Web Explored: Longer Posts, Deep Work, etc.

Digital view April Easter - Deep Work

It is inter­est­ing to find val­i­da­tion for points you are mak­ing, longer posts and deep work all make sense to me.

 

Longer Posts Etc.

I wrote a short time ago about the need to length­en blog posts. Then I came across “When It Comes to Blog­ging, Size DOES Mat­ter: Word Counts Are on the Rise in 2017″ which con­tin­ues the same theme. In par­tic­u­lar “SEO results appear to be favor­ing longer blog posts over short­er ones”. Posts exceed­ing 2,000 words are like­ly to be the high­er ranked in search results. Truth is “longer posts tend to increase read­er engage­ment”. I have found this to be true by test­ing on many sites over time. I am glad oth­er peo­ple are bring­ing this mes­sage to the fore.

One fact Writer Access iden­ti­fied that I found inter­est­ing: “A sur­vey con­duct­ed by Orbit Media polled more than 1,000 blog­gers and found the aver­age blog post takes more than three hours to write”. Per­son­al­ly I have edit­ed (or mod­er­at­ed) too many posts that have tak­en only a few min­utes to write. I applaud them for point­ing out this, and I applaud writ­ers who take their time writ­ing and edit­ing.

Accord­ing to the Ever­note Blog we should be devel­op­ing a “deep­er con­nec­tion to our work”. As a part of that we must min­imise the dis­trac­tions to our dai­ly work. Trou­ble is peo­ple don’t want to let go of social media for the fear of miss­ing out on some­thing. Yet such a “dis­trac­tion can neg­a­tive­ly impact our deep work” and we must “take steps to help us focus on com­pli­cat­ed cog­ni­tive func­tions”. I agree. Your work-flow needs a high pri­or­i­ty in order to get things done.

 

Deep Work 

One of the steps I have tak­en is, while writ­ing, to lim­it social media activ­i­ty to a cou­ple of times a day. I spend about 20 min­utes in the morn­ing updat­ing my social buffers (future posts that will go out of the course of the next few days). Lat­er in the morn­ing I take 20 min­utes to respond to social noti­fi­ca­tions. Then I do the same lat­er that after­noon. Break­ing the social inter­ac­tion down this way I have found keeps the time man­age­able. This is also part of the time when I am mar­ket­ing my blog posts.

Miner, ready for deep work.This then takes me to the book by Cal New­port called “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Suc­cess in a Dis­tract­ed World”. This one is now on my shop­ping list. I have been think­ing about the chal­lenge of blog­ging for some time and have drawn the con­clu­sion that we, as writ­ers, need to mine for, and pro­vide detailed exam­i­na­tions.

The Flow Read­er blog has an arti­cle look­ing at sim­i­lar issues. “How to Be Active on Social Media With­out Los­ing Your Mind” talks about how “social media has become a part of every­day life”. For a blog­ger “social media is great for busi­ness­es because it gen­er­ates more traf­fic and it’s a great plat­form for build­ing brand, your cred­i­bil­i­ty, and pub­lic rela­tions”. How­ev­er, you get what you put in. “An active pres­ence will help your brand or per­son­al­i­ty to stay in pub­lic focus”. There clear­ly are no easy answers for the writer, but I do approve of the rec­om­mend­ed 15 minute check in.

 

Believe the Unbelievable

Peo­ple often ask me which I like bet­ter — writ­ing arti­cles for mag­a­zines or writ­ing fic­tion, and I often say the two go hand in hand”. Says Colleen Oak­ley on WriterUn­boxed. Oak­ley states that for fic­tion to be believ­able it needs a basis in fact. I guess that is an impor­tant view­point. I’m not sure fan­ta­sy writ­ers will agree, but it is cer­tain­ly true for cer­tain types of fiction.

I have start­ed writ­ing a nov­el in the past cou­ple of weeks. It uses the words from an arti­cle that I have sub­mit­ted to anoth­er site recent­ly. The arti­cle is good on its own. I dis­cov­ered, when reread­ing and reed­it­ing it in prepa­ra­tion for pub­li­ca­tion, that it was a good basis for a fic­tion­al work. Many of the words used in the arti­cle can be dis­cussed by the char­ac­ters. Per­haps dur­ing the course of sev­er­al dis­cus­sions in a fic­tion­al sto­ry. A new direc­tion for the words to be used. How appro­pri­ate that I come across an arti­cle like Oakley’s, a val­i­da­tion for how I am now build­ing the story.

 

Do you have a Social Media Plan?

CoSched­ule pub­lished “This Is The Social Media Post­ing Sched­ule That Will Boost Your Traf­fic By 192%”. As writ­ers we are often so focused on the new piece. We for­get to mar­ket those we have already pub­lished. You gain addi­tion­al read­ers by set­ting a social media post­ing sched­ule dur­ing the first week. I have found that there are addi­tion­al ben­e­fits to hav­ing a sched­ule that goes on for a fur­ther 3 or 4 weeks. Per­haps more. I set out a plan going sev­er­al months into the future, albeit I may mod­i­fy the plan.

 

Criticism

When I was young I was told two things. First­ly any great the­o­ry, idea, or way of life should be able to stand up to crit­i­cism. Sec­ond­ly pol­i­tics and reli­gion deserve the great­est scruti­ny. This brings me to a page writ­ten by US Lawyer, Jonathan Tur­ley and his arti­cle “Iran­ian Sharia Court Sen­tences Man To Death For Crit­i­cal Com­ments About the Quran On Social Media”. He feels Iran­ian law to be a “medieval sys­tem enforc­ing reli­gious doctrine”.

Reli­gious ortho­doxy is one of the worst types of sys­tems that humans can be forced to live under, yet large num­bers will applaud such deci­sions. Shame.

 

Mistakes

In “The Biggest Mis­take New Writ­ers Make” Chuck Sam­buchi­no talks about his “book being edit­ed and fin­ished; ready to shop to agents in hopes of sign­ing a book deal”. In real­i­ty it’s a long way from being ready. I have found that with the nov­el that I wrote. Yes I had cor­rect­ed many mis­takes in the first, sec­ond and third edits I have print­ed the book out and have decid­ed that a hard-copy edit was nec­es­sary. Hav­ing done that I found souls add-ons the sto­ry need­ed. Appar­ent­ly “the num­ber one biggest mis­take new writ­ers make is query­ing their book before the man­u­script is ready”. I dis­cov­ered that as well and would like to echo Chuck’s by my own expe­ri­ence. I realise now mine is a long way from being ready and needs anoth­er pass.

Lau­ren Sapala asks “If you got the news that you only had six months to live and you had to make a list of things you want­ed to fin­ish up here before you died, would putting your book out into the world be on your list”? It should be. In “For Those of you Writ­ing a Book that you’re Scared no one else will Under­stand”. She argues that some soul search­ing is required if it is not on that final list of things to do. I guess soul search­ing is required in much sup­ply in order to get the job done and get your work out there and vis­i­ble to the world.

 

Web Explored is:

The results of per­son­al read­ing from a vari­ety of places around the web, some of these are in my favourites and some are from sites I have vis­it­ed for the first time. This is a dig­i­tal look at the world.

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3 Replies to “Web Explored: Longer Posts, Deep Work, etc.”

  1. I am so relieved to read about the trend towards longer posts and about how long writ­ing these can take. I’ve often felt dis­cour­aged about how long I take to craft each piece. Grant­ed I’m a bit of a per­fec­tion­ist. Then when I’ve fin­ished draft­ing it and upload to my dash­board, I fid­dle with its pre­sen­ta­tion until it looks good to my sat­is­fac­tion. I shud­der to think much time gets spent on 1 post. And I usu­al­ly wor­ry about oth­er peo­ple and how they can eas­i­ly churn out dai­ly posts in 15 – 20mins or so. Why can’t I be like that?

    When I first began blog­ging, I was told that my posts were too long both by a fel­low-blog­ger and a read­er-friend. I take what they say on board and now try to share a mix­ture of long and short posts but I don’t think any of my posts amount to 2,000 words or over — yet!

    Any­one else find expert blog­ging advice con­flict­ing and confusing?

    1. Peter B. Giblett says: Reply

      Ladycee, I am hon­oured to have you com­ment. I mod­er­ate posts for a gen­er­al writ­ing site and it amazes me how lit­tle time peo­ple take to cre­ate their posts. I see sub­mis­sions 1 or 2 para­graphs in length. I also know there are writ­ers that write and edit 600 word posts in 30 to 45 min­utes, which I can nev­er do, but I wish them well doing it.

      I am like you a bit of a per­fec­tion­ist, I edit it four or five time before pub­lish­ing. I know there is a ten­den­cy towards the short there days, the Tweet of 140 char­ac­ters, but there have been many blog spe­cial­ists who have stud­ied these things that dis­cov­ered long posts get more atten­tion. One tech­ni­cal post of 35,000 words went viral with over 1 mil­lion views. My feel­ing is that posts should be as long as they need to be. I find to explain a con­cept usu­al­ly takes 750 to 1,000 words. Make the sup­po­si­tion more com­plex and the num­ber of words used must grow,

      1. Hel­lo Peter,
        Thank you so much for your love­ly comment.
        I sup­pose we both have to accept our char­ac­ters or artis­tic lean­ings (per­fec­tion­ism included)!
        Unbe­liev­able! 35,000 words?! I am amazed. That knowl­edge just sets me free. My first few posts were over 1,500 words and I tend to feel guilty if my posts extend beyond 500 words.

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