In the journalism class I never took, the directions for putting together a well-written story will undoubtedly include an outline and some form of planning. In a blog or story for the internet, you better skip that shit and get to the point. Right now, I am pushing the limit of most readers. My own son, who is a voracious reader of only what interests him, would not read to the end of one of my blog posts if I paid him. “I looked over it dad” is about as good as your going to get.
Apparently, my antiquated belief in content is getting its ass kicked by the second hand. Today’s reader I’m told has better things to do than to waste time on lengthy pieces regardless of your skill and or preparation. Length and hook is the power in writing, readers no longer have the staying power for the long haul. Right about now you can either hit delete or give me the “well write something worth reading and I might finish it” line.
I have a good friend who loves college baseball, I wrote a blog post titled “For the love of the Game”. Completely convinced that he would be enthralled with my brilliant writing I emailed it too him. Just open his inbox and read it. Like a freaking pizza delivery boy, I sent what I thought to be a slice of goodness sure to appeal to his “love of the game”. Zero comment, no response. Like an unanswered text, I got nothing. Weeks goes by, I run into my buddy and ask, “hey did you get that post on baseball”? “Oh you did”, now I am fishing “what did you think?” Crickets… “It was pretty long,” he said. “I started it but, I mean what I read was good, I was just pressed for time”. I guess survivor or something important came on.
- Should a writer use bullet points to shorten the material?
- Has the act of actual reading become so burdensome that no content can hold a reader’s attention?
- Is the problem really that my content sucks and I need to get better as a writer? (probably)
- How’s about I just craft a story that captivates throughout. Then you can depart the train anytime, without wasting your precious time you lazy, skimming SOB.
- I guess I had better get an editor.
If Jesus were to return today at least half the people, he preached to would miss the message. There would not be thousands of people waiting for him to finish dictating the book of Psalms (unless he was at the Moscone Center). He would have to start with “ok listen up you heathens, take your head-phones out, I’m here to save you, get on my shoulders were going to take a trip”. Better yet, he could save millions if he would just tweet the portkey rallying point.
Let’s see, intro, set up, body, persuasive points of interest, conclusion: Books, papers, magazines equal investment. If you paid for it you will probably at least try to read it. There is no delete key on physical media. You could throw it away but you won’t. “I’m going to read that someday becomes the mantra”. Content on the internet can be just as engaging and offer a better value to readers if they would lose the “ADHD” and finish the damn story.