Friday, February 10, 2017

No list? No problem! #atozchallenge

Hello, A to Z peeps.

So, it was a really big announcement the A to Z Team had for you this past Monday.

The A to Z Challenge, without a sign-up list.

Please believe us when we tell you that this decision was not an easy one.

The list was completely overwhelming for the Team and not properly maintaining it, is just not acceptable for us.

We know it might be a little frightening. Maybe a little inconvenient. Maybe even a few extra minutes a day, but we're hoping you'll still give the Challenge a chance.

Please stay tuned to the blog. We're going to work out some kinks. We're going to listen to suggestions. We're going to make sure that all the participants know the what, when, where, why, and how's.

Thank you for sticking with us.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Announcing: The 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! #atozchallenge

From reading your blogs and what we've seen on Facebook and Twitter, people are really looking forward to the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, and we're sure those of you who are veterans of the Challenge know that it's about this time that we make The List available for people to sign up so that everyone knows they plan on doing the challenge this year.
Those of us on the A to Z Team have been talking about preparations for this year's challenge, and one of the things we've discussed is The List. The truth is, The List is a lot of work, and we have fewer people to check the list and maintain it so that the only people who are on it are the ones actively participating. Our focus changes from the people who are actively participating to those who aren't, and that isn't fair.
We came up with a great solution to this:
  • Each day of the Challenge, we'll add a post with the letter of the day to the A to Z Challenge blog. When you've posted your entry to your blog, post a comment to the Challenge blog with a link to that day's post on your blog.
  • We'll also add a status update to our Facebook page each day with that day's letter. You may also post a link to your daily post as a comment to the latter post, either in addition to or instead of posting the link to the Challenge blog.
  • And, we encourage you to post a tweet to Twitter with a link to your blog post. Be sure you add the hashtag #atozchallenge to your tweet, so we can find you.
The advantage to this, for us, is that we don't have The List to maintain. The advantage to you is that you'll only see the people who are actually participating in the Challenge that day, so you won't waste your time going to blogs that said they would participate when they signed up in February or March, but who have changed their minds by April first, or who have had to leave the Challenge because life got in the way.
"But wait," you say, "what about the theme reveal?"
The Theme Reveal will start on March 20. We'll add a post on that day to which you can comment with the link to your theme reveal post. Again, no sign-up list, just add your links to the blog, the FB page, and use the hashtag #AtoZReveal on Twitter to share.

Important Links
Since this April has five Sundays, April 30 will be a posting day. The letter for each day is:

1 - A

3 - B
4 - C
5 - D
6 - E
7 - F
8 - G

10 - H
11 - I
12 - J
13 - K
14 - L
15 - M

17 - N
18 - O
19 - P
20 - Q
21 - R
22 - S

24 - T
25 - U
26 - V
27 - W
28 - X
29 - Y
30 - Z

The A to Z Challenge is a great opportunity for you to find new blogs and meet new bloggers, and we want to make commenting as simple as possible, so we'd like to make a couple of requests:
  1. Please disable comment moderation for the duration of the Challenge, including the theme reveal. We understand it's a way to prevent spammers from posting comments, but a commenter might see the message that their comment will be visible after approval as a sign that you don't trust them.
  2. Also, please disable word verification (CAPTCHA) for the duration of the Challenge. Some visitors might have trouble reading the characters and decide leaving a comment isn't worth the effort.
We're looking forward to this year's A to Z Challenge, and we're happy you're looking forward to it, too! We think the changes we've made will make it more fun and easier to participate in. If you have any questions or concerns, leave us a comment.

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Big A To Z Announcement Is Coming! #atozchallenge

          Six years ago at about this time the first A to Z Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Linky List appeared as sign-ups opened.  It was during that Challenge that an official A to Z Team was put together.   We had realized that the A to Z Challenge was an overwhelming endeavor that required a collaborative effort of several competent and relatively well-known bloggers.  In succeeding years, improvements and changes were made in order to make the Challenge more efficient as well as more rewarding to all.  Change is often an obstacle for many of us, but sometimes change is the best, and at times, seemingly the only way to keep things going.

          Judging by the number of inquiries about the 2017 Challenge that we've been getting in our email boxes as well as the A to Z Challenge Facebook site, many of you are wondering what's going on this year.   The A to Z Challenge Blog has been inactive over the past few weeks and not a great deal has been heard from the Challenge co-hosts regarding the 2017 Challenge.  In fact, not even a mention of who are the co-hosts for 2017.   However the behind the scenes action has been underway as we have been addressing what the 2017 April event might look like.

          As you might now be surmising, changes are coming in the upcoming 2017 A to Z Challenge!

           In this current post, I am laying the groundwork for the very important announcement post that will be appearing here next Monday February 6th.  There will be some vital information that we want you to be sure to read and to help us promote in order that all interested parties can be informed and provide their own input and suggestions.  And of course, there will undoubtedly be questions that we can answer for you.

Can you help us get the word out?

          So that the maximum number of bloggers can get this very important news, we are asking you to help us get the buzz going by announcing the upcoming post on your own blogs as well as tweeting, Facebooking, and sharing today's post as much as you can.  Let's get the word out!

          We want everyone who is planning on doing the 2017 Challenge to see what is in store by checking out the February 6th post.  So, those of you who have already completed your A to Z posts for this year or have them in the planning stages, never fear!  The 2017 A to Z Challenge will be here once again in April.  There will be much more information to come on the A to Z Blog after next week's announcement so plan on visiting regularly.

Meet the 2017 A to Z Team

        Part of the change for this year entails a smaller A to Z Team for reasons that should be more evident in the upcoming announcement post.  Most of the Team will consist of members from the previous Team with the addition of a long time A to Z participant as well as a veteran member of Arlee's Ambassadors.

        The 2017 A to Z Team is as follows:

Arlee Bird   @ Tossing It Out

Heather M. Gardner The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Zalka Csenge VirágThe Multicolored Diary

John Holton @    The Sound of One Hand Typing

J Lenni Dorner @ Blog of J. Lenni Dorner   (first year on the A to Z Team)

Also, Jeremy Hawkins Hollywood Nuts as in previous years will be providing the A to Z graphics (official logo, daily letter badges, etc)

Alex J. Cavanaugh @ Alex J. Cavanaugh --though no longer a full-time active team member due to his many other commitments including the Insecure Writer's Support Group (which he founded)-- will continue acting in an advisory and supporting role with his additional assistance in promoting the Challenge on his blog.  My many thanks to Alex for his years of service to A to Z from its inception.

        I would encourage you to visit all of the blogs mentioned above to get to know the A to Z Team and give each member a big virtual hug.

       Be here next week for the big Challenge news.   And please spread the word!


Thanks from your A to Z Founder, Arlee Bird...