Monday, March 14, 2011

The Origin of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

Everyone welcome the A to Z Master himself, Arlee Bird from Tossing It Out!

Alex asked if I would recount the story of how last year’s Blogging from A to Z April Challenge came about. So, I am here at Alex’s blog to tell the story of how it all began.

It took me nearly three and a half months to reach my first one hundred followers. As I neared that magic number toward the first week of January of 2010, I began to notice how other bloggers would tend to have giveaways or other events celebrating when they had reached a particular milestone number. I had nothing lined up for my first one hundred, but I began to announce that when I reached 200 I would do something. In early January I made it my goal to hit 200 followers by April 1st.

As the end of March neared, I realized that it was a certainty that I would reach 200 before April 1. Then on the morning of Friday March 26, 2010 I woke up to see that my goal had been reached a few days ahead of schedule. Now I had to think of some way to celebrate.

While I took my morning walk, I began to ponder what I might do. I had nothing to give away, so I decided to do some sort of event. I was still posting seven days a week. I decided that this was a factor that figured in somehow.

Continuing my walk I began to think about how April had thirty days, however since I had reserved Sundays as a day when I was posting a Bible Study, that left me with twenty-six days of posts. That thought did it for me: Twenty-six posts! --the number of letters in the alphabet. Why not do a blogging stunt of posting those twenty-six days with alphabetically themed topics? I went home and began to formulate a plan for blogging from A to Z in April.

The following day, Saturday March 27th, I posted my intentions and added a challenge for others to join me in blogging through the alphabet. Since I had never tried a blogfest or anything like it, I had no idea what kind of response I would get. I was pleasantly surprised by the reactions from that first announcement.

The first blogger to accept the Challenge was our dear friend Yvonne from Welcome to my World of Poetry. Then there were more maybes and some more acceptances like the following:

And we all know how that turned out! From that point on Alex and I were blog friends.

After I made my expanded announcement on the following Monday, the sign-ups took off faster than I had ever imagined. In less than a week nearly 100 bloggers had enthusiastically signed up to be part of the Challenge. Most of those who signed up made it to the end and the Blogging from A to Z Challenge ended up a huge success and a remarkable experience for all who participated.

I discovered that a Challenge of this nature gave all of us an opportunity to make new blogging friends and to improve ourselves as bloggers. This is what makes it so special—it’s a way to experience personal growth, and for some professional growth, while having a darn good time doing it.

Thank you, Alex, for allowing me to tell the A to Z story. I appreciate your efforts as well as the efforts of our teammates Jeffrey Beesler, Jennifer Daiker, Karen Gowen, Candace Ganger, Talli Roland, Stephen Tremp in making this year many times better than last. And finally, a huge thanks to the bloggers who have been signing up and spreading the word about the April Challenge. The real success will be credited to all of you!

Thanks, Lee! Visit the A to Z Master himself at Tossing It Out

So, what are you waiting for? You'll have fun. You'll expand your blogging world. You'll make awesome friends like Lee. Sign up HERE!

70 comments:

salarsenッ said...

Thanks for sharing the story of how the first challenge came to be. Trying to figure out April posts now. *shivers*

Melissa said...

Hmm, this is an interesting story behind a very interesting premise. I wish everyone good luck in April!

Liz P said...

I love a good origin story. :)

Just a few more weeks!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's grown so much in just two years!

li said...

I'm already imagining the thousands who will sign on next year!

Matthew MacNish said...

This is so cool. I remember watching last year. It seems like some ideas are greater than the sum of their parts. I think the A to Z challenge may be one of those.

iZombie said...

in the immortal words of "michelle tanner"... "Cool Dude" with a thumbs up...

Jessica Bell said...

Great story! I'm scared of it this year. So many things to do. But I'll do it. I will! :o)

Old Kitty said...

Aha!!!! You're the root of all things A-Z blogfesting thing!!! Yay for you!!! I just know that all who are doing this will have tons of fun and gain tons more bloggie friends!! Yay! take care
x

Arlee Bird said...

Alex, Thanks again for having me hear today. I'll be monitoring in case there are any special questions. But for those who've commmented so far: Thank you for stopping. And just remember it's all for fun, but you can use the Challenge to try to meet your own goals. Don't stress.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Well you learn something ev eryday.
I didn't know I was the first to sign up last year on the A to Z.

Great post Lee thanks for taking the time to write and thanks to Alex for hosting Lee.

Yvonne.

Jemi Fraser said...

I found so many friends through the challenge last year - it's a great event :)

Summer Ross said...

This is my first time signing up for the challenge- but its great to see so many signing up- a little daunting- but hey- we all will make it through one day at a time!

Ciara said...

This is my first time signing up for this challenge. I'm a little scared. :) Do you have a place to look at a sample post or an idea brainstorming post? Thanks! I'm excited!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lee, thanks for guesting here!

Ciara, you can go back to my posts from last year to get an idea. And a brainstorming post is a good idea - I'll make it happen soon.

Karen Lange said...

Lee and Alex, thanks for sharing the story! Have a great week!

Karen Walker said...

Love hearing how this all began. I have a question. Do you try to put blogfest participants on your own blog or only the ones you manage to follow. I can't imagine adding 400 new blogs to my blog roll.
Karen

Angela Felsted said...

. . . and a legacy began. :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Lee, and Hi, Alex,

I signed up right away. I'm really looking forward to it. Since I blog everyday, I hope to have some fun stories to add.


Michael

Nicki Elson said...

Man, Alex & Arlee, I do NOT want to do this blog fest. But I keep hearing about it...and every time it sounds more fun...and now I'm starting to get ideas for it...

Laura Eno said...

I didn't realize last year's was so off the cuff and organized in a week!

Jamie Burch said...

Thanks, Arlee and Alex! It was interesting to learn the story behind this amazing blog challenge.

Still wimping out on this one! Maybe next year. But I'll definitely be lurking. :)

baygirl32 said...

looking forward to it!

Bossy Betty said...

Very cool!!

N. R. Williams said...

That's an interesting story. I'm impressed with the numbers on such short notice.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium, Special .99 through April 30

Talei said...

Ooh, I've signed up!! ;-) It's going be quite a challenge but I shall definitely give it my best!

Thanks so much for the story behind it and for the team who are hosting it. ;-)

Jules said...

Wonderful recant Lee, sounds like maybe a walk would jog my brain :)

Alex, your host with the most :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Arlee Bird said...

Thanks for all the great comments. Here are a few random responses to some of your comments:

Ciara --You can likewise look at my 2010 April archives to see my samples. There are so many ways that you can approach it.

Alex -- A Brainstorming post would be a good idea.

Karen Walker-- Last year I put all the participants in my sidebar where they mostly still are. You'll have to find what works best for you. I'm really not sure how the best way to handle it is though-- it's a lot of blogs to sort thru. That's probably why it's good to get an early start exploring them. Maybe organize them into Google Reader files? I've never done this, but I think there is a way to go about this. I wonder if anyone else has a good suggestion?

Nicki -- It's not a matter of wanting to do the Challenge, you have to do it or you'll regret it later.

Laura -- Yes, it was a very spontaneous idea and it surprised me when I saw how well it was initially received. As soon as I saw the positive response last year I started really pushing it. I'm glad I did.

Jamie -- You'll be sorry if you don't join us. We'll be singing "Jamie's crying". Boo hoo!

Thanks everyone for the great support!

Lee
Tossing It Out

Arlee Bird said...

Jules -- a nice long walk can be good for stimulating thought and ideas. Maybe you should take a long walk--hmmm, maybe that didn't sound right.

Ellie said...

All I can say is, Sign up! Sign up! Sign up!

Thanks for bringing us the A to Z story Alex and Arlee.

LTM said...

Hooray for Lee, and a great name! I don't blog every day, but I'm sure I'll be reading these. Thanks again~ :o) <3

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Karen, I'm following a few, but I'll just use the linky sign up to visit the blogs. Perhaps you'd like to set up a separate page on your blog and post the full link list there? (As it sucks up a lot of load time if it's on your main page.)

Nicki, just do it! you will regret it if you don't.

Thanks everyone for visiting today!

Pat Tillett said...

I'm still not sure I can so this, but it sure is a great idea.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Fun to see how this challenge came about! I'm going to enjoy watching from the sidelines. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I love the backstory. Have fun. If you do it again next year, I'll try to plan better so I can participate.

Talli Roland said...

Woooo! Great story - thanks for sharing, Lee! I can't wait for April.

M Pax said...

Great 'birth of a great idea' story. Looking forward to it. Altho, I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do yet.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex and Lee .. good to hear how it all started .. just about way back when! Here's to this year .. nearing 500 .. that's something .. well done Lee - you so deserve all the goodies .. have fun everyone - Hilary

RaShelle said...

Alex - Great to find out how the A-Z challenge came to be. I'm nervous about participating, but looking forward to it as well. Yay for the alphabet and yay for Lee! LOL

You rock, Alex!!!

Abby Minard said...

Have fun with the blogfest! Can't wait to see what everyone has in store for their posts.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Pat, you can do it!

Carol, I hope you can next year.

M Pax, I'm sure it will hit you soon.

RaShelle, you can do it! And you don't want to miss my letter A.

Colene Murphy said...

Very cool! Can't wait to see everyone's entries in April!

Nahno McLein said...

Nice to hear the story of the very beginning, and it's a good story too.
Excited and afraid of the A-Z challenge
Nahno ∗ McLein

Lynda R Young said...

I was a blogger babe when the first challenge started. I was too shy to join in. I regretted it. Great to learn its origin.

Ella said...

I am so happy to hear how this all occurred. Now we know ;D I am so glad, Lee, you took that walk and put this all together. Walks really do stir the creative soul! Now, we all have new friends, followers, and can enjoy round #2. The ring leader has spoken. You are a true performer juggling your talents again, now online! I am so happy, I found you and this challenge. It is life changing...I will share why, during the challenge! xXx

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Enjoyed the history lesson and your enthusiasm. I’m still happy to sit on the sidelines and be a cheerleader of sorts. Go A to Zers!

Chuck said...

I am pretty excited to be participating with a pretty great group of bloggers. I think this is going to be a lot of fun!

Milo James Fowler said...

Almost @ 500 - yahoo! I've got my 26 posts scheduled to go live starting April Fool's Day. Looking forward to meeting muchos bloggers nuevos.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Cool behind the story post.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lynda, won't make that mistake twice I'm sure!

Ella, really glad you're a part of it.

Chuck, it's going to rock!

Milo, I'm almost there as well.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Excellent origins story. I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with. Mine was a fairly easy thing to come up with as I've taken a World of the Scribe staple theme and turned it into the running theme for all of next month, going about it alphabetically, of course.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I love that the inspiration happened during a walk. We're all the better for it.
xoRobyn

Clarissa Draper said...

What a great story! I often feel I'm a lousy blogger because I don't give enough away. But, I really appreciate my followers.

Arlee Bird said...

Had to leave for a few hours and come back to all of these wonderful comments. I thank you one and all for the kind words. Appreciate all those who have already committed themselves to the Challenge. As for the rest of you--well--you still have a couple weeks to change your mind. It's gonnnna beeee funnn!!!

Lee
Tossing It Out

wordyliving said...

It's good to read about stories like that, it must be an amazing experience to see how your idea has grown!
I'm so prepared, I already have started planning - which I rarely do, but I'm pushing myself more and more these days in writing so planning has become essential. :) Good times.

Cheeseboy said...

Sure glad the friendship connection was made. While I don't participate in A to Z, I sure enjoy reading them.

Stephen Tremp said...

Like Lee said, the challenge is an opportunity to make new blogging friends and improve ourselves as bloggers.

I'm looking forward to meeting lots of people and will stop by every blog at least once.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jeffrey, I chose a theme this year as well, which has made it so easy!

Clarissa, you do a lot for other people!

Wordyliving, that planning will pay off.

Cheeseboy, there's still time!

Stephen, my plan is every blog at least once as well!

alexia said...

Cool story! I am still unsure as to whether I can commit to that... sounds like fun though!

Mary Vaughn said...

In my dreams the A-Z apple is riding Colene Murphy's flying pig. I think I may have a tiny mental problem. :0)

Saumya said...

This looks like so much fun. You should get an award for having the best blog fests around. Also, your followers came so quickly! Not surprised :)

Donea Lee said...

Hi Alex! Lee - thanks for the story! I've got atleast a few of my letters lined up. 17 days and counting! :)

Alison Stevens said...

It's a great idea, Lee. Thanks for sharing your story!

The Old Silly said...

Great true story on the origins of what is coming to be a major event in Bloggydom. And Lee - you DA MAN, bro! :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Alexia, do it!

Mary, I do hope one of your posts will be about that dream...

Saumya, Lee or me??

Marvin, Lee is da man!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You're an inspiration, Arlee. I can't wait for the challenge to start.

The Words Crafter said...

How cool, and look where it is now!

I've actually gotten some posts scheduled, woohoo!!! I'm excited :)

Stephen Tremp said...

I have to come back for one more comment. Saw that we have 490 participants for the April 2011 A to Z Challenge! I knew we could do it! Tomorrow I'll do another Facebook shout out to all my author friends (over 1,000) and hopefully we'll hit 500 in the next day or two.

Laura Howard said...

Holy smokes! I'm flabbergasted that 100 people signed up so quickly! It's a great idea, though. I'm signed up! Yay!

Bz said...

this is great, I love the story. I can't wait for the challenge to begin! it's going to be so much fun! :)