According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a human being has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. This is one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.
I’ve taken enough classes and workshops and done enough writing and reading to know, when writing, to be succinct. Keep your writing tight. Make every word count. As the writer of a blog for the last eight years, I have written hundreds of relatively short posts, each on a specific topic, and contained within an overall theme, Debbie Does 50! Please don’t go looking back at each post to see if I did, indeed, write concisely. The point is most of my posts have been in the 400 to 800-word range. I like that length both for writing and for what I like to read. When perusing a magazine, if an article goes beyond the first page I am likely to just skip over it – too long!
Now my quandary is I am trying to write a book. A short book, but a book, not a blog post. The reality is each topic within my book could be a blog post, but I’m finding, in my typical style, each topic is relatively short when I first write it. So I’m wondering – what fleshes out the topic? I’m listening to a book right now in which the author has said the same thing, over and over, in different ways, but without really adding any new content. I don’t want to be that writer.
This challenge of writing a book in 30 days has uncovered new, unexpected challenges. Yesterday it was the challenge of actually writing. Today I’m grappling with this one: when one has been trained to write for humans, how does one learn to write for goldfish and still maintain meaningful content?