Links on Internet Articles/Posts: Distracting?

There’s a big difference between reading an article/news from a magazine or newspaper compared reading articles/posts online: Links.

Yes, links. But you probably already know that, don’t you. Links are like the modern day equivalent of instructions we see one books like:  “Please turn to page 288…”

As in any technology, there are advantages and disadvantages to it.

A link can give us more information; or simply provide an excuse to leave the article we are reading if we find it boring.

That said a link is also a form of distraction. (See what I did there?)

There are links we want. Those are the ones relevant to the article or post we are reading.

And there are links we don’t want. (i.e, Irrelevant ads, a link to that video of robots dancing inside a bathroom, or links that goes nowhere).

I’m going to make this post long. I haven’t blogged for a while. Will I publish it?

???

Hitting Publish. Whitebeltblogger style..
🙂

 

Advertisements

White Belt Blogger Is Back

The Journey Continues

Yes, I’m back. Although only few days have passed since my last post, I’m glad to be back.

Why all the excitement?

I’ve been known to blog daily in the past. Not that I won’t blog again for consecutive days, after more than two months of daily blogging, I found it unsustainable.

Well I can really force myself to blog daily no matter what, but I realized that it’s not going help my blogging in the long run.

In the past, I’ve written twin posts regarding blogging and not blogging every day. In this post I’m going to give my comments on what I written back then.

Comments on the blogging every day post

Because only a few bloggers do it, posting every day will make your blog stand out. Some of the most popular sites/blogs on the internet gives it readers fresh content every day, even if the content was written by a guest blogger.

Yep, only a few bloggers do it (I was once of them), and I admire their efforts. The thing to note about the big sites, though, is their posts are written by multiple writers or guest bloggers, so there’s no need to worry if you can’t match their output.

People read blogs on the internet either to be informed or to be entertained, or both; so give them what they want.

I agree that we should write to give service to our readers, but do you really think that your blog is the only one they read on the internet? Most probably not. So, take it lightly, most of your readers will understand if you won’t be able to post daily.

Blogging is a form of writing. That said, blogging every day improves your writing skills. However, to improve your writing, you need to learn more about the craft as well (e.g., read blogs about writing).

Yes, blogging every day will definitely improve your writing skill, but so does blogging regularly, although not a daily basis.

Having the desire to write even a short post every day, develops your self-discipline. Self-discipline leads to a higher self-esteem.

Hmmm. To think of it, my self-esteem hasn’t dropped when I stopped blogging daily. But here I am blogging, probably to maintain my self-esteem.

Before you write something, you need to think of something to write first. That being the case, blogging every day develops your creativity and thinking skills, which are invaluable in daily living.

In my experience, blogging every day improved my thinking skills. On the contrary, we can think of things to blog about without writing them at the same day; thus, providing more time for research and idea enhancement.

Comments on the not blogging everyday post

When blogging ever day, there is a possibility that you may experience burn-out and in-turn associate blogging with discomfort. That said, write posts less often when you start seeing signs of burn-out (e.g., fatigue, irritation, etc.).

Yeah, I did experience it, albeit slightly. I didn’t know that I’ll be following my own advice not long after.

If you don’t blog every day, it will not become a commonplace activity — and you’ll feel more excitement when you’re about to write a post.

It depends on the individual. On my side, though, blogging every day hasn’t decreased, in any way, the fulfillment I get after I click the publish button.

If you blog every day, there’s a chance that your readers will only be able to read your latest post. Most people don’t live on the internet, and also, there are other blogs out there that they also enjoy reading.

Similar to what I mentioned above. In my experience, however, readers still read my previous (but not so old) posts.

There are days when you might not be able to think of an idea for a blog post. In those days, you may take a break if you want, instead of feeling frustrated.

You won’t really run-out of ideas, they’re everywhere, but the question is whether your idea is already ripe enough or still needs some refinement through further research and thinking.

Blogging every day won’t really improve your writing skills, unless you make an effort to do so. That is, practicing with the goal of improving your skills. It’s called deliberate practice, by the way.

I still agree with this point. If you were new to writing, like I was before, blogging every day will greatly improve your writing skill. But there will come a time that you’ll feel your skill has plateaued. The solution: try something new.

So what now?

That said, I’ll still write post when I can. It might be on consecutive days, or it might be not — what I want now is flexibility. I haven’t mentioned yet that realizing I have the option not to blog every day made be happier person.

Before, there were days that I was forcing myself to blog even though I haven’t slept enough. I’m not saying that we should avoid challenging experience like that, after all it develops mental toughness.

Knowing that blogging every day is only an option, and not an absolute rule that might be followed rigidly makes me feel better. I feel like a white belt blogger again. 🙂

When Reading Becomes a Form of Procrastination

Procrastination

I like to read, and I do it a lot. I read books, ebooks, and blogs. Recently, I asked myself a question. When does reading become another form of procrastination?

Some fluff (you can skip to next section if you want)


I heard someone saying, “How can reading be a form of procrastination? Reading is a worthwhile activity. It’s much better than watching TV and playing video games.”

I understand what you’re saying pal.

Teachers tell us to read. Self-help gurus also tell us to read. Even celebrities that don’t read but want to look good tell us to read.

“So, how come you said that reading is a form of procrastination?”

Life isn’t all about reading you know. Students go to school. Employees go to work. Parents take care of their kids. Animals eat or are eaten. Trees, well … grow.

Oh shoot! Am I rambling again? This post is starting to sound (or read) like those fluffy blogs that I don’t want to read even if someone pays me to read them.

It’s time to switch to no B.S. blogging mode.

When does reading become a form of procrastination? (Straight no B.S. answer.)


Procrastination is when we’re not doing what we’re supposed (or want) to do; we can be procrastinating without being idle, for example, when we do a lighter activity (such as reading) to substitute for a more difficult activity (such as [insert difficult activity here]).

Are you reading instead of writing blog posts? … yes? Then you’re procrastinating.

Are you reading instead of jogging outside? … yes? Then you’re procrastinating.

Are you reading instead of spending time with your kids? … yes? Then you’re also procrastinating.

5 step solution

  1. Realize that life isn’t all about reading.
  2. Limit your daily reading time (for example, two hours.)
  3. Read only what is necessary (or what you can’t resist).
  4. Make a todo list, including the task that you’re supposed to do.
  5. When the time comes to do the dreaded task — just do it.

Easy, isn’t it?

Blogger’s note


Writing can be a therapeutic tool (gosh, it sounds like that I need therapy). At first, I wasn’t sure if I’ll publish this post. It was supposed to serve as a reminder for myself; just in case I read too much again, ignoring other tasks.

But since other people may find it useful, even if it’s only one person (who knows it might be you), I decided to publish it publicly.

Photo credit: Danielle Scott from Flickr.

3 Useful Tips I Learned from 2 Months of Blogging

I’ve been blogging for two months already. Along the way, I picked-up some useful tips, either by reading other blogs or books, or simply by observation.

Here are 3 things I learned that I want to share:

  1. Short paragraphs are easier to read.

    I learned this from Jeff Goin’s site. He advises to keep paragraphs lines as short as 2-3 lines, and no more than 4 lines.

    Even though, I sometimes exceed his recommended maximum of 4 lines, my paragraphs now are definitely a lot shorter, compared to the time before I became a blogger.

    That said, I would also like to point out that line length is affected by the width of paragraphs in a web-page. If your paragraphs are wider (e.g., it’s occupies the full browser window), naturally the lines will be shorter.

    Most blogs I know, though, has an effective paragraph length around half the size of the screen.

  2. Summaries of posts can be helpful.

    I accept that sometimes readers might not read my whole post at all. In that case, I provide a summary, so they can get the core of my message, even though they haven’t read my post entirely.

    For instance, my post on Subvocalizing’s Hidden Benefit, is 240+ words long (minus the summary). I then wrote a summary of that post, which is only 16 words long (including the word “summary”).

    Summary:
    Subvocalizing slows down our reading rate, but it can be useful when editing written work.

    I don’t always write a summary, though, such as when a post is too short or it makes use of bulleted list.

    Nevertheless, I think it’s a great service to the readers of my posts. Regardless of whether they read my whole post or not.

  3. Quotes allow you to communicate your message effectively.

    For me, quotes are mini-posts that pack a punch. You can get to your point quickly, and they are a lot easier to remember.

    For instance, I could have written a post explaining why writers should strive to be better at their craft. Instead, I wrote this quote:

    One of your goals as a writer is to become so good — that people will buy a product just to read a technical manual written by you.

    –Whitebeltblogger (or you can substitute anonymous if you like)

    Like a summary, I bet most people will remember that quote better compared to a 500+ words post.

    But, that does not mean that we bloggers/writers should only write short posts or quotes. Long posts(like this one), have value too, and sometimes you really need a long post to communicate your ideas.

    Also, if you can’t think of a quote, it’s all right to use other people’s quote; just be sure to mention their names before or after the quote, though.

    Lastly, a quote does need to be in its own post — you can also place it inside your regular posts, too, for added effect.

Actually, I learned a lot more than that in my 2 months of blogging (e.g., grammar, punctuation, choice of words, etc.). Though, I think other bloggers would find the 3 tips above most useful.

If you’re a blogger like me, I’m sure you also learned a lot of useful stuff along the way. For me, blogging is a learning process, or you might also call it a journey, if you may.

Summary:
Write short paragraphs — easier to read. Write summaries — help your readers.

Make use of quotes — they are effective.

–Whitebeltblogger (or you can substitute anonymous if you like)

Subvocalizing’s Hidden Benefit

In this post, I would point out that subvocalizating has its use, despite the fact that speed reading courses discourages reading with while using it.

What is subvocalization?

Subvocalizing is when we speak words silently to ourselves while reading.

Most people still subvocalize even when reading quietly, because when we’re young we’ve been taught to read out loud, a habit we have carried up to adulthood.

Although subvocalizing can be considered normal, it is discouraged by speed reading courses because it’s slows down a person’s reading rate to that of his speaking rate, which is 150-250 words per minute.

By eliminating subvocalization, speed readers claim to read two-to-three times faster than normal, while comprehension stays the same.

It sure looks like that totally eliminating subvocalization is the way to go, isn’t it?

Subvocalization has a use too

But what if subvocalization has a hidden benefit — especially to those who write.

Allow me to explain. We can edit our written work better by reading sentences out loud. Agree?

But, we can’t always read our words out loud. For instance, if we’re on a public place, such as a library or coffee shop.

What’s the solution then? We subvocalize; it’s that simple. By subvocalizing, we can hear the words being spoken inside our head, which leads to better edits.

For speed readers out there, this is not an attempt to encourage subvocalizing while reading. Rather, I just want to point out that subvocalization has uses, too.

Summary:
Subvocalizing slows down our reading rate, but it can be useful when editing written work.