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.