The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Getting Organized for the #atozchallenge


      Todays post was inspired by a post by Lynn at Connecting Stories.  That post is actually a few years old, but just as relevant now as it was then.  Take a look at Lynn's post and see if you suffer from "Organizationitis".

Getting Organized

       I'm one of the worst people in world when it comes to being organized.  I've got my systems, but they don't always look so good.   My office is chaos and I don't even want to talk about my garage.  I do have my moments of organizational genius, but things in my everyday life are often in shambles--or would at least appear so.

       One area of my life where I tend to do pretty well organizationally speaking is blogging.   My last few A to Z efforts have come off very smoothly due to structure and planning.  Since the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is an event, I plan it much like I would plan a trip, a party, a meal, or anything else you are expecting to happen within a designated time frame.

        Trip planning is something I've always been meticulous about.   In part this is due to my years of travelling.  I like for things to go without a hitch so I can enjoy the scenery and not worry about the trip details while traveling.  When I've planned well I'm better prepared for surprises if the unexpected awaits around the next bend.

         In the same way the A to Z April Challenge has a destination and a schedule so I start with a roadmap and a calendar.   I'll decide on my theme in January or February at the latest and then wait for the ideas to come.  When those ideas start popping into my head I'll start a post prescheduled for the date on which it will appear.

         Another way to start ahead is to put placeholders for each letter on the designated day on your blog composition pages.   If you happen to get inspired you can go ahead and write posts in those reserved dates as they come to you.  Or you can set aside a portion of each day to come up with an April post or at least part of one.  Sometimes I'll sit down on a Saturday or Sunday when I've got time and write several posts.   I don't know about you, but when I get on a roll I can sometimes crank out several posts at a sitting.

        Once you've got a post that's completed then go ahead and schedule it to post automatically on the day you want it to.  If you've started this process in February or even before, you'll find that prior to April's arrival you'll have all of your Challenge posts done.    When your blogging chores are already finished come April then you can cruise through the month and have plenty of time for networking and visiting the other participating blogs.   It really takes a load off when you do it that way.   How else do you think I managed to manage four blogs in the previous two years' Challenges?

        And one of the many positive benefits of participating in the April Challenge is that you'll likely establish the habit of preplanning posts in your regular blogging.   A to Z can make you a better--a more efficient--blogger and writer.  If you're using the excuse that you can't participate in the A to Z Challenge because you don't have time, scrap that poor excuse and just sign up to the list.  Start your posts now and you'll find that you have more time than you thought.   Getting organized to blog through the alphabet is your key to successfully winning the Challenge.

         Have you decided on your A to Z theme yet?   Do you set up your letters ahead of time and fill the posts in prior to April?    What are your organizational strategies for making the April Challenge go more smoothly?

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  1. There's never enough time for networking!
    I have my theme and am designing my posts. The Challenge portion will be written and html formatted before April, although I won't schedule them until the night before due to what else is in my post that day. (News is difficult to plan or predict.)

  2. Planning is a MUST for a successful stress less challenge.


  3. Hello again Arlee, I did the challenge last year and actually made it all the way through with two blogs but, I have to admit, it was quite hard to finish. I do like having that banner as a badge of honor on my blog but I still haven't decided whether to commit to it again.

    Laughing at Life 2

  4. Bet my garage is worse, haha. Seriously, scheduling posts ahead of time definitely makes it easier to participate in the Challenge. Your advice here should definitely be taken to heart.

  5. I still haven't decided on my theme but when I do, I'll outline my posts in my planner and then write them in March. I didn't do all that ahead of time the first year and it was very stressful.

  6. I came up with a theme a few days ago, but it wasn't until yesterday that I determined that it COULD work. I spent many hours trying to fill in something for each letter, doing research, etc. I can't believe I am saying this but my April is looking pretty darn good!

  7. Remember to keep a back-up of your posts. The last thing you want is a glitch and... poof. I lost all my scheduled posts that way once.

  8. I always impressed by bloggers who take up the A-Z Challenge. Too much for me. But I'll visit when I can.

  9. Alex-- True about the time, but at least preparing ahead gives you a better handle on the time you have.

    Yvonne-- The preparation can eliminate a lot of stress I've found.

    Shawn -- Experience counts. If you do it again I think you'll probably find yourself slipping into the routine rather easily.

    MJ-- I'm sure there are worse garages than mine, but my wife might not think so.

    Susan GK -- In the first year I didn't plan anything, but there were also only about 100 participants. I was definitely flying blind--stressful a bit, and very time consuming.

    Robin -- When you start into it sometimes it's difficult to drag you away if you're like me. My blogging energy builds and I don't want to lose the momentum.

    Jennifer -- That's a good point. I never back them up and I've been lucky so far. Now you're making me think.

    LD-- Oh, come on, LD. You can do it! Bite the bullet and sign on.


  10. I've done the A-Z for the past two years and both times in nearly killed me. I WILL be more organized this year. Thanks for the tips.

  11. I have four of the five comment context posts already scheduled, though I may change H. Picked topics for 19, but still need to write them and pick the rest of the topics.
    And I've started following you.

  12. These are all terrific tips, Lee! It's incredible how you're able to host, as well as juggle several blogs at once. It looks like this will be a record breaking year for A to Z!


  13. I did A-Z last year and had a great time. This year I'm still debating exactly what I will do but I have an idea. Your experience has given some great tips on organization. I'm actually a career pantser.

  14. I agree planning the posts in advance is well worth the time and effort.

    My theme will be along the lines of "A Frolic in Fashion and Flowers."

    I'm No. 75 on the list. I'd like to help but I'm limiting it this year to preparing my posts and visiting the other participants.

  15. I have a couple of ideas on what kind of blog posts I want to write for the A to Z Challenge. I've set up blog posts with each letter, so that is a start. I also signed up today to be a volunteer for team Stormy. That gnome is so cute! : )


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