What is AtoZ
I first heard about the AtoZ blogging challenge in 2016 when I noted a few fellow bloggers discussing it online. Intrigued, I followed their conversation and came to know about this extremely fun-filled and unique blogathon where one has to post for 26 days in April, barring Sundays. The point is to write a blog starting with the first alphabet (A) for day one and then progress down till day 26 to the last one (Z). The topic of the post is up to the blogger and usually folks choose a theme to blog about and maintain continuity in their posts throughout the marathon. Bloggers from all over the world join in this fest.
A week or two prior to the start of the challenge, the participant need to post an announcement entry, detailing their intent to participate, their theme and what they will be focusing on.
You can catch my Theme Reveal post for April 2017 AtoZ here
To be or not to be
When I did my research, the toughest thing that jumped out to me about this blogathon was the fact that one has to read daily and the more you read, the better it is for you to sustain yourself in the challenge. So besides posting daily (barring Sundays) the reading time has to be scheduled in too.
So I joined in the April 2017 challenge and had a rollercoaster time. I loved the traction on my blog (more than 100 views daily) and came to network with some awesome writers from around the globe.
I would highly recommend taking part in this blog fest; if only to check out what others around the world come up with in terms of theme. I read such awesome travel writers and am a fan of their work till today.
I am looking forward to joining in this April once again and you can check out more deets on how to join here
The trick is
So in essence one needs to write continuously for 26 days and read voraciously too. The AtoZ organisers have social media handles and support on almost every platform and sharing your posts daily plus connecting with others postings is made quite easy. I am going to share my tips for the challenge as these helped me to be prompt in posting and reading as much as possible too.
- I would say choose a theme as per the main category you love to blog in and then design your 26 posts around that. I chose Travel as my theme and category and wrote about my experiences of traveling in India and the bizarre, funny and amazing things I came across during that. In essence my theme was “to sift through my globetrotting pictures (past/present) and pick out those moments which remained etched in my mind long after the bags were unpacked.”
- Besides the 26 posts, there is one theme reveal post (to be posted prior to the start) and one Reflections post which is done at the end of the challenge. So all in all there are 28 posts. I would suggest to fix a theme and develop frameworks of the 26 posts by first week of March. This way you will be sure that you can maintain continuity in your posts through out. Any doubts can be sifted out now.
- Schedule drafts of 26 posts by fixing the header image, badge, mandatory links, etc – this is a lot of work and if its done well in advance, one saves a lot of time while writing the actual content. All of this is made available when the challenge is announced. So keep an eye open for this and download all the relevant stuff beforehand, align it in your media gallery and set drafts.
- Choose a posting time and stick to that schedule – this is the most helpful tip that I can give as I found that folks who don’t post at the same time daily, lost readership. I had set my reading schedule as a certain part of the day and if by then the posts were up from my favourite ones, I would read them. If not, then that day was skipped for me.
- Sort out all the graphics, posters, photographs, quotes, etc that you intend you beautify your posts with, well in advance. Chances are if you start hunting for them later, you might just abandon writing for that day.
- Writing ahead leaves you with enough time to read daily. I managed to stay 4 posts ahead and could catch up on my reading and writing in a steadfast manner.
- I read about 30 blogs daily – yes that’s a lot but I dedicated a discipline to it which I found helped me pace my reading through out the day. With folks being on different time zones, I divided my reading time accordingly.
- While reading others, spend enough time to pursue their content seriously and leave comments that make sense to them. Dont be in a hurry to read just for the heck of reading. Also share the post on at least one social media. This challenge is all about quid-pro-quid and maintaining some good blogging etiquettes will get you everywhere.
- While writing, dont drone on and on. Keep it short and simple. Remember everyone is going to be reading as much as possible and if you are writing a tome; chances are either peeps will just glance through or skip reading your eventually. Keep it to 500 words and stick to it for all your posts.
- Choose a writing time and stick to it daily – no skipping that at all.
- Do not forget to make an e-signature to be added onto the comments you leave on others blogs- this way folks can find out your post of the day easily and visit by simply clicking on it.
- Interact with your readers and reply to your comments; if not daily then use the sunday break to do so. I found I lost interest in blogs where my comments went unacknowledged.
- Loads of people went on to publishing e-books of their 26 posts; I am yet to do that and yes that’s something to think about at the end of the challenge.
- Last but not the least, network with other bloggers and stretch out of your comfort zone to read and know more.
Some of my favourite posts from April 2017 AtoZ are:
Some of my Fav bloggers from the challenge are:
Simply Marquessa fictional journey of a woman dealing with the end of her life by living every moment left, is stunning in expressing emotions and made for a compelling read for me. (I hated the end though!!! 😉 )
Sanchie explored the myriad poetry forms by composing poetry pieces on each of them with such poetic licence that left me in awe of her mastery at this literature form.
Kalpanaa ‘s blog on everything divorce was a catharsis for me to read and helped me offload some baggage.
Leanne’s midlife ramblings are so full of wise words and practical advice that its made me look forward to midlife now 😉
Shailaja for her brilliantly chosen oxymoron and then a 100 word fictional tale spun around it – each and every tale did justice to her chosen O-moron!!!
Go ahead and read up on last years posts and reviews. Judge for yourself how dedicated you can be to this blogfest for it really eats up your time. I would say do it once; at least start and see how it goes for you. There is no prize for completing it as there is no judgement for not – it’s a personal thing.
I love blog hops as they let me expand my writing prowess. I love to read what others are writing on the same topic and its interesting to note the difference in the POV.
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