Monthly Archives: September 2009

Essays

I like the essay. It is a low-commitment format that forces you to follow a thread of thought (so you have to put some effort into it) but only for a little while (so you don’t have to spend too much time on it). It’s easy to digest and more likely to be read because it is smaller than a novel, and usually presented stand-alone, unlike articles in a paper. Obviously, essays can be really long, but I’m talking specifically about essays that take no more than 10 to 20 minutes to read.

This resembles how a lot of writing on the web is done. The entire article can’t be too long or it looks daunting, as if it will take forever to finish. Discreet sections allow the reader to digest the essay in managable pieces. Those sections are divided even further into minute-sized paragraphs; the amount that the average reader can process in 30 to 60 seconds.

I think if I practice writing this way it will help me get better at organizing and articulating my thoughts. Better organizational processes will make me more effective at work when writing emails and explaining things to my coworkers, and more effective in my personal life when deciding what to do and how to do it. These exercises should reduce the amount of time I spend organizing what I have to do and allow me to get to the fun part of actually doing those things.