Showing posts with label road trip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label road trip. Show all posts

Monday, May 20, 2019

ROAD TRIP! #AtoZChallenge 2019 Post Challenge Blog Hop

Sign up for the road trip!
The form will close on May 27, 2019.

We ask that you pick just ONE post from your #AtoZChallenge 2019 offerings.

Which do you wish more people had commented on? Or which was your favorite?


(Your link will probably look long, as it likely includes your title in the link. If you only see your blog name, that's not a direct link to your post. Try visiting your blog — not where you WRITE the posts, but where others go to view your posts — and clicking on the date or on the title of your posts. That should bring up just the post, making it easy to copy the direct link. If you need help, please ask in the comments — include a link to your blog and the letter of the post of which you need a direct link.

What does boarding this Zeppelin mean?

The road trip, unlike the main challenge, is ALL about visiting other blogs to comment.
Please don't drop your link and then not participate in the "hop" part of this blog hop.

How fast does the Zeppelin fly? That's up to you.
Visit one blog a day. Visit 20 in a month. Visit them all in February because you're snowed in and remember this exists.
It's all good.

❗Signing up for the Road Trip is a commitment that you will continue to hop to other blogs on the road trip from May thru March.

That gives you ten months to visit these blogs!
Please, first comment on the person's linked A to Z blog post, and then consider surfing to the person's latest post to comment there as well.

Be sure to include this phrase in your comments:

Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip!

Why is there a Zeppelin for a road trip? Wouldn't that be an air trip?

Can you for once be cool - Barney Stinson- HIMYM- NPH

Because the Road Trip was mentioned on the Z post.
You know what large dirigible balloon starts with Z?
Maybe next year we'll ask Jeremy for a Zamboni.
Then we can road trip on ice! ⛸️
Or a Zenvo. ๐Ÿš—

Here's the link to the Zeppelin landing zones to visit on this road trip:

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge #AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary badge SURVIVOR badge

Grab your A to Z gear, and other cool goodies from our graphics guy, here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

ROAD TRIP #roadtrip #AtoZChallenge 2018

#AtoZchallenge 2018 logo

The ROAD TRIP is back! 

This year, we ask that you pick ONE post from your #AtoZChallenge 2018 offerings to link it up.

Which post that you published this year was your favorite? That's the one you put in the link up. JUST ONE DIRECT LINK PER PERSON/ BLOG.

Signing up for the Road Trip is a commitment that you will continue to hop to other blogs on the road trip from May thru March. 

That gives you ten months to stop at each blog on this list at least once. (Yes, you may skip Adult blogs if you are a minor or unwilling to view such content.) Please, first comment on the person's linked A to Z blog post, and then consider surfing to the person's latest post to comment there as well. 

Be sure to include this phrase in your comments:
"Stopping by from the #AtoZChallenge Road Trip!"

Here's where you put the direct link to your favorite 2018 A to Z post from your blog:

The form will remain open until June 23, 2018. Please remember to link directly to a post you published for the A to Z challenge in April 2018. 

(Your link will probably look long, as it likely includes your title in the link. If you only see your blog name, that's not a direct link to your post. Try visiting your blog -- not where you WRITE the posts, but where others go to view your posts-- and clicking on the date or on the title of your posts. That should bring up just the post, making it easy to copy the direct link. If you need help, please ask in the comments -- include a link to your blog and the letter of the post of which you need a direct link.

And here's the sheet to use to keep your commitment to visit others on the road trip:

Yes, you may hop to the blogs on the list to comment even if you don't sign up for the road trip, and even if you weren't in the Blogging from A to Z challenge 2018. 

#AtoZchallenge 2018 logo 2

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

#AtoZChallenge After Survey and May Announcements

#AtoZchallenge 2018 May

Welcome to May, A to Z bloggers! Here's what's going on right now.

  1. The link to the after survey is below. Please fill it out if you did the challenge, didn't complete the challenge, thought about doing the challenge, did the challenge in a previous year, might do the challenge next year, etc. In other words, WE WANT YOU. Listen, the last few months were a real bear for the team. We had to adapt and come up with creative solutions to a lot of behind-the-scenes problems. Your feedback is the ONLY way we can know what we're doing right, doing wrong, or not doing at all. PLEASE, make time before May 18 to take the survey. Thank you.

  2. GUEST POST SPOTS GIVEAWAY! What!?! Yeah, you read that right. We're giving away guest spots as a prize. To enter, fill out the after survey and check YES, that you wish to have a chance to win. Write your own, have team captain J Lenni Dorner interview you, or pitch us another idea. Use it yourself or auction it off. Any all-ages content, up to 2000 words, 7 images max. This blog has an impressive reach, as you probably know. The prize must be used between June 4, 2018 and March 3, 2019. Dates on a first come, first serve basis.  

  3. Bonus good news! Filling out the survey can help you write your reflections post. It has been known to inspire discussions about what you did or did not like about the challenge. And it can remind you of what you've learned this month. For that reason, the SIGN-UP for reflections WILL REMAIN OPEN until May 18. (The same day the survey closes.) For those of you who don't know what a reflections post is, stop by on May 7 for the post with the details
    #AtoZChallenge reflections logo 2018

  4. The ROAD TRIP is coming back! This year, we're asking bloggers to pick ONE post from your #AtoZChallenge 2018 offerings and link it up. Which post that you published this year was your favorite? Start thinking about it, because the Road Trip is coming on MAY 23. (The Road Trip is where bloggers continue to visit each other from May thru March. Often, people will comment on one A to Z blog post and then surf to your latest post to leave a comment there as well.

  5. Tee-shirts for sale. Our awesome graphics guy, Jeremy, made a tee-shirt for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Think how cool you'll be strutting your stuff in the only official gear of the #AtoZChallenge! Impress people with your month of blogging and blog hopping fortitude by wearing a shirt that showcases your passion for this challenge. Post selfies in your shirt using our hashtag! Randomly find each other on the street. Wear it to remind yourself that you're part of an online community. Or wear it when you're going somewhere and need something that no one else is likely to wear. Perfect attire for rock concerts or the first day of college! It also makes a cool conversation starter among those who don't know what the challenge is. 

  6. Former team member DL Hammons has WRiTECLUB voting still going on all month. It's your chance to make a difference for aspiring writers. Please check it out frequently!

#AtoZchallenge 2018 friendly new badge logo
To take part in the survey, please click:

This form will close on MAY 18.

The A to Z team recommends TimeAndDate or WorldTimeBuddy for your time zone calculation needs.
We use Midnight GMT.
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.

#AtoZchallenge 2018 traditional badge logo
Click for the MASTER LIST
of all participants who signed up for the #AtoZchallenge 2018!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Road Trip Themes for Blogging from A-Z Challenge Participants

The April A-Z Challenge is a big undertaking for bloggers of all levels. There's always the question of whether you will choose a theme or wing it when delivering on your commitment to post something on your blog every day for 26 days.

The real fun begins as you attempt to make your way in and around all 2,000 (give or take) places listed on the visiting map for this annual alphabet party town. While the insanely fast and wildly diligent men and women of our community manage to get it done, the A-Z Challenge Road Trip is for the rest of us. It brings remaining survivors together for an extended trip to cover additional ground leftover from April, but on cruise control.

So, here are two A-Z Road Trip inspired theme ideas that may help you with some of the toughest tasks in the challenge -- picking topics to blog about and visiting everyone on the list.

Blogs of the Day - List five favorite blog posts you read, for each letter of the alphabet. This theme involves visiting blogs on the A-Z signup list to find links that are worth sharing with your readers. In turn, those who visit to find out what your top picks are for the day will learn about blogs that might interest them. Everyone wins.

Of course, there is an alternative route to consider if you're the scheduling type of person who wants to enjoy the fun parts of this theme without the spontaneity of hitting "publish" every day. Since signups open up a few months in advance, you can start visiting blogs and go through their regular content to find something you like. Once you've found five different blogs for each letter of the alphabet, schedule your posts as usual and title them according to the traits they have in common. Or, just make up your own.

A-Z Social - Step it up a notch and be the go-to spot for all things related to what's happening within the A-Z community. Do a roundup of activities such as blog posts that are being shared (commented on, etc.) the most, tweets worth highlighting and/or blog comments that standout. As a surveyor of social activity related to the A-Z Challenge, your blog might become a cool watering hole for this community, in April.

Joining fellow bloggers on the A-Z Challenge Road Trip is an opportunity to visit undiscovered places and meet new faces you missed. However, making the Road Trip a part of your April blogging activities can be a way to make sure that you don't miss out on much!

Will you be taking any road trips during this holiday season?

The A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip is hosted by Nicole Ayers and C. Lee McKenzie who’s well-traveled  dashboard buddy Mario is gearing up for a great 2016!

Friday, October 16, 2015

When the Road is blocked: 3 Alternative Methods for Leaving Blog Comments

Every road trip has its setbacks and those of us on the A-Z highway are sure to encounter a closed lane or two when trying to comment on new blogs we visit. Sometimes these roadblocks appear in the form of word verification. Or maybe you’ll find a blog where the commenting feature is turned off.  

There is also the chance that, regardless of how many times you typed a response and clicked on that “submit” button, your comment still didn’t get published for reasons that only the technology geeks could explain.

Maybe Wordpress (or Blogger or Google or your internet service provider) just doesn’t like you that day. These types of roadblocks make some drivers want to turn around and go back to the routes we’re used to taking through blogland. That is especially enticing for those of us who are already running low on gas. The good news, however, is there are a few solutions to getting around these blocked lanes and continuing on with our road trip activities as usual.

Comment via Social Media
When you encounter problems commenting directly on a blog, tag it on social media using the author’s profile handle. Many bloggers are active on websites such as Facebook and Twitter, making it easy to also link directly to the blog post you are commenting on. Social media is not only a great alternative for leaving comments; it also helps you keep responses short and simple.

Comment via Email
Sending comments in an email is one of the easiest ways to get around glitches with the commenting box on blogs you visit. This alternative method for leaving a comment is also a good way to inform the author of the blog about any difficulties that you’ve experienced as an end-user. On many occasions, bloggers may not be aware of issues with their commenting box, so they are likely to be glad you let them know about it. Emailing comments directly to the blog author can also be ideal for subjects that you may feel less comfortable discussing or addressing in a public forum such as the blogger’s commenting section.

Comment in a Blog Post of Your Own
Blogging in response to someone else’s content allows you to complete two tasks at once. The comment gets its time to shine and you get a new blog post out of the deal. Everybody wins.

How do YOU get around some of the roadblocks you encounter while visiting new blogs? 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Traffic Signs to Follow on the A-Z Road Trip

Exit 1252 takes you to Skating Buffalo park, where you'll find nerdy high school students, dissect movies that grow on you years later and highlight a metaphor for prayer.

Exit 1283 is the way to Keith's Ramblings university with a campus full of fish and chips, Alzheimer's and beautiful nurses.

Exit 1284 leads into Crazy Doll Lady town where the locals are chatting about dolls, finding clothes that are the right fit and a resin casting experiment with polymer clay charms.

Exit 1287 heads toward My Life with Photographs retreat to bypass the sick days and important deadlines in lieu of gorgeous Fall colors in Alaska.

The A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip is hosted by Nicole Ayers and C. Lee McKenzie who’s dashboard buddy Mario sends his best to all of you fellow travelers!

Friday, August 14, 2015

A-Z Road Trip Adventures - 4 Lively Bloggers to Keep You Moving

Photo courtesy of Wojtek Witkowski
Road trips are much more enjoyable when you have the momentum to keep going for miles. Are you low on gas or have become lost while driving around through our A-Z neighborhood of blogs? Here are four destinations to help get you back on Route 26, inspired by some of most basic ingredients for a great road trip – music, interesting attractions/places to visit, food and games.

Turn your radio up….
Schoolteacher Luther M. Siler at Infinite Free Time did an A-Z challenge theme on 90s Hip-Hop music. While he blogs about different subjects including creepy childrens cartoons, this Skylights author continues to keep readers jamming to tunes from all sorts of artists.

A Road Trip itinerary for this week….
Courtney Turner at Maui Jungalow provides practical information on what it’s really like to live on a tropical island. From gardening and farming to transportation, Hawaiian culture, weather, bugs and housing, this A-Z blogger gives readers a lot more in-depth view of what’s beyond the typical tourist attractions you’d find on other travel blogs.

Let’s pull over for a picnic in the park….
Netherlands native Lisa at Basil and Oil blogs about simple recipes that you can whip up in a pinch. She survived this year’s A-Z Challenge by doing a theme on Italian cuisine and has an ongoing series called “Sweet Sunday,” where she shares lots of baked goodness such as cranberry ripple cheesecake and chocolate Guinness cupcakes. Yum!

Game On! When its play time….
Stewart Lloyd and his team at Lloyd of Gamebooks incorporated the alphabet nicely into their April blogging activities during the A-Z challenge. This blog gives viewers a front row seat to different perspectives on the industry, from interviews with zine publishers and illustrators to reviews and commentary on gamebooks apps, horror books and related material.

Have a bright and shiny weekend, everyone!

The A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip is hosted by screenwriter Nicole Ayers and author C. Lee McKenzie who’s traveling with Mario the dashboard buddy, so make sure you honk your horn or share a friendly wave to let them know you’re still on the road with us!

Monday, July 27, 2015

One Blog at a Time - Simple Goals for High Mileage on the A-Z Road Trip

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Arduini
It’s time for another pit-stop on the A-Z Road Trip. Check your tire pressure, fill up that gas tank and pack in some snacks as you continue on our highway adventure of visiting blogs on the 2015 April signup list! 

While you tune-up that browsing engine, remember the way to gaining the most mileage on this road trip is by driving in the lane that suits your ability be effective without any fuss. 

Dave Roller, who completed the April challenge at Home School Dad before transitioning over to YBD: Your Basic Dave, demonstrates that the key in making the most progress is by keeping things simple.

Rather than focus on a set number of blogs per day or week, Dave’s one-blog plan for his road trip activities call for visiting multiple posts on the same blog and then moving on to the next one. If you are looking for some ideas on how to have a more in-depth A-Z road trip experience, here is his recipe for creating maximum impact with plain and simple steps.

Visiting a new blog on the 2015 A-Z signup list and read posts in the following order...
  1. Reflections post
  2. An April blog post, going backwards from Letter Z to A
  3. The most current blog post
  4. Rinse and Repeat the cycle, starting with the reflections post on the next new blog to visit.
Having a simple plan allows you to get (and give) the most out of the A-Z road trip by visiting as many blogs as possible, at your own pace, one blog at a time. Dave’s one-blog approach is about as casual as they come while providing a chance to really dig deep into each new blog you visit and get a more well-rounded feel for what it’s all about. This is especially helpful when visiting blogs that may have done the challenge with topics that differ from what they’re normally blogging about during other times of the year.

So if you ever find yourself running low on gas in the fast lane, switching to cruise control can make your road trip activities a little easier to handle!

 5th Annual Post A-Z Challenge Road Trip

The A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip is hosted by screenwriter Nicole Ayers (The Madlab Post) and author C. Lee McKenzie (The Write Game), accompanied by dashboard buddy, Mario, who finds thecoolest attractions during roadside rest stops. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Are YOU Ready to Go on the 5th Annual Post-Challenge Road Trip? #AtoZChallenge

Are YOU ready to cruise through the 2015 A-Z Challenge list? I sure am looking forward to visiting a number of blogs I missed in April. 

Thanks to the late great Tina Downey at Life is Good and Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse who started the Road Trip (formerly known as the Post-Challenge Challenge) -- by calling on each other to visit all of the blogs on the list before the next A-Z Challenge rolled around -- we now have this year-round event to stay active in the blogosphere during the "off-season."

I've had the pleasure of co-hosting this with the founding ladies and then continued with Tina after Shannon hitched a ride at a rest stop to embark on other adventures. Soon, Heather Gardner at The Waiting is the Hardest Part joined us as a travel guide and brought Stormy the Weather Gnome along to swap shifts taking the wheel on this open road of A-Z blogs. After racking up lots of mileage out here in blogland, Heather and Stormy parked their car in the garage for a tuneup earlier this year. Luckily, I gained another driving partner in C. Lee McKenzie at The Write Game who will be helping with refreshments, maps and other necessities to keep everyone's engine running and going in the right direction (i.e. forward) on the highway.

Starting today, C. Lee McKenzie and I invite you to join us on the 5th annual Post-Challenge Road Trip, a meandering journey through the 2015 list of A-Z participants, at your own pace, with your own rules, and very few expectations.

The most important thing to keep in mind is you're the boss of you're own schedule and approach to visiting blogs. Whether you want to visit one new blog on a daily basis or hundreds of blogs per day, you're the one at the wheel. The Road Trip is really just some buddies in the blogging community hanging out and visiting new voices in the A-Z world.

A few strateties that may have worked for Road Trippers include...
  • Visiting all the blogs with similar topics or categories as yours
  • Visiting all the blogs whose names make you curious
  • Visiting all the blogs at even (or odd) numbers on the list
  • Start from where you left off and keep on truckin'...
  • Visiting blogs that are low (or high, or in the middle) on the list
  • Visiting blogs randomly by just clicking on titles located in different areas of the list
Whatever you do, remember that signing up on the linky doesn't mean you're committed to visiting ALL of the blogs on the list. Coming along with us on this Road Trip just indicates that you're not done yet and would like to show your fellow A-Z participants some visiting and commenting love. These are among the things that keep a blogging community strong.  

Who's with us for the 2015 Post-Challenge Road Trip?

~ Nicole @ The Madlab Post

SIGNUP to Be Our (A to Z) Post-Challenge Road Trip Traveling Companions HERE:

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Roadside Attraction with the Mighty A-to-Z Challenge Assets!

Thanks to all who have been doing the 4th annual Post-Challenge Road Trip. While we've racked up a lot of mileage visiting blogs between May and April, the last stretch of highway is a must-see before packing it in for this season. 

Speaking of the seasons changing, Stormy the Weather Gnome took Heather Gardner into their garage to unpack their road trip co-hosting activities. They will both be missed out here on the road; be sure to keep a lookout for them during the A-to-Z Challenge, as they embark on new adventures!

In the meantime, say hello to the assets of Nicole’s Mighty Minion Bureau! These ladies were in positions #53, #63 and #66, respectively, on last year’s signup list for the A-to-Z Challenge and are returning in 2015 for another year of blogging every day in April. As members of my Mighty Minion Bureau, they are also are a carefully selected team of dispatchers who keep the alphabet juice flowing through participants of the challenge.

“Special Agent” SydneyAaliyah Michelle blogs about tattoo stories, movie quotes and contemporary romance novels – including her own Hope series and Another New Life.

Vidya Sury is doing the A-to-Z Challenge with three blogs this year, including Collecting Smiles where she writes about positive messages on parenting, happiness, traveling and food.

Melanie Shultz blogs about life as an indie author and her five-year goal of building a world class publishing company; she’s already on her way, having released an alternative diction series about a private high school where students are trained to become rulers of tomorrow.

Want to know an easy way to speed through the road trip? Here's how...

If you visit every blog mentioned in this entire post today, you’ll have completed the five-blog minimum necessary for surviving the 2015 Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge. It’s a great way to develop and exercise those blog visiting muscles for April!

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers writes about epic kissing scenes, gratitude and bathroom selfies in the workplace at The Madlab Post. Chat with her on Twitter @MadlabPost 

Friday, February 20, 2015

This Week on the A-to-Z Highway: A Fashionable Detour #atozchallenge #roadtrip

The Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge community is brewing with energy and positive vibes in anticipation for another go-round at the alphabet on April 1st. Until that day rolls around, there are still lots of sight-seeing activities worthy of some attention on the Road Trip. First, let’s take a brief detour to visit one small, yet social, town populated by fashionistas who signed up for our 2015 alphabet party.

When Anna at Hello,Handbag isn't figuring out smart ways to overcome writer’s block, she’s showcasing some independent designers such as one based in England who makes Disney Villain and Star Wars handbags that are convertible. Mars at Curling Stones for Lego People found a way to put excess beads to use while working on a bracelet. In her experience, she describes why knowing how far along you are in a project is important. Tami at Thrift Shop Commando paints her weekends pink with a Resurrected Couture cashmere sweater, beaded purse and doll shoes. ShawnTe at SJPs Fashion Sense tests out an organic Vitamin C serum to find out if it measures up to the hype.

What was the topic of the most recent blog YOU visited this week?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers writes about making movies at The Madlab Post. She also supports the American Red Cross. Connect with her @MadlabPost on Twitter.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Confessions of an A-to-Z Road Trip Participant

How many (estimated) new blogs -- on the previous A-to-Z Signup List -- have YOU read between April 2014 and today? 

Let's be honest, visiting all of them is a massive undertaking. Needless to say, the "move along at your own pace" nature of our Post A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip is a relief for those of us who may have pulled our cars over for a tune-up, more than a few times. Whoever has managed to get through the entire list in April, let alone throughout the rest of the year (where road tripping helps participants get caught up to speed) needs to bottle their superpowers up into a productivity drink, and sell it! 

Having participated in the Road Trip for at least three years, you'd think I'd have this blog-visiting think down to a science. The truth is, like most things in life, I can only visit as many blogs as I am able...when I am able. Sometimes I visit more than a handful of blogs. On other days, I don't visit any at all. While I'm at it, allow me to confess some other things about what transpires during my Road Tripping activities:
  • If I visited, read your content and left a response but you still don't see the comment, chances are it's not's Blogger!
  • When I have to prove I'm not a robot every single time I leave a comment on your blog, this task makes me less likely to visit again. That doesn't mean I won't ever return. It does, however, make me hesitant to bother with the extra steps involved with reading your blog posts...especially when there are a number of other blogs that provide a better, user-friendly experience.
Speaking of being user-friendly...
  • If your blog takes forever to load, I'm not sticking around, regardless of how interesting the subject matter of the post you wrote (and/or the name of your blog) appears to be.
By the time April rolls around, I am certain that I will have not visited all 2,000+ blogs that signed up for last year's challenge. Still, between May 2014 and March 2015, I know I will have visited (many) more blogs that I didn't get to in April -- because of my participation in the Road Trip. That's good enough for me...and the bloggers who were, and will be, on the receiving end of those visits and comments, of course!

What confessions, if any, do YOU have to share about your participation in the Post A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip so far?

How many (estimated) new blogs -- on the A-to-Z Signup List -- have YOU visited between April 2014 and today?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers is listening to Beyonce's "Flawless (Remix)," among other tunes, while arranging this blog post. She currently supports members of the U.S. Armed Forces, discusses emergency preparedness and movies that make you cry at The Madlab Post. Connect with her @MadlabPost on Twitter.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

This Week on the Road: Bubbles, Poems and Smiling Faces #atozchallenge #roadtrip

Participants in the 2014 Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge are like that box of chocolates that Tom Hanks referred to in the comedy “Forrest Gump.” You never know what you’re going to get when reading any one of them on this year’s sign-up list

That is one of the reasons why the Road Trip encourages bloggers who did the April challenge to continue visiting new blogs that may have been overlooked several months ago. So in the spirit of giving this season, let’s give our fellow bloggers some new readers and some more blog comments. If you need a guide on where to start as you get back into the swing of things, here is the latest activity happening in our A-to-Z community.

A well-travelled, South African bred drug and alcohol counselor who lives in Australia has organized two plans for nourishing the soul in 2015, at QueasyPeasy. Her first plan of activities centered on eating well and getting organized include pink bubbles and a hammock. The backup plan allows you to recharge with naked handstands and selfies…you know…for those days when completing all of your New Year’s resolutions gets to be too much to handle. Peter Heppo at Sleepless in Singapore gives some lessons in English dialect while recounting his battle through a Christmassy tourist destination where his friends were sharing beers and receiving Easter Eggs from young girls dressed as holiday elves. Speaking of the holidays, Eve Gaal at Intangible Hearts sucks readers into a poem that toasts to real friendships that need no explanation. 

Nerd in the Brain is practicing an exercise in gratitude by sharing things that induce smiles. The pride of passing down crocheting skills to the next generation, handmade postcards and yarn displays at the library are among these things. Who knows what happened to the blog Three Foolish Fisherman after its author shaved off her hair for MS Society Cymru? Since ALL of her blog posts from this year’s A-to-Z Challenge are also still up, they’re worth a read by any of you who missed them back in April. Owning “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The X-Files” clearly make her worth visiting, even if it’s for the archives!

What topics have YOU come across on the new blogs you visited this week?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers writes about the magic of movies at The Madlab Post. Connect with her @MadlabPost on Twitter.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

What Your Visiting Behavior Brings to the Blogging Table #atozchallenge #roadtrip

You know those movie scenes where someone shows up unexpectedly on the doorstep of distant relatives, friends or lovers who are so overjoyed to be visited by another human being? In my experience as a blogger and two-time (or three-time…hard to recall right now) road tripper, this is similar to what someone feels like when you visit his or her blog. 

That is why your continued participation in the A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip counts the most; (most of) the blogs you missed way back in April are still cranking out the same, if not better, material that is worth a look-see. Even if you visit one blog a day from now until April roll around again, that will mean a lot for the bloggers who are operating those online entities. To them, it’s more than a visit. What you do (or don’t do) and what they see mean the difference between whether the blogosphere remains buzzing with activity or goes stale.

When you visit blogs, they see that some activity exists where there was once none. This traffic motivates a newbie blogger to put up a new post again. This is all that’s needed to get the ball rolling. The views you bring also keeps a seasoned blogger alert with an urge to grow his or her readership by putting one’s best foot forward.

When you read blogs, they see that their efforts were not made in vein because someone, somewhere, is paying attention. Not only did you stop by for a visit, but you're actually listening to what they have to say. This is especially evident in cases where bloggers have inspired a post on another person’s blog or ignited discussions around one particular topic. Anyone can visit but it takes an interested individual to read a blog post from beginning to end and then respond to it in a way that comes by total surprise. 

A few years ago, a Canadian blogger who I favored for some time had been featured in my local newspaper. She likely would have never even knew about the feature if I didn’t contact her about the article. So, someone in the states read her blog and thought it provided enough valuable information to warrant a mention in a newspaper. Who knows how the feature got from point A to point B – it could have been recommended from one friend to another, a magazine editor could have been doing research on one specific topic and just happened upon her blog. The possibilities vary but all it took was for someone to read this woman’s content.

When you comment on blogs, they see that there are people behind those visits and views; people with varied opinions and experienced; people who might share common interests; people who are an example of how big the world is compared to our little universes around us; people who also help us in creating and joining little universes within the larger one. You stopped by for a visit, were all ears for what was on their mind and either had a cup of coffee with them or brought some of your own to share. 

Bloggers see a reader who is willing to interact with them and enjoys further discussion on the content presented in a blog post. They see someone who is cooperative enough to step out from behind the shadows of the blog pages where he or she once lurked, and become a part of something that could turn out to be fun.

When you participate in the Post A-to-Z Road Trip by visiting, reading and commenting on blogs from the A-to-Z sign-up list, the people behind these places see that our A-to-Z community stretches far past April. They see a community that is like a gas station – open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They see how being a part of the A-to-Z Challenge can help them reap long-term benefits by the very nature of attracting new readers and hopeful friends to learn, laugh, cry, vent and celebrate with for as long as the effort is put forth on all sides.

How many new blogs have YOU visited this week?

Can you describe the most favorite or most interesting blog post YOU read this week while visiting new blogs?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers provides some insight on films that need to be on your radar at The Madlab Post. She is a proud supporter of the American Red Cross and is usually up for some brief Twitter (@MadlabPost) conversations.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Step on the Gas! A September Check-In #atozchallenge #roadtrip #LifeisGood

The Summer is winding down but if the activity in the blogosphere these last few days are any indication, our sun shiny days are to be continued. Having this in mind, I noticed a quick and much needed tune-up to my blog-visiting engine while participating in the Sunflowers for Tina blog hop that took place earlier this week. It was easy to take on the task of visiting 100+ bloggers since Monday September 8th mostly due to determination and willingness to see how other people joined us in paying tribute to our late Blogging from A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host, and Co-Founder of the A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip – Tina Downey of Life is Good.

Although the task has yet to be completed, I stumbled upon a Robyn Alana Engel's Life By Chocolate blog, which reminded me of our previous detour seeking out blogs named after food. Since I started visiting blogs randomly based on my familiarity with them, it led me to many places that I haven’t visited in a long time such as Elizabeth Mueller’s blog. This experience has given me the idea that getting through mini blog hops within the A-to-Z Community has multiple benefits for the Road Tripper:

  • It helps you get back into the habit of visiting blogs on a regular basis. So in other words, it’s a huge plus for those of us who pulled over on the side of the road numerous times. What a great way to play catch-up.
  • It gives you the chance to measure how long – in hours or days -- it would take for you to visit a certain number of blogs. Having this knowledge can make things a little easier as you break your visiting down into small, manageable chunks.
  • There are sunflowers on every blog on the list. Now I don’t know about you, but, being presented with a bright outlook for the day is enough for me to want to visit someone’s blog.

Most (if not all) blogs on the Sunflowers for Tina list have participated in the A-to-Z Challenge during one year or another. Since this means that many of these blogs did the 2014 challenge and survived to tell all about it, driving through this little memorial highway would count toward your road trip visits and also give you the chance to make some new blogging buddies. So, I’m calling out all bloggers who are on this A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip with Heather and I to step on the gas!

It is a great feeling to achieve the intimidating feat of visiting over 100 blogs in just a few days. Doing so means there is a chance that we can visit everyone by next Spring if we apply even a little bit of this diligence to the remaining portion of blogs from April’s alphabet party. It’s just a hopeful thought.

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers takes readers behind the movie scenes at The Madlab Post. She is currently being influenced by top-notch magicians while continuing her campaign to benefit the American Red Cross. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

5 Super Results of Visiting A-to-Z Challenge Blogs in the Summer #atozchallenge #roadtrip

Whether slow and steady, or fast and furious, we road trippers are racking up lots of blog-visiting miles on the A-to-Z Challenge signup list. It is a wonder how many of us have noticed some unexpected payoffs along the way.

Of all the blogs you've visited so far since May, it’s easy to find yourself in the following scenario:
  1. Reading and commenting on more blogs than you normally would during the A-to-Z Challenge off-season.
  2. Learning about topics of interest you didn't even know you had.
  3. Meeting or exceeding the amount of blogs you visited back in April, during the actual challenge.
  4. Being motivated to update your own blog with new material, more often, to keep it fresh for potential visitors.
  5. Interacting with more bloggers on social media.
Which of the scenarios described here apply to YOU? What are some additional results or perks that you've noticed while visiting blogs during the A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip?

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Host Nicole Ayers writes about making movies at The Madlab Post. She is currently supporting U.S. Military Veterans with her short narrative drama film ABYSS: THE GREATEST PROPOSAL EVERAvailable on DVD (Limited Sneak Preview Edition). 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Honk if You Read Me! A Brief Tune Up for A-Z Road Trippers #atozchallenge #roadtrip

Wondering how in the world you’ll keep (or even find) the energy to continue visiting new blogs throughout these busy summer months? Look no further, because your participation in the 2014 A-to-Z Challenge Road Trip can be simplified by designating a regular time of the day to carry out this task. 

It doesn't have to overwhelm our daily activities; we can master the art of having a productive and adventurous road trip experience, in as little as 30 minutes per week or as much as one hour per day.

For those multi-taskers, consider squeezing in some blog visits on your lunch break and voila! You’ll have completed your road trip activities before dinner time by killing two birds with one stone – eating and surfing the blogosphere. Try it. Morning, noon or night, creating a habit of visiting blogs along a set schedule will keep you on track to discover all those gems that you may have missed in April – and doing it all without losing your wheels and falling by the side of the road.

Happy Road Tripping!

A-to-Z Challenge Co-Hostess Nicole Ayers writes about movies and the people that make them, at The Madlab Post. She is currently on tour with her short film “ABYSS: THE GREATEST PROPOSAL EVER,” to raise money for the American Red Cross. At times, she also tweets @MadlabPost.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Shifting Gears to Locate the Hottest (Blog) Spots on A-Z North #atozchallenge #roadtrip

The daily specials provided at this rest stop for the 2014 A-to-Z Road Trip are aimed at helping you navigate this alphabet highway most efficiently; to keep your tires, engine and gas tank in tip top shape. Any of the new blogs we visit can be likened to roadside attractions, complete with fishing lakes, hiking trails, historic parks, ancient monuments, carnival rides, festive games and little souvenir shops offering novelties that visitors can share with their friends. 

So while each road tripper has his or her own map on navigating the A-Z route, which stretches for miles, here are a few additional ways that you can prevent getting lost in deserted towns where “keep out” signs, “out of order” pay phone machines and an undefined substance dominate the atmosphere.
Random Reflections - Try to visit all (or most) of the blogs located on the 2014 A-to-Z Challenge Reflections list during your road trip escapades, if you haven’t done so already.

Since many of the people who wrote reflections for the challenge, these bloggers are also likely to still be active, displaying new blog posts for you to read and comment on.

Social Strategy - Skip the 2014 A-to-Z Challenge Sign-Up List for a day and instead, visit participating #atozchallenge blogs that have been active on Twitter. 

As previously mentioned in a Co-Host Reflections post, this is one way to almost ensure that the blogs you come across will have completed the challenge and are continually blogging about fun and interesting topics, on a regular basis. Many of the tweets posted by bloggers during the challenge contain links to A-Z blog posts they wrote for specific letters of the alphabet, which could be a great way for you to make-up for blog posts that you missed in April. Either way, you can visit these blogs by following the link trail and or discussions within A-to-Z Challenge tweets. One of the easiest ways to do this is by searching the hashtags #atozchallenge as well as #AZchat and, if you’re venturing out into the off-beaten path… #atozroadtrip.

How Many Blogs have YOU visited as of this 3rd Week in May, during the 2014 A-to-Z Road Trip?

Have an awesome Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

About the Author:
Nicole Ayers makes movies while also writing about independent film directors and their work at The Madlab Post. She is currently celebrating high school proms and graduations of family and friends; thus, may be offline throughout the greater part of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but wish you all well.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Road Trip Pit Stop Oil Check

Hi guys! It's time to cruise into the mechanic for an oil check to be sure we're moving forward in the best shape possible. Wouldn't want to stall out on the way along the A-to-Z Highway!

The holidays have been a busy time for all of us, whether because of gatherings with friends and family, time spent shopping and preparing feasts, children vacationing from school, finals, or even work deadlines before the end of the year. So if your visits to your A-to-Z friends slowed, there's no shame in it. Get that engine check, make sure your spark plugs are in working order, and continue along at whatever pace your speedometer is comfortable with.

If you need to take an extended pit stop, grab some eats at a greasy spoon, nab a night in a motel, that's okay, too. We hope to see you on the road when you're able! Above all, have fun and stop to enjoy the tourist traps.

In the meantime, I'll continue cruising along with my fantastic Road Trip partners, Tina, of Life is Good, and Nicole, of The Madlab Post. I couldn't ask for two better ladies to Road Trip with.

Honk if you're still taking part in the A-to-Z Road Trip!

~Shannon, The Warrior Muse