Just around the time I started to blog I found a post which didn’t sink in at the time I read it. However a few posts later I realized the value of this remark:
Don’t try to save the world in a single post.
(If you happen to recognize this quote please let me know and I’ll be sure to mention the author for inspiring me.)
When you start blogging you may have so much to share that you end up cramming too many (interrelated) subjects into one post.
By doing so you run a few risks at once:
- You find yourself running out of subjects quite soon (or so it may seem);
- You exhaust your readers by the sheer length of your post. If it’s a detailed “how to” step-by-step guide you’re excused – people love that like they love one-stop shopping!
- Your post would have been better if you’d chopped it up into several posts so you could focus on one subject – rather than saying a little about a lot of different subjects.
How to improve your posts: quick fix
Suppose you find you’ve just written an incoherent, rambling post that offers a “sight-seeing tour of my favorite subject”. What can you do about it?
- Take a moment to identify subjects (or aspects of your main subject) that would be much happier in their own post. Sometimes a single paragraph contains enough information for a whole post. You’re not doing it justice by confining the subject to a single paragraph.
- Get rid of paragraphs that lead your reader off the main track. Move any paragraph which does not support your main statement or question into a separate space (note, document, draft). Leave it there for a few hours.
- Edit your original post. Make sure your recent pruning session doesn’t leave ugly marks in your text. Remove arguments that don’t make sense because the only reason you wrote them was to lead up to the subject that didn’t quite fit in…
- Then come back and see if the paragraph you took out has the potential to grow into a whole post once you’ve added water and proper soil.
New post: try to start writing by not writing
Approach every subject you’d like to tackle in your blog as though it’s a project. Here are a few steps that may help you.
Explore your subject. Your main aim is to find out what different aspects there are – some of which might lead you into opposite directions. You can try mindmapping, or just sitting and thinking if that suits you better. Find information on the internet if you think you have missed anything.
Select aspects to write about. Take one or two aspects you could write a nice, focused and ‘complete’ post about. Try to be clear on why you need to focus on your selected aspects today, and why other aspects can wait.
If you’ve chosen more than one aspect, determine what the connection between those aspects is: why and how do they fit into one post? If you can’t find an answer, putting them into the same post may be a mistake.
Then sit down and write.
Edit your new post. Are you happy with the result? Are there parts of your post that seem out of place? Check if those parts happen to belong to different aspects of your subject, which you resolved to write about at a later time.
Think of your blog as a book. You don’t need to write it in one day. You just need to know what the chapter you write today adds to your story line.
Simply knowing what each separate post is supposed to solve or add should give a sense of direction to your efforts. Good luck!
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