Digital view April Easter - Deep Work

Web Explored: Longer Posts, Deep Work, etc.

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 thoughts on “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. 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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