Something I struggle with a bit while writing articles for my blog is the format I want to use. For some posts I try to write something easy to process and quick to scan through, notably when I write about travel-related topics, but at other times I just write a big ‘wall of text’ for which you’ll actually need a lot of attention. I realise it makes the posts a bit less attractive and a lot of people might look and decide not to read it because they don’t have the time or attention span right now (and it’s not like they’ll come back to read it later). I too often refrain from reading a text simply because it looks long or difficult. Then why would I write them myself? I’ll try to explain and make this post a bit more accessible at least. Hooray for subheadings?
1: I don’t write for the views (but to share my thoughts)
It may seem a bit weird – why would I post things online if not to get more readers? – but I think the main reason I often choose to write a big wall of text is simply because I don’t write (just) for the views. I generally write to show what I think about a certain topic, perhaps even to convince others of my point of view, and I like to do that in a thoughtful way. Writing texts as essays is the easiest way for me to do that, with an introduction, separate paragraphs for separate arguments and a conclusion to bring it all together.
2: Subheadings can feel a bit trashy
Then why don’t I make it more accessible by using subheadings for each argument? Subheadings are indeed one of the easiest ways to enable people to skip through posts, but honestly, having one above every single paragraph feels horrible to me. That might be the case because I often relate them to clickbaity articles without much interesting content, or maybe just because I feel like it interrupts the flow of the text. Whatever the reason, I just don’t like using them a lot. They are amazing tools to support the reader when I write longer articles, but I don’t feel like I can appropriately apply them to a post that’s barely one page long in MS Word.
3: I’d like people to read everything
The first points can kind of be combined in this third one: I want people to read what I wrote, since I’m trying to share my thoughts. I don’t care how many people read, but I hope the ones who do actually read the whole thing. It’s fine if people read the introduction and conclusion first to see if they’re interested in the topic, but if they are interested I hope they read (and think about) all the points I make. Using subheadings like the ones I’m using now allow people to skip certain parts of the text without much difficulty, which is often not what I’m aiming for. For this post it’s fine, because this text is purely meant to inform people, but in a lot of cases I want to take people along on my train of thought. In those cases it’s better for them to actually read the whole thing, start to finish.
Hopefully this post clarifies why I don’t always write things that are easy to process. My goal isn’t to entertain, but to inform, and to me different goals call for different types of text. At least you know what to expect now (although you probably already expected walls of text since I always write them…). See you next Sunday!