The Blogging from A to Z Challenge starts in less than 3 weeks, and I’m looking forward to it. And I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of you there. But, I’m sure there are still a few of you who are holding out, so I’m going to give you ten reasons you ought to try the Challenge.
- If you’ve been thinking about blogging, A to Z would be a good way to try it out. If you’ve been reading blogs for a while, and have been thinking, “Hey, that looks easy,” or “Wonder what it would take to run a blog like that one?” now’s your chance to try it out. The easiest way to find out is to set yourself up a blog (either at WordPress or Blogger) and sign up for the challenge. If you do it today, you’ll have 19 days to come up with a theme. Or, if you can’t think of one, just join anyway. I went last year without a theme, and just because others have a theme doesn’t mean you have to.
- If your blog has been dormant for a while, A to Z will get you back into it. So, you have this blog sitting out there, and haven’t posted to it in months. Maybe even years. You’ve been feeling the urge to blog again, but aren’t sure how to start? Start with the Challenge!
- A to Z is a great opportunity to learn new things. There will be hundreds of bloggers doing the Challenge. They’ll be writing about writing, gardening, endangered species, science fiction, places they’ve been over the years, psychology, food, bugs, baseball, travel, just about anything you can think of, and probably a few things you hadn’t even thought of. All of these give you a chance to learn something about those topics, or more about them.
- A to Z is a great opportunity to show what you know. You’re a veritable encyclopedia of something. Maybe it’s your job, your hobby, dogs, cats, barbecue, whatever. You know things that people want to know about, and it’s something you can share with them.
- You’ll make new friends from all over the world. Most of the participants are from the United States and Canada, but you’ll also meet people who live in the UK, Ireland, Germany, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and probably other places. You’ll go visit their blog, they’ll come and visit yours, and before you know it, you’ve made friends. And you didn’t even have to leave home to do it!
- It will test your creative skill. Coming up with a list of words or terms that start with each letter of the alphabet that relate to a topic is hard to do. But fun. And, some of the words are going to take some thought as to how to present them. You can do it! You know you can! You’ll find ways to come up with words that start with the really hard letters, like Q, X, and Z. You might have to come at it from the back door, use the word as a jumping-off point for the thing you really want to write about. In my first Challenge, I took the NATO spelling alphabet (alpha, bravo, Charlie, etc.). There were days I had to really think about how I would handle a word. “Sierra” became a post about Jack Webb; “tango” was about one of the early sabermetricians. That’s the fun of this.
- It’s a good way to write a story. We have a lot of writers that do the Challenge every year, and they’ll decide to write a story, using each letter as the first letter of each post. We have others who use each letter to start a poem. Say you’ve said to yourself, “One day, I’ll write the Great American Novel!” This could be where you start.
- It’s a way to network with other bloggers. As you meet new bloggers, you’ll find out that they have lives away from the Internet. Maybe you find a few who do the same thing you do. Or, maybe you find a few who do what you’d like to do. Maybe they live where you’ve been thinking of living. Or, you just meet people who can commiserate with you. Maybe you know someone you can put them in contact with, or they can do that for you.
- It’ll give you a sense of accomplishment. This will be my fourth year doing the A to Z Challenge, and one of the things that keeps me coming back is the feeling I get when I’ve written 26 posts built around the alphabet and an idea. It’s a great feeling, knowing that you challenged yourself, and were up to the challenge.
- It’s a lot of fun. This is the highlight of my blogging year. And I’m sure it’s the highlight of other bloggers’ years. I visit some blogs and see that the only activity they have are the 26 posts in April, but they’ve done the A to Z Challenge every year. They might not be into blogging, but they’re into this challenge. They like the camaraderie, the competing against themselves, the idea that they’re doing something that 2,000+ other people are doing.
Still not sure? Okay, visit the FAQ’s, read some of the entries on the Challenge blog, take a look here to see who else is doing it, and, if there are any questions I can answer for you, leave them in the comments below. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does. Fair enough?