Always Write is a hobby blog promoting and supporting hobby bloggers. Whether or not you use your blog to sell products or services, if you use your blog for pleasure, tell personal stories, like to make friends more than customers, you are probably a hobby blogger. Writing and Photo Challenges are the lifeblood of hobby bloggers.
- Learn skills
- Practice skills
- Meet people
- Develop friendships and communities of friends
- Expand interests
- Virtual travel
- Free Expression
Most of all they are FUN!
Characteristics of Challenges
Challenge hosts create photo or writing prescriptions. The participant fills the prescription from their pharmacy of photos and stories or create new ones.
You share your best work, get exposure and create conversation. You read and get inspired. You form and join communities. Your online communities reach into your geographic and other interest communities and become part of the fabric of your life. You are a hobby blogger.
Because challenges are run by hobby bloggers like yourself, they come and go, ebb and flow. Keeping track of challenges is like herding cats. Great challenges might disappear for a while, but someone new (maybe you) may pick up the mantle and run with it until it isn’t fun for the host any more.
One comprehensive list of Writing Challenges is maintained by H. R. R. Gorman. How Writing Prompts Can Help Your Blog.
Cee Neuner, the hostess of many photo challenges, may be the foremost expert on challenges that are available for hobby bloggers today. She has three pages dedicated to every type of challenge listed alphabetically and by how often they run. She keeps it up to date.
Challenge Interview Series
I developed a deep appreciation for the wonderful people who dedicate hours of their free time to host blogging challenges. Read For the Love of Challenges Explained.
- Before you try writing your own, participate in multiple challenges. See how they are organized.
- Read comments of their participants.
- Interview challenge hosts and participants to get their advice. Get them to write a guest post for your blog. Here are some interviews and guest posts of challenge hosts and participators I’ve come to respect over the last eight years.
Free Photo Resources
Sometimes you don’t have time or have the right shot for your blog post. Here are some online sources for free photos.
Where to Get Insightful Quotations
Quotes inspire both writers and photographers.
- Write one post and link to several challenges.
- Before committing yourself to an ongoing challenge, read How to Write Through a Monthly Challenge.
- Remember to add categories and tags to your post before you publish.
Linking Your Post to the Host’s Challenge
Challenge participants post a link to the host blogger by:
- pasting a link to their post in the host’s comment section,
- creating a pingback in their post by copying the link of the host’s page or post,
- by using a linked or unlinked logo, if you put the address of their post into the URL slot on their icon, rather than the automatic place it saves in you media file, then you direct people back to the originator.
- By using an outside link collector like Mr. Linky if the host uses that.
Creating Your Own Challenge
In my research I’ve discovered four ways to create your own challenge.
- Creating your own challenges takes a lot of time and imagination. I don’t have that much imagination, but have participated in challenges for eight years on and off.
- Invitation to host is a second way to start a challenge. A host might drop a challenge but consider you a possible host.
- Take-over when the host of one of your favorite challenges gets tired (and they do) offer to help them out.
- Finally, think about co-hosting or guest hosting a challenge.
The first challenge I am hosting (WQWWC) came about by an invitation from Colleen Chesebro to revive a challenge that had been offline for almost four years. To be honest, I wanted a co-host for this challenge. No one responded – yet! I have invited several of my blogging friends to take a week or two as a guest host, and several of them have agreed to guest host.
Here are a few photo posts I wrote early on as I experimented with my new camera, Photoshop and all the technical skills I didn’t know.
- Photo Phailures
- Beautiful Vase Revisited
- Photoshopped Foothill Peach Tree Orchard
- Spring in the Sierra Nevada Foothills
- Sunday Post: Focused Attention
- Photo Problems at California Council for the Social Studies Conference
- Photoshop Sky – So easy!
Happy Challenge Blogging
Thank you for being a hobby blogger. I want to support and promote you in your blogging journey. Besides challenges, here are a few ways I support my hobby blogging community.
- Visit newcomers and new followers.
- Keep a blogging journal. This helps me record blogs so I can support hobby bloggers
- Leave a comment on your post and sometimes read your comment pages
- Insert links and mentions of your blog in my posts and pages
- Reblog a your post or series of posts. I try not to post more than once a day because I write fairly long posts.
- Invite guest bloggers
- Interview bloggers for specific series
- Write about solutions to common problems. Hugh Roberts is doing more of that now than I am.
If you have questions, please contact me.