When I first started getting serious about this blog (maybe four and a half years ago), I read some online advice that most blog posts should be under 500 words, because people have short attention spans. And I scoffed at this advice. I was like, “Under 500 words?! How can I possibly make my deep and interesting points in under 500 words?”
And then I went on to write long meditations on various books like this and this and this.
But over time, I changed. This year, in particularly, I’ve frequently come in at under a thousand words, even when writing about fairly weighty stuff. For instance, yesterday I not only made some jokes about my Higher Power, but I also made some concrete points about sobriety. And the main body of the post came in at under 500 words! Including the footnote, the whole thing was around 650 words!
I don’t know exactly what happened. I guess I’ve just learned to say what I want to say and then stop saying it.
Also, I changed focuses a little. I’m no longer aping the long-form writer. These are not really essays. They’re blog posts. That’s just a matter of personal taste. I used to really enjoy long nonfiction pieces. I spent hours reading all kinds of stuff on the internet.
I don’t do that any longer. Honestly, I don’t read most essays (and long-form reportage) that people link to on the internet. If you send me an article in the Atlantic, I might read the first page, but at some point during that page, I’ll ask myself, “If I was going to choose to spend the next half hour reading something, would it be this?” And the answer is usually no. Which is why I rarely click through to the second page.
Okay, since I have 200 words left, let me ask something else: why is everyone suddenly talking about the Video Music Awards? When did this become a culturally relevant event? I mean jeez, we’re in our late 20s and early 30s…we’re not even really in MTV’s viewership anymore. I’m kind of surprised that this pretty minor TV awards show managed to make it into Twitter’s echo chamber.
On the other hand, I guess I’m talking about it right now…