I’m speaking of your next post, of course.
Even if I must admit that if you were actually thinking about your next post, blogging has really taken over you.
Well, the problem at hand is one that I experience often, too often, and I know I’m not alone.
While I know that continuous chatter is an essential aspect of today’s online thriving, I’m not good at it, nor I’m particularly interested in it. It may offer a few bucks to my wretched writing life, but it’s not what I want to be remembered for, nor what I want to spend my life on.
Chattering can also spoil the essential part of the experience.
Consider me old fashioned or naïve, but I want my writing to give something to someone’s growth, or to be helpful. Or, to express what’s precious to me.
I’d like tremendous fun too, to be honest, but that doesn’t belong to the writing life, usually. Especially if you do it as a job.
Unfortunately, this ambitious approach makes me pick topics greater than me. Properly approached, a series of books on the topic wouldn’t be enough. I would probably die before I finished explaining the point, assuming that I would be able to handle the subject with sufficient competence, which would be obviously questionable. And since the reader would stop just a couple of lines below the title, it wouldn’t be a life well spent.
Having banged my head on this wall a sufficient number of times, I know that I have to squeeze my writing ambitions, at least for now, to fit the size of a post.
But even so, writing a post can be intimidating. So much to tell and to summarize interestingly. So many ways to tell the same thing. Which one is better? Which one can go to the point with clarity and impact?
So many writing fantasies.
To stay on topic, I suffer from performance anxiety.
And before the post starts to grow, the fun is gone for everybody, me in the first place, not speaking of the potential readers, sending the writing to the trash of wasted opportunities.
Well, I found a cure, and it has nothing to do with my junk mail folder. It doesn’t always work, but it can give satisfaction enough.
I just have to liberate myself from thinking of the length of the post, and of results, at the beginning.
I pick one clear point and one specific way of approaching it. And I just start writing, expecting no more than a few simple sentences, with no hurry. If they won’t work, it doesn’t matter, it happens. I can retry later, differently, or another day.
Size problems are subjective. So why not just starting and let length be a byproduct? Nobody will see it, if you don’t want to.
So, when I wonder how I can finish the job reaching enough extension, I just tell myself: “hey, just go to the point as you can.”
“Or play around it.”
Seth Godin successfully does it all days. It’s okay if I do it half of that. Or a third. Well, once a week, at least, possibly.
If only a few lines will appear, who cares? I’m not in the reading time business. I’m in the sharing business, if any. That will eventually amount to reading time one day.
Things become simpler. The post is liberated from its multiple alternative lives, in alternative worlds with alternative drawers.
And, then, usually, posts become long enough. And do their job.
Like now. I started this one with a simple concept in mind, and Word is showing 612 in the status bar already, counting.
It won’t be long, okay. And it could be elaborated with treatises. But I guess I gave you a picture clear enough already.
Free yourself from the anxiety of providing enough length with your post. What matters is what’s inside for you and your writing partner: the reader.
A shorter post can do its job the same. And even look sexier.