Avoid Wandering Distractions
By Annette Rey
So many blog posts have so much to say. And that can be a problem. The writer has a good point he wants to make, he has the information behind him to add to the post, and he uses the right words and punctuation to convey his thoughts.
So what’s wrong with the piece? Let’s take a look.
The title may intrigue me or confuse me and that draws me to read the post. The piece starts out well as it clearly states the subject matter. I read on. In a short while, I realize I’m losing interest. I try to go on reading because it is a subject about which I want to know. I find myself skimming, then jumping wide areas of narrative. I’m feeling uncomfortable, and finally impatient. Concluding I’m wasting my time trying to find the silver in the lining, I give up and go on to something else – usually a different website.
This wandering writer has lost a reader.
We don’t want this type of reaction from our readers, so lend an ear.
The writer means well and writes well, but he takes a good subject and puts too many unfocused comments in it. Content is not placed in good practical order. The writer adds too many facets of the one good subject. The result is the post is cluttered and what is being added is wandering off the main points he wants to make. The reader tires of the struggle trying to find the main points, misses much of what is being said, and gives up the fight. The post actually becomes boring, when it had all the potential to be informative and well done.
How do you avoid being one of those writers? Here are three tools to put in your writer’s repertoire to write direct and concise posts.
1) Set yourself a word limit for your post. Anywhere from 400-700 is a comfortable limit. You may feel 1000 words is what you need. But, I challenge you to do good editing and you’ll probably be closer to 700 when you’re through.
2) Clearly have in mind three points you want to convey on your subject. And stick to it.
3) In the proofreading stage, be brutal. Cut out all remarks where you have wandered from your three original points. This will immediately benefit your readers and you in the long run. The material you created, the wanderings, is fodder for more posts. You can probably get two or three more posts from the cut material. (This is just another way to beat writer’s block!)
And voila! You have a achieved a concise post, ready to publish.
In the case of needing to convey a lot of content, lay the post out in an orderly, numbered fashion. And title your post as so. As in: Twelve Ways to Kill Your Antagonist or Thirteen Methods of Approach to Memoir Writing.
In conclusion, before you start writing, clearly make your plan. As you write, stick to your original subject matter. Don’t confuse your reader with convoluted thinking. Be a brutal editor. Save the superfluous facets for future posts. Create a catchy title.
NOTE: Without this note, this post is 542 words, a convenient length for busy readers. I stuck to the subject. I limited my instruction to three points and stuck with that. Additional thoughts on this subject will appear in future posts.
Was this post informative, did it flow, and was it easy to stay with to the end?