Wednesday, April 25, 2018

V is for Victory #AtoZchallenge




It's the home stretch! Focus on your victory.

For most of you, that means having a blog post for every alphabet letter day in April. For many of you, it's also about leaving comments on a set number of posts. A couple of you are just glad you have more posts today then you did before the challenge started.

Whatever victory means to you, keep at it!

Goal setting is good for your blog. It reminds you to post on a regular basis, which keeps readers coming back, which is what grows your audience. If you might benefit from monthly encouragement, check out the Got Goals blog.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ups and Downs ( #AtoZChallenge )




You never can fully understand how up you can get if you haven't experienced a few downs now and then.  If life were consistently going our way then it might get kind of boring.








       How's your April been so far?  Has everything gone as you had expected?   Hopefully you haven't had to deal with any computer problems or sickness this year.   I know that some of you as well as I have had to face those difficulties in the past.  In other years I've had travel scheduled during April making the Challenge an extra challenging ordeal.  A few of you could be traveling this year and if so I hope you've handled A to Z okay.

       But that's life isn't it.  Good days, bad days.  Smooth sailing, rough waters.  Sometimes you're feeling fine, other times you want to scream out of frustration.  If life didn't have its little problems then we might have to create them just to make things more interesting.

        Look no further!   The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is just the remedy you need to really mix things up.  You likely have run over a few bumps in the road, but you've kept going until you've reached this point.  We usually expect ups and downs in life, but life works best when we accept the ups and downs.  Since it lasts for a month, the A to Z Challenge is a sort of microcosmic metaphor for life:  Filled with ups and downs, but hopefully a darn good time for all.

          Utterly fun!   That's how I see it.

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      Have you run into any major problems in this year's Challenge?   What is your most dreaded blogging hassle?    Do you see your life as mostly ups, mostly downs, or a healthy balance of both? 






Monday, April 23, 2018

T is for Tales #AtoZChallenge


You probably noticed that we have expanded and reorganized our list of Categories this year. It is an exciting change, and people have been taking advantage of it! I am especially pleased that there are several blogs rocking Mythology and Folklore themes this year. Check out some of them:

Story Crossroads: Tales of Kindness Across Cultures

Kelsey Ketch: Egyptian Mythology

The Mad Grad Student: Characters from folklore and mythology in video games

Writing Dragons: Dragon art from various artists

Our Literary Journey: Fantasy creatures

I also have a folktale theme running on my own blog this year, and I wanted to note how fascinating it is to receive comments on posts about folklore and mythology. I am used to mostly discussing tales with professional storytellers and folklorists, people who are steeped in this kind of stuff. It is interesting to see how non-folklore people, especially fiction writers, react to the same stories. Listening to folktales is an acquired skill; people who don't regularly interact with them have vastly different reactions than those who do. Folktales make sense in a different way than fiction does. That's the fun part: You can pick them apart and say "but none of that makes any sense!" or "there is no character development!", but in the end, they still carry deep truths, and they are still entertaining. On the other hand, getting opinions on the tales from many people of different backgrounds often makes me re-think the stories in a whole different light. I love that experience.
I recommend adding folktales to everyone's regular literary diet!

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

S is for Saturday #AtoZChallenge


#AtoZChallenge 2018 S


Saturdays 
My favorite thing to do on a Saturday is to sleep in. In a perfect world, I would sleep until my body naturally woke me up, and then I would write. I can just pictures myself type type typing away in my cool quiet bedroom with no distractions. Unfortunately, that is hardly ever possible. So instead, I fit writing in wherever I can. Ten minutes before work. Five minutes before the kids come home. Late at night after everyone else is asleep. 

That's how I know that writing is my passion. It's the first thing I think of when I wake up, and the last thing I think of before I sleep. Most of the time, anyway. 

What is your passion? How do you know?

~Jayden R. Vincente 
jrvincente.wordpress.com (adult content)


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Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. - Harriet Tubman

Friday, April 20, 2018

R is for Ripples #AtoZChallenge




Today's guest post is by Jamie Dorner of the blog uniquelymaladjustedbutfun.blogspot.com. She's a four time participant in the challenge, cousin-in-law to A to Z captain J Lenni Dorner, and one of the biggest fans of my adult choose-your-adventure book, "Runaway." Welcome, Jamie!



Thanks, Jayden!


I'm writing this guest post because of two posts I saw on the Facebook wall of my nephew.

I'm not the person my parents raised me to be.
You have your whole life to be the best person you can be. Each day is a present, an opportunity to do one nice thing for someone else. It adds up. Or a chance to do the wrong thing. That adds up, too. Setting goals and planning for "someday" is great, but don't forget to make this day count. The tiniest thing can make a huge difference.
You can be who your parents raised you to be. You can be whatever sort of person you want to be. It isn't usually about the big choices in life, but the small ones—they're what makes ripples in a pond.

Photo by Olivier Fahrni on Unsplash

Even the most famous, richest, smartest, and prettiest people can still feel there is someone better than them, that they are replaceable. Self-confidence is a lifelong journey, not a destination. It's not about being better than someone ELSE; it's about always working toward being the best version of yourself. That's hard. That's the challenge that everyone faces every day with nearly every choice. The path to becoming whoever you want to be one day starts with those choices.
My blog is easily replaceable. Look at how many people are in the A to Z Challenge! We all have ideas and opinions to share. Maybe I've never thought a thought that's never been thought before. And if that's so, then maybe my blog and I aren't special.
On the other hand, maybe I'll offer something of value to my readers. Maybe I'll give someone a new idea, spark some inspiration, or start a conversation that will have a ripple effect beyond what I can see. Perhaps I'll inadvertently improve the world. It's possible someone will stumble on my blog and discover that we've thought the same thought, and that will give the person comfort because they'll feel a little less alone in the world.
And you know what one nice thing I could do today is? One small choice that could make a difference? I can hop over to another blog in this challenge and leave a compliment in the comments. I can choose to try to make a stranger smile. Acts of random kindness like that do make a difference, and that's a pretty special choice to make.
Have a happy A to Z challenge!

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Our life ripples out, and it has influence. That's why it's important that we're at our best and that we're influencing others for the good. - Victoria Osteen

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Q is for (Don't) Quit #atozchallenge


We all know, life has this habit of getting in the way when you make other plans. That project you've been dreading at work gets pushed up into April and it's now due on May 1, come hell or high water. That child or grandchild you thought would arrive in mid-May decides he or she has had enough of life in the womb and decides it's time to be born, or, on a more somber note, someone you love dies suddenly or after a long illness. Or, maybe you or someone you love gets sick or injured and you have to walk away from the blog world to deal with that. There's nothing you can do about those things. We've all been there, and the last thing that any of us would ask you to do would be to soldier on and finish the A to Z Challenge.

But let's say that the posts you've worked so hard to write are falling on deaf ears, that nobody's coming to visit you even though you're sure you've done everything right. You've put the graphic for the challenge (below) on your blog and the one for the letter of the day (above) in your post. You've added the direct link to your blog post to the daily spreadsheet. You're returning comments you receive and reciprocating by visiting you commenter's blog and leaving a comment. You might be doing other things to promote your blog, like posting the link to Twitter and Facebook. You're visiting other blogs that you find on the daily spreadsheet or the main sign-up list and visiting the blogs of people who are visiting the blogs you read. And you still aren't getting as much traffic as you'd like.

It's discouraging, isn't it? Well, I'm here to help.

Before you even think about giving up and going home, leave a comment on this post with the name of your blog as it appears on the main sign-up list or the daily link lists. Then, go visit the blogs of the other people who have commented. Come back a couple of times to see if anyone else has commented since then and visit them.

And to those who aren't hurting for visitors, read the comments and visit the blogs of the people who left them and encourage your readers to do likewise. Let's pick each other up!

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Don't quit now! We're almost there!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

P is for Pages #AtoZchallenge




How many pages have you read this year? In India, people spend about 10 hours a week reading. The A to Z challenge has always been predominantly authors and book reviewers, all who make excellent sources for recommending pages to read.


For those of you who enjoy participating in challenges with your fellow bloggers (I have a feeling that's most of you), and would like some extra page-turning motivation, allow me to suggest a few blogs:

The Herd Presents posted some year-long challenges in December, and adds a few more every now and then.

Wishful Endings has the Tackle Your TBR (to be read) challenge, which is in September.

Bout of Books starts on May 14, right after the A to Z challenge.

Feed Your Fiction Addiction has an extensive list.

Need some books?
If you read New Adult fiction (main characters are mostly ages 18 to 25), there's the New Adult Scavenger Hunt in June and December. If you prefer Young Adult fiction (main characters are mostly ages 14 to 18), there's the YA Scavenger Hunt - one just happened, but another comes around in October.



Are you hosting a reading challenge on your blog? Have you ever participated in a reading challenge? 




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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Only ( #AtoZChallenge )



     Only less than a couple weeks to go!   You can coast to the end if you've gotten this far.  It's all downhill from here...






ONLY

      "Only..."

        My kids used to pull that bit of persuasion on me when they were young.  "But Dad, it's only twenty dollars!"   To which I'd reply in mock horror, "Only!"

          "Only!" is how some of you might respond were I to remind you that there are only less than two weeks left in this Challenge.  We all have confidence that you can finish this thing if you've managed to make it this far in A to Z.  You've been doing great!  You will win this Challenge.

           After the letter "Z" you only have one more post to do:  The Reflections Post.   I won't get into that yet, but the A to Z veterans will likely remember the recap posts we all do in early May.  We'll have a post soon telling you about The A to Z Reflections post and when it's all happening.

         But don't fret on that for the time being.  Now you've only got to finish this Challenge.  You can do it!

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       Do you tend to wear down or put in the extra energy as you reach the end of a project?  Have you been managing to post on time every day so far?   Are you a long range seer or a for the moment doer?  




Monday, April 16, 2018

N is for Netiquette #AtoZChallenge


Netiquette is one of my favorite words. It is a combination of "net" and "etiquette", and it sounds rather dainty; it refers to the rules and guidelines of acceptable online behavior. Sometimes it is nebulous, and sometimes it feels like such a thing does not exist at all. Blame that last one on trolls.

In the spirit of generally being courteous to each other in online spaces, and especially while visiting each other during A to Z, here are some nice things you can do for your fellow challenge participants!

1. Write comments with substance. I know we talk about this a lot, but it bears repeating. Instead of saying "nice post!" and running away, pick something in their post that you particularly liked, and highlight it. It shows that you actually read the post, and the compliment is a great ego booster!

2. Follow your favorites. Visits during April are all nice and great, but it shows even more support if you sign up to follow the blogs you really like. Click follow, sign up for updates or newsletters, or pick any other option the blog offers. This way, you can keep up with them after A to Z!

3. Share on social media. If you find a post you loved, or a blog you enjoy, share their social media posts (tweets, Facebook posts, etc.). If they don't have them, copy and past the link and make some noise for them! :)

4. Support your artists. If you love the flash fiction they write, the poems they post, or the things they paint, draw, crochet, design, etc., consider supporting your favorite creative people! Buy the ebook, buy the print, order a T-shirt, or whatever you have the mood and budget for. Or if you can't spend right now, put them on your Wish List. See if someone surprises you :)

5. Leave a link! Please leave a link. I know this is also something we keep repeating, but I'm saying it again, because it breaks my heart every time when someone comments on my blog, and I can't find where they came from to visit them back. Please leave a link! Here is how you do it nicely.

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

KEEP GOING!

A video to remind you of why sticking to the challenge matters. Please enjoy this motivation.



Keep making those blog posts and keep leaving comments for your fellow particpants. This is your community and here, you matter.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Music and Memories ( #AtoZChallenge )




Many things can tap into our memories and often music can evoke our pasts more so than any other stimulus...





      On my own blog Tossing It Out I frequently discuss music and memories.  For a time I even had one blog Wrote By Rote that focused on memoir and often music was a topic there as well.  Most of us enjoy music to some extent and we enjoy sharing what we like with others who might also like our favorite music.  Some blogs focus entirely on the subject of music while other bloggers regularly participate in music-themed blog events just as I do.

       My favorite music blog hop is Stephen T. McCarthy's Battle of the Bands in which participants post songs and ask readers to vote on their favorites.  Like most other participating bloggers, I post my Battles on the 1st and 15th of each month. That means another one will be coming tomorrow (Sunday April 15th).


       So, if you are a music fan, please drop by to vote on my Battle and take a look at the other Battles.  It's fun and it is educational--I've made some great musical discoveries doing Battle of the Bands.   And can you believe that I've participated in BOTB since 2013--we've been doing this thing for going on 5 years now.  I guess we really are having a good time with it!   You can too.  Want to join us?   If so, visit my next BOTB post and find out more.


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     Do you ever blog about music?  Do you ever write memoir on your blog?    Are there any blog events that you've been participating in that you'd like to share with us?  









Friday, April 13, 2018

L is for Learning to Just Write #AtoZChallenge


#AtoZChallenge 2018 L

For this post, I (Jayden) would like to welcome a guest author from Tupeak Hope - a great blog about patients and healthcare providers working together for the betterment of the patient's care. Here is a quick sample about learning to just write:

Learn to “just write”

Ignore the voices that tell you your writing is no good, regardless of whether those voices are external or internal. We all experience self-doubt or that nagging inner voice that says our writing is no good when in fact it may be fantastic writing.

We are often our own worst critic in a most unjust, cruel and even heartless way. We tend not to treat our own writing with the same level of respect and understanding that we offer to other’s writing that we may read.

Ignore the people who gave you feedback on your writing who have never once endeavored to write anything of their own original creation. Forgive them for the ignorance of the art because they simply don’t know what they don’t know.

Ignore those who may criticize you even if they may also be writers, for every person enjoys reading different types of writing. Just because your friend who writes suspenseful fiction may not like your food blog, that doesn't make your writing bad. I have read some writings that didn’t necessarily tickle my fancy, but the writing wasn’t technically poor or bad in any way. It just wasn’t my particular preferred type of reading material. As writers, we should be kind to one another.

You need to have faith that you can write and that you have put the absolute best effort you could into your writing, and learn to cut yourself the same courtesies that you would afford any other writer whose work you read.

You need to give yourself credit for having the courage to write whatever your preferred genre is, for there are many people who never even try.

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“When the going gets tough, put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. Don’t give up.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Thursday, April 12, 2018

K is for Kitchen #atozchallenge


As you're reading the blogs of your fellow bloggers and maybe catching up on a few other things, you'll probably make one or more trips to your kitchen to refill your coffee, make yourself something to eat, or to grab a bag of chips or cookies to bring back to your desk and to munch on. Maybe you've even moved your laptop into the kitchen to have those things within easy reach. Hey, whatever it takes, right?

I work from my desktop computer at home, which is upstairs from the kitchen. I'm fortunate in that Mary brings me what I need, since I have a few mobility issues, but usually the only thing I eat or drink while I'm working is coffee.

What are some of your favorite things to eat and drink while you're writing your blog or reading other blogs? What's your favorite place to take your laptop (assuming you have one)?


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Enjoy, and keep on keepin' on!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

J is for J #AtoZchallenge

#atozchallenge J letter

"Don't assume that a single letter name is an initial. People do have names that are one letter long." -https://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-personal-names

Hi from J, 2018 A to Z team captain, debut author interviewer at Operation Awesome, Speculative Fiction writer, blogger, Lenni-Lenape indigenous person, and someone with an unusual name.

@JLenniDorner


Names are tricky monsters. People tend to take it personally when you call them by the wrong name. Interestingly, this applies even to people who haven't chosen their own name. In some cultures, parents select the name for their offspring. Sometimes this even takes place before the person is born! (If that didn't shock you it's because you live in a culture where that's normal.)

Some people do not have the same name their entire life. There's a childhood name, which is generally just a reference to parentage and birth order. At some point, the person distinguishes themselves in some manner and earns a new name. (This is not the same as a nickname.) Occasionally you'll even find cultures that offer a third naming opportunity in the elder stage of life. Religions sometimes add a name in the middle. There are also several cultures where a person retains their given (first) name but changes their surname (last name) after getting married. In some languages, the surname is first and the given name is second.

Around the world, there are cultures where names come from a "name giver" via divine messages. These names are often sacred and not shared with outsiders. Thus, a second name is generally chosen as a means of reference for outsiders.

I'm J. Just J. It was early in my life when I found myself surrounded by outsiders who demanded to know my name. The Name Giver hadn't visited me yet, so I didn't have one to offer. (And couldn't share that one anyway, as I can only share it with one other person.) I didn't know that people sometimes spelled J with a superfluous "ay" tacked on. I didn't understand the questions that resulted in my second, or middle, name (which I chose based on my tribe, and is NOT an indicator of gender). It's also fine to call me by last name (something I discovered people did when I ran cross country).

I love learning about names.

From where did you get your name? 
Do you know anyone else who received their name in a manner different from the one used by your culture?
Does your name indicate your gender and, if so, how do people of other cultures know this? 


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Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is the standard by which all time zones are based. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the time zone used for UTC. That's why we use it.


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LINK TO DAILY LETTER SPREADSHEET

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Motivational Quote #atozchallenge

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

First #AtoZChallenge 2018 #AZChat Recap

Twitter #AZChat recap















Anyone wishing to answer later, you now have all the tweets at your fingertips.

Income Tax ( #AtoZChallenge )



  Imagination is a limitless resource, but it should be used wisely.   But the most important thing is to use it...







      Income tax might be on the minds of at least some of those in the United States.  Our taxes are due in a few days.  Fortunately I got mine done last month so now I can focus on the April Challenge.  If you are still scrambling to finish taxes as well as keep up with your A to Z posts then I'm sorry to hear that.  You've really got a big challenge on your hands.

        Other than the taxes being soon due, my mentioning of income tax is also a reminder about blogging ideas.  I've often read bloggers saying that they are running out of ideas for their regular blogging let alone coming up with an idea that is bloggably sustainable for an entire month.  If you want to be a blogger then you're going to be a writer and as a writer you've got to have ideas and imagination.

          So let's say next year you decide to write about "income tax."  What can you write about?  History of the tax. pro and cons of taxation, how-to hints about tax preparation, or where tax dollars go are some suggestions.   You could write fictional stories related to income tax--a lot of intriguing ideas for that!

         Don't get hung up on trying to come up with ideas.  Look around you.  There are stories within every field of your vision and the limitless expanse of your imagination.  Don't think you're going to throw in the towel for this year's Challenge for any lack of ideas about what to write next.  That's the point of the A to Z Challenge--to tax your mind.  No ideas is no excuse.

          Now start writing your next posts whether they be for tomorrow, next week, or next year.  It's tax season.  Time to tax your brain!


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   Have you ever felt like you were out of ideas?   Where do you go to find new ideas to write about?  When your creativity wanes how do you recharge it?




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11pm UTC

Monday, April 9, 2018

H is for our very own Jeremy Hawkins! #AtoZChallenge


As most of the A to Z veterans among you already know, Jeremy Hawkins is the dedicated genius behind the graphics of the Challenge - badges, banners, t-shirts, you name it! Jeremy has been with us right from the start, putting work, energy, and enthusiasm into making A to Z a colorful and fun experience for everyone.

This year, Jeremy is not participating in the daily posting of A to Z, but he still made time to create our graphics. So today, for the letter H, we would like to encourage everyone to go to Jeremy's blog, and say hi! Let's make his day as fun as he made the challenge for us :)

You can also visit his Amazon author page here, and see his designs here. Because he is that versatile a guy!
You can read more about him from previous years here and here.

Have a great day, Jeremy! :)

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