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Just Maybe… He Who Blogs Less Blogs Best

A guest post by Larry Brooks, of Storyfix.com

Or she

Regarding the title… it’s just a saying, no penis required.  It’s not your father’s media anymore.  Hard to cull the gender-based colloquialisms out of the language sometimes.

She who blogs less blogs best is every bit as gender-biased… but let’s move on.

When we begin our blogging journey, we are overwhelmed with advice. 

Most of it terrific, some of it downright confusing. 

Like ash from a nearby fire, it all settles on the emerging structure of our blogging dream, and what remains after the first stiff wind tends to infuse itself into the content-driven infrastructure upon which we are building.

A little purple, I’ll grant you.  Let’s just say we need to filter what we read and make our own way.  This is why blogging is always a lesson in life 

One of the best pieces of conventional wisdom for newbies is to saturate your site with quality content as quickly as you can. 

If you can begin your branding with a muscular archive in place, credibility ensues.  And because that can’t really happen, what does happen is that you find yourself putting up a new post each and every day.  Sometimes for months.

It works at first.  And then, after a few months a dark day arrives, usually completely unannounced, when you stare at a blank screen and realize you have nothing.

The well is dry.  You’ve said it all. 

It’ll be temporary, followed by a guilty flurry of contrived and slightly redundant takes (you’ll call it spin) on previous stuff.  Or someone else’s stuff.  Or completely irrelevant stuff.

Much of which will suck.  Thus deepening your emerging sense of depression.

But even then – especially then – the blank screen will return, inevitable as your forthcoming middle age double chin.

I’ve been there, suffered through that. 

And got the chin lipo to show for it.

Then suddenly – also in alliance with prevailing blogging wisdom – after 15 months online, I rounded an equally inevitable corner into Phase Two of the blogging journey.

I cut back.  Stopped posting daily.  Stopped demanding too much of myself. 

I no longer felt I had to sweat silver bullets to make the team.  My spot on the roster was secure, at least if I continued to show up and Play Big.

So I reduced my output to a twice-weekly pace, and obligated myself to doing so by announcing it in my News Post beneath my banner.

Nothing says commitment quite like something shown in bold red ink.

Great fear accompanies this transition from insecure, ambitious newbie to confidently cruising-forward niche guru.  But with great fear, mixed with the requisite desire, comes a sort of courage you never knew you had.

And courage, tempered by the right kind of confidence, almost always rewards you.

Here’s what happened.

My subscriptions had gone flat.  Same with my daily visits. 

Flat as the Neilson ratings for American Idol.  Flat as Heidi Montag’s forthcoming breast reduction.  Flat as Whitney Houston’s latest televised version of I Will Always Love You.

Soon after my Great Awakening, the numbers quickly, if not markedly, reversed.  Subscriptions and visits began to grow.  Pingbacks began to ping.  Guest post proposals began arriving from both directions.

All for one reason that had everything to do with the scaling back of my output.

Somebody once said that less is more.  In fact, many wives declare this the day they hit menopause.

Other than making money, this advice is golden in any context.  Ironic, because sometimes that’s precisely what it takes.

It was quality trumping quantity.

The transition had nothing to do with my enthusiasm, commitment or ability to deliver value.  It had everything to do with allowing what is perhaps the most potent essence of value to work its magic – I allowed time to enter the equation.

Fewer posts can mean better posts.

Such a strategy – functional only if your site does indeed offer a hefty backlog of archived content – rarely fails.  And you’ll know it’s time when your ability to conquer that blank screen makes you want to go do something else.  Like exercise.

After a day or two of power walking the mall, you’ll be itching to get back to it.

It’s like sex in middle age.  Less really can be more.  Nature steps in to jack up the stakes.  Anticipation is the sweet torture of impending passion. 

With or without a penis, you can take this advice to the blogging bank. 

Write less.  You just might find yourself writing better.

Larry Brooks writes about storytelling on Storyfix.com.  His book, “Story Engineering: Mastering the Six Core Competencies of Successful Writing” comes out from Writers Digest Books in February.  As you can see here, he’d really rather be writing about sex.

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Comments

  1. An enjoyable read indeed and some of the best writing on-line; or should I say on-blog? The elusive battles between quality and quantity are pervasive in our culture. A novelist stands on quality every time and bloggers are inclined to do the same even though there’s a huge difference in the final products of one and the other.

    I’m more productive when I’m not under an arbitrary posting schedule and when I know what I want to write about and then write as best as I’m able. That is say at last Mr. Brooks, I agree with the title and the content of your most excellent article! Be well, Steve D.

  2. Francesca says:

    Hats off to you, a pat on the back, a round of applause and a standing ovation! Very well said, I couldn’t have said it any better.
    It is also like saying “work smarter, not harder!” Instead of burdening and forcing yourself to produce a very good article, take your time and create one that will wow readers and will hook them into wanting to have more and read more from your blog!
    Larry, this is really brilliant! I guess each and everyone of us know that “less is best”, its just that we are so swamped with our everyday “goings on” that we forget!
    KUDOS to you! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Jhay says:

    It does take a lot off on us blogger. Giving more time to work on other things like promoting content on social networking sites, having more time to do more research and catch up on the blog-hopping.

  4. sureshpeters says:

    time plays a vital role in the blogging…and the lesser we blog we get more good ideas,,,then blogging for long hours..do less blogging time..

  5. Miss Britt says:

    Love this advice AND the hysterical writing.

    I have found that most of my favorite bloggers – the ones who never post fluff and always knock it out of the park – consistently post less frequently then the “meh” bloggers.

  6. Avitable says:

    I disagree. I think that simply posting less frequently doesn’t make any impact on the quality. It’s only if you post less frequently AND put more effort into those posts that you will increase your quality. I post every day of the week and have for the last six years, and I know that if I went to two or three days a week, I would still put the same effort into those posts that I put into my daily posts.

  7. Great post… I think if you’ve got nothing good to blog about then don’t blog! – Sometimes it’s easy to get burnt out too… I know myself I went full throttle at first then soon burnt out and didn’t blog for a few weeks, back into it now though :-)

  8. Mike Smith says:

    Hi Larry

    I guess I’m at the other end of the spectrum.

    I love to blog but seem to get little time as working with clients gets in the way.

    I’m making a concious effort to get the number of blogs up but I totally take your point that quality outweighs quantity

    Regards

    Mike Smith

  9. Shirls says:

    That’s all very well, Larry, but I rather miss your almost daily blogs. Maybe, just maybe you could point your fans to all the pieces you have written on other blogs such as this one which I came across quite by lucky accident?

  10. Hi,

    I am totally agreed with this post. Sometimes, if you don’t have anything good to write, don’t write for the sake of adding content to your blog. It will damage your blog reputation faster than you think. Saying that, it’s advisable not to leave your blog dormant. Get someone to write you some quality contents so that your blog will not run out of contents. No harm done. Just make sure that it’s a quality piece of information.

    We do get burn out sometime. That’s mean to say that you’re tired and your body needs some rest.

    That way, you will feel refresh when you’re back at your laptop.

    Hope this helps.

  11. Great points dude,

    Many blogs which i follow i noticed the same points,

    you have discussed the true benefit of quality over quantity

  12. Ishrath says:

    At last, a good topic on this blog to read and think about.

    Even posts on this blog are getting boring and just put up for the sake of continuity.

  13. Arul says:

    I agree that ‘quality trumping quantity’.

    But I also like to add that we can post as many as we like. We just have to make sure that we maintain high quality contents that are not basically the same as our few recent posts.

    The most important of all, put our heart in everything we do/post. Most people can see if our posts are made just for the sake of ‘getting readers’.

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