Saturday, February 07, 2015

Learnings from the A to Z Challenge

April might not be the next month but the sign up list for this year's A to Z April Bolgging Challenge is open. You can take a look here. Isn't that badge really cool? 




Last year after much coaxing and deliberation I participated in the Challenge. I shy away from everyday monthly challenges because, well because they require posting everyday for one whole month. By the end of the month you find yourself dying to get out of it and the quality of your blog posts goes down too.

However, the April A to Z Challenge turned out way more fun than I'd imagined.

Sharing some of my learnings from the experience. If you've done it before you know them all. If you're a first timer you might find them useful.

1. If I were to give one single advice to a first timer at the A to Z Challenge it would be SCHEDULE YOUR POSTS. The Challenge isn't just about writing. It is about visiting and discovering other blogs, about making friends and coming away with a wealth of reading material. If you have your posts all done beforehand you have the luxury of reading and commenting on other blogs.

2. KEEP THEM SHORT.. 300-500 words. This is a toughie for me. I found myself constantly struggling to chop my posts if they exceeded the 500 limit I'd set myself. However people are blog hopping like crazy and have many many posts to read. Keeping it short gives you a better chance of being read.

3. HAVE A THEME. It helps you focus when you're in the 'what to write' phase. Contrary to what it seems, broader the canvas more confused your thoughts. What's better, like many bloggers, it might result in a book later on. Last year I'd talked about 26 of my favourite authors. Before long people were trying to guess what the next alphabet would bring and then I started leaving clues and began to announce the names of people who'd guessed right each day. It turned out to be fun.

4. STICK TO THE CHARACTER OF YOUR BLOG. Make sure your posts resonate with the character of your blog. That's one big mistake I made last year. I am essentially obsessivemom here. Of course I also have a passion for reading. People who dropped by only during the A to Z Challenge would assume this was a reading/book related blog. Once the challenge was over and I went back to blogging about the twins with an occasional book review thrown in they had a right to be disappointed. It would make sense not to deviate too far from the original character of your blog.

That's it. Those are my learnings. I do hope I can push myself to take up the madness this year too. It's fun in retrospect.

Do share your suggestions please, anything to make it easier, more fun. I could do with help.

16 comments:

  1. Lovely tips all! Yes, agree about the blog niche. Keeps it engaging. Good luck for this year!

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    1. Thanks Shailaja. Found yours pretty useful too.

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  2. Thanks for the tips Tulika as I am considering too and I agree with what you said at the beginning about it! ;) <3

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    1. Good luck Elly. It'll be fun, I promise.

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  3. Agree with all the tips and suggestions. Scheduling and keeping the posts short is my mantra too. Havent decided on the theme as yet, but cant wait for the mad fun to begin! :)

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    1. Thanks Shilpa. I remember your 55ers last time. They were so good.

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  4. I agree with all the suggestions here. This time I will participate only if I have my posts scheduled. Else the struggle to complete will just make the quality of posts to go down!

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    1. Oh yes, it becomes quite a struggle.

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  5. I agree, scheduling the post is important. I need to get started with it. Haven't figured out a theme yet.I actually found all your book reviews very informative. Few are already in my 2015 reading challenge list.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed them Rajlakshmi. Hope I can find something fun for this time's challenge too.

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  6. bookmarking this... havent yet officially taken up the challenge but I do have my eye on it and wish to do so... this post is a necessity for newbies like me

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    1. Looking forward to your posts Roshan. It'll be fun.

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  7. You have given tips to handle the challenge of posting daily without diluting the quality of the posts and keep them interesting at the same time.But the bloggers who do not join these challenges are to read daily all the blogs of the participants.Some write long posts.The tendency is to skip a few for what of time.These month long marathon challenges are ,in my view,tiresome like test matches.Best is to go for challenges lasting a week like T20.

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    1. I quite agree with you KP. They do get tiresome and the quality of your posts goes down too. However if you write them beforehand over a period of a month or two you can ensure quality. And it does get in some amount of discipline to your blogging. To that extent it's a good experience. And the excitement has to be felt to be believed. It's like you're part of this massive worldwide community together with hundreds of people. A great experience.

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    2. You must know better for I haven't participated in any such challenges.The bottom line is one should enjoy what one is doing.Thanks for the response

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  8. Hi Tulika,
    This is a very helpful post for newbies like me. I am attempting the AtoZ for the first time this year and am also relatively new to blogging. I am kind of nervous, but also excited for it to start. These pointers really help. Thanks :)
    -Shantala

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