You might already be aware, either because I’ve mentioned it on Twitter, or you’ve noticed the big orange widget on the sidebar, that I’m participating in the “Blogging from A to Z April Challenge” again this year. “What in the name of sweet Cadbury’s is that?” you may ask. Let me save you a click on the aforementioned big orange widget. The “Blogging from A to Z April Challenge” is a blogging challenge that entails writing a post every day for the entire month of April–excluding Sundays. A letter of the alphabet is assigned to each day (April 1st = A; April 2nd = B; April 3rd = C; April 4th = D, etc.), and each blogger uses that letter to inspire the day’s article. Why exclude Sundays? Because there are 4 Sundays in April, and 30 days (the number of days in April) minus 4 days makes 26 days. There are 26 letters in the alphabet, so that makes one for each day. This also honors those who don’t like blogging on Sundays, and it gives us all (readers and writers) a break.
While the challenge states you can blog about absolutely anything, there are some ground rules. First, you have to incorporate the day’s letter somehow–even if it’s a proper noun. Second, your blog posts need to be at least 100 words long to show you’re at least breaking a sweat to do this. I mean, a challenge isn’t a challenge if it isn’t somehow challenging! You don’t have to come up with an overall theme for the month, but some find it helpful. Last year, one blogger (Kimberly) did an alliteration challenge, where she came up with an alliterative sentence for each day based on that day’s letter, and challenged her readers to come up with better ones. I recall someone else used mythical creatures as their theme.
Last year I challenged myself with coming up with either a flash or a short story every Monday, using the letter of the day to inspire the title. This gave birth to Bloodstain, Hourglass (one of the best short stories I’ve yet written–IMO), Nightmare, Tortilla, and Zoe. In fact, for some of these titles, I asked commenters to make suggestions, which was a lot of fun.
I’ve yet to formulate a plan for this year, but this much I do know: I’m going to limit each post to 500 words maximum. This will be a great exercise in word economy, and push me to be clean, concise, and creative in my word choices. I also want to repeat the Monday story challenge, which, combined with the 500-word restriction, means I will need to come up with flash stories based on the letters A, G, M, S, and Y. Beyond this, we’ll see…
Have you thought about participating? The sign up is still active. Last year, over 1,700 people took part, and they’re hoping for a lot more this year. Check out the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge blog for more information. And if you want to read some of my posts from last year, check out the archives on the right (go to April 2012).