Last year I discovered blogathons after I quit several blogging schools. Blogging school was simply not for me – all the emphasis on SEO was so different from what I learned in writing school. In one blogging school, we were guaranteed we would earn money from our blogs if we followed and worked on the lessons diligently. But by day 3, I was lost in the tasks of computing, tabulating, and formulating keywords for the sake of SEO. I quit by day 4.
I enrolled in several online blogging courses but failed to finish even one because I realized I wanted to blog because I love to write. I also wanted blogging to be fun – not another job. I am fortunate that I have a job that allows me to work on my own terms and provides a comfortable income, so blogging can be another creative outlet for me.
The first blogging challenge I participated in was the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. As a newbie, it was stressful because I wanted to do my best. I approached each blog post as if I were working on a writing assignment. That was mistake number one. On my second year with the challenge, I read up on the advice and experiences of other bloggers and realized it was possible to have fun during the challenge.
For this year’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I tried to have fun – and fun I had, because I was determined to make FUN my primary goal in joining the challenge. There must have been obsession lurking in the back door of my consciousness because I joined two blogging challenges in one month – that was mistake number two. Greed is never good – even if the object of the greed is something so positive as having fun. Of course I dropped out of the second blogathon while I happily managed to finish the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.
Blogging gurus advocate the practice of commenting on other people’s blog posts so that you’ll have visibility, and encourage visits to your own website. It sounds like a good networking strategy, but when you join a blogathon, you’ll discover that visiting and commenting on the websites of the other participants become akin to visiting other lands and vistas – you begin to “like” and comment not to network, but because you really like what you read or saw. As a rule, I visit at least ten other sites after finishing one post. In the beginning I was on the look-out for return visits, but as I went through my first blogathon, I began to enjoy visiting the sites of the other participants and I no longer cared whether they visited back or wrote comments on my posts.
Blogathons help participants get into the groove of posting regularly, which is a big hurdle for bloggers. Of course, the next challenge would be to continue with the daily posting after the blogathon and I must admit I have not yet been able to do that. In time maybe I will.
Aside from blogathons, there are several weekly writing and photo challenges bloggers can join. If joining a full-month blogathon is too much too soon for you, you may want to try the weeklies first.
Here are some weekly writing challenges:
- Yeah Write Weekly Writing Challenge: 1 part blogging showcase, 2 parts writing challenge, 3 parts bathtub gin
- Friday Fictioneers: Writers are encouraged to be as innovative as possible with a prompt and 100 word constraints.
- Five Minute Friday: Bloggers write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is posted on the website 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday.
- Trifecta: Two weekly challenges: one weekday prompt and one weekend prompt.
- FaithWriters: A great way to develop your blogging skills by writing to topic, word count, and deadline.
- WordPress Mind the Gap Challenge:Focuses on a divisive issue.
- Slice of Life Story Challenge
Weekly photo challenges are fun too! Here are a few:
- WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge
- Photo Friday
- Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge
- Digital Photography School Weekly Photography Challenge
- Weekly Travel Themes
- Photo Sunday
If you’re up to it, here are 30-day blogging challenges (aside from the WordCount Blogathon)
- Blogging From A to Z Challenge
- Blog Everyday in May
- 2013 Yeah Write Summer Series 31 Days to Build a Better Blog
- Ultimate Blog Challenge
- NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month)
- NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
- NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month)
Happy blogging, everyone!