Best-selling writing elicits emotions strong enough to move a reader to action. Could this apply to blogs?
About four months ago, I came across an idea called slow blogging. I’ve seen it several times since then, and wondered about whether or not it’s a good idea–specifically when health, hearth and other obligations recently kept me away from my blog for more than two weeks.
As I understand it, slow blogging refers to blogging less frequently, but putting more time and thought into posts–kind of allowing them to age.
I admit, my first reaction was one of skepticism. How, exactly, are writers supposed to develop a decent platform for selling their work without gaining followers on their blogs? And how, exactly, are bloggers supposed to build their followings without writing three or four posts a day, at least?
Then I came across this guest post at ProBlogger, written by Brooke McAlary (SlowYourHome.com). This is what she had to say about it:
I’ve been writing about simple living for over two years, but it wasn’t until I started applying the elements of slow blogging that I saw vast improvement in my work, my community and my readership.
Slowing down, posting less frequently, spending more time thinking, studying and writing my posts, has ultimately led me to attract a much bigger audience. My readers now are engaged, inspired and my greatest champions, and I put much of that down to my decision to go Slow.
I’ll say that part again, because it bears repeating.
My readership has grown as I’ve posted less.
I’m giving the idea of slow blogging some serious thought now, partly because, although my readership dropped when I wasn’t posting, I kept gaining followers.
Mind you, I like getting followers, but that’s not why I blog. I blog because I’m a talk-a-holic, and I sometimes just have to get things out of my system.
I blog because I like the online community of writers, photographers and other artists–everyone has something wonderful to share. I like to be there to enjoy it all.
Also, I blog because I have a nagging need to learn, and it seems like the best way to really internalize what I’m learning is to share it with someone else. Blogging is the perfect medium for this.
I can’t say I don’t enjoy the feeling of attracting readers who think about and dream about the same things I think and dream about. I appreciate the fact that these people form part of my platform, but I really value them as a network of real-life friends that I just haven’t had the chance to meet in person yet. The really important thing about blogging, for me, is not so much the possibility of using my contacts to promote my work as the fact that my blogging friends add joy to my life.
Who doesn’t like joy?
And that brings me to my next point: my recent marketing studies have convinced me that if I really want to get the hang of writing books that sell, I need to get the hang of writing books that evoke emotions strong enough to move a reader to action.
From Dave Farland’s Million Dollar Outlines:
Do you see the relationship between reading and other forms of recreation? Here it is: when we read, we buy into a shared dream, a fiction, and by dong so we put ourselves in emotional jeopardy.
Later he wrote:
At the very heart of it, reading stories or viewing them allows us to perform an emotional exercise. And the better you as a writer are at creating fiction that meets your audience’s deepest needs, the better your work will sell.
(Read more about what I think about this book here.)
From Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On:
When we care, we share.
This includes sharing things on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets.
Berger also wrote:
When trying to use emotions to drive sharing, remember to pick ones that kindle the fire: select high-arousal emotions that drive people to action.
I’m convinced that emotion-provoking writing is a must for fiction. It’s likely a must for nonfiction, as well–and maybe it’s even more important in that arena.
But how does it relate to blogging, and slow blogging in particular?
My initial thoughts are these:
- If I’m blogging fast because I’m feeling emotional about something, that’s probably going to be apparent to my readers, and it might be okay to share that. If, however, I’m blogging fast just to blog something–anything–then I may just be blowing smoke and wasting the time of readers I respect and care about.
- If I’m blogging slow, I have time to savor my own thoughts before I share them with others. Since I tend to be impetuous, this might save me from the embarrassment of sharing things that are too personal. It also gives me time to think about what I have to offer my online friends, hopefully protecting them from seeing careless posts they feel uninterested in but obligated to respond to.
- The more I control my blogging, the more real writing work I do–and that’s emotionally rewarding on an entirely different level. Conversely, if I’m discouraged about something, I tend to avoid my works-in-progress (and any other uncomfortable challenge) and focus solely on my blog. I have to wonder what kinds of emotions my readers pick up from me then.
At this point, I’m not sure how seriously I take slow blogging. It may happen on my blog by default as the demands of life create new priorities. A quick note here: I refuse to get frustrated by this.
If slow blogging becomes a bigger part of my life, it won’t be because I don’t enjoy blogging. Rather, it will mean that I’m enjoying the balance of ALL of my life–blogging included.