When I first started blogging, it felt like the expectation was that blog posts should be about 500 words, and anything shorter should probably be on social networks. That was fine while I was on social networks1—and while I was happy to discard my short thoughts there. (I’m not anymore—on social networks or happy to discard my short thoughts there. I’ve realised the value of them, even if only for me.)
Late last year, I realised I really like blogs that post short things regularly and long things occasionally. They’re quick to read, often eclectic (and so, interesting) and still manage to provoke thought.
Maybe that’s social-network withdrawal or the distraction of the modern age talking, or maybe it’s just me enjoying blogs how they used to be (short, regular, experimental) before social networks came along.
So I shifted in that direction.
The biggest catalyst towards me embracing this approach was CJ Chilvers’ website, where he advocates it:
As for the sharing and evergreen arguments, my solution is perhaps the oldest in blogging: do both. Create short bursts daily with an occasional long article. This is exactly what the best tech bloggers have been doing since blogging became a thing. It’s seems more honest to me, because our minds work this way.
I don’t know that I’ll get to the point of posting daily, and CJ seems to have tapered off a bit recently, but a few days a week feels good to me.
The point is to feel free to share/record/say something whenever you want2, even if it’s just a sentence or two. It’s amazing how, over time, that adds up to a regular writing habit and an interesting blog.
It also—and, for me, this is a big one—counters perfectionism. I find it too easy to get unhealthily focused on a single post, as if everything counts on it. With a short post, it feels of less consequence, and I hit Publish a lot sooner. I can still write longer posts too, and they tend to come more naturally, when they’re called for.
So that’s the approach I’m taking now. I may get to a point where I want to write longer posts more often, but, for now, this feels good. It’s sustainable and fun.
And, look, I’ve just written 500 words!
1. I’ve just rejoined LinkedIn, but that’s purely for professional-networking purposes. I’m also having a play with Micro.blog, but that’s an Open Web platform that emphases publishing to your own site and syndicating to the network (I’m still getting my head around it). I’m not on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ anymore.
2. You have to be a bit careful, of course; some things are better left offline.
Image by TheZionView on Flicker.
Update (9/9/17): It seems Webmentions are a bit hit or miss at the moment. Colin Walker responded to this post, but the Webmention didn’t appear here. Here’s his response.