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Monday Musings: Shorter, Faster, Cheaper

April 11, 2011

So at the end of Friday’s entry, I asked if you noticed something different about the last week’s entries.  And what you might have noticed is that last week I really tried to keep my entries shorter than before.  Sure, some entries before were short (like the “Long and Short of It” one) before, but others were very long, especially the March Madness-style tourney ones.

In reading some other Crusader blogs, I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t put nearly so much effort into their blogs as I try to do on mine.  A lot of people it seems just do some challenge or prompt from another blog.  They aren’t busting their heads open trying to compose lengthy posts (diatribes, rants, ravings) about writing/reading issues.  And they get more comments and views then I get!  Maybe because I’m not doing enough blogfests or because I’m a grumpy bulldog.  Probably both.

Also, in reading other blogs, I don’t really like reading entries that go on for too long.  A lot of them I read while slacking off at work, so I don’t want to spend a half hour on an entry.  This is why I stopped reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback on ESPN, because I didn’t have 45 minutes to read one column, especially when it says a lot of the same stuff year after year.  (Yeah, yeah, they promote XMas earlier every year.  I GET IT ALREADY!!!)

So from now on I’m trying to keep it under 500 words.  That means less rambling from me and gives you more time to look at other blogs.  Winning all around!

You’re welcome.

Wednesday I’m poaching an entry from The Best of Everything

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10 Comments
  1. Personally, I think blog length doesn’t matter if you legitimately have “readers”. Now let me qualify that by saying that if there’s one thing I learned about the Crusades, is that you don’t necessarily gain all the “readers” that your follower button says you do. Overall, I think writers make bad “readers” in just about anything that has to do with the “I’ll network with other writers to get ideas and build my platform” thing.

    Allow me to explain. A reader is someone that I define that explores a particular topic because they have a desire to do so. They click on a person’s blog faithfully and sift through their present post. They may even like what is written so much as they absorb it, that they read all previous posts and research what the author has written to see if more interesting tidbits can be gleaned, sometimes spending hours and hours (and having fun doing so). I’ve done this with quite a few blogs…Nathan Bransford, Tahereh Mafi, Piers Anthony, and a few others. These people could have written pages…and I would have read them all. However, the majority of the Crusaders…they offer nothing new. I make the rounds to their blogs and it’s all repetitive and unoriginal and quite frankly…kinda boring. So in this situation…yeah…it’s nice that they keep their posts short and sweet so I can breeze through it with a glance and then comment and go on to the next blog so that I look like a good little Crusader doing the rounds.

    Your real readers come back to your blog over and over…they are repeat customers. They’ll read anything you write because it has value. For them, you can have longer more elaborate posts. And occasionally, you’ll attract the kind of reader that likes these kinds of posts so that your blog actually grows over the course of say a couple of months by one person.

    Now before all the writers out there attack me for saying that writers make poor readers, I wanted to explain that the reason I think this way is that writers in general don’t have a great desire to invest time in your work the way that an actual reader does. They have their own agenda, wanting to save time for their own WIP, etc. Many writers can be egotistical…afterall, they believe that what they write is inherently interesting and that people should be beating down their doors to read their precious words. When forced to read another’s work…many of them are super critical because they are so used to being critical that it makes them an expert in their field. However, what ends up happening is that you nitpick something to death and nothing ever moves forward with it. It’d be like making food for Chef Ramsay as opposed to the average joe that just wants something to eat and comes in the front door of your restaurant. Your real critics (and where you make your money in the restaurant business) are with the everyday Joe…not Chef Ramsay. Yet if all you are doing is setting a plate in front of Chef Ramsay, he samples it, tells you its terrible because the foix gras was slightly overdone and then gets up and walks out…well it doesn’t give you a good picture of your work period.

    Anyway…those are my thoughts on this matter. You need more readers and less platformers.

    • Hee hee, I think that was longer than the actual post!

      I agree that most of these blogs I “follow” don’t really impress me that much. There are a select few that I really enjoy reading on a consistent basis.

      The problem with like this A-Z Blogfest and others is that if you want your blog to stand out in someone’s mind so they’ll keep reading it the way to do that probably isn’t by doing what everyone else is doing–the rules of high school don’t apply in this situation! When 900 people are all writing “I is for…” how is yours going to be any different than the other 899?

      Time is also a factor. I’ve found with Twitter that I can’t follow more than 100 people effectively. You get too many and it all starts to overlap into noise. There’s just not enough time to sort it all out. The same thing for blogs; I can’t follow 1,000 of these and devote much time to reading or responding to them. I just don’t have the time most days.

      But hey, coming up with good original content is hard. It’s easier to follow a prompt or regurgitate someone else’s advice. Or respond to someone else’s blog entry, which is what Wednesday’s entry is!

  2. Twitter is really dumb. The only thing I use it for is gossip. And I say that universally by the way. Even your tweets have been dumb, mine are stupid, Tahereh’s are god awful stupid (she posts that she’s going to lunch at the bookstore or one word “PHOTOSHOOT” in all caps) etc… Cher’s are terrible, Adam Lamberts are terrible, Will Wheaton’s are terrible (although he did post that a TSA Agent molested him and he’s going to sue–gossip but terrible). So yeah…twitter makes my brain feel like it’s rotting. But I still hop on and tweet. I guess it makes me feel validated that I can contribute nothing just like everyone else.

    And hey, my blog commenting may be long winded here…but I’m an actual reader. I can sit in front of your blog with my cup of coffee and read through pages of your work with no itchy finger to maximize my “blogs visited per minute”. I visit blogs at my own pace and could give a rat’s ass if I get around to them all. I get around to all the ones that I feel have something worthy to say.

    • Thanks for the compliment!

      The best real use of Twitter I’ve found is that certain columnists and Bloggers I read Tweet the links to new articles, which means I don’t have to go to the site anymore and see if something’s been added. And if you’re a celebrity it’s great for self-promotion. The rest of us it is just a mishmash of rumors, reposting links to funny YouTube videos, and inane observations we would have kept to ourselves or told our friends but now can tell to hundreds or thousands of strangers.

  3. Lots to digest here — beginning with the fact that my posts get longer and longer no matter what I try; periodically I come up with a new idea for short posts on each of my blogs, but the “short” posts expand as time goes on.

    I don’t mind longer posts any more than I mind longer novels; I read lots of blogs on my smart phone or at work, but I set my own schedule — so if a post is long but interesting looking I’ll come back to it later.

    I mentioned the other day that some blogs are simply “Look at that/look at this” blogs, which I hate; while I do my share of re-posting news items and other links, I try to add something to them, because I’m NOT a reporter, so I don’t dig up the stories (or rarely do) so I view it more as an op-ed or opinion piece, and if I can’t add something humorous or new or interesting to a story (or if it’s already all over the place) I tend not to mention it.

    I think the key is that you have to present a new or interesting voice. One blogging tip I read once said “Nobody wants to read about your life,” but that’s not true — I want to read about David Sedaris’ life, because he’s hilarious when he writes about it, and I like interesting or unique takes on something. Since there are only 7 basic stories anyway, it’s all about how you tell them.

  4. Oh, and Cracked recently made a good point about “Too Long/Didn’t Read” commenters that I took to heart — basically calling people like that stupid. Would you ever pick up a Tolstoy book and write on the last page “TL/DR”? I didn’t think so. A long post may be a turnoff for some, but I like ’em.

  5. lulz. My twitter posts suck too mutt. I wasn’t excluding myself by any means. I’m just alluding to twitter being full of essentially worthless information. But isn’t that what you get out of a lunchroom conversation? Just a bunch of ppl sitting around saying, “I got my hair done,” and “I’m going to the dentist”, etc. I just feel that’s the truth of it. Feel free to point out how wrong I am. Maybe my mind can be changed.

    • I meant thanks for the compliment that you can sit and read this blog. I agree about the Twitter. Most of it is pretty damned pointless.

  6. Yes, I think that being brief and to the point with blog posts can be a virtue a lot of the time – on the other hand, if there’s something that will really be interesting to readers and deserves a more in-depth treatment, there’s no reason not to go longer.

    It’s savior-faire that counts – knowing how to make the difference. 🙂

  7. Great idea. I’m trying to do this with my blog as well. It’s a bit harder to do, but hopefully it will be beneficial to both of us.

    ❤ Gina Blechman

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