Mar 15, 2013

Why I won't do A-Z, but you probably should.

I'm not actually a participant this year, but I couldn't find an A-Z silent-supporter badge.

A-Z is a popular blogfest held every year in April. It started out as writers joining together to support and follow each other in 2010, but has now expanded to include bloggers of many topics. The idea: You are challenged to blog 26 times in one month, starting with an A theme for your post and moving though until you hit Z. Here's some good reasons to sign up:
  • This gives a sense of deadline, you be amazed at how productive you can be with your blogposts when you know you have to get one up almost every day.
  • For new bloggers, you'll gain a LOT of new followers. Back in 2010 I gained at least 100 new followers in the month of April. This was a big deal for me, I think I only had about 60 followers at the time.
  • You'll discover new blogs that you'll want to come back and visit again and again.
  • You'll improve your writing skills from all that practice.
  • It's a great sense of community.
Now you're probably thinking, if it's so good, why don't I join up this year? Fair question. I thought it over and here are my reasons for not participating in the A-Z for 2013:
  • Rules and me don't mix. I'm a bit of a hippie and want to feel free to post on Sunday and miss Tuesday, I might also mix up the letters. This seems to irritate others.
  • I don't sign up for bloghops that stick to one time zone. I live in Australia and post my Monday post when it's Monday here. I can't be bothered checking the time difference and adjusting. And I don't like to schedule posts. I like to write them and click send.
  • While I LOVE getting new followers, I don't want people to feel obligated to follow because I stopped by their blog. Also, last year I found myself following a lot of blogs that were not on topics I'm interested just because it seemed the right thing to do.
  • But mostly - I have a lot of writing to do. I'm rewriting two novels, working on short stories for submission, and participating in an anthology. I'm also putting together all my activities for the children's writing workshops I run. In the past I've found I get no writing done while I try to keep up with all the posts. It's not just writing the posts, but visiting the hundreds and hundreds of blogs.
So there's my wrap-up. I'll just blog once a week as normal during April, but I will cheer you all on from the sidelines and get to as many blogs as I can. Good luck! To sign up for A-Z, click the link below:


  1. Hi Charmaine

    "I live in Australia and post on Monday when it's Monday here..." I love it. I remember you telling me about the rap over the knuckles you got a few times for being out of sync. If you don't like rules, you aren't a good fit for the A - Z. There are even more this year.

    It's not so much the posting that is exhausting, it's being fair and visiting lots of blogs. On the days I didn't get to visit other blogs last year (and let's face it, we have a real life), I got very few comments.

    Pre-scheduling a month's worth of blog posts isn't really teaching us what the original idea was - to learn to blog every day. But blogging every day is a bad idea IMHO - that means you expect people to visit every day and I don't think I'm that important, not even for one month of the year.

    But it's not just one month - the blogs have been quiet for about a month now as people are busily preparing their posts for April, then April is a frenzy, then May is quiet again as everyone recovers. Hmmm.

    Like you, I'll post once a week and work on my writing projects. Three years is enough for me!

    Happy Writing!

  2. I think the A-Z sounds fun, and I wish I could participate. But one post a week is enough for me; I don't think I could come up with that many posts in one month. It's interesting to read what the others come up with, though.

  3. Yeah, I don't care about the time zones either. The A-Z sounds like a good writing exercise. I might give it a whirl.

  4. Hi Charmaine!

    Lol! I post when it's Monday where I am, and I also can't be bothered to check time differences!

    But I do look forward to reading everyone's entries.


  5. It's quite time consuming but still quite fun. Whether I'll feel that way by the end of April, I don't know.

    Moody Writing

  6. If I had so many writing projects I wouldn't do it either. Unfortunately the way my life is now, I'm looking to generate material I hopefully can expand later. I may try to pursue only the sames characters this year and see what happens. As a fiction writer, A-Z works best for me that way. Good luck with your novel and thanks for visiting me!:)

  7. AS I am relatively new to the blogging world I signed up for A-Z, but this post settles it for me. I just can't swing it--followers or not. I get way too focused and consumed with writing a blog and can't imagine doing it every day for a month. (And I have not done it ahead of time which didn't feel right to me.)
    Thanks for sharing your feelings. It really helped to make me decide what I need to do.
    ~Just Jill
    (from the nut-tree)

  8. Enjoy the writing time! That's a perfectly valid excuse to support from the sidelines. ;)

  9. I can definitely see your reasons for not participating, especially with all the writing you need to get done.

  10. Thanks for the heads up! I'm thinking of using the months following April to save up posts then participate next year!

  11. You've piqued my interest in A to Z now... I'm not sure that i can keep up with the grueling schedule, since I've just started a new job (albeit part-time) but it does sound like a lot of fun and a great way to meet new bloggers.

    That said, I can totally understand how blogging would take time away from your writing projects. I always feel way too much guilt when I don't respond to comments or return a visit from one of my readers. It's tough to strike a balance and sometimes you just have to take a blogging break and get to work. I think blogging 1x a week is a good idea, too.

    Good luck with all your writing projects!

  12. I'm being a silent supporter too. I'd find it difficult (but not impossible) to do the posting part but I'd never keep up with visiting all the other blogs. I don't think it'd be fair to invite lots of people to comment and follow on my blog when I know I won't be able to return the favour to more than a few.

  13. Hi, Charmaine! I did the A-Z Challenge last year and had a lot of fun with it. I only had one blog then. I now have two blogs and not doing well at all with posting to them even once a week, so I decided against participating in the challenge this year. I will gladly stop by the blogs of those participating to show my support.

  14. The A-Z Challenge is amazing. But it's not for me. Like you, Charmaine, I'd rather work on my stories. But I enjoy dipping in and out of the blog fest, and I salute those who find the time to take part.

  15. It's super cool of you to promote A to Z when you're not doing it this year. This is my second year at it and I agree that it's not just the blog post writing that consumes one's time in April. To stay true to the spirit of the thing, visiting as many other participants' blogs as possible is a must.

    I saw an increase in followers during last year's A to Z too. Out of curiosity, are there other times/events in which you've noted a spike in your follower count?

    1. Thanks :)

      I've gained followers from the Insecure Writers group hosted by Alex Cavanaugh and from a Google+ community I creates called Writers' Blogs - all writers and authors with blogs are welcome to join, we have over 400 members.

    2. I haven't dipped my toe into Google+ yet. Thanks for the tip, Charmaine.

  16. Thanks for all the great comments and support - maybe A-Z does need a silent supporter badge after all!

  17. Reading this late. I didn't participate it either, mainly because, like you I don't do well with rules. Funny. I also don't want people to feel obligated to follow as well. But I am looking forward to reading a few entries and enjoying the posts. I'm glad someone else is OK with not participating but still enjoying!

  18. I'm another who isn't joining in the challenge this year, I'm working on producing more writing. It's a good blogfest to try, to prove you could blog every day. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  19. I kind of liked that you were in a different time zone from me (MN USA). You seemed to be ahead of the game! Still, it makes sense to sit this one out if you're super busy.

    Play off the Page