Tag Archives: attention span

Writing for Goldfish

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?