Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The comprehensive and slightly odd guide to the April A to Z blogging Challenge (again)

As part of my A to Z retrospective. . . .  I wrote this last year and it might help, no honest its not me being lazy but I am sort of busy and have this DAMN A to Z thing to write. All about some mad Victorians who never actually existed, I mean I have twenty six of them to make up  . . . . I may have the wrong theme, which neatly leads us into what I wrote last year . . . . . . so have a read, you know you want too. . . . O YES YOU DO . .


Over the last couple of years I have had a go at the rather popular April A to Z blogging Challenge, the brain child of a Mr Arlee Bird, which just sort of took off (No pun intended Mr B). Anyway I have always gone slightly over kill at this, but then that is the nature of me and my blog. I will give a few examples in a bit.  One thing about this challenge though is if you are new to it, it is difficult to know what to expect, as you will see and hear things both for and against.  So this post is here to help you get to grips with what to expect during April and beyond.

First it is not easy unless you already post on an almost daily basis, as writing blog posts takes time and if you don’t have the time you will be doomed. So if time is limited make sure you write your posts well in advance.  Then there is much talk of themes and should folk have a theme or not and is it easier. Well the key thing to remember is the theme is the alphabet from A to Z, surprisingly (to me) many blogs keep the A to Z component of this challenge really loose and will maybe just have a nod to the letter in the post title. Say if you were writing about chickens and you cant think of a chicken for M you can just have a blog title that says . . . . More Chickens . . . . . Then never use the letter M again in the post. 

Why did the chicken cross the road. . . . .
To get away from the A to Z . . . . .

HAH AH HAHAHH AH HAH HA HAHHAH AH ha ha ha ha ha ha.

However I, as I have already said,I have always gone slightly overkill with the idea, which is why last year (2014) I was a little more chilled and  created . . . . . . The A to Z of Aardvark based nonsense poetry . . .  well it was all just one long nonsense poem as it happens, and  got a bit stuck at the letter A. This year (2015) I am back with The A to Z of Unknown Victorian Inventors and Explorers (Oooo its turning into hard work)
What this shows you is that you can create posts about almost everything and anything as long as you can sort of get some sort of link (however loosely to the days letter of the alphabet).

Next and also rather important is don’t (unlike this post today) make your posts long.  OK you might love the History of Cheese in Post Revolutionary China and its Context in Improving Urban Heath, but the chances are 1000+ words per letter of the alphabet on this will not grip the masses in quite the same way (I know it’s a shock, but true). So keep things short (ish) and if you must, just sneak in the odd longer post. So say in general 100 to 300 words and maybe the odd one at 500. I know you really want to write loads more, but leave that till after the A to Z; think of it as a promotional jolly for your blog rather than detailed info for the converted. OOOOOooooooo yes pictures are good too but be aware of copyright issues so try and use your own. (You think you have problems I have to draw twenty or so new inventions that no one has invented yet)

OK lets assume you have a good theme and manage to get all the posts done, having worked hard every night for weeks, long into the dark. You’re on the list along with about 2000 other blogs.  You are all keen and expecting hundreds of visitors and comments and many many followers who will heap praise on you and say you are a genius ( just so you all know I am a genius).  Well it might happen, but will probably not happen and there are reasons for this, very good reasons. Firstly I am not a genius . . . . . . sorry I mean you are not a genius (I am a genius).  You see everyone doing the A to Z and managing to hang in there and keep up to date is rather busy posting and trying to keep on top of the fact they need to post every day. Then on top of that, are you really going to spend hours visiting other blogs reading the blog and then writing a comment  . . . . I mean there are like 2000 of them we would all need time machines to do stuff like that, it is not possible and anyway I am a genius not them they are rubbish and know nothing about Chinese Cheese or Chickens that begin with the letter M.

So do not expect more from the A to Z than realistically it can deliver, do it until it starts to stress you out. It is after all a bit like a fun run yes good to finish, but not if you slip and break a leg. You do not need to try and run the next 10 miles or drag yourself along the road screaming. Just walk away and do your own thing. You see some folk feel they must finish at all costs and having finished find they have two more followers who never comment ever again and they get disheartened and stop blogging entirely. Your Blog after all is your Blog for you to enjoy and if others do too then Brill, if you don’t enjoy creating it then it is time to think of using that time for something you do enjoy like eating cake ( I like eating cake).

One final point there is much talk of following loads of blogs so they follow you back and then you have loads and loads of followers, this is OK if it is what you wish, but I would say (this is just me) don’t do that just follow those blogs you really enjoy.  Think to yourself how many blogs can I realistically keep track of. I for one would rather have lots of page views than lots of followers who don’t actually follow. There are a very small number of bloggers who will follow almost every blog on the A to Z  purely to get you to follow back I have two or three from my first A to Z who have never commented since, I cant see the point for either them or me.

I could say much much more particularly on the state of the Cheese Industry in China, but I will end with a few links (above) to a couple of my previous A to Z posts. They, as you will see are a bit extreme, but it might just help you with ideas, but remember do what you are happy doing and enjoy it. . .  Please do not burn yourself out it is after all just a game. . . . .

I guess I could also mention I am working behind the seems as one of the Back Room Boys again this year (2015), although due to work and health issues I will be going much slower than last year and I may be just slightly more away with the fairies than I was. . DAMN getting old. . . .


  1. I agree with everything you wrote here about preparing for the challenge and what to expect from the challenge. During last year's theme reveal, I read a lot of the themes and put in my favorites blogs that I thought were interesting to keep up with during the challenge. I pretty much read those blogs for each entry during the challenge, but then at the end decided which ones I wanted to follow afterwards, which were only about maybe 5-10 of them. I think the same happened with me. I got a few new followers that have stayed with me through the year. I rather have low number of followers but have friendships and relationships with them because to me that is the fun of blogging :)


    1. I do agree a few good friends in the strange world of blogging makes it all worth while. In fact I have written this years A to Z with one or two of my regular followers in mind. . . .

  2. Ah, yeah, you have to do it for the fun of it. I have a plain old fashioned blog where I talk about my life, ideas, thoughts, etc. So each year I keep my theme/posts ture to that. Sometimes I even rehash ground I've covered before. But that's okay, because I'm 54 and I'm starting to do that in real life also.
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead
    I am Ensign B ~ One of Tremp's Troops with the
    A to Z Challenge

    1. Well done on helping with the A to Z I suspect I will not be as helpful this year as I am still fighting bugs and stuff.

      My brain is not what it was in the old days and my hands are not connected to my brain that well either now so my typing is terrible.

      As for themes I do love a good theme

  3. Wow, this is the second comment of mine I have had disappear in the last two days or so. Bizarre. I even made sure that it appeared after I pushed the Publish button.

    1. They do that sometimes Mr ESB I blame all this Modern technology, it never happened when I was young. But then I had to use a pen and paper back then.

    2. I am sure I have misplaced my fair share of pens and paper,

    3. A pen will always break your heart. . . just when you think you have formed a lasting bond they run out on you. . . . . . . . .HAHHHHHHAH HAH Ah ah ah aha ha ha ha ha ha ha hah ah ah ah h ha haha ha ha ha hah ah ah ah

    4. I remembered my joke for you that was lost.

      Why did the chichen not cross the road?
      It wasn't a chicken.

      I guess I don't know what it means to be away with the fairies. Is that a good thing? Does it involve microorganisms?

      I watched a documentary about British crop circles. It seems quite silly to me.

    5. British crop circles are/were silly, you dont see them these days.

      Away with the fairies . . . is a way of saying that someone is not entirely aware of what's going on, and may be a little mad in a non harmful sort of way.

      chicken Pi

    6. If a fairy was a little bit mad I wonder if fairies use the expression "away with the humans"

  4. This is one way of saying it. Well, actually this is probably several ways of saying it. Now to figure out what "it" is.

    Please don't bring up "getting old" again. I don't have to be reminded.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. Ooooo I am pleased with my A to Z so far Mr B although it may be of limited appeal.

      I am still watching the A to Z list as I am not on it yet.