Thursday, March 3, 2011

Atlas Blogged

                                                 

        When I started reading it, I had not realized it would be so long.  The narrative started well enough and had me interested to see what was coming next.  Then the author took a detour.  In befuddlement I plodded on.

          Did this author have any sense of an inner editor?  There was this and then there was that.   And then there was this that had no relation to that.  On and on it went with no clear point in sight.  By this time I had already invested so much time in reading that I was determined to finish. 

             Finally, after what seemed like hours, I reached the end.  What was that all about anyway?   I could only sigh deeply and shake my head in frustrated disappointment.  That had to have been the longest blog post I've ever read in my life.  And for today it would be the only blog post that I would be reading.

******************

            I've been guilty of this, I know.  In April many of us will be trying to read more posts than usual and leave a comment on each of them.  Those long rambling posts will become a liability.  Readers may decide to just skip the long ones in favor of several more manageable posts.

            Here are a few things you might want to consider in April and perhaps always:

             1)   If your post covers a lot of different topics, then maybe it would be better to turn it into several different posts.

             2)   If your topic covers many different points, then maybe you should turn it into a series extended over several days.

              3)  If you really have that much to say, then maybe you should write a book.

          These are just some thoughts that I decided to toss out to you.  What do you think?


                                                                                              (302 words)


Coming Saturday:  Awards post.
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53 comments:

  1. Agreed. I'll read a long post if it holds my interest, is a story, covers a particular topic, etc. But I don't follow blogs which, as you say, wander all over the place. Also confess I gave up on Atlas Shrugged a third of the way thru; same with Joyce's Ulysses.

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  2. I agree, Arlee! After I write my posts, I always hit the 'Preview' button. After reading in preview mode, if it seems too long, I edit.

    Thanks for the tips. Happy Thursday! :o)

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  3. I agree about the long and rambling posts! Only problem is that some times I am guilty of this as well! Sometimes I just feel the need to ramble as an outlet! So please feel free to skip my posts when I do!
    Fortunately it doesn't happen often, usually when I am exhausted!
    For the most part I do try to keep it manageable, at least I hope!
    Love Di ♥

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  4. Good advice Lee. It's always bad when you get to the end of a post and wonder, "Did I miss something?" :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  5. Thanks for reviewing that book I won't bother to read it.

    My entries won't be that long, but I will endevour to read as many entries as humanly possible.

    Yvonne.

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  6. Excellent points, Lee! Last one made me laugh. Since I read and comment on so many blogs, I confess - I often skip the longer ones.

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  7. he he he number three made me laugh like crazy :)
    And I shall excite you now - ATLAS SHRUGGED is being made into a movie as we speak in Hollywood :) with some quite popular actors. I've never actually wrote about it over at H.SPY since I found the plot boring.

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  8. When it comes to long rambling posts, there's skimming...And Atlas Shrugged...OMG! I read that soooooo long ago and clearly remember being frustrated by the pages and pages and pages of lecturing. It wasn't a novel, it was some kind of (yawn)treatise.

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  9. Atlas Blogged-- LOL! I'm excited about doing really short posts for April. Atlas Unplugged.

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  10. Ha! Number three made me smile :)

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  11. I like number 3 :)

    Sometimes, longer posts keep my attention and I don't mind them, especially if they're on some aspect of the writing/editing/submitting life.

    I will admit that there are times I skip through blog posts when they seem to jump around. I feel bad for doing so.

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Jen

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  12. Li -- It depends on how readable the writing is. I can handle a long post when it reads easily, but if it obscurely written and of exceeding depth plus length I may skip it to read later, but I often forget to come back. I actually finished Atlas Shrugged and somewhat enjoyed it. It's on my to read again list.

    becca -- Thank you. I like my thinking too--sometimes.

    Seams-- I like to look at my word count. I'm beginning to get better at more succinct writing.

    Diana -- I not against all long posts if the thoughts are connected are read easily. I don't like it when I have to stop and reread too much trying to figure out what was said or if there is a great deal of deep content that requires a lot of thought--not that I don't like thinking. I'd rather have smaller doses of depth in a blog.

    Jules --- Yes, and unfortunately if I finish a post wondering if I missed something, I may sometimes take the time to go back to reread to see if I can figure out what I missed. That or I just move on and forget about it.

    Yvonne --- I don't think you'd like Atlas Shrugged. You never intensificate us with long blog posts and you are very good about reading and commmenting a great deal.

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  13. Alex -- I hope you will be saying more later about this topic. You will certainly have a good spin on it.

    Dezmond -- I happened to like Atlas Shrugged but it was challenging. I wonder if they'll twist up the story and mess things up like they did with Runaway Jury? And how will they deal with the cigarettes that are such a prevalent part of the story. They sure smoke a lot in that book.

    Bish -- Ayn Rand was a bit heavy-handed expounding her philosophies in the book. I did find it very interesting and it impacted my memory and my thinking. Someday I would like to reread the book, but that first reading did seem interminable.

    KarenG -- A to Z is a good time to sharpen up one's writing, although I do love to ramble sometimes.

    Heather -- Hope everyone's paying attention. Shorter posts will help the writers as well as us readers.

    Jess -- Writing the book is what so many of us want to do eventually--right?

    Jen -- A well written long post is a joy when I feel like I've been fed and I can walk away satisified. A long rambling post with little real content is like going to a carb laden buffet and afterwards you feel overstuffed but still craving something that tastes good and provides nourishment.

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  14. I agree. I tend to skip the long blog posts, especially if I am just trying to quickly get some blog reading in before doign soemthing else. On the other hand, I know that at times I can write some pretty long posts, so I have to watch this myself.

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  15. Atlus Shrugged was one of my least favourite books. But to each their own. I could see how some people would like it.

    If a blog is too long - or the point is not clear... I usually don't finish reading it... and don't comment.

    And It's not because I hate long complex things, I just hate when a blogger doesn't do everything possibly to make their post user friendly.

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  16. Hi! I'm a new follower brought over by the excitement of the A-Z challenge. I'm a new blogger and thought the challenge would be a good way for me to dive into the blogging world. You can find me at http://thenshewrites.blogspot.com/

    I don't mind a long post on occasion, but the ones I struggle the most with are posts that start with a ten paragraph contrived story that is supposed to be cute and funny but is really just a lead in to the main point the author wants to make.

    Yet I do this too. Self-editing is not my forte. In fact, I have one of these 'story to illustrate a point' blogs scheduled for Friday. Maybe I should rethink it.

    But I loved--completely loved--Atlas Shrugged. Apparently I might be alone in that opinion.

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  17. BOID ~
    Oh yeah, down with long blog bits! I won't even begin one. Any post with more than 20 words and fewer than 25 pictures, I run from. RUN!!!

    [Sorry 'bout this long, rambling comment, but you really struck a nerve with me on this topic. ...Well, I'm off now to try to find a short blog bit about writing advice for the would-be novelist. Wish me luck! - there's not much out there like that.]

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  18. Kristin -- I have been notorious for some very long blog posts. I will try to stay clear of this during April.

    Austin -- Yes, the medium of blogging is very different from other media. Long posts have their place and time, but often not.

    Heidi -- I will check out your blog.

    StMc-- I thought this might touch your inner novelist. Keep in mind I'm primarily addressing A to Zers to give tips on making the challenge more manageable. Hey, you should join us in the Challenge--or did I ask you that already. By the way, if you run across a blog with 25 or more cat pictures let me know--I love that stuff.

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  19. I've been contemplating diving into Atlas Shrugged for a while now. Mostly because of the things you mentioned it's just been sitting there on my shelf for a year or so so we'll see.

    I'm a firm believer in being economical with your words. I always do my best to try and edit anything I write with a scalpel, especially when I'm blogging. Someone has to be completely brilliant for me to read on for more than a few paragraphs. I personally think each blog post should contain one idea that's easy to understand. How that idea is explained is what makes it interesting or not.

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  20. I couldn't agree more! Hmm, number three got me thinking. Write poetry to a theme and turn it into a chapbook when April's over! ;o)

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  21. I'm impressed you got through Atlas Shrugged. Good tip though. Short posts R win :)

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  22. I'm so guilty of long posts. (Then again, I LOVED Atlas Shrugged--I agree with Ayn Rand on nearly nothing, but she always gets me thinking, which is something I love to happen when I'm engaged in a book)
    I DO try to put section headings so my posts are skimmable... not sure how well I succeed, but it would take me FAR longer to write shorter posts.

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  23. Atlas Shrugged is ther bane of my existence at the moment. I've been trying to get through it for a year. Keep getting side tracked by fluffy reading, like The Hunger Games and ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING ELSE.

    You are the first person who has not ended the book with rave reviews. Now I will FORCE myself to finish so I can have a solid opinion.

    Agreed on the long blog posts. That's the short of it.

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  24. I won't lie... I plan to skip the long posts :)

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  25. Thanks for the advice!

    I don't really like long posts, either--I'll read the ones that aren't over around 1000 words, but anything beyond that I'll just skim or comment on something that sticks out like an image or an event mentioned.

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  26. Christopher -- I do think Atlas Shrugged is worth delving into if you're ready to give it a whole-hearted chance.
    I'm in agrrement with the thought that usually a blog post should focus on one idea at a time. There are exceptions, but most of the time a blog reader is looking for a quick read.

    Jessica --- Are you going to be doing A to Z poetry this year? Your idea sounds like a good one.

    Lynda -- It took a while but I did finish the book. And I was at a time of my life when I was able to read a great deal.

    Hart -- I did like Atlas Shrugged and over the years I've come into more agreement with Ayn Rand. Breaking up a blog post and using headers is a tremendous help.

    Crystal-- My assessment of Atlas Shrugged was greatly influenced by my age when I read the book and my mindset at the time. I will say that after 35 years the ideas that were behind the book have stayed with me. I think I would appreciate the book much more if I were to read it again now.

    Baygirl -- There will probably be times when I do the same, but hopefully A to Zers will get this message and stay short in April.

    Golden Eagle -- I've done that before too!

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  27. I learned a huge lesson from this (other than what you were saying, obviously). The right image could pull in readers. I love/love/LOVE Atlas Shrugged, so I popped over to this post because I saw it. I haven't played with too many images, but that could be a draw.

    Thanks!

    Marie, http://marierearden.blogspot.com

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  28. I know, I am beyond guilty of lengthy posts....and lengthy comments, too! I'm going to make that my focus for the April challenge so I don't 'hold anyone up.' It will be a good exercise!

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  29. Lee, you bet I'll tackle this topic in my own fashion.
    And Hart - yours aren't THAT long! I read them.

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  30. Good stuff, thanks for sharing those tips.
    Ugh..Ayn Rand. I had to read The Fountainhead in HS. It was painfully long.

    ~Scarlett

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  31. Marie --- Catching a reader's attention is an important factor in getting read.

    Paul -- I too am guilty of both. But I do love long comments if they have something to say. Feel free to leave me long comments--I feel honored to get them.

    Alex -- Looking forward to what you'll have to say.

    Scarlett-- Ayn Rand felt like she had something important to say I guess so she took advantage of her platform.

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  32. I've never read ATLAS SHRUGGED or anything by Ayn Rand at all. But what you just explained reminded me of why I got so frustrated with DUNE. I really couldn't finish it though. There was way too much of: And so-and-so said. And so-and-so thought. It got really irritating.

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  33. Hey Lee! Stop by today - you are a Friend for the Journey.

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  34. So, now I'm being paranoid that my posts are too long. So much to say, so little space. Help me out here, give me a word count. What (besides rambling) constitutes too lenghty a post. Give me numbers, please. Yikes, have I turned from long winded to long keyboarded?
    A newbie blogger, seeking advice.
    (I'm looking forward to the A-Z challenge...)

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  35. Good points! Now I don't feel so guilty my posts are usually short.

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  36. >>.....Hey, you should join us in the Challenge--or did I ask you that already?

    No, I don't think you did, but oddly enough, it does sound vaguely familiar.

    >>.....By the way, if you run across a blog with 25 or more cat pictures let me know--I love that stuff.

    Hmmm... And that seems vaguely familiar, too. I think I did run across a blog like that once.
    ;o)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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  37. I try to alternate posts - long, short, short, medium length and once in awhile I'm guilty of a zoomer! ;-D

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  38. I think these are great tips. I really like short, snappy posts - I always try to keep mine relatively short. Thanks, Arlee!

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  39. That is one long, dang book for sure. Kudos to you for ploughing through it.

    I noticed the more time I've spent as a blogger, the shorter my posts get. I appreciate short posts in others and do it myself as well.

    Congrats on the second A to Z--I'm sure it is going to be as awesome (if not more) than it was last year. And I loved it last year! WTG!

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  40. Good idea, Lee-

    For example, you could have someone that has a post with commentary on an Ayn Rand novel combined with blogging tips.

    They could have been two posts.

    (everybody's a comedian, right?)

    LC

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  41. Easy, sensible, but it had to be said. I will try to comply with it.

    I think a good post should not exceed 300-500 words. I know many and mine do sometimes, but it also depends on the topic and kind of post. You proved your points in 300 words pretty well.

    By the way, I'm hosting my own blogfest on Sunday, maybe you'd like to join. It's gonna be short, but definitely fun. (I hope)
    Nahno ∗ McLein

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  42. Eep, I'm sure I've written posts that were too long. I've been writing for wiseGEEK.com, and those posts are supposed to clock in at 400 words. I don't know if I can do that on my blog, but it's good practice learning to say stuff without taking forever. I'll keep that in mind when doing the challenge this time. :)

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  43. Hi, I've signed up to the A to Z challenge via Talli's blog. I'm hoping to combine the small stones idea from http://writingourwayhome.ning.com
    for each post. That way I can keep the posts short but interesting... or at least that's the plan.

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  44. Great tips. And a post is grand when some comments are longer than the post itself.

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  45. Those are some very good points!

    God Bless!

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  46. Just realized that I left a bunch of responses to the above comments that apparently didn't make it thru. I try this again just in case anyone is still monitoring this.

    Karen -- If a book doesn't draw you in it's easier to give up if it's really long.

    Alex -- Got it! Thanks.

    Better -- there is no set rule about post length, but 500 words or less is comfortable. Of course if a post is interesting and compelling to read the length isn't that big of an issue.

    Susan -- If you can say what you want to say and keep it short, there's nothing wrong with that.

    StMc -- Oh, a wise guy eh? Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

    Paula -- I think most of us can go off sometimes and it's okay when it's worth reading.

    Talli -- I'm mainly concerned with keeping it short for A to Z.

    Jackee -- Glad you're back for another Challenge.

    Larry -- Yeah, you and McCarthy should start a comedy act.

    Nahno -- I'll be watching for the Blogfest. Good luck!

    Elizabeth -- I sometimes feel like I have to go long in order to make my point.

    Rosalind -- Look forward to you A to Z efforts.

    Ocean -- Comments longer than the post is a pretty measurement in most cases.

    Lon -- Hope this post helps.

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  47. I've never heard of that book. If I see it at a book store or library, I'll pick it up to browse - just out of curiosity. However, I lean towards trusting your opionion and would probably not bring it home. :)

    It seems that many of us have an issue with the long blog posts. Some are rambling, yet others are genuinely good. I click away from the rambling ones, and tend to skim the good ones.

    I like your advice telling bloggers to write a book. :)

    Although long posts can be challenging, I respect the right of the writer to post whatever he or she wants. I hope they know, though, that if they want more readers and comments, they have to shorten the content. If not, it's their choice.

    If I'm going to read the work of one person for 10 minutes, I'd rather be reading a book.

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  48. Anita --Just for clarification, my post was not a review of the book. I was being satirical about long blog posts by comparing them to long books. Atlas Shrugged was a long book and my variation of the title fit my topic in a somewhat humorous way.

    The book is a very good novel that is held in high regard by many. I did like the novel, though it was challenging. It puts forth Ayn Rand's philosophy framed within the context of a story that has a rather interesting premise. I do plan to read in again now that I am older.

    I agree with you about the long blog posts. Some writers might be able to get away with it for some readers, but on the whole I think the longer posts will mean less readers over all especially during a massive blog visiting event like the A to Z April Challenge.

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  49. Of course, I had to Google the book after seeing your reply. I don't know how that one (the book) got by me. Even though it was published in 1957, the year I was born, apparently, it is a classic.

    Then I had to reread your post. I totally "got it" this time. :)

    Thanks.

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  50. I have to admit that I hate reading the suggestion all the time "just write a book". It comes across as snarky and mean. I've read some brilliant blog posts that are as long as 2,000 words; can't make a book out of 2,000 words, so the suggestion wouldn't really make sense.

    I do understand that not everyone likes long posts. Then again, every story that people like takes longer than that. I guess the idea is to be intriguing or entertaining enough to make it worth someone's while to get through a long post.

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  51. Mitch -- Thank you so much for following up to see what I had to say on this topic.

    Within the context of this post taken along with other posts in my series concerning the upcoming Blogging from A to Z Challenge, my suggestion to "just write a book" was somewhat tongue-in-cheek with humorous intent. I had no intention of being snarky or mean, and you might notice that from some of the appreciative reactions of previous commenters.

    I totally agree with you about the long blog posts that have actual content that is worth reading and style that is logical to absorb. My main concern is the long rambling posts that are primarily self-indulgent, and in the end have little to say.

    Since we are preparing for a blogging exercise in April that calls for visiting many blogs and leaving comments, we are encouraging participants to shorten things up so we can get a good sampling of what the bloggers with whom we are not familiar can do. After April we should have made some new blog contacts that we will want to continue to visit in the future.

    But your final sentence states my sentiments exactly. If the writer can keep me then they've got me until the end.

    Lee

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Lee