Blog Challenge, WisdomWednesday

[ #WisdomWednesday ] Decoding AtoZ

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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:

H – Halitosis High

J – Japanese Kalbelia

K – Kathakali

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!!!

My advice

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.

Other Bloghops

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.

Some like MondayMusings are weekly while others like Gratitude Circle  is once a month while some are an annual challenge like Bar-a-thon with the most unusual prompts.

Dear Blogger,

Hello! Welcome to #WisdomWednseday with Zainab and me. Both of us have been wanting to start something beneficial to our blogging and felt that there are times when we wish to tackle a certain topic; Like:
1) do a blog hop but why and which one?
2) Points to keep in mind writing a review – book/movie/food
3) how to approach brands / people for posts?
4) blogging journal?
You get our drift…………………….…………………..
If these and many such other questions plague your mind too then come join us in this linky that we aim to do on the 2nd Wednesday of every month where we will ask one such question and look for other bloggers to advice their method of madness while working on it.
Linky Name: #WisdomWednesday
Linky Open from – 12:00 A.M. on Wednesday 14th Feb to Midnight on Tuesday 20th feb 2018
Topic – A to Z blogathon
1. Include the line : This post has been written for #WisdomWednesday with Shalzmojo SlimExpectations & include the attached badge somewhere in the post. Link up with any one host.
2. Read/comment/share on the hosts post and at least 2 others. Please ensure the comments are meaningful with constructive criticism. Share on at least one social media and if using Pinterest, pls post on the blogshare board of Shalzmojo here –
[ Pin your creative on this board and re-pin 2 other posts ]
3. Follow the hosts on Twitter  Shalzmojo   &  Slimexpectations 
4. Use #WisdomWednesday in your posts and while sharing on social media
5.For lack of an image, you could use our wisdom Wednesday poster
6. Pls note no plagiarised/copyrighted info to be added in the post; be it text or pics. Mention source with permission if using other than your own.


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29 thoughts on “[ #WisdomWednesday ] Decoding AtoZ

  1. This is a very good idea. I think all bloggers will surely benefit from it. All the best for this new start 🙂
    And I really admire people who take part in A to Z every year. I did it only once and I can appreciate how much effort goes into it 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Naba; I think I have become an addict for this challenge 😉 I loved it so so so much! The interactions were such a high and people write such amazing stuff; my mind opened up to new blogs/topics and writers.
      Yes its a whole load of effort but I think its very very worth it.

  2. I agree with creating the creatives etc. well in time. It took me longer for that than to write the post itself. I did not know about the gratitude circle sounds good 🙂

    1. Yeah the creatives can be prety taxing as they take a whole load of time. I am trying very hard to come up with my theme, so that I can begin the process.

  3. This is a great idea, Shalini and I can see the timing of your post is perfect for all those keen to take part in this year’s A-Z! I know how prior planning helps as I’ve done the challenge once before. All I can say is your readers are going to love this topic esp the valuable tips you’re listing out in detail here. Good luck with the blog hop, Shalz and Zainab. All the best! I’m looking forward to catching your posts though not sure if I’m going for A-Z this year!

    1. Thanks so much Esha; planning to see you in my next month’s bloghop as the topic will appeal to you for sure. Thanks for appreciating this month’s post- AtoZ has been on my mind since the year started and I have already started headbanging my ideas though nothing has stuck with me so far. Thank you so much for your good wishes and I hope to see you in the challenge too 🙂

  4. I participated in the Yeah Write NaBloWriMo in 2015. I must say, I had no idea about the whole thing so did not get enough posts being either too long, or not very exciting. I also did not indulge in a lot of networking.
    However, last year I decided that this year I would definitely participate in the A to Z and prepare in advance. So, I have begun working on my posts already and hope to complete it all before April 1st! 😛
    Keeping fingers crossed!

    1. I did NaBloPoMo in 2016 November and had a ball writing for an entire month; its the max I had ever stretched myself and since then I have become a fan of blogathons. Its not just the length but the content which matters the most; I htin kyou should definitely do the AtoZ- maybe centre it around your doodle love…. All the best for the preps; I am headbanging for a theme that will make me happy; still at it!! Looking forward to catching you there. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Vasantha. I am glad this was helpful for you! All the best for the challenge and I do hope to see you there.

    1. This year when we do do it, lets chat and plan in advance and boost each other up; I am looking to have a support group of 8-10 bloggers on a WA group to enable us to boost each other and make sure we stay on track!
      And yes WP is something I love too, so so glad I started out on this when I began blogging!

  5. Honestly, this is THE kind of post I was looking to. Know and insights to face very first A-Z, so far seems like I am on right track. But tummy has numerous butterflies fluttering around.
    Just bookmarked this post, and I know whome to reach when ‘in-distress’ now 😉

    1. Arrey just ping me for some headbanging; it will be good for me too. We will hear out each other’s ideas for the challenge and figure out the themes, etc. Kinda like a support group.
      Thank you so much for dropping by in support of our blog hop!! Means a lot ot us Dipika!! 🙂

  6. I took part last year, but it was a bust. And I’m yet to finish those posts. But my first attempt, led me to publishing my eBook. The challenge for sure gives you a high, helps you get to your true potential and a great way to connect and bring in more traffic too!

    Some great advice here! I am still undecided if I’ll participate or not. Few ideas brewing so let’s see.

    1. Hey there – I hope you do give it a go this time around; I will be there to boost you if you life. Lets be each others support to get through it! I wanna headbang for the ideas as I am still limping over format and style of writing. Got the theme sorted so thats a relief. Lets do it Aditi!!!

  7. The AtoZ is my all-time favorite blog hop! There are some great tips here and I am looking forward to my sixth year this April!

    Lovely bloghop idea, Shalini! Looking forward to reading the posts!

  8. Great advice Shalz. Yes I met these wonderful bloggers too during last years A to Z you included .This year I’m giving it a miss because like you said writing is one things and reading yet another . I just don’t have the time to devote solely to this activity .
    Look forward to your A to Z posts this year.

  9. This is such a fantastic post presenting the AtoZ Challenge.
    This coming one will be my fourth and I feel like backing everythign you said. Especially doing as much as possible of the work in advance. That will leave more time for networking, which is what makes the difference in the end. I’m already researching my theme, but I might as well follow your advice and start preparing the template for the posts. It’s true, that takes a lot more time than one would think.
    So I’ll see you around!

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