I’m not sure what new tips I can give you but I can definitely tell you about my experience.
April 2018 will be my third time participating in the A to Z Challenge and my experiences so far have only been positive. Not only have I always made new writer friends and discovered fantastic new blogs, A to Z helped me produce pieces of fiction of which I am proud. I have since taken down most of my first year’s participation (fiction based on song titles) but my last year’s project, a 26 installment fiction piece called “Living To Die“, is what I am planning on publishing as a novella this year. If you are interested in reading what I posted last year, you can find it by clicking here.
If you plan on participating in the A to Z Challenge this year, I have a few pieces of advice for you to successfully win the Challenge.
Start Early – Though I chose a theme last year and had a general idea of what kind of fiction I wanted to write, I was a “pantser” from 22h00 to 23h59 every night, six days a week with no outline. My only rule was to keep up with the daily alphabet and not fall behind. But writing that intensively made me exhausted by the end of April and I didn’t have the pleasure of reading as many other blogs as I would have liked.
Don’t let this happen to you. Plan ahead and pre-write most of your posts otherwise you will miss out on great reading. Not only do I plan on drafting mine in March, I am thinking about having an Instagram component to it too.
Choose a Theme that Resonates with You – A theme is not mandatory but if you have one, your writing will likely be more focused and inspired.
- Do you love baking and would love an excuse to post recipes according to the alphabet?
- Maybe you are a film fanatic and want to share your favorite A to Z movies with readers?
- And one of my favorites, maybe you are a guerilla gardener who has 26 gardening hacks to share?
Last year, my theme was based on words associated with Hawaii and every post I wrote was linked to it – “malasadas”, “na”au“… My theme kept me on track to my end game (“zori”) and I wasn’t distracted by any other ideas.
Experiment – Take a risk and write outside the box. Write something you normally wouldn’t write. I did and my last project worked out better than I could have hoped. It’s only 26 posts, right? What do you have to lose?
Choose a Theme that Resonates with Others: When others officially “reveal” their theme near the end of March, you’ll get a taste of the blogs you could follow for the month of April and maybe even after the official challenge is over. And if you want others to read your posts, your theme needs to resonate with them too. My trip to Hawaii and all the beautiful pictures I had taken was the reason why I chose that location as a theme. It was only afterwards that I realized that “Hawaii” would attract readers who:
- enjoy travel;
- had traveled to Hawaii;
- wanted to go to Hawaii; and
- those who enjoy fiction.
On my end, I followed lots of themes that revolved around fiction, travel and the indie writing process.
Write Short Posts – I DID NOT FOLLOW THE RULE of writing short posts. And yes, I did receive a few “complaints/constructive criticism” telling me that my posts should have been shorter…that I would get more “hits” and “reads” if my posts were shorter. It was a very valid point BUT getting as many readers as I could was not my main objective. The audience I focused on where those interested in the ongoing journey of Kate. When I write, I write in “scenes”, end a story where it feels natural but at a point that you will be seduced to come back to for more…So if your goal is to get as many readers as possible, yes, you should consider creating short posts. But if your posts touch your reader, they will come back, regardless of the length of your post.
Make a List – As you read through other participant blogs, you will quickly realize that you will need a system to keep track of the ones you fall in love with. Some use a simple Word document, others create a feed in their browser. I am an Evernote freak so every time I encountered a blog that I wanted to follow for the entire challenge I added it to my Evernote “A to Z List”.
Those are some of my tips. Hopefully they are helpful to you.
I strongly encourage you to take part – it has always been a great way to produce. Feel free to drop me a line during the A to Z!