Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why You Should Blog from A to Z This April...

Founded in 2010 by Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out, the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is basically this: Every day in April (except for Sundays) you post a blog connected in some way to the alphabet, in alpha order. In 2013, the first day of this Mac Daddy of a blog hop is Monday, April 1—on that day, you blog about something that starts with an "A." Tuesday, you blog about something beginning with "B," Wednesday it's "C," and so on, till you've reached the end of the alphabet, the end of the month, and the end of your sanity.

Just kidding about that last bit. (Or is she...?)

But wait—there's more!

You sign up to participate on the A to Z linky-list, so other A to Z-ers can find you and check out your A to Z posts. In turn, you check out their posts, striving to read at least 5 (five) different participants' blog posts daily.

This isn't Sparta, folks. It's madness. It's a lot to keep up with, for sure. Picking a theme and writing/scheduling posts in advance can help. Some folks "pants it" and just post on the fly, daily, with no particular theme in mind. And, if they're staying true to the spirit of the thing, they're visiting as many of the other (over 1000) A to Z participants as they can, every blessed day in April.

Why the hell do they do it? Damned if I know. Here's why I do it, and why I think you should too:
  • A to Z is the biggest, baddest blogger-networking opportunity I know of. Not getting a lot of traffic to your blog? Sign up for A to Z and that'll change. I started getting regular comments on my blog posts and my follower count shot up over the course of last April (my first go at A to Z). Your mileage may vary, of course, but even if you experience but a mild spike in visits/followers, it beats the hell out of talking to yourself in cyberspace. (Talking to yourself at home is totally normal, though, or so the Voices tell me.)
  • You can learn a lot about self-discipline and sticking to a schedule, both of which aid in increasing your creative output, whatever your art/craft. (Sure, everything else in your life may grind to a screeching halt and you learn to live on 4-5 hours of sleep every night but, you know, art is pain, no pain no gain, time is money and money is power, the black hawk squawks at midnight, etc.)
  • You stand to learn a lot of nifty bloggy tricks, such as how to make your own link-back signature (and why the devil you'd ever want to make one).
  • If you're new-ish to blogging, you can rip off get a lot of good ideas of how to style your blog from checking out what others are doing on theirs.
  • You can make blog-pals that'll stick with you through the dark space of the blogosphere.
  • Damn it, it's fun, OK? (Sheesh.)
Anyway, click here if you want to learn more. I know it seems a daunting challenge suitable only for the dangerously insane,, I can't follow that up with anything soothing. What the hell, give it a shot, what've you got to lose? (Aside from the aforementioned sanity?) (Sanity's overrated, anyway.)

Or, in the immortal words of the great Edgar A. Poe:
“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”
Word up, my brother. Word. Up.


  1. I'm all signed up and ready to go!! Just not sure what i'll be doing this time around!

  2. Well i have 11 of 26 topics chosen but I haven't signed up yet. I will though. My major frustration last year was that many blogs I visited didn't keep up with the challenge or didn't start it at all. And a lot of the bloggers were writing stories and I didn't have time to read them. I was hoping that we could sign up for more than one category but we can't. I wanted to choose crafts, photography and misc for mine.

  3. Well said, Mina. We'll be reading a lot of each other. :)

  4. @Trisha - Did you plot or plan your A to Z-ing last year?

    @JoJo - Atta girl! I have a theme and a few letters accounted for, can't remember how many right now. I'm with you on those frustrations. I can appreciate writers using A to Z to put their writing out there, but I couldn't read a lot of the longer posts. I'd have liked to have had more than one category, too. Ah well, maybe next year. :-)

    @Al - Indeed we will! :-D

  5. I can think of at least one absolutely fantastic reason to sign up to the A to Z challenge - buggered if I'm going to share it here though, snigger :)

  6. How cool would it to do A-Z entirely with posts about Poe? That is the level of my insanity. I don't have time to do it, and yet I signed up. It would suck to miss it.

  7. @David - You wretched tease, you. You A to Z-ing this year???

    @Tonja - I had that same thought as I typed out the quote. But now that I've coded my blog as AC (adult content) for the Challenge, based on my original idea, I don't want to bug the Challenge hosts by asking them to change my link. Not that my original idea is what I'd call "x-rated" but it is a bit smutty so, you know. There's not a lot of wiggle room, really, but I loved doing A to Z last year (it's how I got to "meet" all you folks who commented on this post, except for Al, who's a recent blogosphere find. Hi, Al!), and I really want to do it this year, too. In what spare time, I've no idea... :-D Hey, you'd blogged about doing A to Z based on your Appalachian-set story, which I thought was a brilliant idea (A to Z posts don't have to be longer than 100 words, you know.) ;-) Hope you're hopping A to Z, too!

  8. I had so much fun doing this last year I'm going to try to do it again. Private blog but I still love blogging!

  9. Thanks for the shoutout! I enjoyed your posts last year :)

    --Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2013

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  10. Last year's A to Z is definitely one that I'll never forget...totally fabulous. Not sure that I'll do it this year or not with all the other stuff I've got going on.

  11. It's so great of you to plug Alex's A-Z blog hop. I know a lot of people who're doing it this year. Good luck! :-)

  12. @Henri B. - Yay, I'll see you around the hop!

    @Damyanti - Thanks and likewise! :-)

    @Tracy - B-b-b-but it won't be the same without you!!! ::pouts::

    @Lexa - Won't you be joining in? C'mon, all the kewl kids are doin' it! ;-)

  13. My theme last year was words of 10 or more letters.. This year I've got a theme and 16 headings. If I do the theme I want it should be (WR) but I chose(MI) which will work too.

    Set up my blog a year ago and loved doing A-Z. Looking forward to getting to know lots of new people again yourself included. Good luck and here's to a crazy time.

    1. Yowza! Words of 10+ letters - now THAT'S a challenge! :-) Thanks for popping by and good luck to you, too!

  14. Do I? Don't I? Gah! I hate it and I loved it at the same time! Drat, drat and triple drat!

  15. Nice job! I'll definitely link to this post on my Monday A to Z post.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  16. Hi Mina! It's my first year to join the challenge and I am certainly ready for it! I want to theme blog, but I haven't decided what theme. I better hurry up and decide. April will be here soon. See ya then!

    1. Great to meet you, Ink! I had a couple of ideas for my theme but only decided on one after perusing the dictionary to make sure I could find words starting with the more difficult letters (like x and z, for example) that would fit it. :-) I'll see you around the hop!

  17. Hi Mina,
    A well written intro to the great upcoming event.
    I too joined in last year but could not touch the finish line due to some unavoidable travel to my native place; This year i am sure i can reach the
    finish line, Min, I also created a promo post and I Just posted the other day
    you can read that here. A to Z April Blog Challenge
    Best Regards
    Keep inform

  18. I'll be jumping in this year for the first time. I am very excited and just a little intimidated. At this point, I have pre-written 6 posts and plan to do a few more this week.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist

  19. Right on! Glad you're taking the plunge!

  20. Well, I'm signed up, have a theme, a few posts written and trying not to sweat about it. I'm already on the brink of insanity, so this should give me the final push that I need! :P

    Shirletta @ ShirleyIsNotMyName

  21. This is my first year doing the challenge, and I'm really enjoying people's thoughts on doing it last year. I don't have a theme or anything, just a general list. Looking forward to meeting lots of new people


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