Saturday, February 21, 2015

Pearson Report weighs in on prepping for a challenge.


I remember my first challenge well!

April 2011 was my first attempt at doing the A to Z Challenge.

I signed up on April 1st as I had only found out about it on March 30th.

By letter “C” I had my groove on and was letting the juices flow.

Having no time to prepare for the challenge I was at some disadvantage and my day to day activities did feel the pinch; sleep was lost in the process.

But, By George, I sure had fun!

Is it necessary to have your posts finished and ready to hit the Publish Button well before April?

Some say yes, I say not completely… let me explain.

It is a challenge set forth for the month of April, to be done in April.

So why stress yourself about having everything finished before the Challenge has even started?

Well, I imagine getting organized early falls into a few areas of concern...

finding a theme

          having available time

                    commitment to a job 

                              family obligations

                                        other interests… and so on.

All these affect how much time we spend blogging.

Therefore a little preparation can go a long way in helping us participate in a challenge that has very clear time constraints, without messing up our lives completely. Right?

It’s no different than preparing for your first marathon - you don’t just lace up your runners, arrive at the starting line, and run twenty-six mile without some preparation.

Key word here is “preparation”, so when April 1st rolls around you can enjoy the process of “doing” the A to Z Challenge because you are ready, organized, and prepared for it.

Now, that being said, I LOVE winging it - this for me is the true challenge. Can I go the distance and post spontaneously for each of the 26 letters, one day at a time?

What are your “preparation” strategies for this upcoming A to Z Challenge?

Are all of your posts finished and ready to go? 
If so, what will you be doing in April? 


Happy Blogging,  
Jenny

32 comments:

  1. I'm not a winger, which must be related to a pantser. . .To me the challenge is to see if I can find enough information and content to fill the A to Z slots. I'm an information hound, I guess. I also like a theme, which fires my imagination and makes the research fun. This year I am using less research but still using a theme I can run with. I like to keep my theme a surprise, others like to do a 'reveal'. To each, his own way. I didn't think I would be able to do the A to Z this year with my added responsibilities but by prepping in advance, I think I will. So there's how I do it, Jenny.

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    1. Sounds good, DG - I'm all for prepping. If one has a theme I think it's important to have some sense of how it's all going to play out. I'm looking forward to what you've got up your sleeve. :)

      Thanks for stopping by, been thinking of you and sending happy thoughts your way. xxoo

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  2. This year I am planning! I did my first A-Z challenge last year and winged it having only signed up the day before it began.....this year will be different. I have plenty of time, I will be thinking of a theme and then picking topics and making notes. Oh yeah, this one will be awesome!

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    1. Hi Donna, welcome to Pearson Report. Way to go with winging it last year!
      As I said to DG, above, if a theme is involved it makes good sense to have some prep work done. I'm looking forward to dropping by and checking your blog, and your posts, out.

      Cheers, Jenny

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  3. I will get my posts done before the challenge as I could not do the posts plus everything else...I would sink for sure. I have my theme and it will the same as last year since I enjoyed that theme so much. I am new to this so I tread water slowly..I never jump in:)

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    1. I'm smiling - I can't picture you sinking. Seems like having a theme is the choice of most bloggers. I'm the lone holdout - but for some reason I just do better with finding something the day before each letter and going with whatever comes from it.

      I'll look forward to reading your post and seeing what your theme is all about.

      Cheers, Jenny

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  4. I have a them picked. I have some days already "assigned" their topic. I spend time thinking about my them in general. But I have not pre-posted any either. My family knows that April I retreat to the challenge. Live with it and deal. If I start thinking long enought about one particular days topic, I might go ahead and type it up while the mood is upon me. Yet, I tend to write in the moment. And most likely half or more of my posts will be written the night before.

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    1. Hi Barbara, Yay, a night before gal! My kind of blogger, heheheheh. I think having some idea of where one is headed, theme wise, is a good thing, but it's also fun seeing where the mind takes us if we choose to go with the flow.

      I'm looking forward to seeing what you have in store for us. :) :)

      Cheers, Jenny

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  5. I did the Challenge in 2012 and 13. Both times, I worked to theme and have topics assigned and at least some posts written before April. That helped lighten the load enormously.

    In the end, I found the biggest commitment was not the posts themselves, but all the visiting and commenting throughout the month. That is what I keep in mind these days, when I decide whether or not to take part. Posts are relatively easy, but I'll only sign up if I know I can do justice to the other participants.

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    1. Hi Ian, I'm going to second you on the time commitment to visiting and commenting. Coupling that with actually posting the day is done. Now, throw in a life and it can really take its toll on everything. :) :)

      I almost think May should be the designated "visit" month. So April is all about getting the post out there and then May would be the "lets go visiting and do some reading".

      As an Ambassador I will be doing my share of visiting and reading, but won't have the pressure I did in 2012 as a Co-Host. Even so I know it will be a busy month - that said, I'm up for the challenge and the adventure. Might do me good to get out and about again.

      Thanks for stopping in - and I do hope you join! (pretty please, with sprinkles on top - hahahaha) :) :)

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  6. You started your first one like I started mine - winging it. I plan now. At the moment, I have almost every post written for the Challenge.

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    1. Getting a theme does seem tempting - but there's something about grabbing something out of thin air and running with it that has always appealed to me.

      Ahh… dare I say it must be because so much of my life is so tightly structured and wound that this is my way of rebelling… the other option would be a one way ticket to Australia to visit a good friend and really run! LOL

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  7. I don't play the A/Z Game .... but as far as planning posts go, sometimes I have stuff planned, other times I just write where I am in that moment.

    Blogging comes easy to me and I don't stress about it. It's a blog, and I'm here for the FUN.

    Cheers, boogie boogie, and good luck in the AZ game.

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    1. I bet you'd come up with a great little "in the kitchen" theme and rock this gig like nobody's business… just sayin' :)

      Yes, you do seem to have FUN over at The Happy Whisk and I love the short, high energy, funny posts you generate. They keep me coming back for more.

      Cheers, Jenny

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  8. I'm big on planning. Everything has to be done before deadline. We tried flying by the seat of our pants before and it makes things really difficult. Plus, the writing/comedy suffers. This, more than anything, is why A-Z isn't in our favor. It's already hard enough planning out one post a week. Planning out one post every single day makes my eye twitch at the very thought.

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    1. Planning is good - I have soooo much of my life planned out that this winging it is my brief rebellion each year. Given I missed it last year with my epic, still ongoing, renovations I'm in double rebel mode.

      Thing about doing this April A to Z is it revitalizes my blogging energy and I feel present and accounted for. My version of a legal high! LOL

      For those that plan their post out months in advance I say "good on you" but then I wonder if when the actual challenge arrives if they miss out on a little of the "day of the marathon" rush.

      Anyway… in this sort of thing it really is a personal choice - to plan, to wing, to just sit back and read… it's all good. :) :)

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  9. This is not for me this year as you well know. I wish you luck with it and will be following! Thank you for the awesome comment on my blog post too. Very sweet of you. Hugs !!

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    1. Your plate is mighty full, I agree, what with helping Ray with his website, twitter and shows you have lots happening. And, all of it extremely exciting to boot.

      Re the comment at your place - well deserved it was… you are the BEST!

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  10. Winging it can be a fun way to do it. I enjoyed that approach in my first Challenge. With four blogs going though the planning is essential if I want to do much social networking.
    Thanks for sharing the advice from the perspective of experience.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    A Faraway View

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    1. Hi Arlee - seems many of us first timers did the winging it thing and many have since gone way of the preplanned post. I can fully relate - it is certainly saner, and helps when you have more than one blog, as you do.

      I tend to want to get this info out because lots of new challenge participants start to panic thinking it's a lot of prepping, planning and whatnot, when really it's all about having some fun. And, if they don't have stuff ready they might think of bowing out.

      My objective it to share my experience as a winger so others, not ready, will see it can be done, and it can be fun. :) :)

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  11. First year I winged it because I was like you, I signed up just a few days before the challenge started. Last year I had all my posts written by the start of April; just fine tuned a few throughout the month. This year I have the theme and a few already written. Since I also work 40 hours a week, I know I need to keep somewhat up with posts beforehand so I can enjoy visiting other blogs during the challenge :) So looking forward to this year's challenge.

    betty

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    1. Hi Betty - welcome to Pearson Report.

      I'm semi retired so I do have a few extra hours - that said I don't know where they go. I used to get more done when I worked full-time, I guess I was better organized.

      I have a feeling if I ever came up with a theme I would most definitely do some planning and preparation as you and so many others are doing. I admire the commitment that takes. Winging it doesn't have that added pressure, but it comes with a whole host of others.

      Ah, the joys of having so many options. I'm looking forward to visiting you, now and during the A to Z. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Jenny

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  12. This is my second time to take part in the A to Z April Challenge, and this time, I'm ready. I decided on the theme last May. I've selected 26 topics and written most of the articles. I'm looking forward to April.

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    1. Hi Romi - welcome to Pearson Report.

      I'm please you're doing the A to Z for a second time - it's fun, isn't it?!
      Wow, you decided on your theme last May - that's cool! Now I'm curious - will you be doing a reveal with everyone else or will it be a surprise?

      Either way, I'll be dropping by and checking you post out. Cheers, Jenny

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  13. Dear Jenny,

    I remember when you first did this challenge in 2011. It is so awesome that you have continued. Every time I visit your blog, there is always a feeling of joy. It's in your writing and in your photos. Lucy is such a sweet baby cakes! Give her tummy rubs for me. Happy writing Jenny!!! xoxo

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    1. Hi Lisa,

      Thank you so much for dropping in and visiting. You've put a big smile on my face. Gosh, where has the time gone since 2011? You've become this amazing artist and I'm busy writing up a storm. Seems we are both pursuing our passions. :)

      My dear Lucy is getting on in years, 15 in March, and yes, she is such a sweetie pie - I love her to bits. She gets lots of tummy rubs but I'll tell her one is specially from you. :) :)

      With smiles and happy thoughts, Jenny xxoo

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  14. My preparation strategy is to start in March, which will mean:
    1. Suspending work on new posts at Penwasser Place (hideous repeats coming your way) so that I can have Challenge posts "in the can." As opposed to "on the can." Because: ewwwwwww.
    2. Suspending work on "It's An Adventure." But, that's okay, because the thousands of dollars I'm getting in royalties from "Shag Carpet Toilet" and "It's Not Just a Job" will keep food on the table. NOTE: This is a lie.
    3. Don't bathe.
    Okay, Mrs. Penwasser may have something to say about #3.
    In any event, only a couple new entries at Penwasser Place until April.
    And maybe a bath.

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    1. Whoa… in this corner we have "preparation" man, and in that corner we have "by the seat her pants" gal… the glove drops, the challenge is on… yikes, where's a good Haiku when you need one.

      Okay, don't bathe, my laptop isn't smell enhanced, yet, but poor Mrs. Preparation - have some heart. (sorry, I"m unable to find mine otherwise I'd break of a piece, black and mouldy, and share)

      I'm soooooo looking forward to April now that your in the fray.

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  15. Last year was my first year (and maybe my last haha) to do the A-Z Challenge. I was also a co-host. I thought I'd be smart and plan out all my posts but I started to get burned out and took a day or two break between writing them then it turned into a week and before I knew it, it was April and I only had half of them done. But, I still finished it. Glad you're doing it again this year.

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    1. Noooooo, not your last. Me and Al won't stand by and let this happen.
      Co-Hosting can take a little of the bang out of the buck, that said, it also adds to the excitement.
      I enjoyed my stint back in 2012, I'm enjoying being one of Arlee's Minions, the pressure's not so intense.
      I'll wing it again - seems that's the way I roll with this sort of a challenge.
      I sure hope we'll see you posting for it - you have a way with putting it out there.

      Hugs, Jenny xxoo Good to see you out and about in Bloggerville! :)

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  16. Love this post! Thanks! I'm one of those wing it girls, though I've given it more thought this year than last, I will do most of the work during April, as I think it is intended. See you during the A to Z Challenge!

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    1. Hi Stephanie - welcome to Pearson Report.
      I just grinned ear to ear reading you're a "wing it girl" - YAY!
      I agree with you, I think it was intended to be something one did "during" the month of April, not eons before. I get it though, with themes it is hard to wing, and with the pressure to visit I see where bloggers can even get discouraged.

      I'd love to see April as the "write it" month and May as the "read it" month - that would take some pressure of. LOL oh to take pressure off, wouldn't that make life a tad easier.

      Thanks for stopping in. Cheers, Jenny

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Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

I'd give you a penny for them, but alas we just snuffed it out. Yup...gone!
It's all about the nickel now...so at this rate you can leave 5 thoughts!

Cheers, Jenny

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