Why YOU should consider doing the #atozchallenge, but why I’m not . . .


Last year, I participated in perhaps one of the most insane and LARGEST blog hops/fest in the blog-o-sphere – the A to Z Challenge. (You can read all of my posts from 2012 here.)

It was equally two things for me:

1. The most informative experience I have ever had.

2. The most frustrating experience I have ever had. (In the blog-o-sphere. There’s not much more frustrating than my RL problems right now.)

Why (especially if you’re a new blogger) you should participate in the A-Z Challenge:

1. You get a MASSIVE amount of exposure. Some of my followers (and some of the people I still follow) I met through the A-Z Challenge last year. This is invaluable.

2. You get used to producing content. The only time I have ‘slacked off’ on content here on the blog since that challenge was this past summer while we were moving and my computer time was VERY limited. However, if at all possible, pre-write as many of your blog posts as you can. Choose a topic early. Choose a topic you ENJOY.

3. If you haven’t done so already, this will force you to organize whatever system you use for reading/following blogs. This is an INVALUABLE skill.  Just to give you an idea: I have almost 200 blogs I follow currently. Do I read every post? Absolutely not. Do I comment on every post that I do read? No. But I visit almost all of them regularly. There’s probably only a handful of them that I don’t comment on regularly, or HAVEN’T commented on at all, and none of those are writing-related ones. Those would be my fun blogs that I follow (like some cooking & urban farming blogs).

4. It will force you to meet new people you may not have considered interacting with before – even if they’re blogging about subjects that aren’t your specialty. And isn’t networking and creating relationships why most of us are blogging in the first place?

The difficult part:

1. It is a major time commitment. Plan to spend a couple of hours a day reading blogs and/or commenting. Especially if those bloggers using blogspot have forgotten to turn off  the spam filters.

2. Coming up with 26 posts can be hard. Especially if you’re interested in, *cough* ahem, NORMAL things. It was easy for me to think of 26 fantasy-writing-themed posts last year. But I would be hard-pressed to come up with 26 topics for, say, budgeting. Even though budgeting takes up a major portion of my life, and I consider myself quite skilled at it. But it DOES force you to think outside the box – another invaluable skill.

And, honestly, those are the only two difficult things I can think of, which is good!

Why I’m NOT participating this year:

1. I’m tired. It has been an INSANE year (12-months, not 2013 alone), and I’ve churned out more fiction and more personal energy that I’ve had to in a long time. There is no way I could handle browsing that many blogs right now.

2. Sign-ups have only been open for a few days and there’s already almost 600 blogs! Erm, that’s a bit more than I can chew off at this point.

3. It’s going to coincide with the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo this year. And . . . I’ve been doing NaNo for far longer than I even knew about the A-Z Challenge. And there’s a few books that I really want to get written this year.

So, are you participating in the A-Z Challenge this year? Will this be your first time, or are you a seasoned veteran, or somewhere in-between the two? What are you going to blog about?

If you’re not participating, why? Do we have any of the same reasons?

(Author note: I reserve the right to change my mind. Because I have thought of an EXCELLENT series of A-Z posts that would work perfectly along with Camp NaNoWriMo. My compromise is this: If I get all the posts pre-written before April, I can do the challenge. Otherwise, I’ll pass.)