IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The OFFICIAL MASTER LIST: https://tinyurl.com/AtoZ22 (sign-ups are closed)
Showing posts with label choosing a theme. Show all posts
Showing posts with label choosing a theme. Show all posts

Monday, October 26, 2015

A to Z Themes Made Easy – Handy Lifestyle Hacks for the Busy Blogger

Photo courtesy of Tristan Colangelo
It’s never too early to start preparing for your participation in next year’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Year after year, themes continue to be one of the best ways to survive this April blog hop with ease. Themes give readers a good idea of what to expect when visiting your blog while helping you better organize ideas into 26 cohesive pieces of alphabetic content.

Choosing a theme does not have to be a daunting task in itself. In fact, it’s as simple as becoming a virtual handyman for some of life’s challenges. If you’re stumped for topics to blog about during the next April A-Z Challenge, consider teaching people how to do quick repairs -- whether that be for damaged household items, bad hair days, or even a broken heart. Don’t think you have any knowledge of tips or tricks to help other people solve everyday problems? You may be able to provide more handy hacks than you think. 

Just recall the last few times you’ve fixed a dilemma that you or someone you know encountered. Now use these instances to jump-start the topics of your April Blog Posts. Here are some quick topics that can be worked in many ways to help you get from point A to point Z, based on my own experiences with quick fixes that came in handy.

Technical/Hardware Hacks
When cassette tapes were still a thing in the early 90s, I used to play them on a boombox style stereo system. The Bad album by Michael Jackson was one particular cassette that I rocked as a kid “until my tape popped” (*extra brownie points for those who can identify the song/artist reference here) one day while playing in the stereo. Determined to not have to throw this cassette away, I grabbed a screwdriver (or maybe it was a kitchen knife…the specifics of that memory has faded after all these years), opened up the cassette and snapped the jumbled up portions of plastic tape off of the spool. I then re-attached the two remaining portions of the music on this cassette, using a small piece of adhesive tape.

Cassettes remain available from some places such as
TurnAroundRecords. 
The result wasn’t perfect – the beginning of the first song on Side 1 of the cassette was now gone, as well as the end of the last song on Side 2 – but I could now still continue to enjoy most of the album.

Cassettes may be a thing of the past but so long as people still like to listen to music, there are quick fixes that you might know how to employ in the age of modern technology. Do you have a neat way to organize playlists on a home entertainment system, tablets or related electronic devices?

How about syncing or migrating your iTunes library on a computer where the system had to be re-installed? These nuggets of knowledge may come in handy for those of us who do not know how to navigate through various software programs and/or devices.

Style, Fashion & Wardrobe Hacks
When one pair of my jeans started to rip in the back, I continued to wear them until the tear became too large. Having no patience to sew or patch-up denim (or really most other garments), I just wore tights under my jeans, to prevent me from unintentionally flashing people during my daily travels out in the street. Sometimes these tights had cute heart patterns on them and sometimes they were solid colored. It all depended on my mood, the climate or temperature and whether the laundry was done or not. Did you ever experience any clothing malfunctions that you’ve dealt with in a hassle-free manner? If so, try to come up with 26 ways to get around the problem, from A-Z, without throwing the garment away!

Food Prep Hacks
Have you ever made a salad only to find out that there isn’t any dressing in your refrigerator or cupboard? What do you do in that situation? When I found myself in a similar situation, I combined some olive oil, vinegar and all-purpose seasoning such as (Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute) to make a quick vinaigrette. Not only did it save me time in contemplating on whether to eat something else altogether or consume the salad dry, this quick fix was also a money-saving solution; I didn’t have to make a trip to the store just to buy some salad dressing.  If food hacks are up your alley, try coming up with an A-Z theme that provides some quick seasoning tips for when people don’t have the usual staples on-hand and need to substitute it with other items in the refrigerator or cupboard.

Productivity Hacks
My morning routine usually involves books, writing and meditation of some sort. I try to read first thing in the morning to get it out of the way because unless it is for research purposes, it’s HIGHLY unlikely that I will pick up any book whatsoever later in the afternoon or evening after my day gets started and filled with other tasks.  Do you have a productivity hack that helps you get things done? Maybe other A-Z participants can try it to figure out if the hack might work for their lifestyle needs.

Providing handy lifestyle hacks to your readers will save you time on writing and publishing blog posts. That time saved could then be spent visiting your fellow participating blogs on the A-Z Challenge list. Happy blogging!

Have YOU decided on a theme for next year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge yet?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers writes about international films, Cinematography and movie goers at The Madlab Post. You can connect with her @MadlabPost on Twitter. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Get Yourself a Theme Song!

Many of you have already planned your A to Z posts. However, I’m sure some of you still wonder what the heck you’re going to do for the Challenge. I understand - I’ve been in both situations. And in case you’re wondering, planning posts around a theme was much easier than winging it!

The first year, I don’t think any of us really knew what we were doing. The closest I came to a theme was that my posts were all entertainment related. Movies, music, games - you name it. For Q, I blogged about Q*Bert and “Q.” Yes, the crappy 1983 movie “Q!” I was desperate…

The second year, I realized I needed a plan of attack. I was a co-host last year as well, and I knew I couldn’t be floundering around for post topics. I at once hit upon the idea of featuring two blogger buddies per letter. Some of the letters were challenging, but I stuck with my topic until the last couple letters. (Thank you, Matthew – QQQE was a much better choice than “Q!”) As an added bonus, everyone really liked my Challenge theme.

You may think A to Z a challenge enough without adding the limitations of a theme. But choosing one overall subject for your posts really allows for a lot of creativity. You could select any topic under the sun and run with it. The only limitations are in your mind. A theme also helps you to plan ahead for each post, which frees your time during the Challenge to visit other blogs.

So, start brainstorming now! Avoid total brain freeze when you reach the more difficult letters. Believe me, you don’t want to post about crappy movies like “Q.” I’ve already done that!


Ninja Captain and A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Alex J. Cavanaugh


And related to today's topic comes another entry to the A to Z Video Contest.  Today's submission comes from Dale Smurthwaite at Smurfin' the Web.   Hop over to his site and say hello.  If you are interested in knowing more about the A to Z Video Contest click on the appropriate tab at the top of the page.   Now rock out to Dale's video:






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