Blog effort justification

I hope bloggers don’t feel attacked by this…

As a blogger who is often in a position to plug articles from other blogs, I know that bloggers are like to promote the essays that they feel most proud of. And the essays they feel most proud of, are often the longest ones, the ones that they put the most effort into. However, I rarely believe these are the best essays they produce. Indeed, sometimes they are the worst.

From a blogger perspective, the long, epic essays take the most effort. This leads to effort justification–the psychological tendency to place more value on things that you achieved through greater effort.

But from a reader perspective, the length of an essay is at best a means to an end, and at worst a barrier. Longer essays may have more to say, but it also requires more time investment to read them.

This is especially a problem with creators that you’re unfamiliar with, because you don’t yet have that trust that the essay is worth the time investment at all. So even when a long essay is particularly good, it’s often not a good introduction to a new blog.

This observation comes easily when I watch other bloggers, but it’s much more difficult to introspect and see it in myself. I think I err too much on the image-conscious side, second-guessing the quality of my writing, and stressing a great deal about the prospect of self-promotion. I suppose I’m spreading my own anxiety around, by suggesting that other bloggers may be doing self-promotion the wrong way.

To put a positive spin on it, I think this underscores the importance and value of short essays. Not everything needs to be epic. And that’s all I have to say.


  1. Holms says

    You are in good company. The author of that sketch, Henry Lawson, once said “…but the sketch story is best of all, as in order to be good, it must be good in every line.“

  2. flex says

    @2, Holms,

    Thanks for re-introducing me to Henry Lawson. It’s been too many years since I’ve sampled his fare.

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