I aten’t dead…

…just really busy.

I haven’t forgotten about this blog, but there are several other projects that are taking priority at the moment.  One of these is my other blog Fiction Can Be Fun, which I share with @Debsdespatches and  where we showcase some of our fiction based writing.  Others are based off-line – but which I hope to be able to share in due course.

One, however, which will lead to a month long series of posts, is my prep for #AtoZ 2017. For those who haven’t come across the #AtoZ challenge before, April is dedicated to a series of posts that are linked by the alphabet.  For many bloggers this is the highlight of the blogging year – there is a great community spirit with much support for newbies and most people will try to write their posts well in advance ( or at least draft them) in order to spend as much time as possible in April reading the ~2000 blogs that have signed up to the challenge.

It’s the signing up that has caused some consternation though.  #AtoZ has been running for many years now, and like Topsy, it has grown.  It started off as, with most challenges, as a semi-idle speculation – could it be done?  When the answer was ‘Yes’, the challenge become a project, with rules.  Rules, naturally require a team to enforce them.   It’s not quite as sinister as I’m making it sound!  Afterall, the only prize is the satisfaction of completing the challlenge.  But the internet being what it is there are people who try to post links to sites that are just there to advertise things, and there are of course people for whom life intervenes and it is not possible to complete the challenge.  So the team that runs the challenge regularly check the sign-up list in order to remove sneaky advertisers and links to sites that miss more than the occasional day of posts.

I got sucked into #AtoZ last year (and you can find my collected posts on how to write a thesis here).  Whilst I didn’t look at as many blogs as I would have liked last year, I did find some real gems that I continue to follow.  This was enabled by the mechanism of ‘linky lists’ which meant that everyone who signed up went on one page.  This also required you to commit to a ‘genre’ as it were, which had the advantage that you could find much more easily things that you might be interested in (or avoid things that you weren’t).

The team has been having a think. Unsurprisingly, the popularity of the challenge has made the current process unsustainable.  This means that this year there is no sign up list. As I said above, consternation: consternation to the extent that the post where this news was delivered is now up to more than 150 comments (some in agreement, some understanding but bewailing the alternative mechanism that has been put in place, and some saying the system works leave it alone).

We’re still waiting to hear how it is going to play out, but for my part I am expecting some sort of middle ground.  Certainly the proposed alternative, which is to put a link to the post of the day in the comments of a daily post on the #AtoZ home page is unlikely to work for me.  I will be, once again, having a go and my preparations are underway – theme reveal is on March 20th, so watch this space.  I will be advertising on Twitter, and on the home page whenever I get a chance.  If they stick to the post-a-day plan, then I suggest that it will be worthwhile going back and looking at earlier letters every now and again – if I get the chance, then I for one will be probably look to add links for the days that I mess, whenever I get the chance.


4 thoughts on “I aten’t dead…

  1. I was planning on doing the A to Z Challenge again this year, but I decided that if TPTB are so dead set on changing how the process works, then I’ll wait out a year. I’ve been a beta tester guinea pig one too many times in my life to want to do it again. When it comes to online activities, simple works for me– and linking to another person’s blog 26 times in a month is not simple. One list, simple.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When I read the ‘big news’, it really gave me pause. It really does seem like a massive faff. But I’m excited about my theme, so I’m going to give it a go. I use Twitter so I’ll post on there. But you’re right – I’m not relishing being a beta tester on this.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yup with you both on this subject, in fact I think our posts on the A-Z site were of the “yeah me too” sort Ally. It feels enormously frustrating as I’ve not that long ago found this and am really only just gearing up to be serious about it this year – and the thought of all that linking is giving me pause for thought. I already link to one facebook group of writers and will continue to so do as that is my “community” and I’ve been building up a bit of a community on twitter too. On A-Z I feel fairly invisible. I’ll be giving it a go, but am likely to get link fatigue quite early on. But mostly, it’s the new blogs I’ll be missing out on that I’m so peeved about.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. debscarey, “link fatigue” is a perfect way to describe why I won’t be doing A to Z this year. I’ll occasionally check in on other bloggers, of course. But I’m going to let things roll on without me– and I doubt if I’ll be missed.

      Liked by 1 person

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