Showing posts with label Tossing It Out. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tossing It Out. Show all posts

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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Click here for the MASTER LIST of all participants who signed up for the #AtoZchallenge 2018!

     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?  

Monday, November 11, 2013

A thru Z? The Possibilities Are Limitless!

Infinity Room
Infinity Room (Photo credit: pixeljones)
         Can you believe that in 2014 we will be celebrating year FIVE of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge!

          How will you be using A to Z to your best advantage?

           From that first year in 2010 I realized the potential of an event like the April Challenge.  It was a great way to meet new bloggers and add to followers to ones own blog.  Now after four Challenges we've seen the endless possibilities that A to Z has to offer.  Each year brings talented bloggers with innovative ideas to try as well as tried and true methods of improving content generation, reaching out to community, and bettering oneself as a blogger.  

         Among the ongoing A to Z community and the A to Z alumni, proudly displaying A to Z badges and other identifiers is a mark of achievement.   A to Z has become a blogging institution of integrity.

How has A to Z helped you?   How can you make the Challenge serve your needs?

         These are some questions we'll be exploring in the next coming months.  If you've given up on the April Challenge or have considered not doing it again in 2014, think again.  You may be overlooking some important potentials offered by the A to Z Challenge.

Want to Start a Blogging Wildfire?

          Please check out my Monday November 11 post at Tossing It Out.   You don't have to read the entire thing, but scroll down to the last section.  I'm planting some seeds of thought that I hope to start sowing more extensively in the next couple of weeks.

         Or if you'd rather just skip the Tossing It Out post and visit the post that started my thinking, then go to the post by Yolanda Renée at A Faraway View.  This post might make you think.  But this post is only a starting point for something else.   Something that will come later.  Be sure to leave Yolanda a comment about her post so we know that you were there.

         How has the A to Z Challenge helped you?   Are you looking for more readers on your blog?   Do you think there is any tried and true formula for increasing blog followers or subscribers who actually come back to read your posts?

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Friday, October 25, 2013

Are You Looking for Numbers on Your Blog?

Blog icon
Blog icon (Photo credit: photologue_np)

A Word from Arlee Bird

         A to Z may be about the letters, but it's also about the numbers.  That's one of the reasons we do blogfests and interact with other bloggers isn't it?   We want to get readers for our posts and more followers for our blogs.   There's nothing wrong with that, especially if our blog is used as a platform for whatever it is we are trying to promote to others.

         But what about a viral blog post?  I'm talking about a blog post that gets media attention and turns the world's attention to something you've written.    The post that gets hundreds or maybe even thousands of comments and massive numbers of views from people who would have never otherwise visited your blog.  You become a blogging celebrity for your 15 minutes of fame.   Could you handle it?  Would you want it?  What would you do if it happened?

         Odds are your blog will not achieve that status, but if you focus on top quality content that deals with current relevant issues that are of interest to many people then your odds are increased.   It can happen and has happened to some bloggers.  In a sense it's like winning the lottery.  But in the end it boils down to how do you spend your gain?

 Why These Questions Here and Now?

         If you haven't visited Tossing It Out in the last couple weeks you've been missing a somewhat interesting series that I've been presenting.  And since we've been talking about odds, my guess is odds are you haven't visited.   How do I know?  Because the numbers of my visitors have been relatively low compared to the number of A to Z bloggers out there.

          Even though numbers of visitors have been low, the quality of comments has been amazingly high.  Some of those comments are like blog posts in themselves.  There is valuable content in each post of my series especially with the comments included.  If you're interested in building and bettering your blog I encourage you to visit Tossing It Out.

The Main Current Attraction

         If you read no other post in the series I suggest you visit the post that went up today (Friday October 25, 2013).   In this post I interview Liza Long of The Anarchist Soccer Mom.  Some of you may remember when last December after the Sandy Hook school shootings Liza Long gained national attention with her post I Am Adam Lanza's Mom.   Since her viral post she's done numerous national interviews and spoken at conferences throughout the United States as an advocate for mental illness.   In 2014 she will have a book published by the Penguin Group on the same topic.  All of this the result of one of her blog posts that went viral.

         I encourage you to read the interview at my blog and then continue over to her blog for a continuation of her story.  It's an exciting blog story that might stir your imagination about what you could do and make you look at your blogging in a whole new way.

         Don't sell yourself short as a blogger.  A to Z can sharpen your blogging skills and extend your audience reach.  Maybe 2014 is when A to Z bloggers will be going viral in April.   It could happen to you!

If You're Interested in the Series:

You can start at Do You Feel Respected As a Blogger? and then follow the posts that come after that one.  Or go to the home page and start with Liza's story.    Don't forget to comment on all of the posts as I'd like to hear your thoughts.   And please share on Twitter, Facebook, and any other favorite social media sites.   

       Thanks for reading and being a part of another blogging experiment!

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Are You Getting Ready for A to Z 2014?

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris
The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         When the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge isn't consuming nearly my every thought, it at least lurks in the shadows at the back of my mind.   I keep thinking about what's coming in 2014.  How many bloggers will sign up?    Who will be on the A to Z Team?   Will we find enough good folks to assist the team?   What will I be blogging about in April?

         Have you thought of a theme for your 2014 A to Z entries?   That is if you're going with a theme.  You might be just going random, which there's certainly nothing wrong with that.   Many participants fly through April by the seat of their pants and have a grand time doing it.  There's no right or wrong way to go with how you want to do the A to Z Challenge.

        Personally, I've found going with a theme easier to work with especially if I enter more than one blog as I have done in the past couple years.  It may seem superfluous, but I feel like I'd be neglecting my other blogs if any of them weren't part of the April Challenge.  I don't know for sure if I'll keep all four of my blogs busy that month.  It is a lot of work.  But it's also been worth the work I've put into doing it that way.

        Just the other day, the theme came for my main blog Tossing It Out.   I won't be revealing the theme until right before the Challenge begins but I just wanted to mention that I've started the planning for April for that blog and am beginning to organize the daily posts.   I've heard that others have also already started into preparing their posts for April.  How about you?   Have you started yet?  Are you still trying to decide what you want to do?   Or are you just going to improvise when April comes?

        No matter which way you go, have a good time with it!

        Please visit my post at Tossing It Out and leave a comment.  I'm doing some information gathering and would like as many opinions, suggestions, and insightful information that I can find.  I will be presenting my findings in an upcoming post on that blog.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

#AtoZ : A to Z Challenge Sunday Summary

        Our fellow co-host from Retro-Zombie has been turning out some beautiful blog art for those who want to adorn their sites with A to Z decor.  Check the tab at the top of the page for additional selections.

      We're looking for you to start promoting the A to Z Challenge outside of the blog circle that includes you who have joined already.  There are an untold number of bloggers who would love to do what we're going to do this April, but they don't know about it yet. When it comes to telling others, it starts right at your own blog.   Have you been helping to spread the word about the A to Z April Challenge?   It helps the cause when you tell friends and post publicity articles on your blog.

      Here are a few that I found this week:

      Lucy Adams announced her intentions to return to do the Challenge of 2012.  We're glad to see you back Lucy.  And thanks for that rousing plug for A to Z.  I was surprised to learn that Lucy published a Kindle book based on her posts from last year--the third A to Z inspired book that I'm aware of.  Take a look at ABC Book of Literary Devices.

       Joyce Sully from Small Wonders is also going to be joining us in April.  How do I know?  She announced it in her blog!  Welcome to the April fun.

        At Older Mommy Still Yummy Monica tells about her experience in last year's Challenge and provides words of encourage to those who are considering this year.  Nice job Monica!

          I absolutely adored the alphabetical call to action from Anna Smith at Universal Gibberish.  Go by and say hello after you read this for yourself.

         Passionate Musings did some ruminating about the Challenge as well.

          Ella at Ella's Edge found her topic for the letter Z.  She provides a peek into her April plans.

         Cherie Reich is offering a promotional opportunity for published or soon-to-be published authors on her blog Surrounded By Books.    Don't pass up this one up if you want to get your name out there a bit more.  Free promotion?  What's not to like about that?

        Since we're on the subject of getting yourself promoted, if you missed my discussion of this topic earlier in the week please check it out starting with Tossing It Out and following the link trail from there.  Self-promotion is nothing to be ashamed of nor be intimidated by.  In fact, for authors or anyone with something they want the world to know about, if you don't promote it yourself it may not get done at all.  Helping to promote A to Z will get your feet wet and make it easier for you to promote yourself later.   Stephen Tremp has already stated his intentions on becoming a "publicity hound".

        The A to Z Challenge announcement can also be found at Lady Reader's Bookstuff, The Written Word, and Rebekah Loper,

        Show your support for all of these A to Z Challenge allies by visiting their blogs, leaving a message, and giving them a follow.

         Tracy Jo at Brand New Day dropped a teaser in her blog that she has an A to Z video forthcoming for the A to Z Video Contest.  I'm anxious to see what she'll come up with.
         We're still accepting submissions for the A to Z Video Contest and you can find details in a tab at the top of the page.  To inspire you here's an entry received this week from Dale Smurthwaite from Smurfin' the Web.   Enjoy:

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Training for the A to Z Challenge: Guest Post from Journaling Woman

         A couple of weeks ago, Teresa from Journaling Woman published a post that offered some great tips on meeting the Challenge in the best blogging shape.   It was entertaining and funny, but on target as to some of the things challengees will want to consider as they approach April.   Teresa has given me permission to reprint her post on the A to Z Blog.

Lee at Tossing it Out is the man behind the scheme. He thought up this challenging blogfest and it’s been a hit ever since. And he’s recruited some of his friends and fellow bloggers along the way to help. Beginning January 30th you can sign up.
Now, I don’t join blogfests often. There’s the commitment issues. There’s the “marching to my own drummer” philosophy. But sometimes you long to belong.
And that’s where the Blogging from A-Z Challenge comes in. To get prepared, I’m in training. Here’s my workout plan.
Fingers stretch out. Fingers pull in. Repeat eight more times. Then—stop.
·         Get eight hours of sleep.
·         Dream each night about a dancing alphabet.
·         Leap vigorously to catch random letters in your dreams since you will need them to complete A-Z.
·         And even if they struggle and bite to be free, catch them. It’s well worth it.
Mental Games
Repeat daily: A-Z is only one month. Not even a month. Only 26 days. It’s a challenge not a marriage. You’re only committing yourself for 26 days. Consider it a very long date.
·         The Little Engine That Could (I think I can, I think I can)
·         Old A-Z posts for ideas. New A-Z posts for ideas.  (This helps you know you’re not alone.)
·         Gone with the Wind (“I can’t think of that right now, If I do I’ll go crazy. I 'll think about that tomorrow.”)
·         Eat chocolate – lots and any kind is fine.
·         Drink coffee. Lots. Coffee helps with memory. True story, I think.
·         Eat fried foods to store fat because writing is a lonely and cold profession. You’ll need the comfort of fried food.
Write random ideas. Write conversations. Write grocery lists. Write until you find your theme. Then…write it for real.
And that’s my training workout for the Blogging From A-Z Challenge coming to a blog near you April 1-30.  I’m stoked. I have a theme. I’m getting prepared.  
Now go visit the Blogging from A-Z Challenge site to learn more about it. Get outta here--go!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Fix Your Sex Life: AZ Challenge Reflections from Tina at Life Is Good

           Not only did Tina at Life Is Good provide a fun Reflections post, she probably added some search engine optimization clout with her title.  Thanks Tina!  By the way, Tina along with Shannon at The Warrior Muse valiantly kept up the memory of the April Challenge through the summer as they organized their own Post Challenge Challenge where they invited A-to-Z-ers to join them in visiting all of the April Challenge blogs.  They were a couple of Challenge heroes for sure. 

How to Fix Your Sex Life: AZ Challenge Reflections

I'm so blessed to have found the AZ Challenge through my bloggy-buddy Rayna at Coffee Rings EverywhereThis challenge, as I told you in my A ~ A New Beginning post, came at a pivotal point in my writing. And as I promised in my V ~ Very post, I'll now give you the full scoop of why participating in this challenge was, for me at least, like trying to fix your sex life.

Ah, I see I have your attention!  As my dear, faithful readers know, I'm a walking, talking, medical worst-case scenario. If health insurance was priced like car insurance, I'd be paying the just-got-out-of-juvie-drive-a-red-sports car-not-so-spectacular-grades-but-would-you-please-insure-me-anyway rate. I go to a lot of doctor's appointments. (Just try my nifty search gadget in the side-bar and type “doctor” to get more stories.)

So I'm in a waiting room, forgot my book, and am therefore paging through, oh, probably Family Circle or Good Housekeeping or some other such magazine. In this issue, the regular marriage counseling  article is about long-married couples trying to recapture the spark in their sex life. There were three case studies. Yes, you get to hear them all because strangely enough, I think that each of these solutions can be applied to struggling writers. 

One couple decided that they'd take turns initiating sex. To writers, this translates as, “You give me a prompt, we'll both write something. Then next time, I'll give the prompt, and again, we both have to participate.” You still with me?

Another couple decided that they would only make-out. For a week. Then they'd see what happened after that week of, ahem, restraint. Writers: If I start to feel the beginning of a slowly smoldering fire,  I'll have to wait to write.  Until next week.  Anticipation makes everything sweeter.  No fair scribbling notes on napkins or jotting down ideas in your notes app. You have to WAIT to write.  Waiting makes the want grow fonder.

The last couple solved their, um, issues, with the equivalent of the AZ Challenge. Sex every 24 hours, come hell or high water or up the creek without a paddle. Once. Every 24 hours. If some unforeseen complication prevented this, then they had to do it twice in another 24 hour period. I probably don't need to translate this one...because...

That last scenario is what happened to me in this challenge. I hadn't foreseen it, but like what I read in the article, knowing that I had to put SOMETHING up every day just kinda freed my brain and my inhibitions. I was thinking, “Well OK, it just has to be something. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be long.” Some days all I managed was just a quick couple of observations, but then on other days, I was in the mood for a longer story. Some days I wrote about something I'd already written about. One day, I had no time time to write at all. To complete the challenge, I wrote two posts on the last day. I'll leave the translation from writing to sex up to you on this one :-)

Big thanks to my 27 new followers. I am honored. Also thanks to all who stopped by and left their footprints. My intent was to visit all of you in return, but if I missed you, please let me know. I really do want to meet you. As for the flip-side, I'm now following 23 more blogs, and I'm looking forward to continuing to build more inspiring bloggy relationships. I had a blast doing this, and hope our faithful and seemingly tireless hosts are willing to do it again. I knew I couldn't homeschool, write a post each day, and get to each of the 1282 bloggers participating during this event. It's like Santa.  Not really realistic.  But as long as the linky is alive, I will keep going until I hit 1282. I'm just too damn stubborn, not to mention competitive, to back down now.

This post was prompted by our challenge sponsors.  They asked all of us  to reflect on this month of writing, and then link up back at Tossing It Out, our host blog.  AND, last but not least...I got the groovy badge over there in the sidebar for completing the challenge.  Go me!  (I'm such a dork...)

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Blog

       Now the A to Z Challenge has a home of its own.  The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge began on my other blog Tossing It Out in 2010 with nearly 100 participants.  In 2011 the Challenge grew to nearly 1300 participants.  Who knows what 2012 will bring?

        Why did I create a second blog devoted to the A to Z Challenge?  In one word:  Focus.

         Tossing It Out is my personal blog devoted to writing, blogging, and eclecticism.  There I write about anything from A to Z.  That blog is my potpourri blog.   I did not want Tossing It Out to become overly obsessed with the A to Z Challenge.

         The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is a topic in and of itself that fills a particular niche.  The real excitement will begin in January of 2012 and will build into a crescendo until the event explodes on the blogging scene of April 2012.

          Between now and the January announcement that will open the A to Z sign-ups I will be posting news updates about the Challenge.  I will also rerun some of the A to Z posts from Tossing It Out that might be of particular interest to those of you who are new to the Challenge.  I also welcome guest posts from previous A to Z participants who would like to share their experiences in the Challenge.

         This will be the official blog for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  Keep an eye on the posts here.   I will try to keep them interesting and helpful.   For now, there will be one post per week each Tuesday.  I hope you will click on the Friend Connect button in the sidebar or subscribe to the blog so you will receive updates.

          Please feel free to offer suggestions as to what you think would make this site better.   I look forward to any feedback that you may have to give.

           For now I've called the followers "Friends of the Alphabet".   Do you like that designation?  Is there another title you think might be better?