I don’t know whether Kat had intended this to be an opportunity to talk about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, but she came up with the prompt and I don’t think she’ll mind me telling you all about it.
I started blogging in 2012, and one of the reasons I started blogging was so I could take part in the many challenges and blog hops that are held through the year, such as Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. The challenge that caught my eye and made me say, “Yes! I really want to start blogging!” was the A to Z Challenge. I participated that year and have done so every year since, and have been a co-host for the Challenge since 2015. It’s become the highlight of my blogging year.
Arlee Bird, who runs the blog Tossing It Out, was the person who started the Challenge. In 2011, he said “I’m going to blog every day except Sunday, starting on April 1 with a word that starts with ‘A’ and continue through the alphabet each day in April except Sundays until I reach the letter ‘Z’ on April 30.” That first year, other bloggers who know Arlee decided to do it with him. And, as with most of these blog hops, other people saw what they were doing, and before long we had over 1000 people doing A to Z during April.
We started using a Linky to keep track of everyone doing the Challenge, so that people could go out to the list and choose a bunch of blogs to read and perhaps follow during the challenge, and used that up through the current year. This year we’re doing things a little differently, dispensing with the Linky and instead having people check in at the Challenge blog on a daily basis and post the link to their latest entry as a comment to the daily post there. It became a headache riding herd on everyone on the list, some of whom put their name on it only to not do the challenge, others who started out doing the challenge only to quit part of the way through, and there was no way for a person to join in the middle, which does happen.
Most, but not all, of the people who do the challenge choose a theme for their blog posts during the month. Last year, for example, I used portmanteau words as my theme. Other people have used the month to write a novella, write a daily flash fiction or poem, or to do “The A to Z of ______________,” something they’re knowledgable in. Anything’s fair game.
The advantages of doing the Challenge:
- You find all kinds of new blogs and new bloggers to follow.
- Likewise, lots of other bloggers find you and start following you.
- If you’ve thought of stepping up your blogging, preparing 26 articles to post one per day is a great way to start.
- It teaches you problem solving. On the 24th day of the challenge, you have to find a word that starts with X. Tha’s when you figure out X is the Roman numeral for “ten,” and that X in Greek is the letter “chi.”
- It is a lot of fun. A lot of work, but a lot of fun anyway.
Sound like something you’d like to do? If so, we’d love to have you along for the ride. If not, there’ll still be lots of blogs participating this year for you to read and follow. Many bloggers will post their articles on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #atozchallenge. Give it a try!