Thursday, 23 February 2017

So Who's Doing the #AtoZChallenge This Year?

So Who's Doing the AtoZChallenge This Year?

Just in case there are readers who have no idea what I'm taking about, the AtoZChallenge runs every year during April. It is a challenge for any bloggers who wish to enter. The idea is to make a blog post every day, except Sundays, inspired by the letter of the alphabet that goes with that day, 1st=A, 3rd=B (because 2nd is a Sunday) etc.

The lovely banners/badges were created by Jeremy from Hollywood Nuts. You can find all of them over at the AtoZChallenge blog.

Many blogs have a theme running through all their posts, but some just do individual posts as they go along.

This is my fifth year taking part.

I was having so much trouble coming up with a theme for this year. I just had no clue, but I finally figured it out. I'm not going to tell you not, because there is a theme reveal day on March 20th, so it's a secret until then ;).

Just in case you are interested here are my themes from previous years:
2017 - ???

Reasons to do the challenge:

  • We get to meet loads of bloggers also doing the challenge and make friends.
  • We have lots of visitors from people who aren't doing the challenge, but are using it to find interesting blogs to read.
  • It's good for our discipline having to post every day and makes the rest of the blogging year look like a dream.
  • We find loads of blogs to check out we never would have looked at otherwise.
  • It's fun!

Reasons to have a theme:

  • It gives visitors something to look forward to and come back for if they know what kind of thing we will be posting.
  • It helps visitors remember your blog.
  • It really helps with deciding what to post every day because we're not just picking something out of the air.
  • We get to take part in the theme reveal day, which some people use to decide which blogs to visit first.

Tips on How Not to Go Insane During April:

  • Prepare in advance. I cannot stress how much this takes the pain out of the challenge and just makes it fun. I try to have at least half my posts done before April even begins, preferably all of them.
  • Make a note of the blogs you visit and their URLs - I use Google sheets. I also note which ones I really want to go back to so I can find them again. With the new format this year and no linked list I think this will really help so you don't lose the blogs you want to revisit. You could just bookmark them in their own folder, but I like to be able to sort things, hence Google sheets :)
  • Make a note of all the bloggers who visit you so you can return the favour.
  • Have a signature to go with your comments when you visit other blogs so they don't have to search around to visit you back:
    Tasha Tasha's Thinkings 
    or if the blog doesn't allow HTML, just put in the URL

Things I have learned over the years:

  • The more people you visit, the more people will visit you - but there will be people who don't bother. Don't take it personally :). Sometimes they might no gel with your blog, or real life may be kicking their behind and stressing about it takes more energy than it is worth ;).
  • Don't make your entries too long. There are rules for every day blog posts and rules for AtoZ posts. People often like a lot of meat to every day posts, but during the AtoZ people are trying to visit lots of blogs, so to the point, dynamic posts are the way to go.
  • Images always help to keep people entertained and make a post more eye catching.
So who plans to take part this year? Have you thought of a theme?


  1. I'm taking part this year! It'll be my fourth time. I've got a rough theme, and hope to spend the weekend ironing out the details and ideally starting to write a few posts. It remains to be seen how things will go without the list - I know it could be a pain landing on blogs that had stopped participating, but it was useful as a base reference. Thanks for the helpful tips here.

    1. I spent yesterday ironing out my daily topics, but I have no content yet :). I'm going on hols in March, so I have to get lots of it done before then.

      The list was useful as a base reference, I agree, which is why I'll be using a spreadsheet again this year and making my own list :D

    2. And I also meant to say, good luck with your plans :) but managed to hit publish instead of preview.

  2. Fantastic blog post.
    Thank you.
    I'll be sharing this.
    Co-host, Blogging from A to Z Challenge

  3. Never seen the A-Z so well and succinctly summed up! Kudos!

    I'm theme-ing. My fourth year.

    1. Thank you :D
      I think half the fun is coming up with a theme - hope your prep is going well.

  4. Great post and good ideas all. I will be joining for my second year. I have my theme and the letters all assigned but I need to start writing the posts. I have a little prep work to do. Making a spreadsheet is a great idea. I am not sure I'll miss the list as it got a bit overwhelming with all those people on it and frankly I stopped checking it after a while.

    1. Kudos for being at least partially prepared :D The list was huge wasn't it! I hope the new systems works.

  5. Third year,yes themed.This looks so organised and inspirational.

    1. Good luck, hope your AtoZ goes really well. :D
      Here's to the fun!

  6. Planned my themes when the challenge finished last year and have just about narrowed it down to the ONE choice! Haven't written any up yet, I think the challenge is to write daily, so that's what I'll do. Although I have already researched the Q and Z posts because they were a nightmare last year!

  7. I am going to do this again. I skipped last year, but am looking forward to doing it this. I have never had a theme, but it sounds like a great thing to try. Loved this post.

  8. Thanks for the publicity on this. I've shared to Facebook and Twitter.

    John Holton
    The Sound Of One Hand Typing

  9. Great post! I will be participating again for the third year in a row. I wasn't sure until just yesterday when a couple of theme ideas popped into my head. I'll spend the next week working up titles and then write as many posts as possible in March. Although knowing me, I'll have writer's block until April because I don't know how to complete anything if the pressure isn't on :)

  10. Thank you for the great tips and suggestions! This will be my 3rd year participating in the challenge but the 1st year with my photo blog "The Articulate Image". I'm excited for the challenge to begin!

  11. I'm not sure I'll take part this year. I have a theme and words all picked up, but I'm not sure if I'll have the energy for it. I know I can get the posts written up, but if I don't visit people then I'll feel like I failed the challenge because that's a big part of what it's about for me.

  12. Nice job on helping to spread the news! Hope you have another successful and fun A to Z April.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  13. Great post for those wondering about doing the A to Z Challenge. I have a theme or rather two to choose from = dartboard choice or methodically working out if I can do all the letters. Good luck, Tasha.

  14. Yes, I'm participating, my fifth year as well. Hoping to get a handle on my theme early so I don't repeat last year's fiasco of 'writing on the fly'. Just picked a theme yesterday. Great advice doing half by April. Good luck to you in the challenge!

  15. I am preparing posts for my 5th challenge on Sue's Trifles Last year I also did the challenge on Sue's words and pictures

  16. I have my theme and have roughed in through letter S. Lots of pictures. I've done travel every year so no surprise if I do it again. The surprise will be if I don't.

  17. Yep--I'm in! Themes I've done in the past couple of years are Healing Crystals, Magic Words, and Creepy,Crawly Critters from Folklore. This year, I'm trying something new--a serial story. It's a fantasy with witches and curses and romance. Keeping this one PG with 300-500 words per post with a link to the Story so far so new readers can easily see what's going on. Almost finished and ready to begin scheduling posts.
    So Excited to share it.
    Sorchia from Sorchia's Universe

  18. I'm most definitely taking part again, with both of my blogs. All the posts on my main blog are written and edited, and I'm creating the posts for my secondary blog this month. I've got themes for both, and am really looking forward to revealing them. Since my secondary blog is a names blog, it's kind of obvious what the theme will involve, but the exact type of names won't be revealed until 20 March.

  19. I have not decided yet if I am taking part. I have so much going on right now both online and real-world that posting everyday and doing the hop part will make it difficult.

    I love coming here though everyday!

  20. Lovely post Natasha; very helpful tips for a newbie like me. I am really looking forward to be in this challenge this year!


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