My posts are too long I know. I don’t start out to write long pieces. I know what I want to say and it’s structured in my head but often ends up longer than I intend – more around 1000 words than a neat 300.
As John Sherry points in a guest post on Virgin Blogger Notes, ‘Why Bite Size is the right size content’, it’s a lot to ask of readers if we are posting 2-3 posts a week of 1,000 words. It’s also making the task bigger than it needs to be for the writer/blogger. As I have progressed here, the posts have got longer, the gap between them larger and the job of writing them has become more demanding and less likely to occur regularly.
The result is a spiky reader profile with highs and lows, naturally, as they have nothing to read between the big waves of words I carefully construct.
I’ve also been re-reading ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott and she implores in many ways to take writing in steps. She emphasises the ‘short assignment’, chunking the work into paragraphs, the ‘one inch picture frame’, an immediate focus. She provides a wonderful quote from E.L. Doctorow: ‘writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights but you can make the whole trip that way.’
The big lessons of life – trauma, grief, hospitals, illness – teach us, force us, to take one hour, one day at a time, to be in the moment, to work step by step, to have a vision and know where you want to go, like the car with its headlights leading the way, but to focus on now so as not to be overwhelmed.
So, taking this good advice from John Sherry, from Anne Lamott, from my experiences in life, I am going to write shorter posts, keep this work moving, manageable and meaningful to others, and connect up the small steps into a journey I can measure. (Note word count = 336)