The long deferred “long and short” of blogging?
I try to keep things short because my time is short and probably so is yours. That’s only true-ish. So much depends on if a subject grabs me. What grabs me? That depends on my mood and my mood depends on 🌥️ clouds floating by.
Do you have a preference with respect to the length of blog posts you read? Does the number of words in a post affect how you read it or even if you will read it? What is your average post length?
It would seem that my average writing length is between 350 and 480 words, but that’s an average. Since my photo and art blogs use very few words, my “real” writing length is probably longer by about 150 words.
Length is closely connected to subject matter. I want to include background information when appropriate. History needs extra words to provide context. Politics? If it’s my opinion (only), after editing I typically max out at 500 (or fewer) words. Personal stuff? I never know where it’s going until I get there. Things like this post, for example, can get pretty long. Digressions and rambling add lots of words. Brevity is more about tight editing than intent. I start out writing long posts and pare them down by half before publication.
Do I read long blogs even when I am short on time? Yes but I know I have time for only a few long posts in a day. Much depends on what grabs me. What will grab me? No idea. Every day, every hour, every passing mood lives in its own space.
My informal rules are:
- Don’t start a long post unless I have time to finish it. If I don’t think I have enough time, I’ll mark it, star it, and plan to go back. Sometimes I get there. The rest of the time, posts disappear in an endless morass of incoming emails.
- If I start a post, I will finish it. Too many time glancing at the first few paragraphs means I’ve missed the point. This has proved embarrassing.
- Keep in touch with faithful followers. They aren’t just people who comment. They are friends. Stay in touch.
I read long posts and articles when the subject is interesting. I read thousands of words yesterday on new archeological discoveries at Stonehenge. I saved the article and hope I’ll get back to it.
I get two newspapers — the Washington Post and New York Times. I don’t have time to read them, so I pick and choose. I don’t feel compelled to finish newspaper articles. Authors usually make their points in the first few paragraphs. That’s how news is written for exactly this reason. The rest of the article are statistics and explanations. I get newsletters too. When the subject interests me and isn’t depressing, I’ll read it until I think I’ve gotten most of the important information or it ends, whichever comes first.
So many of my choices are based not only on reading, but on what else I’m doing. If I know I need to leave time to take or process photographs, I know I need the right time. I also need to leave time to cook, do at least minimal cleaning, hopefully write something, and maybe have a conversation.
I remember when I stopped working and thought how much time I would have. Hah! These days, I wonder how I found time to go to work and have a life. If I think about it, when both of us were working, we didn’t have much of a life. There were years when we barely enough had time to wave, give a quick kiss, and race for the car.
I love retirement 💕