Frequency, Brevity and How much is too much?

No more. Please no, I’m too full!

I have been pondering the frequency and the brevity of blog posts.

It started when I read Om Malik‘s post on Creativity, brevity and on being concise, which was Freshly Pressed yesterday. It was beautifully written. He received lots of comments supporting his cause, but I found myself wanting to wave my hand and shout No!

Of course I understand concision is important, but I do have trouble with the world of sound bites and people with the attention span of your average two-year-old. Books are shorter, television programmes come in ten minute chunks interspersed with advertisements and then narrators spend three minutes of the next ten minutes reminding us of what happened before. We risk the 140 characters allowed on Twitter becoming the norm. Description is old hat. I doubt that either Dickens or Hardy would get a publishing look-in these days and as for Tolstoy – not a prayer. Shakespeare might be in danger too – do you know how long King Lear is?

I love great fat tomes of books. I read War and Peace in 40 minute slices whilst commuting to work. And I didn’t have to recap each morning and evening to discover what was going on. I’m a quick and avid reader. I don’t care how long something is. If you hook me, if I’m interested, I will sail with you for the long haul. However, I do recognise that other people may prefer shorter stories as opposed to lengthy Russian sagas. Shorter posts instead of my ramblings.

And then I began to think about the frequency of posting, which was a direct result of my beginning to balk at the size of my own in-box. (No, that is not a euphemism). I have subscribed to lots of blogs from you lovely, fascinating people and I love to read what you are up to, what you think I should be up to, your highs, your lows and your amazing writing tips. But I’m getting a lot and I want to read all of it, which takes me a while.

Which led me to wonder what you think about when I post. I get a bit enthusiastic (no!) sometimes and re-blog things from other people. Well, there is just so much good stuff out there, I’d hate for you to miss it. But if I then post my own rubbish/thoughts as well, is it too much? Are you going to get sick of me cluttering up your in-box? That assumes that you subscribe by email, of course. It may be irrelevant and you may have stumbled across me whilst trying to find Patagonia on a map.

However you got here, I’ve decided to ask the questions and I would be delighted if you would let me know how you feel.

Should I be changing the way I post? When is too often too much; how long is too long? Is it broke/should I fix it? Should I post on three days a week, pouring out my heart or opt for frequency with brevity?


Related Posts:

and only slightly related to what I’ve written, but interesting nonetheless:


34 responses to “Frequency, Brevity and How much is too much?

  1. It isn’t too much, Pat. We can choose to read, or not read, can’t we?
    I think you should do what you want to – it’s YOUR blog after all. And I share your fondness for fat tomes (lol!). As you say, as long as it’s well written and holds the attention, then what’s the problem?

    • Great to hear that. I do love scribbling on my blog and I hope others like reading my stuff even if it’s often just drivel.
      It’s all writing and I love to write. πŸ™‚

  2. I blog mainly for myself, yes selfish. I love it when people read what I write and better still when they comment but ultimately it’s my space. I don’t think that it’s right to write what you think others will want, you end up not being true to yourself and that will not ring true. Yes when I see that a blog post is 2000 words I more than likely won’t open it, unlike a book where the author or work is known I don’t know if those 2000 words will be a waste of my time. If the opening lines grab my interest I will read further. Stick with what works for you.

    • Brilliant. Thank you for your thoughts. I generally witter on and am never sure whether there’s anyone out there anyway.
      But the combination of the post I mentioned and my inbox (very full – all wonderfully interesting) made me wonder if I should be doing something different.
      Maybe I’ll just potter on regardless. πŸ™‚

  3. I think appropriate-ness is more important than keeping it short for the sake of it. I do like to read long posts, getting stuck into an essay can be an enjoyable experience but at the same time I also like the short posts.

    Yes, with longer posts you are in danger of boring some people but with shorter posts are you not in danger of using 100 words to say absolutely nothing?

    I think the length of a post ought to be determined by how in depth the writer thinks is appropriate. The audience will make up its own mind.

    Don’t change πŸ™‚

    • OK, I won’t. Bit of a relief really. Not sure I can change. I tend to blurt what I’m feeling at the time and all my friends would tease that I can go on a bit!
      Thank you for the support. πŸ™‚

      • No problem. If you’re ever concerned about that, use the schedule feature to set it for a few hours time. Then, a little later go back to the post and have a look at it – could it be shorter or longer? Give it an edit with fresh eyes.

        That’s what I do anyway

  4. I like your blog posts – as long as you have something to sa, then keep on saying it!

  5. Potter on….
    Personally? I enjoy what you do, and how you do it.

    • You do? I’m so glad.
      Then I will continue to witter away as ever in my own ramble-y kind of way.
      By the way – the wine is open, red this evening, a clever but gentle little Bordeaux.

  6. The Slo-Man does not scrimp when it comes to words, as he says, “why use 20 words when 200 will suffice”? He’s not the world’s most frequent poster, creative writing having to take a backseat to “work” and “home” related activities. He’s also still learning and lacks confidence to churn out regular blog entries

    In terms of the the length of a blog post, the Slo-Man believes that a blog post should only be as long as it needs to be, nothing more, nothing less. When the author has said all he or she wants to say, in the stye he or she is accustomed and when he or she feels fulfilled, the blog post is done. Length matters not.

    140 characters of badly misspelled words? No thanks!

    • Hooray!
      I love words and am delighted to find so many people who don’t believe I have to crop them.
      At the moment I am a very frequent poster (have discovered I love it!) and since I do write to be read, I hope that others will want to join in with my daft ramblings.
      Pull up a chair, pour a glass (it’s a cheeky little Bordeaux this evening) and join me in the summerhouse.
      I will come and camp out on your blog if that’s OK. Maybe in the morning. Put the kettle on. πŸ™‚

      • Oh, please do do camp. The Slo-Man and his very best friend in the world AjeshtheLastword are ecstatic whenever some one drops by to read their meagre output.

        • Just had a quick peep but will be over to camp out for a while.
          I like to hang around and make a nuisance of myself. If you see me squatting on the floor reading, leave me, I’ll be fine.

  7. I wouldn’t worry about the length of your entries. If you have something to say the say it. Don’t censor yourself. You usually have plenty of comments so I think you’re doing everything just right. πŸ™‚

    • Yippee! License to be verbose!
      It was a bit of a rant too – not a fan of saying something in short form if I can add it lots of because, maybes and ifs.
      Thanks Doug.

  8. I have my morning coffee with you – and enjoy when you leave an open invite for tea, or wine πŸ™‚ Don’t hold back – you have so many great things to say!

    • How lovely – I am pink with delight here.
      You must come and visit me in the summer house – it is nice just now, not too hot, not too cold.
      Tea later, I’ll be having herbal, but I’ll do English Breakfast if you’re not into blackcurrant, ginseng and vanilla.
      And Biscuits.
      Thank you for the support! πŸ™‚

      • Mmmmm…….lets see, if I pawn off all of the gaming devices, sell the furniture and raid the kids piggy banks, I may just have enough for a paddle boat and……no? Darn it, and I was looking forward to your tea and biscuits πŸ™‚

        • Oh, there’s always tea and biscuits here.
          Nice afternoon.
          The only thing is I must do some felting, so you must excuse me if I work whilst chatting.

          • ok, gotta ask…..what is felting?

          • I make felt from unspun sheep’s wool. Pull all the fibres out, lay them out on bubble wrap, put ancient net curtain on top, wet out with olive oil soap, fidget it all together.
            Very nice, very therapeutic when you have time to enjoy it. Takes a long time to get exactly what you want out of it. I make hats, scarves, baby boots, corsages etc.
            That’s the day job… the one I ignore until I can’t ignore any more! I have a shop in town nudging me for new stock and the exhibition coming…. Eek!
            Should be working!

          • Oh wow….that is so neat! You’ll have to post some pics so we can see your craftyness. Best of luck getting your stock filled and with the exhibition!

          • Thank you – going to need it.

  9. Hi Pat,

    Thank you for mentioning my post on Successful Blogging. My message is write as much as you need to write:) You’re getting great feedback from your readers here which is brilliant and the feedback will also come from seeing which posts are most popular. It won’t necessarily be short or long ones as the topic maybe different each time and personally I like to mix it up. Sometimes you just need to share a photo. Other times more words are needed (though I haven’t written War and Peace yet!)

    Great to connect with you here and keep up the great work.

    Happy Blogging!


    • Thank you for coming by and commenting – I thought your post was very relevant (and interesting too) which was why I added it. Glad to see you’re not of the brevity brigade.
      If a thing needs saying, then I think it needs to be said, and my style is to write as I speak – what I call witter mode.
      Not sure I could be brief even if I tried. Even my comments seem to go on forever!
      Thanks a lot.

  10. It’s hard isn’t it, finding that happy medium lol. My husband said to me recently “are you a writer, or a blogger?” 😦

    One of my rules is one post a day, no matter how desperate I am. To do another one (although I broke that rule on Sunday, but only because I had to lol). I decided on the 1st January 2012 that I would blog every single day of 2012 and so far I have. Unfortunately, come the 1st Jan 2013, I will be cutting back…I don’t want to, but I’ll have no choice….there are only so many hours in a day 😦

    Good luck honey, finding your happy medium πŸ™‚


    • Don’t think I have a happy medium in anything I do!
      All or nothing, that’s me.
      So I have decided to just write. What you see is what you get and you usually get me on a page, writing as I speak.
      Not sure I can do anything any other way.
      Thank you for your good wishes.

  11. I think a happy medium is made when you post something because it’s relevant to you and not forced. πŸ™‚ Not too many for me.

  12. Problogger, who runs that successful site helping folks turn their blogs into high traffic sites, gives a formula of: post at least 3 times a week. Others say…everyday. With an optimum length of around 400 words.
    I’m not sure how folks are able to do research, write quality content everyday, and respond to all comments. There are only so many hours in a day and who wants to spend all of them in the virtual world? I suppose the answer depends on what you’re after. High traffic? Developing community?
    I think the quality of the content and enjoying the process are the most important factors— and that’s what affects your frequency and length. Good luck…it’s an ever changing question you’ve posed.

    • I think it is also a personal question and it was put with a little mischief regarding the freshly pressed post, with which so many people agreed and I found I could not – not entirely. We all want people to say what they mean, but sometimes the frills make it readable.
      We can’t all be Woody Allen, pithy in six words, but we can try to lighten the message.
      Thank you – you’re right, the question and the answer are ever changing.
      But I don’t think I can change, even if I want to. I write as I speak, pouring words onto the screen without really noticing. And I’m fairly quick, still posting every day and managing to get my writing done and have a life.
      My difficulty is that I want to re-blog others as well – if I’ve already posted and I come across a gem, the temptation is to put that out there too. So I could end up with 3 posts in one day. Oops!

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