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".
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?