When the Theme Reveal post went live I just pulled up Gmail on my phone, copy and pasted the comment I wanted to post and it worked fine. My post wasn't actually live yet but I was still able to share the link so people visiting after 10am GMT would be able to follow it.

Just throwing this out there in case other people were wondering about the same thing.

Cait @ Click's Clan

Leanne said...

I've already met so many new and interesting bloggers just from them leaving a comment on my reveal post - I've been over to visit them and now I've added my blog to the Blog Chatter page and you have me on your list already (thank you so much btw). Can't wait to get started on April 1st!
Leanne | cresting the hill

Shalzzzz said...

This year's A to Z Challenge will definitely work. I will be linking up my posts with Blogchatter; a great way to connect with like-minded bloggers. I also am using the good old excel sheet where I have jotted down some amazing bloggers after reading their interesting themes for the challenge. Oh, I don't want to miss reading them for the world. Happy A to Z :)
Sawasdee Thailand at Kohl Eyed Me
Indian Dishes at Something's Cooking

JazzFeathers said...

It is a different way of doing it, that's for sure. Besides, this is only my third year, so I'm not really accustomed at doing the challenge a certain way.
I'll say that going through the comment section is a bit more complicated than having a linky-list. There is a lot of tab opening and scrolling up and down, it was a bit frustrating.
But hey, I do want to do the challenge, so this won't dissuade me ;-)

Debbie D. said...

Those are all great tips. Arlee! I go by a combination of who comments on posts (mine and others')an RSS FEED Reader extenson, Facebook and Twitter. The list was there for reference, but I can live without it.

Keith's Ramblings said...

It would be a great help if every participator stated the genre of their theme in their comment. I've spent ages blindly visiting people's reveals in the hope of findng flash fiction writers, more often than not discovering they want to teach me how to write or cook meals!!!


A-Z Challenge - My theme for 2017

Stephanie Bird said...

Change keeps the brain sharp. I like this new approach.

Arlee Bird said...

Cait, thanks for the suggestion. You've found a way to adapt according to your needs and methods of blogging. That's what it takes!

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out Theme Reveal: It's About Time

Suddenly Susan said...

I have a feeling I'm going to learn a lot of new things with this change. I like it!

Janet Miles said...

Great ideas, Arlee. I have found a few new blogs to follow already just from the theme reveal and I suspect I will find more as I go back to the Facebook page and catch up in the next few days. I've made a spreadsheet with the blogs I want to follow.

Josie Two Shoes said...

Some great suggestions, and I like your honest "give it a try" approach. We will get about as much out of the Challenge as we put into it! I've had many visitors to my Theme Reveal post, more than in past years, so I'm fired up and ready to go! Thank you for all you do to bring us this wonderful adventure each year! :-)

Click said...

Thanks. :-)

I was both excited and daunted at the prospect of not having the Linky List. I was one of the people who highlighted the faults with it in my previous attempts at the A to Z Challenge, so I'm determined to try it this way so I can see if it's a better approach. We won't know if we don't try it.

I've already made an A to Z Challenge group on my Bloglovin feed as well, so as I find blogs I want to stick with through the month, I can add them there and not worry about missing posts in the comments.

I agree, we just need to find the way that works best for us, and let's face it, we all had our own approach to working down the list. ;-)

Ishieta@Isheeria said...

It's my first time, it's slow going, but am visiting & noting blog addresses i want to read (soo many) .. I am amazed at the d super interesting themes! So glad i found AtoZ.

Beth in IL said...

I did not do a reveal post and plan on doing the A to Z blog challenge. It is good for me as it helps me to post and I get to find new blogging friends. Nervous about this, but it will be fun!

Arlee Bird said...

Beth, the Reveal post is only an option, but be sure to leave links now and then so others where know where to find you. Actually, once you get some regular readers, it won't matter too much if you forget to put up links each day to your posts, but it will help to do so. Happy April blogging and glad you'll be joining us!

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out Theme Reveal: It's About Time

Nilanjana Bose said...

I am going to use a combo of my own list, commenters on my blog, and the commenters here to find bloggers, not on Twitter and minimal presence on FB, but not overly stressed - I think it will work out. Good to try a new way.


Ann Bennett said...

I never made it through the linky list by no means. And I had the ambition. Comments may be better in that there is only one blog I found that was a bit dubious. Frankly, I like that people have to post everyday. I always felt it defeated the purpose for people to not visit and be active. We all have a collective drop out of sight when the challenge is over.

Hey, It's Ann from So Much to Choose From

Hey, It's the Science Lady at Science Ladybug

Mail Adventures said...

I am really having a lot of fun leaving (and getting) comments, and discovering new blogs. I'm amazed by the variety of themes! Not sure if I will have the time to read all the blogs that promise to be interesting...

Me too, I use Feedly to create a list of blogs. Well, I also use a notebook, as I am the analogical type...

Eva - Mail Adventures
Theme: Postcards.

Dr McDougall said...

I'm interested in trying this - recently retired from theaching, my interested have always been reading and learning - will try to learn how to do this challenge as quickly as possible, so I have a lot of reading to do - this will be fun....

Arlee Bird said...

Dr, not much to learn once you know some rudimentary blogging skills. A to Z is a great way to learn as you go. Enjoy the ride!

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out Theme Reveal: It's About Time

Anonymous said...

I think it the reveal worked okay, although a lot of people weren't doing the html in their comments. That's easy to get around. Just copy and paste. I also saw someone on Twitter compiling blogs into a list and a twitter list for people to follow.

Arlee Bird said...

I'm sure there are many options if one keeps their eyes open.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Pooja Priyamvada said...

This was so reassuring, looking forward to amazing co-learning Arlee !

Shirley Corder said...

Thanks for the encouragement. Enjoying the A to Z challenge, but only discovered this list yesterday. Build A Better Blog: I is for Interesting Images. #AtoZchallenge.