The 5th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge begins on Thursday, March 1st, 2012.  Are you planning to participate to stretch yourself as a writer?  Are you hoping to amass a lot of writing about slices of your life in a short amount of time?  Are you thinking about participating in our month-long challenge so you can show your students how you’re living a writerly life?  One or all of those reasons are reason enough to partake in our month-long challenge.  However, there’s something you’ll need in order to participate in the Slice of Life Story Challenge: a blog.

There are five things you should think about before you create a blog for use with our online challenge:

1)  Host:  Blogger, Edublogs, and WordPress are are three free places I’ve housed blogs since I began blogging five years ago.  Each of them have their pluses and minuses.  Explore each of them and decide which one is right for you.  If you decide upon WordPress, which is where we been hosting this blog, then check out How-To Geek’s step-by-step tutorial for starting a blog on WordPress.

2)  Blog Name/URL:  Whether you choose a straightforward name or a witty one, find a blog name that works for you.  Blog names and URLs are often, but not always, the same.  You might wish to Google several blog names you’re thinking of to make sure no one else has the same one.

3)  User Name:  Will you use your real name or a pseudonym?  In order to fully participate in the Challenge your blog will need to be public so other slicers can read and comment on your writing.  To that end, if you choose to adopt a pseudonym as your screen name, you should also think about how much personal information you’ll disclose (e.g., your location, names of family members, photographs).  You are more than welcome to write your slices under a pseudonym without disclosing any personal information.

4)  Function:  Will your blog’s sole purpose be for the Slice of Life Story Challenge (i.e., in March and/or year-round on Tuesdays) or will you blog about other things (e.g., teaching, parenting, an upcoming wedding)?  Will your writing be for your personal growth as a writer or do you intend to share your slices of life with your students?

5)  Comments: Will you moderate comments or will your blog be an open forum?  Review your host’s comment settings and pick one that’s right for you.  (Click here to read more about some issues some of us WordPressers have been having with regard to leaving comments on Blogger blogs.)

Do you have questions about starting a blog?  If so, leave a comment below.  Need more encouragement to start a blog?  Read a related post Ruth wrote last year.  If you’re a long-time blogger/slicer, then please leave some words of wisdom for people who might think about creating a blog so they can participate in the Slice of Life Story Challenge.