Writer’s Workshop: Want A Challenge For Next Month?

I don’t know whether Kat had intended this to be an opportunity to talk about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, but she came up with the prompt and I don’t think she’ll mind me telling you all about it.


I started blogging in 2012, and one of the reasons I started blogging was so I could take part in the many challenges and blog hops that are held through the year, such as Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop. The challenge that caught my eye and made me say, “Yes! I really want to start blogging!” was the A to Z Challenge. I participated that year and have done so every year since, and have been a co-host for the Challenge since 2015. It’s become the highlight of my blogging year.

Arlee Bird, who runs the blog Tossing It Out, was the person who started the Challenge. In 2011, he said “I’m going to blog every day except Sunday, starting on April 1 with a word that starts with ‘A’ and continue through the alphabet each day in April except Sundays until I reach the letter ‘Z’ on April 30.” That first year, other bloggers who know Arlee decided to do it with him. And, as with most of these blog hops, other people saw what they were doing, and before long we had over 1000 people doing A to Z during April.

We started using a Linky to keep track of everyone doing the Challenge, so that people could go out to the list and choose a bunch of blogs to read and perhaps follow during the challenge, and used that up through the current year. This year we’re doing things a little differently, dispensing with the Linky and instead having people check in at the Challenge blog on a daily basis and post the link to their latest entry as a comment to the daily post there. It became a headache riding herd on everyone on the list, some of whom put their name on it only to not do the challenge, others who started out doing the challenge only to quit part of the way through, and there was no way for a person to join in the middle, which does happen.

Most, but not all, of the people who do the challenge choose a theme for their blog posts during the month. Last year, for example, I used portmanteau words as my theme. Other people have used the month to write a novella, write a daily flash fiction or poem, or to do “The A to Z of ______________,” something they’re knowledgable in. Anything’s fair game.

The advantages of doing the Challenge:

  • You find all kinds of new blogs and new bloggers to follow.
  • Likewise, lots of other bloggers find you and start following you.
  • If you’ve thought of stepping up your blogging, preparing 26 articles to post one per day is a great way to start.
  • It teaches you problem solving. On the 24th day of the challenge, you have to find a word that starts with X. Tha’s when you figure out X is the Roman numeral for “ten,” and that X in Greek is the letter “chi.”
  • It is a lot of fun. A lot of work, but a lot of fun anyway.

Sound like something you’d like to do? If so, we’d love to have you along for the ride. If not, there’ll still be lots of blogs participating this year for you to read and follow. Many bloggers will post their articles on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #atozchallenge. Give it a try!

A Simple Theme For The 2017 #atozchallenge

The 2017 Blogging from A to Z Challenge starts a week from this coming Saturday, as I’m sure you know, and today is the day we all reveal the theme we’re going to use, if in fact we’re going to use a theme.

Two years ago, my theme was “words that start and end with the same letter.” This year’s theme is similar to that. It was an idea I got from watching Jeopardy!.

Words that end in the letter after the one they start with

A week from Saturday, my post will have a topic that starts with “A” and ends with “B.” The following Monday, the topic will start with “B” and end with “C,” and so on through the month (except Sundays), until Sunday, April 30 (this being a year that April either starts or ends with a Sunday), when the topic will start with “Z” and end with “A.”

Those of you who have followed the blog for some time know I maintain all my regular features (Monday’s Music Moves Me, Two for Tuesday, etc.) during the Challenge, so you can expect to find multiple posts each day of the Challenge. The Challenge posts will be tagged with #atozchallenge so you can find them in the list on the right side of the page. Also, because of the logistical changes we’ve made to the Challenge this year, I’ll be leaving a comment on the Challenge blog each day with a direct link to that day’s post, as well as updates to Facebook and Twitter which you can find using the #atozchallenge hash tag.

In honor of the occasion, here is a promo from ABC, announcing their fall lineup for Friday nights in 1970…

I look forward to hearing about what your theme is!

#1LinerWeds from the #AtoZChallenge Blog

A shameless plug for the Blogging From A To Z April Challenge. I know most of you are planning on participating, but for the rest of you, if you’ve never participated in the Challenge, here’s the idea:

  • Your post on April 1 is based on a word that starts with the letter “A.”
  • Your post on April 30 is based on a word that starts with the letter “Z.”
  • Each day, Monday through Saturday, the subject of your post starts with each successive letter of the alphabet. April 3 is “B,” April 4 is “C” etc.
  • A theme for your daily posts, one that ties all of them together, is encouraged, but not required. For example, my first year, I used the words of the NATO spelling alphabet, while last year my words were portmanteaus. Some people write a story, using a word starting with the letter of the day to start the post. But it’s not required; a couple of years ago, I just wrote blog posts using random words that started with the letters. A theme is more fun, though, as I learned from that year.
  • In the past, we kept a Linky list where people could sign up to do the Challenge, but this year, we’re doing things a bit differently: There will be a letter-of-the-day post on the Challenge blog, to which you can leave a link to your daily post in the comments. We also encourage participants to use the tag #atozchallenge in their posts and to share those links to Facebook and Twitter.
  • The object of the Challenge is to visit and comment on other blogs, and to have other bloggers visit and comment on yours. Many of the blogs I follow belong to people I met on the Challenge. It’s a great opportunity to expand your horizons as a blogger and get publicity for your blog.

The A to Z Challenge is the brainchild of Arlee Bird, a frequent visitor to this blog and proprietor of the blog Tossing It Out. This is my sixth year as a participant and second (or third, maybe?) as a co-host.

This coming Monday, March 20, is the Great Theme Reveal for the Challenge, when participants reveal their theme, if they have one. The Challenge starts on Saturday, April 1, two weeks from Saturday. Hope to see you there!


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from Post Alpha-Bits cereal, now with brown sugar frosting!

Monday’s Music Moves Me AND A Reminder About the A to Z Challenge Reflections post

A lot of you (me included) who did the A to Z Challenge have already written your Reflections post about all that was good, bad, or indifferent about the Challenge and posted it to your blog. If you have, or if you plan on writing one, you have until the end of day on Friday to add it to the Linky you can find here. Read the instructions that accompany the Linky carefully and follow them. Then, spend some time visiting the posts that are linked there and find out what everyone else is thinking. Thanks!

It’s a freebie day for the A to Z Challenge, and I’m going to make life easy for myself and just post one video. I’d post more, but as you’ll see if you watch it, there are several songs in it. It’s from the Tennessee Ernie Ford Show from April 13, 1961, when Ernie’s guests were the Everly Brothers. Don and Phil do a couple of numbers together, “Lucille” and “Walk Right Back,” then Ernie joins them for a little joking around and two numbers, “Rattlesnake Blues” and “Bird Dog.”

I love this video. Tennessee Ernie Ford was a great country and gospel singer and he clearly was quite fond of the Everlys, and this was just one of many apearances they made on his show.

Anyway, that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for this week.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Stacy, and Naila Moon, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


Index Of All My 2016 #AtoZChallenge Posts

Because I have so many A to Z Challenge posts for this year, I decided to build an index page for both themes. Yes, it’s in reverse order, but it should give you a place to start.