I write long.
It’s a bit of a fault of mine, actually. I feel that long posts are just … better, somehow. Fuller. Richer. More valuable. I feel that long posts give you all the goods, everything you need, all in one place.
Long posts are hard work, though. Delivering that much value and information in a single post without losing a reader’s attention is tough. And if a reader decides it’s too much work to get to the end…
Well. That’s no good, is it? Then nothing gets read. All that hard work goes to waste.
So each time I write blog posts, I’m mindful of my tendency to write long. Sometimes my first drafts extend well over 1,500 words. Then I trim and edit and cut and snip until they’re back down to something manageable.
Truth be told, that isn’t always fun.
In fact, some people have asked that I shorten posts down. That I deliver fast bites with impact, that I publish quick messages they can grasp in an instant. They want to hear what I have to say… they just don’t have the time to read it all.
This isn’t new. Other thought leaders write short. Chris Brogan publishes posts that are just a few paragraphs. Not always, but sometimes. Seth Godin has mastered the short post and his audience loves him for it. Julien’s posts get straight to the point.
And it works.
I’ve always thought that short posts were the cheap way out, honestly, which is why I suppose I developed the habit of writing long. I thought short posts were a cop-out. That somehow, they didn’t deliver value. That they lacked in substance or that the author couldn’t be bothered to write and just tossed it off.
But I’m beginning to think a little differently about short posts.
It would feel relieving to slam out a fast, impactful, thought-provoking message as it struck me than have to reserve hours out of my week to craft and hone those long posts into reader-worthy length. It would be better, too, because I have a lot to say, and I could say more of it if writing wasn’t such a time-consuming chore.
Don’t get me wrong. I like writing. And I like writing long.
But I’m no longer sure it’s necessary – at least, not for every post.
Would you prefer to read something that’s really good that doesn’t take forever to read? I know I do when I visit other blogs – we’re all busy, after all.
And is it necessary to write long posts to feel like we’ve delivered value? Premises and substantive material are good, but if you can’t say it short, it’s not worth saying at all.
And maybe – just maybe – short posts would be more fulfilling and more valuable. Imagine being able to change someone’s thinking, improve their business, impact their life or even change it forever in just a small handful of paragraphs and a single soundbyte.
Wouldn’t that be great?
Good question. Your thoughts?