The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Let's Get Real!

That's a Lotta Blogs!

          As the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge roster nears 300 sign-ups, some of you may be looking at the list and thinking, "How am I going to visit that many blogs each day?"

          The answer?  Truthfully?  You won't!   Not unless you have some super fast computer and have nothing to do all day but visit blogs.  Very few of you have that luxury and even if you did, would you be actually spending much time on each blog and leaving decent comments?

Spending Quality Time

         We have often seen it in the other blogfests, challenges, and other events.  In one day or two we feel obligated to whiz through a list of blog participants and leave abbreviated stock messages on the level of "that's nice".  Of course, I do see many fine and fun comments, but I'm just saying and I think you know what I'm saying. 

          The beauty of a month long blog event is that you can face the reality that a daily grind of trying to visit every single blog in the challenge and leave your rote response can be a grueling ordeal that would be difficult to sustain for too many days.  Diffusing the networking over a month long period allows you to settle into more of a blogging as normal mode except with more choices involved. 

Getting to Know You

           Since we still have a few weeks ahead of us we can start visiting the blogs on the list and see who's going to be doing this.  Get out there and mingle a bit and see what others do.  You'll still have your favorites, but now is a great time to get to know some bloggers whom we have heretofore missed--some of these may be the types of blogs that you have been looking for.

           Check out a few new bloggers each day and don't forget to follow them.  And if someone new stops to visit and follow your blog, be fair and visit and follow them back.  It's not like you've made any major commitment.  If you find out later that you absolutely can't stand a blog that you have followed, you can always unfollow later, but that's a post for another day.

Try a Blog Workout

           Think of the April Challenge as a marathon.  You don't want to just wait until April 1st and just dive in.  I highly recommend that you start warming up with stretches and calisthenics.  Run through the A to Z sign up list and see how many blogs you can realistically visit each day. 

           One weekly event that I've tried just to see how fast I can go through a number of blogs and leave short reasonably inventive comments is a weekly feature on MizB's Should Be Reading called Teaser Tuesday.  Some of you already participate in this one.  Participants leave a two line teaser from a book they are reading.  If I have absolutely nothing to say about the teaser I just move on, otherwise I try to come up with something clever or unique to say.  If the blog looks interesting enough I may linger  and I may even follow it. 

          You can find many of these blog events and probably have your own favorites.   Many of you are currently honing your networking chops with Rachael Harrie's Crusade.  This is a excellent opportunity to get a blog workout. 

          Another event coming next Monday February 28th is DiscConnected Super 8 Debut Albums Blog Hop.  In fact, I'll let you sign up below.  Come on music lovers --how about jumping in on this one!
Here's the list:

You Can Handle the Truth!

           The truth is that the April Challenge is going to involve some creative thinking on your behalf.  It looks like it may be an impossibility to post six days a week and visit all of the other blogs.  And what if there are 300, 500, 1000, or more blogs?  How can you possibly do that?  Well, that's why it's called a challenge.  You can do it if you set your mind to it.  Don't let this intimidate you.  Meet the challenge head on, and if you start preparing now it will probably be much easier that you thought.

            Today Alex J Cavanaugh will be featuring fellow A to Z Team member Jeffrey Beesler with some ideas and encouragement that should be useful to you in the Challenge.

           In the coming weeks, the A to Z Team members will be offering posts to help you blog better, write better, and to get you revved up for the April marathon.  We want to help you get into shape.

            We also want your input on what you recommend.   What are you doing ahead of time to prepare?  Do you have any favorite types of blog events?  Do you feel intimidated by the April Challenge?  If so why?  Is there anything special you would like help with?




  1. Looking forward to discovering some new blogs. Should be fun.

  2. I fully intend to participate in the April A - Z challenge, but my blogger widget bar has stopped working so I can't add the logo! I will continue logging in to it to see when it's up and running again.

  3. Ditto, can't wait to visit some new blogs. I think I'll start now, like you suggested, and have a quick peek at some of the other talent out there :)

  4. I am looking forward to the challenge and you know me Lee will try and visit as many as I can, but to be perfectly honest why should I bother? I have come home and a few of the regulars have visited me most of the others haven't. I have worked hard to keep account of my time away and pics to compliament the poems but I seem to have "Lost" many of my regulars.
    Also people sign up as followers and either they haven't got a blog or they don't bother to come back despite my getting in touch.


  5. I'm all about this. A bit nervous, though. Not sure if I'll have something to say 'letter' appropriate. LOL Examples would be nice.

  6. Even as a non-participant, I was interested from A-Z of your tips on the challenge.

  7. Arlee, I will take you and Alex to court if the number of visits to my site and number of comments there falls down during your AZ :)))
    I've already hired some nasty lawyers.

  8. Sounds like a lot of work, I hope it all goes well and that you have fun doing it!
    Love Di ♥

  9. I think that's everyone's biggest fear right now - how are they going to visit all of those blogs? You're right, they can't! And we're not expecting anyone to do so. But if everyone visits a couple new blogs a day, over a month it is possible. You encouraged that last year and it worked great.

  10. I'm getting geared up for the challenge, have my list of words ready. I came in on it late last year, but not this time around. I LOVE IT!

  11. Dropped over on a recommendation from Porky's Expanse!

  12. The idea is to connect with like minded individuals and not to pressure ourselves. I'm looking forward to it :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  13. Great advice about starting to explore the blog list early. I know I'll never be able to visit every blog during the event, but it's a good opportunity regardless to find some new bloggers to follow. Then come event time, I'll be able to quickly visit many of the participants.

    My advice is to start creating your posts now. You guys gave everyone ample time to start thinking about it, which was really great, and I've already got my theme. The great thing about Blogger and others is that you can compose and schedule posts, so you don't have to think about them once they are done. And if you haven't started, it's still a month away. One Letter post a day and you'll be done before April.

    Me? I plan to have everything scheduled for posting by the end of March. I want to spend my time in April reading everyone else's entries, not rushing to write my own to meet the daily deadline. :)

  14. I’ve been unable to convince myself to participate, but I plan to make use of your tips and workouts anyway.

  15. Austin--That's the spirit! Have fun with it.

    Rebecca -- Blogger has been doing a few odd things of late. Try it again and I think it will eventually work.

    Steven -- Starting now will get you settled into some blog communities that suit you best.

    Yvonne -- I think I will plan on writing a future post related to your topic. But over all I wouldn't worry about it too much if I were you. Do what you did last year in the Challenge and what you've been doing and I think it will turn out fine. Commenters will come and go, but as long we are each doing our jobs of posting we are meeting our personal challenge.

    S.A. Larsen -- Be creative. Make the Challenge into what it means to you. There were so many different individual approaches last year that it was exciting just to go around and see how everyone approached the letters. I frequently just go thru the dictionary and find a word or some words that make my mind start working. Once you start it should be pretty easy.

    Ocean Girl -- The tips that the A to Z Team members will be giving should be equally applicable for all bloggers whether doing the Challenge or not.

    Dezmond -- Maybe we can have an out of court settlement.

    Diana -- You'd have fun too if you did it with us. It's not really that difficult if you just have fun with it.

    Alex -- Like in a marathon it's a matter of pacing. Everybody needs to know their limits and just relax and have a good time.

  16. Bish -- That's what we all need to be hearing and using your approach as an example.

    Angry --Hope you're joining us! I be by to check out your blog and see what Porky did as well. Thanks for you comment.

    Jules -- You've got it right. This is meant to be a fun challenge and not like a job or something you'll be graded on. Just do your best and see what you can get out of it.

    Liz -- Right-o! Writing up your posts now will take that pressure off so you can focus on the networking aspect of the Challenge.

    Jane -- The A to Z Team will be offering plenty of great blogging tips, many which you've undoubtedly heard before, but they're always a good reminder. I not writing just for A to Zers.

  17. Well...

    I've planned the topics for my posts.

    I already post 5-7 days a week.

    I've followed about 150 participants that I have never seen before.

    I hit about 150 blogs a day... So I'm thinking that I can alternate who I visit...


  18. I'm not at all intimidated by this (or all the other many) blog challenges - I used to sign up for them back when I was a novice blogger trying to gain readership and brand-name awareness. But now I know my limits as far as what amount of time and energy I can pour into blogging and still be a responsible caretaker of all the other life and career matters that I need to tend to. Getting my next book written, for one.

    So, hats off to the challengers - I WILL be watching along some, with interest - I see there are some great bloggers in this one, and intend to catch a few I don't know yet, too. You guys GO FOR IT!

  19. "Maybe we can have an out of court settlement."

    I'm listening ... :)

  20. I'm still trying to decide whether I can post 6 days a week during april, or if I'll stick to my 3 day schedule. I need to think about it some more...

  21. Hey Arlee, I'm a new follower and I've signed up for the A-Z challenge. I haven't been this excited about a writing event since NaNoWriMo. It's going to be awesome! If you fancy dropping by my blog and joining my blogfest, here's the link:

  22. I'm looking forward to meeting some new folks through your challenge Lee. I met so many last year :)

  23. I'm sure all the participants will have a great time and gain many new followers. Good going, Arlee.

  24. I'm going to have a realistic attitude and visit a particular number each day, plus a few new ones. That's the fun part-discovering new blogs!

    And, I'm trying to think of things for each day and write down some notes.....

    This is gonna be like nano, but different :)

  25. Misha -- That's some pretty impressive blogging. I'd say you're in good shape for the Challenge.

    Marvin -- It's important to know our limits and adhere to them as best we can.

    Dezmond -- I'll contact you later.

    Lynda -- You can do it I tell ya!

    Tizzy -- Your blogfest will be announced on my next post. Welcome to the A to Z Challenge.

    Jemi -- There's a lot of new faces showing up on the list so far.

    Carol-- I think you are correct.

    Words Crafter -- Like Nano with no novel.

    Scarlett-- I'm sure you'll do great!

  26. I think I tried a blog/fest/hop/challenge, once before an' came away with wounded wings. However, I have enjoyed readin' your tips an' learnin'. Who knows? I might jus' get out that ol' fightin' spirit again. Stranger things have happened, right? Thanks for the invite.

    ~ Yaya

  27. I'm looking forward to the challenge but I'm also being realistic. There is no way I can get around all the blogs and all the posts. In addition, I'll also be responding to people who visit me. So, here is my advice:

    1. Visit all the blogs before April and find the ones that appeal most to you as a blogger and writer. Which ones do you have more in common with? This applies to which you choose to follow as well.

    2. Work out a weekly plan that ensures you visit your normal blogging friends and the new ones. Set a target for each day.

    3. Visit the blogs of those who visit you - return the favour.

    If all that becomes too much, remember you have Sundays off, and you can always take a time-out if you've prepared some posts before April!

  28. I definitely feel intimidated by the challenge! I want to sign up, but I'm afraid I'll fail miserably... oh sigh.

  29. YaYa -- If you at first you don't succeed, yada-yada... Don't let those first attempts discourage you. Each hop will teach you new things about blogging until it all just becomes easy as whatever you find easy.

    Ellie -- You have said this well. Thank you for some great tips.

    Faith -- Don't worry. There is no failure in the Challenge. It's just you trying to do something and if you don't do it then no big problem. Consider it a stepping stone and a time to have some blogging fun. Hop on board with us and don't feel intimidated.

  30. I have a question about it...I'm new, please forgive me....

    Say with 300 participants,....are we expected to visit each blog Daily (all 300) to see the posts?

    If, that is indeed a challenge! lol

  31. Varmit -- As I said above, it comes down to settling into a community of bloggers with whom you feel most comfortable and flitting among those. Hopefully you will visit everyone at least once (and now's a good time to start) so you can get a good idea of who's out there--blog titles are sometimes deceptive. But on a daily basis, each participant has to find their own comfort zone and work within those parameters. Don't let it stress you too much--just have fun with it and take home as much as you need.

  32. I just signed up and I must admit - now I'm thinking, "why did I do that?" But it does sound like so much fun: first the creativity of the A to Z posts, and also the fun of meeting other blogging writers! Now I just need to figure out this Google Friend connect thing :)

  33. I'm looking forward to this challenge and I'm definitely going to give it my all.

    I have to be totally honest, though, that I don't just follow blogs willy nilly and I don't follow people only because they follow me. I follow blogs that have something compelling about them, that make me want to come back. I just don't have time to follow everyone, as much as I would love to.

  34. Belle --Don't think about "why?" just do it and have fun. Not sure what kind of help you need with the Google Friend Connect, but you'll probably figure it out okay. But I'm always willing to try to help if I can.

    Karen -- I tend to reciprocate a follow to my blog out of blogger etiquette. I unfollow when my comments are repeatedly ignored and someone shows no interest in me or my blog. If I find that I am totally uninterested in a blog I may unfollow if I have followed them. Following via friend connect doesn't really take any time, only actually following in the physical sense of visiting and reading takes time. Right now I "follow" about 800 blogs, but I only actually visit maybe 200 or so on a somwhat regular basis.

  35. I've signed up and I've now managed to add the blogfest icon. I'm looking forward to meeting some new bloggers.

  36. Hi, Arlee! I'm happy you're hosting the A-Z challenge again. I started my blog last year a couple days before April, and I was so confused by all the alphabet posts! I didn't understand blogfests and things like that at the time, lol. I'm a seasoned blogger now, so I'm super excited to participate this year!

    Have a great week! :)

  37. Rebecca -- Thanks and start making the rounds!

    Laura -- I know what you mean. Last year's challenge really taught me a lot about what was going on with blogging. Glad you're back!

  38. This is my first time doing anything like this, and I have to say that I am very nervous and intimidated. I am not a great writer and I am worried about coming up with 26 ideas. I am trying to plan ahead, and utilize the automatic posting (thanks for the tip) so that I hopefully won't get stumped!



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