Showing posts with label preparing for the #atozchallenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preparing for the #atozchallenge. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

#atozchallenge Have you … Huh? Huh? Huh?

With the Challenge approximately a month away, now would be a good time to take stock of where we're at and what's left to be done. Have you …

   a.    Invited people to participate?
   b.    Shared information about the Challenge via social media?
   c.    Decided on a theme?
   d.    Signed up for the A-Z Theme Reveal,   which is on March 21, 2016?
   e.    Done any research on your topic of choice?
   f.     Written up any of your posts as yet?
   g.    Scheduled said posts for the designated dates?
   h.   Gone down the list of A-Z participants and checked out a few new blogs?

     If you haven't done any of the above, now is an excellent time to get moving so you'll have more time during the Challenge to blog hop, socialize, and stay ahead of the game.

Have fun as you prepare to rock the Challenge!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A to Z Advice from Jolie Du Pre

“Jeez! I don’t understand it.  Another A to Z, and, once again, her posts are perfect.”

* * *

It’s 2016, and soon we will enter a new Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  I’m proud to report that this will be my fifth consecutive A to Z. 

Back in 2012, I remember how nervous and apprehensive I was about my first challenge.  How in the heck would I blog for 26 days?  But even though I had reservations, I knew that the challenge would be the perfect way for me to bring attention to my blog, Precious Monsters, which was new at the time.

I was right.  I couldn’t believe how many visitors were coming to my blog, and I had a great time reading and responding to the many comments.  If you work A to Z, it works for you.  Visit the blogs; leave comments; have fun, and you will be rewarded with bloggers stopping by your blog to see what you have to say.

One thing you will notice during the A to Z Challenge is that every blogger has their style.  Some bloggers are extremely organized, put informative content in their posts that are the result of lots of research, and schedule their posts way ahead of time.  As a Type-A personality who wants everything perfect, even though it never is, I’m jealous of these bloggers.  

I want to be organized.  I want to include posts that are researched and filled with information. I want to schedule my posts way ahead of time.  But every time I try, I’m good for the first couple of weeks.  Then, I'm right back to my frantically attempting to keep up.

It’s always the best-laid plans for me when it comes to the challenge.  I always complete the challenge, don’t get me wrong, but never the way I want.

So what do you do if you keep trying but don't make it?  Beat yourself up for it?

I'm proposing that you don't.  In other words, try to stick to your plans for Blogging from A to Z, but don’t feel bad if you fail.  The event is a "challenge", but it's not meant to be stress-inducing.

That said, you would ease most stress if you do schedule your posts.  So do give it a try.

My goal is to write one blog post on Saturdays and one blog post on Sundays on up until the event begins.  If I stick to my plan, I’ll be done by the beginning of April.   

I’ll start on January 9:

1/9 – A
1/10 – B
1/16 – C
1/17 – D
1/23 – E
1/24 – F
1/30 – G
1/31 – H
2/6 – I
2/7 – J
2/13 – K
2/14 – L
2/20 – M
2/21 – N
2/27 – O
2/28 – P
3/5 – Q
3/6 – R
3/12 – S
3/13 -  T
3/19 – U
3/20 – V
3/26 – W
3/27 – X
4/2 – Y
4/3 – Z

I’ll have to work hard to stick to my schedule.  I’m a busy article writer, and I’m the author of the Pierce vampire books.  (They're a mixture of horror and paranormal romance. You can try my series for free because book one is permanently FREE.) Of course, because I write about vampires now, my A to Z theme is vampires!

It’s a new year, and it’s time for me to start again.  However, if I don’t follow my plan for scheduling my posts – there will be no negative self-talk about it for this Type-A.   If I don’t make it, if I’m scrambling once again to get all my posts up, in 2017, I’ll try again to be more organized.

Sign-ups for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge begins on January 25.  So stay tuned!

Our thanks to Jolie Du Pre for this excellent advice.  What are some methods you've used to prepare for the Challenge?   Do you plan ahead of time?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How Do You Find Your Ideas?

How do you find your ideas? Authors are often asked this question in interviews. Or perhaps; Do you have trouble finding ideas to write about? My problem is the opposite. I have too many ideas. What I’ve found is that having an idea and getting the idea down in words that actually say what I imagine they should, is a totally different pot o’ honey. Does that metaphor work? I also don’t have enough time to actually write a different story for every idea that I have.

That said I’ve found that using more than one idea in a story can add not only a new dimension to it, but adding two, three or sometimes four different ideas can make the original idea much more profound, intricate, and beguiling to the reader.  Kind of like a photographer taking a shot with one type of lens and then finding that if a wider (or narrower) angle is used the whole view of the photo, the whole concept and direction of the photograph is changed, broadened and the focus encompasses more than the photographer originally dreamed of. Or a painter who finds a new color that brings a startling new life to his painting, a life not previously glimpsed, an ambiance not previously hoped for but now heartily embraced and enhanced. Or what about a musician who finally plays a note in a sequence he's never used before and falls into a piece of music the world must hear?

Do you use more than one idea in a story, different lenses on the same scene, more than one new color on your canvas? Do you mix and match, push your mind outside of your “normal” range to see what creation you are capable of producing? Because to me, finding the “newness” in ones “old” methods is what makes creating so beautiful and satisfying, even if it doesn’t always work the way we think it should.   

Images from:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Here's an Idea!: Playing Favorites (#atozchallenge)

Blog Machine
Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

Not Sure What to Blog About?

          One of the more common reasons bloggers offer for not participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is, "I don't know what to write about."   In fact that's a common complaint I hear about blogging period.  Personally I find that to be a rather curious excuse when topics to blog about are all around us.    Furthermore, if you have a theme in mind then the prompts for daily blogging can come even more easily if you let them flow.

        With this post I begin a series which I'm calling Here's An Idea!   I'll be offering some good suggestions that you might want to consider for the 2015 Challenge.  If my ideas don't quite work for you then maybe my brainstorming might start sparking some other ideas in your own mind.  Let's come up with some month long blogging themes!

People Love Lists

      One thematic approach that I've seen used in past Challenges is a series of lists from A to Z.  Lists can be favorites, worst, best, funniest, or most existential--or you name it.  Possibilities are endless when picking the approach you can take with this idea.

      Once you've decided on a general theme you can start the lists for each letter.  If you start now you can keep adding to your list over the next several months leading up to next April.  You can make the list as long or short as you like and expound upon it as much as you like.

        Coming up with a list is fun and usually easy.  When you get stumped you can always hit a search engine for other similar lists or ideas to inspire you.   Starting early will give you plenty of opportunity to go back to add new items to your list.

       An advantage to using lists on blog posts is that you can engage your audience more easily and stimulate their minds to interact with you.   Everyone has their own opinions about what should be on a list.  You can have fun creating yours and get the audience involved thinking about what would be on their own list.  The list offers a great opportunity to ask questions that lead to comments and blog post sharing on social networking sites.

         I used the list approach on my own blog Tossing It Out in 2013 when I offered examples of movies in various genres or with certain thematic ideas.  For example, A for Auto Accidents in film, V for Venice in film, and Z for movies about Zoos.    I had a great time coming up my lists and my readers seemed to be entertained as well.

         Think for a few minutes about the list concept for April and I'll bet your mind will run rampant with great ideas.   In fact you might want to start compiling your lists right now!

Focus on Favorites

         Rather than a list you might want to focus on favorites.   This can be anything, but it will work best when you are considering things about which you are passionate.  Excellent fields of examination are favorite films, books, songs, places, or foods.  Others have done these sorts of posts in past Challenges as well as in everyday blogging, but there's always room for your point of view.

          And when you're dealing with favorites no one can say you're wrong.   You can invite some debate if you like to get readers involved in discussion.  Or you can ask your readers about their own favorites.  Most people enjoy weighing in on a topic such as this if you've presented it the right way.

          At my blog Tossing It Out I'm currently doing a series about preferences and why people like what they like.  In this series I'm talking about some of my favorites or what might be considered "the best".  What I'm doing in my current series could easily be expanded into a month long A to Z theme.   Who knows?  Maybe I will go with this as a theme!   No reason why you couldn't do something similar as well.

          Most of us like to tell others about discoveries that grab our attention and things that we like.  This is a fun and easy topic that adapts itself so well to Blogging from A to Z.   Take a minute and give this some thought:   What are your favorite (fill in your own topic) and then start listing them.   You'll probably start coming up with so many that you could fill Aprils for years to come.

          Please take a look at my current series to see what you could do with something like this.   While you're there don't forget to answer my questions and leave your answers in the comment section.   The first post of the series is The Greatest Story Ever Written? and I'm still looking for opinions on this.  I hope you'll weigh in with your own.   Other posts in my series are about "Favorite Types of Music" and "Favorite Movie"(coming on Wednesday June 4th).   You can find and follow this series at Tossing It Out.

         Some brainstorming now might even help you with your everyday blogging if you are one of those who gets stumped for ideas at times.   The ideas are out there and they're easy to find.  Just start making a list!

         Do you ever find yourself unsure what to write about on your blog?    Do you enjoy reading through lists?    What kinds of lists have you used on your own blog?

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

How to Be One Step Ahead for #atozchallenge

Hello Alphabet Fans,
I have a quick idea I thought I'd share to make life easier come April. Unlike most of the co-hosts, I haven't written and pre-scheduled all of my posts.  I do have a theme, and I do know what I'm doing for each letter, but that's as far as I've gotten.

Maybe that's where you are, too, or maybe you don't have a theme and are just going to go day by day. That's totally cool, too.  Here's how to make it just a bit quicker each day.

Between now and April 1, go put up a draft of each post.  Here are the steps.

1) Download all of Jeremy's amazingly beautiful letters.  I like to start each post with the letter of the day so that visitors know right away that I'm participating, and on the right letter.  They are under the "banner/badges" tab up at the top.  They look like this.

Pretty, eh?

2) Now go to start to write a post in the compose window.  Insert the correct letter.  Put the letter A as your title, or the real title, if you've picked it out.

3) Pre- schedule the post.  Not sure how to pre-schedule?  I wrote a post about it here.

4) Not sure what day to put each letter on?  Under banners/badges there's a desk top calendar you can use, or in the FAQ, there's a simple list of what letter goes with each day.

5) Be sure to save your post.  It will show up in your post list as a draft.  

6) When you've written the post, even if it's days ahead, be sure to push publish.  It will sit and wait until the proper day and time and then magically, you'll wake up and see your post already up, and with comments!  Because you have turned off the evil CAPTCHA, right?

If it's still on, and you should check your settings under comments to make sure, we have a video in the FAQ about how to disable it.  DO IT NOW IF YOU HAVEN'T.

I hope these tips are helpful.  If you have any questions, we are all ready to answer them.

Be patient though, AJ and I are pretty busy, so it might take a few days.  If you're in a hurry for the answer, you can email me, Tina, directly.  My email is in the contact tab.

~Tina, A to Z Team

P.S Do you see how useful those tabs are?  If you haven't read them, please do so.  The info we've put there for you will help you have a great A-Z Challenge!