Preparing for April A to Z – Choosing themes and building skeletons

Two years ago I got in on a wonderful blogging adventure called the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Coming out of winter into the favorite of my seasons, spring, I almost did not take part. You see my hobbies in order of rank are gardening, writing and sports. During this time of year when I am trapped inside due to the temperature or amount of white stuff (nearly 2o inches over the last eight days), my word counts soar and blogs posted are numerous.

But, come April 1st, that equation usually flips and I spend a considerable amount of time working on my 3.5 acres of land I affectionately refer to as Alpine Acres. Flowers, vegetables, cutting the grass, landscaping and upkeep quickly can fill your calendar and make any writing schedule seem arduous. So what to do? I mean I love the interaction and possible exposure to nearly 2,000 other A to Z participants, but there is only 24 hours in a day.

Now before I go on let me admit I have taken a step in the opposite direction as far as making the process more streamlined. You see last April I stepped back from my blog, Joe’s Musings and it was nearly the end of 2014 before I returned. You see I knew the focus was if not gone all wrong for my blogging. After those off months to consider the way ahead I decided to create blogs specific to certain themes of interest that usually were the main topics of my blogs.

Now I have a blog for fiction writing Fiction Playground, faith Faith By Acts, sports Ballin’ All the Time, gardening Chasing the Blooms entertainment Movies, TV and Streaming, Oh My! as well as a gig as administrator of a weekly (Sunday) photo fiction blog Sunday photo Fiction. As you can see if I commit to A to Z on the main blog and the others it means responsiblity for quality content for 6 blogs x 26 days or 156 posts. WOW! I had not done the math before right at this moment. 156 quality posts ( The A to Z crew I think recommends 350 or so words so people can read several in a day) is no small feat.

I am not really sure how many I will do, but I know for sure I will for FP, CTB, MTSOM and FBA, so with just the four I am looking at 104. To get all that right I decided to do two things. First of all, I chose a theme. Then I began to build the skeletons of my posts. You know what I mean, a draft that has the title and the jpg for the particular day.


Now this in no way guarantees the quality post, but starting on it this far ahead I have plenty of time to get done. Add in the convenient scheduling feature our fine friends from WordPress have provided and you will be golden on April 1st, 2nd and so on.

I recently floated through BLogging 201, trying to pick up as much as possible that can help to broaden my reach. One of the things I guess I knew but just have not followed through with is to create widgets to promote upcoming events. This time around I snatched the 2015 A To Z badge and have it nestled in the sidebar of all my par ticipating blogs. By the end of this week I will have the Countdown widget in them as well announcing the date of my theme reveal.


On March 23, nine days before the madness is unleashed many bloggers who committed to share their theme for the 2015 challenge will share the selected theme for their blog. While not a requirement by any means, it can help reduce the strain by giving you a clear pathway to solid and quality posts.

Many bloggers stress about trying to make some of the less used letters, such as Q, X and Z work on their A To Z adventure. The theme can help with that, but mainly you just have to begin early to allow the creative juices to simmer. I hope you enjoyed my plan to tackle this fun event and I invite you to visit my stable of blogs and let me know what you think.

About Joe Owens

Can you tell from my writing I love God? I hope so because that is what I want you to know most about me. I am also a writer who loves taking on fiction prompts and crafting a story. One day you will read my work in print. Until then enjoy it here! For free!
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3 Responses to Preparing for April A to Z – Choosing themes and building skeletons

  1. I’m debating whether I’m going to jump in this year. There’s another challenge in April I want to do and I don’t think I can do both!

  2. Hello fellow AtoZer 😜. This year will be my second year. I actually found it through you. Last year I had to do a bunch of pre-write and schedule because I was in London and Wales for 10 days in April. Not so this year. I am setting up the shell for each in advance but finding better alternatives for some letters as time goes on. I’ll be participating in the Great and Powerful A to Z Theme Reveal and have that written and scheduled. My goal is to visit more blogs this year.

    • Joe Owens says:

      That is impressive you have already written your theme reveal Mary Ann. I have chosen mine, but am just building the frames right now. I actually did pretty much a first draft of one yesterday however. I tried very hard to do at least ten visits each day and want to crank that higher this time. I got to know several new bloggers and even did a collaborative serial fiction with tome of them after the A to Z.

So you took time to read what I wrote and I appreciate it, but comments are even better!

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