This guest post is written by author, freelance writer and director Nicole Ayers.
Each year in April, several hundred writers around the world gather online to participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge started in 2010 by Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out. This blogathon, where participants blog every day (except Sundays) on a topic starting with one letter from the alphabet, helps to boost writing productivity, build community and even launch books. From Letter A on April 1st to Letter B on April 2nd and so on, seasoned writing professionals and their newbie counterparts alike develop a proficiency in meeting deadlines, overcoming writer’s block and forming daily routines that can aid in meeting word count goals for subsequent months.
Some A to Z Challenge participants write blog posts around a specific theme such as Swedish Language, which Tina Downey covered in 2012. Other bloggers choose a freestyle approach, writing on different topics for each letter of the alphabet, like I did when I participated in 2011. Regardless of the many available paths to take for completing 26 days of blogging, however, I’ve noticed that many people hesitate to sign up for the challenge because of fear or doubt from not knowing what to write about. If you are a blogger or writer who is on the fence about signing up, I’m here to help ease your writer’s block with content creation ideas that can be found through the simple act of watching movies.
That’s right! — if you’ve ever been to a movie theater, or frequently rent films from Netflix or your local video rental store, you have all of the tools you’ll ever need to succeed at completing the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April. Here are some nonfiction writing ideas inspired by movies that you can use to publish daily blog posts for each letter of the alphabet.
Play “Personal Velocity” for Ideas on Writing Profiles from A to Z
The dramatic narrative “Personal Velocity” is includes short vignettes of three women who come from different backgrounds by all have one thing in common – they are each at a turning point in their lives. Using this movie as a springboard for blogathon ideas, write short stories about people in your neighborhood, such as hot dog vendors or non-profit workers. This might be a good opportunity to feature stories about the homeless in your area. You could also focus on one non-profit organization and profile different people who are involved with that organization, from the workers all the way to recipients of their programs.
Another idea for the separate, yet, connected approach is to profile the visitors and employees of a local library branch, coffee shop or bookstore. This “Personal Velocity” method not only helps you and your readers learn new things about people you may have never met before but it can also show how another person’s life experiences are, or have been at one point, similar to your own.
Watch “500 Days of Summer” for Inspiration on Writing Book Chapters from A to Z
In this comedy-drama, a hopeless romantic guy relives the relationship he had with a girl who broke up with him. The movie does not play in sequence, and includes scenes that begin with a title caption representing moments in their relationship such as Day 320. It’s a nice example of how you can introduce your work, in pieces, to readers. Blog excerpts from your latest WIP, matching them up with letters of the alphabet in some way (see How to Blog a Book, the book or the blog, for more info), shape or form. You can also give readers reference material for various chapters from a previously published book, if your work has been released online or offline.
View “P.S. I Love You” for Guidance on Writing Letters from A to Z
Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank stars in this dramatic film about a widow who learns to celebrate life after finding pre-recorded messages that her husband left to help her grieve. Although daily podcasting would be a more direct form of blogging inspirations from this movie, you can use a similar approach to draft 26 letters to loved ones, people who inspire you, those who make you furious or even yourself in previous or future years. Additional content ideas in the style of “P.S. I Love You” also include letters to public figures, reflections on memories from different years or milestones in your life or celebrities.
About the Author
Nicole Ayers is a freelance writer and director who blogs at The Madlab Post. She has self-published two e-books on marketing handmade crafts and intellectual property crime. Her current projects include the 2013 short film ABYSS and a weekly online series titled “Monday Movie Meme.” As a co-host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, Nicole also contributes to the A to Z Blog and is available @MadlabPost on Twitter.