I’ve tried this method to write blog posts before, but it never quite works because swerving through rush hour traffic isn’t the most conducive environment for good writing. If you can call speaking into a phone “writing.”
But this is my experiment, because I recently read a blog post proclaiming that the “days of working on a blog post in drafts for the last week” are now dead.
That’s right. The final draft is dead. So what does that mean?
The exponential consumption argument
I’ve talked before about how the internet has made our capacity for information consumption grow exponentially, and how that’s going to affect the future of books.
Really, people just don’t spend a whole lot of time reading any one thing online. They skim a lot of stuff and skip through sections.
Chris Brogan’s argument is that we need to accommodate how people read blogs by adjusting to this new habit.
“If the idea’s worth anything, post it. Even unfinished if you have to. You’re not being graded. You’re being consumed, absorbed, and if you’re lucky, passed around. If you don’t have time for the best blog post ever, what are you doing with your time? Reading Mashable? You have work to do.”
In my experience, the equation is simple: when I post something, I get more traffic.
That’s Chris Brogan’s argument, too. You’re trying to earn an audience with all of your blog posts.
The more posts, the bigger the audience.
But posting more than once a week is hard
All authors take pride in their work. We don’t want to put out a half-finished product.
I started blogging with the goal of posting twice a week, but I ran into the insurmountable barrier of having stuff to do.
The real issue is that when I think about writing a post, I immediately attach a one or two hour price-tag to the process.
Not to mention the mental labor involved.
Now, I’m wondering if that’s the wrong approach.
Should we all try to write faster, shorter pieces? Think about how you’re reading this post or how you read any post:
If people aren’t reading the whole blog post anyway, why am I spending time agonizing over each sentence?
I think that there’s a fine line between “good content” and “great content.”
That line is about an extra hour of time.
I wonder if the people who manage to create good content, fast, will eventually overcome the people who create the great content, but take twice as long to do it.
Maybe creating quick posts that build a holistic theme is actually the right way to blog. After all, it takes less time and builds more of an audience, right?
But what about books?
There’s a very palpable fear among authors that this is going to be a winning strategy in the world of self-publishing, that writing commercial ebooks is going to be the only way to make money because they’re faster to write and, in the world of exponential information consumption, faster is better.
I think it’s going to come down to a balance of quality and quantity.
That horrifies some people, but I honestly think there’s something to the art of producing a quantity of quality work, rather than a few pieces of absolute genius.
Businesses have already found that mixing quality with quantity is the sweet spot of content marketing.
When it comes to books, I don’t envision people pumping out two or three novels a year, but I think once a year wouldn’t be unreasonable.
Think about it this way: the line between good and great for books is ten years. One author puts out a great book every ten years and one puts out a good book every year.
Who’s got a bigger body of literature? Whose ideas are going to get spread further? Whose work will have more of a lasting impact?
1. Quality and quantity is going to be an emerging conflict among authors.
2. Blogging is changing, because people are already awash in a sea of content and can now read things on their phones (check out my free guide on blogging)
3. Is making good stuff better than making great stuff? That’s an ongoing question and I don’t think there’s a right answer. It depends on who you are and what you’re trying to create.
4. I’m not advocating for crap content. The thing to keep in mind is that your audience is still going to demand a certain quality, which I think is going to become a self-correcting feature for authors, bloggers, and everyone else who makes content.
5. Readers forgive some mistakes, as you can see by the experience of best-selling, critically acclaimed, self-published author Hugh Howley: His short stories had typos. They led to a big book that was edited by fans of the work. The short stories were good and the novel was great.