30 January 2013

“less is more”: why (and how) writing less might help your blog

"I ♥ My Blog": How Writing Less Might Help Your Blog
Before we get into today's post, I'd like to share just a few updates. First, in a somewhat-challenge-related note, I was recently blessed with the opportunity to guest post at The Writerly Life, the online home of fellow writer Gerry Wilson. I'd love to extend the invitation for you to stop by and check out the post, titled "'What I Really Want': The True Goal of the Writing Life," which explores what I think the ultimate goal of writers might be (hint: it's not--necessarily--publication).

Second, as this challenge ends, another is about to begin! I promised, a while ago, a chapbook challenge; I'm happy to say that this challenge is coming up in February! You can learn more about it here.

Now, let's get back to the "I ♥ My Blog" Challenge!

Today is the last day, and thus last post, of the “I ♥ My Blog” January challenge. This month we’ve looked at everything from creating editorial calendars to falling (or re-falling) in love with our blogs’ designs. Today’s task is a special one for folks who feel pressure to write frequent posts (or those who feel guilty that they don’t write more frequently)!

the what

Here is, in short and simple terms, what I believe about the frequency of blog posts: Less is more. To expand on that thought, fewer posts in a given week means more for you as a writer.

This may seem like a somewhat ironic bit of advice from me. After all, last year my editorial calendar included posts five days a week. But folks who followed Our Lost Jungle from May through the end of 2012 may have noticed that as time passed, post frequency decreased. Especially with some of the challenges I hosted last year, some posts were put on the sidelines, or altogether dropped through certain periods. And in that time I began to realize that maybe less really could mean more when it came to blogging!

the why

Why would writing less be a good thing? For the same reasons that writing more can be a bad thing. Writing more frequently (or, too frequently) is stressful. It’s a constant source of pressure to generate new ideas and new content. It’s also stressful for your readers. Let’s face it: I know I’m not the only blog any reader is checking out on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Sometimes it’s hard enough to read and engage with one blog post … imagine if you’re reading twelve blogs and all of them are posting daily! So, simply put, writing less is helpful because it keeps both you and your readers from stressing out!

the how

How might fewer blog posts be a good thing? There are a couple of ways:

1. More TIME. Simply stated, the less you write, the more time you have for other things. If you’re writing a new blog post every day, chances are you’re feeling the time pinch. It’s hard to keep up with a schedule that demands a new post every 24 hours or less!

2. More ENGAGEMENT. Writing fewer blog posts a week means not only more time for you, but also more time for your readers. A new post every day means that readers have 24 initial hours to engage with any given post before a new one demands their attentions. Posting every other day gives readers more leisure in reading, and opens up more possibilities for more meaningful engagement. Posting even less frequently than that only increases the time readers have to engage with any particular post.

3. More QUALITY. Writing too frequently puts a rush on you as a writer to produce a post. The phrase “slow and steady wins the race” doesn’t only apply to a tortoise who wants to out-run a hare. It also applies to your blog. The more time you have to prepare your posts, the better quality you can pour into them.

4. Less PRESSURE. If there’s anything that should decrease with fewer blog posts, it’s the amount of pressure on you as a writer. The reason for this is twofold. First, you won’t have as much pressure to fill a week with new and unique posts. Second, there is also less pressure to fill the year with new and unique posts! Imagine if you poured your heart and soul into daily posts in January, February, March, and April, only to discover you’ve run out of meaningful things to say come May! Writing fewer blog posts helps you fill out the year more smoothly and effectively.

the rest

The fact is, there are many reasons and ways that less can be more when it comes to your blog. Writing less gives you more time to guest post. It gives you more time to promote and engage with others. It lets readers have the chance to share your words more often. It lets you spend more time with your kids or spouse or dog or painting your nails.

Your Turn

Your task for today, and as you go forth from this challenge, is simply to think about how to best spend your time with your blog. How often can, or should, you post to not only engage your readers but also keep your sanity and the love for your blog going strong? How do you see yourself going forward with your blog as this challenge comes to an end? As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

A big “Thank You!” to all who have participated in this month’s challenge! It’s been a pleasure engaging with all of you as we, together, have considered how to keep the love of our blogs going strong in 2013. (I'd love for you, by the way, to share with me how you felt about this challenge, either here or in an email message!) Best wishes to all of you as you continue on from here in the coming month and year. As always …

Happy Writing!

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Join in the "I ♥ My Blog" Challenge Anytime!:

12 comments:

  1. Thanks, Khara! I appreciate your Challenge.

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    1. Thank you, Carol! It's been a fun January! :)

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  2. Hi Khara,
    I’ve really loved this challenge, and I think it’s been the first challenge of yours I’ve fully participated in...well, actually maybe not fully, and that might be the point of this last response to this last thought. I started my blog in 2010 after I took a digital media storytelling course and thought it would be fun to have a new creative outlet. Then I ignored it for a good long time, then I posted once/month for a good long time, then I started to enjoy it and found I had a lot to say and have posted almost every day since. But there is no pressure, no rules, no editorial calendar, and I still only post what I want when I want to.

    I guess it’s a bit different. Because of my work as a photographer I have a few new photos daily to talk about or to illustrate my blog with and those photos are a sort of jumping off point to some writing. (Except for the poems which usually come from the Sunday Whirl prompts and are illustrated specifically) But I refuse to have any pressure coming from a project which brings me such joy because I know myself so well, having lived with myself for half a century, and I know that the moment this blog becomes a burden I’ll withdraw and so am very careful not to create those conditions.

    Also, my communication background and my (very stressy) work writing and selling magazine articles, has geared me towards writing in sound bites rather than long essays. Sound bites and easier for me to read on other blogs with my daily limit of about two hours mooching around the internet and are more satisfying than hunkering down to a long essay. (which is what I seem to be writing in your comment sections these days...see? Aren’t you happy I don’t fully engage? Oh god, if only you knew how much I have to say and stop myself...lol)

    And, anyway, in our daily life we get bombarded with thousands of messages, which we usually sift thru and manage to disregard 75%, we are more geared to picking up small bits of info and so shorter posts hold more attention than longer posts. I usually skim thru long essay-like posts and pick out the main idea, I look for breaks...eye breaks...like your colourful text, images, or differently aligned text...anything rather than serious paragraphs...and I like to duplicate those kinds of things on my blog because they make engaging with my own blog easier and more satisfying. So there you go...another essay from me in your comments. You’ll think twice before inviting me next time...won’t you...lol.

    See what I've done there? Broken it up. :)

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    1. This is a great response, Veronica! I love seeing how you've managed your blog, and your interactions with other sites; you have a very fascinating background in writing. Thanks for sharing, and feel free to "fully engage" with me any time! :)

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  3. Great series, Khara. Lots of good information that applies to writing in general in addition to blogging.

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  4. Thanks for the thought-provoking challenge Khara. The less is more question is one I've been mulling a lot lately. I'm trying to slow down the pace on Mobyjoe. It will give me a chance to hone the message. With so much content, the lines blur as I reach for more to write about. With Momaiku, I think daily is a fundamental part of the concept, like a joke-a-day calendar. It's easy to forget that when and where we appear is a strategic element of our platform and needs to be managed as thoughtfully as the words we choose. As usual, you rock.

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    1. Thank you, Jeannine. I love what you do with both of your sites! And that's so smartly put, regarding the management of platform appearances. That's a really great point!

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  5. Khara, Great challenge. Not too intimidating or involved, but you brought up great points and shared awesome information. I've thought about posting frequency as well, especially after reading a series of posts on Jody Hedlund's blog about blogging being a time suck for writers. I post twice a week- one short vocab post, and one longer "article" on some topic associated with reading, and I'm happy with that. It gives me time for all the things you listed, including working on my fiction manuscript, which is dear to my heart. I still probably spend too much time writing my posts, but I'm hoping that with time and discipline, I'll get faster. Which can only help my writing in the long run, right.

    Thanks for putting this together.

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    1. Thanks so much, Julia! And I agree, the time it takes to write posts definitely seems to go down (at least a bit) with time! That's a great thing to think about, too, in terms of the time we spend on our blogs; even only a few posts a week can be timely if we get wrapped up in the time it takes to write them! Thanks for sharing, and participating!

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  6. I'm new to your challenge and sorry to have come in at the end. The flip side of this is, obviously, that I've come in just in time for February's challenge! Looks cool so I'll be checking it out! :)

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    1. That's great! I hope you enjoy the February challenge. You can also take part in the January challenge at any time; it's all about falling in love (or back in love) with your blog, so any time you feel the flame waning ... stop on by! :)

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Thank you so much for your comments! Please feel free to share your thoughts here; I look forward to engaging in conversation with you!

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