The Unproductive Writer’s Guide to Success

Martyn Chamberlin is a copywriter and web designer from Two Hour Blogger. Following him on Twitter may be the easiest thing you do today. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

There is something about the word productivity that makes every blogger blush deeply.

You turn on your computer, check your email and Facebook, and forget why you logged on. Forty minutes later you walk away feeling guilty and unproductive. It happens to you every single day.

A Writer's Desk - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MiquelMunill, Image #4792809

The Internet is inherently unproductive. Every aspect tries to consume your attention. Your friends want you to read their updates. Apple wants you to check out their latest gadget. Google wants you to click on as many search results as you can.

But there is good news. Believe it or not, productivity is overrated. It is not the secret sauce that leads to success. You do not have to get a lot done in a short amount of time.

When I email Seth Godin, he invariably writes back within minutes. Despite what others tell you, that giant checks his email early and often. Nothing wrong with that.

But if you do not have to be productive to build a successful online community and business, what do you need? You need to provide content that is worth people’s attention.

Attention is difficult to get. For example, let us suppose you have an audience of five hundred readers. If you publish articles twice per week, your audience grows accustomed to this.

If you start posting every twelve hours, you are suddenly demanding extra attention. Eventually you wear them out and they unsubscribe. There is a limit to the amount of attention your audience is willing to give you.

You must learn to use it wisely.

You must learn to be efficient in the amount of content you make visible.

Every word you write is asking to be read; every picture you tweet or Facebook is asking to be seen. The more you scatter across the web, the less attention your followers are able to give each item. In other words, each item becomes decreasingly effective.

Every time you disappoint your readers, you decrease the likelihood they will open your next email. If you want your stuff to spread, you must learn to censor what you publish.

This is a painful business. Very few writers can do it. When you see someone who achieves success every single article, you may rest assured he is editing like mad. Creating a wildfire every time you post is a difficult feat.

If your archives are lousy, you lose potential subscribers. You may have an awesome article today but the meager post you wrote two months ago is hurting you.

This applies to every aspect of your online presence. For example, it is often tempting to tweet snippets of your life’s happenings, but the result of these outbursts is an undermining of your relevance; followers grow less likely to pay attention to your next tweet, which might be great content.

These things are all connected, you see.

The less noise you make and the more effort you put into each point of contact, the more attention you build. As you develop a reputation for only putting the best of yourself online, readers will notice. They will reward you with a healthy dose of their attention.

Attention is a difficult thing to get, and an easy thing to lose.

You must play your cards wisely.

It has nothing to do with productivity, and it has everything to do with efficiency.

How does this affect you? Instead of spending five hours writing ten blog posts, spend five hours writing one good post. This means the amount of attention you are asking is less, and the prose you are offering is superior.

If it takes me all day to write an email that makes me a lot of money, that is better than spending five minutes to write an email that fizzles on impact. Yes, the email must do its work efficiently, but I do not have to be productive in its construction.

Individuals are the building blocks of an audience; treat them as such. Give them stuff worthy of their attention. But do not bother with being productive in the process; it is okay.

Instead of shouting and splashing, slow down and be unproductive. Focus on just one thing and do it right. You will be spinning circles around your competition.

Or better yet, love your enemies and tweet this out. They need some help.

Question: Have you focused on productivity at the expense of quality? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.facebook.com/momofkings Dawn Michelle King

    This is the second post in the past 24 hours that has encouraged me NOT to post more often on my blog, http://www.JesusDIVA.com. I just launched a couple months ago and post once per week on Thursday mornings. Lately, I’ve been thinking that I may want to add another day or two of posting per week, but for now, I think I will just wait.

    • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

      I would think as long as you did strategically, say one adding just one day and letting that settle for a good while, you could be fine. I might be wrong though.

      • http://www.facebook.com/momofkings Dawn Michelle King

        I have thought about adding one more day. Just not sure yet. I have a full time job, 7 kids, a husband, and ministry in church. Right now I am still trying to figure out all the back end tech stuff (because I have no clue LOL). 

        • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

          I hear ya. I don’t have 7 kids, but yeah. I think you could add a second day without any harm. You could manage your time and write both posts at once.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Dawn, this post was an interesting post. I’ve always heard to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE… POST, POST, POST… I wonder which advice should be followed.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        I’ve wondered this, too.  I’ve heard, “Post consistently, and that will build up a loyal following.”  Now I’m hearing, “Good content is more important than consistency.”

        • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

          Consistency is honestly overrated. Over at socialtriggers.com, Derek’s built a HUGE community of subscribers and he’s barely posting twice per month. 

          It’s all about quality. ;)

          • Joe Lalonde

            Oh wow, that’s crazy. Thanks for sharing his site.

          • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

            If you’re into marketing at all, Derek’s the guy to follow. He’s always right on the money – literally!

          • Joe Lalonde

            Martyn, that’s an area that is really starting to interest me. He’ll be added to my daily watchlist. Thanks again!

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            Consistency must be overrated. That’s the only way this makes sense.

            @michaelhyatt:disqus blogs almost every day, but he’s also churning out bang-up content.

          • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

            This is true. Usually all we hear is post as often as possible. It seems as if that is only when you can provide consistent quality each post. It’s encouraging to see more may not always be the answer!

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            I think that the answer is that no single blog post can encompass all the necessary elements of a good blogging strategy. You should post as often as possible, daily even, but only if you can maintain consistency. I don’t think anyone out there is just asking us to post for posting’s sake.

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            Michael’s also been doing this for years, so his writing is refined, and he’s a stellar thinker, too. When you have that combination, you could probably write every day, and people would read everything.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Thanks, Robert. You are too kind.

          • http://www.facebook.com/momofkings Dawn Michelle King

            I saw your blog you talk about taking at least two hours per post. I am probably taking that long to write a roughly 500 word post (divided up over a couple days). I do think quality is important, but I also think being consistent is important, at least that is what Jon Acuff says. LOL

          • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

            But Martyn, he’s got tons of posts and has worked hard to build up a huge following. For beginning bloggers and even intermediate bloggers consistency is just as important as quality. No one wants to read about what you had for breakfast or when you brush your teeth, granted. But some thought provoker posts sprinkled within some humorous anecdotes of daily living with children, working moms, stay-at-home dads, just plain daily living are huge draws as well.

          • Jmhardy97

            I like that point Gina. Consistency is very important.

            Jim

          • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

            Thanks, Jim. I learned it the hard way. I know that I get a lot more visits with a much lower bounce rate when I post about something hot in the news, and I’ve turned some of them into regular followers. It’s hard, but extremely satisfying knowing that God’s hand is directing me and I live to be used by Him.

          • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

            I’m sorry, but that’s not the case. Derek didn’t start promoting Social Triggers until March of 2011 and he’s built that blog to more than 10K subscribers in just a few short months.

            He was “inconsistent” from the beginning. He rarely publishes. 

            This works.

          • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

            However, he was consistent in being quoted or interviewed in publications like Entrepreneur, DIY, Marketing Profs, Copyblogger etc. With coverage like that just about anyone talking about social media will build a following with quality posts. 

            He was also at Audience Conference in 2009, began this blogging in 2010 and people like Chris Brogan talking about him. The main point here is his blog is about something extremely trendy  — Social Media. Any blog that helps us understand and utilize something that is all the rage will get huge attention because right now old fogies like me are struggling to understand social media and trying to build a platform, while he and you grew up with a cordless phone in one hand and a computer in the other.

            The crucial test would be if he started a blog about Christian Dads, or Christian Living under an assumed name with absolutely no references from this wildly popular blog or advertising from other media, or mentions from Chris Brogan or any other popular author/radio personality/newspaper/TV show, and see how inconsistency works for him.

            Blogging is not an apples to apples media. Content is key absolutely, but consistency is crucial for start up blogs that have no advertising outlet.

          • http://socialtriggers.com Derek

            I’ve been blogging for a while Gina, but Social Triggers is a new blog. I mainly ran blogs outside the social media space (like makeup, fashion, entertainment, and things like that for a very long time)

          • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

            Hi, Derek. Kudos to you for starting a marvelous blog that gives quality content for people who are interested in understanding social media and using it to make money.

            I was in the advertising business for many years. That taught me one thing, if you target your market, and promote your product to that market you will be successful.

            Quality content did not bring people to your blog. You say so yourself in your post http://socialtriggers.com/content-is-king-myth/ You are offering what a wide variety of people want — understanding social media. You offer something compelling right up front and give an easy way to subscribe at the top on your blog. That’s masterful, and effective.

            The quality content is what makes people subscribe, but if they never knew you were there, they’d not have found your blog or subscribed.

            Promoting is what brought people to your blog. Your avenues of advertising are what made your blog successful, quality content is what kept it successful. Plus, social media is something you have to practice so inconsistent posts actually helps because a person will take one thing and do it, then another and do it. A person’s inbox isn’t flooded with daily mail, which is a major plus.

            Seriously, Derek, try starting a blog under an assumed name about Christian living in the corporate world or something like that, do not promote it with your normal outlets but from ground zero, (this is how non-famous people must start), and be very inconsistent. See how that works for 4 months. I would be very interested in the comparison.

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            Gina, I agree, but I think there are different definitions of consistency. Consistency could be writing once a week, or every week day, or once a month. In that aspect, it just depends on what you’ve trained your audience to expect.

          • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

            Exactly, Robert! Randy Ingermanson has an excellent newsletter geared towards helping writers write and it comes once a month or so. It’s packed with great content and no one cares if it doesn’t come exactly on the 15th of every month because it comes to our inbox. We don’t have to do anything to retrieve it.

            But, when you do not want to pay for a subscriber service and your readers must come to your blog once a week or once a month to retrieve your content, it better be worthy of the effort to draw people back.

            The major point people miss is that those who have a major following (a million page views per day) have a luxury that us nobodies do not have. And the key word here is subscribers.

          • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

            Martyn, the key word here is “promoting”.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Robert, maybe the landscape of blogging is changing? Things always go through shifts?

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            I think the landscape is ALWAYS changing, whether it’s in blogging, business, etc. There are probably certain things that stay constant (like “writing a lot makes you a better writer”), but the way things are marketed, published, etc., is always changing.

        • http://www.facebook.com/momofkings Dawn Michelle King

          I do post consistently, every Thursday morning. I also try to give good content.

        • Jmhardy97

          Good thought Robert.

          Jim

      • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

        Write a ton. Write a thousand words a day, if you can. 

        But keep most of it on your hard drive, and only publish the cream. 

        • http://joeandancy.com Joe Abraham

          Well said. The whole post in a nut shell! Thanks Martyn.

        • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

          Ooh that takes self control, but I can see how that will pay off.

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            This would not work for me.

          • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

            Why?

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            I think because I respond so much to current issues. Plus, an idea only “feels” fresh to me for so long before I get bored and move to something else.

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            Bro, I tried to comment on your blog and it didn’t work. Check your email. Thx.

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            It does sound very hard to me, too. But I agree with Martyn, writing a LOT is the only way to hone your craft.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Martyn, that’s good advice. It’s crazy that that is the first time I’ve heard it.

          • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

            I’m with you. I’ve been surprised by this whole post in general!

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          Good thought, Martyn.

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      Dawn, a lot depends upon your purpose for blogging. Is it more a personal journal or are you sharing things to help others or do you want to make some money from your blog?

      I started blogging to practice my writing skills and I’ve been blogging for six years. It took two years of blogging every day to gather a decent following who commented. I faithfully visited their blogs and commented. Even when they quit blogging, they still kept coming to mine. Then I began an extremely demanding job that left little time to do more than work, eat, sleep, and pray. So, I quit writing every day, in fact I slipped into once a week and my following dropped away.

      Instead of 25 or 30 unique visitors per day, I dropped to 5 daily and a once in a blue moon comment.

      It took another two years for me to build back a decent following. I had three other sources pointing back to my blog, but I think the turning point was when I became the Lifestyles Editor of my newspaper because I had print media as well as my blog and the columns I wrote weekly.

      Unless you have at least 50 posts, you don’t show up on any Google searches (I’m not sure about Bing or Yahoo) and for googlebots to visit your site everyday, you must have fresh content everyday. You want those googlebots everyday because that is how your blog shows up in searches which draws readers to your blog which builds your blog’s reputation and that is what impresses publishers. Quality content is what makes other people post links to your blog which increases readership and page rankings which also impresses publishers.

      • http://www.facebook.com/momofkings Dawn Michelle King

        Well I’d sure like a lot of people to follow me, but there is no way I can write good posts every day. I work full time, have 7 kids still at home, a dh that wants attention, and a leader at church. I am not looking to monetize it for now. Maybe in the future. My goal right now is to help women of God loose the chains binding them by understanding their identity in Christ.

        • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

          You are a busy woman! You are living in a treasure trove of wisdom kernels! I believe you are well on your way to meet your goal :)

      • Jmhardy97

        Very good thoughts Gina. Thank you for sharing.

        Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      Dawn,

      Thank you for sharing this post.

      Jim

  • http://brettcohrs.com Brett

    “The less noise you make and the more effort you put into each point of contact, the more attention you build.”  I love this thought. It’s something I’ve been bouncing around lately. In particular, I think of Twitter and the 3 or 4 categories of folks I communicate with on there. How efficient am I being regarding the content tweets vs. the fun communication with other dads and moms that I’ve gotten to know who use it more as a ‘social’ social network. 

    On productivity vs. quality at work: I intuitively know when I’m being diligent at pushing a lot of paper that maybe someone else in the organization needs to push while I focus on doing the tasks that are productive–and doing them well. I’ll work, but I’m not forging ahead. 

  • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

    Really it’s about how you measure productivity though. It is more productive to produce one quality post in five hours than ten bad ones. Quality over quantity but spoken in a different dialect.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Agreed. “More” doesn’t always mean more productive.

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      That’s a good point, Jonathan. I’ve defined “productive” in less favorable terms than perhaps it deserves. 

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    On my blog I have two main sources of readership. I have people who subscribe and read my content regularly and I have people that reach my content by searching keywords on Google. For my regular readers, having consistency is key. The more organized I make it, the better they like it. Posting once a day has really helped this audience to grow. 

    My Google visitors, on the other hand, could care less about how often I post. They are just interested in the content that matches their keyword search. If they search for Goal Setting in Google, they will probably click on my Goal Setting Toolkit and download the helpful templates. I get almost as many visits to this post (which was written four years ago) as I do regular subscriber visits.

    The takeaway… developing a subscriber base takes consistency, organization, and good writing. To have Google find you takes good keyword placement, great content, and lots of inbound links, which are the direct result of having great content.

    Bottom line: Write as often as you can while producing great content.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      John, I think you give good advice: “Write as often as you can while producing great material.”  I also think you’re right in drawing a distinction between your Google search readers, who only come to your site for the best stuff that you write, and your regular readers, who are dedicated to your writing, and will forgive you for a second-best post every now and again.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        The real problem is it is really hard to know what will be popular. I’ve actually had better luck working with keywords/SEO than trying to optimise content.

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          John, I agree that you never know when something’s going to be popular. But, as long as you’re not blogging about the fad of the day, the same issues keep coming up over and over and over again. People will talk about relationships, goals, debt, money, politics, philosophy, etc., until the end of time. If you write something good, and maybe do a little SEO, you will likely get continuing returns on that writing investment.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      John, I appreciate your perspective. It is important to know who your audience is and how they consume your contents. And, it is important to know your goals in publishing content.

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        Problogger actually posted today sort of a pros/cons list to a bunch of blogging approaches; but like you said, it depends on your goals.

        23 Blogger Breeds http://ow.ly/5QFmS

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          I saw that post – it was interesting to think through all the different approaches and perspectives. And, I do see myself as a mutt.

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            Man, now you’ve got me wondering whether or not “Mutt” was an official category.

    • Jmhardy97

      John,

      I love the takeaway. It gives others a good starting point.

      Jim

  • http://mommainprogress.blogspot.com Momma in Progress

    I was advised recently that if I want to grow my blog I should make a commitment to post every single day no matter what. I disregarded this advice, because I agree quality is more important than quantity (productivity). I started with a goal of once a week. Then I started a Facebook page and actually had a handful of readers, so I committed to twice a week. After a few months, I am just now feeling comfortable with the idea of 3-4 posts a week. It took me a few weeks/months to get into the swing of things and feel as though my writing wasn’t quite so “stiff” and find a voice. I have a very small following (if you could even call it that) but I think they know what to expect now, and my feedback is starting to pick up as well. In other words, now that I feel more confident in what I’m doing, I’m ready to share that with my readers more often.

    • Joe Lalonde

      I’ve heard that advice about posting every day(or at least every week day) too. I’m glad to hear that isn’t always the best strategy. Keep up the good work.

      • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

        You guys are both right. Posting daily is generally bad advice. Pretty soon you’ll be burned out and abandon your blog (it happens all the time, sadly). 

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Momma, I just visited your site, and I think it’s great!  I especially liked your post on homeschooling.  My wife is doing a similar thing on http://efamily.brevis.me.  She will post once or twice per week… and the blog is doing really well!

      Keep up the good work.

      • Jmhardy97

        Thank you for sharing your site.

        Jim

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    Bless you Martyn for sharing this wisdom. Profoundly true.  I would change one word in your post: efficiency.  A favorite quote by Peter Drucker: “”It is the confusion between effectiveness and efficiency that stands between doing the right things and doing things right.  There is surely nothing so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”  I especially like what you have to say about how connected our messages are, how “filler” is a detriment.  Thanks for your insights. 

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      Nice David! Thanks for making that clarification. That totally makes sense. 

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    I often say, “content is king,” and there is much truth in that line. Such a motto forces a writer to limit wordiness, slicing off the fluff and delivering a more solid message to the readers.

    But, come to think of it, history has more bad kings than good. Content may be king, but efficiency makes a GOOD king.

    Or queen.

    Deep stuff, Michael…challenging. I think this post will get printed and pinned to my wall.

    • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

      I don’t think that efficiency makes a good King. Maybe a generous king, but if your posts are doused in lame sauce, it doesn’t matter how generous you are.

      • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

        Ha, I find both of these comments humorous. I agree Bret!

  • http://twitter.com/KarenJordan Karen Jordan

    Whew! What a relief! I’m ready to slow down and focus on one thing. I’ve been so stressed out with the   concept of productivity, that I haven’t been able to enjoy the journey. Thanks for the word!!!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Focusing on a certain definition of productivity–I’ve gotta keep doing things all the time–can really be stressful at times, can’t it?

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        Yes, it can. And sometimes that stress, and the push to always do more than what is reasonable for a given time, can lead to less productivity, a sacrifice in quality, and burnout.

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          I did find that, when I tried to write every week day, I was starting to get burned out, so I pulled back quite a bit.

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            I have pulled back over the last month and it has been a nice refresher. We will see what the fall brings and what rate of posting will work best.

  • Anonymous

    A member of my engineering staff paid me high praise, “When you send us (the team) something out on email, it is always relevant and always worthy of attention.” I need to apply the same discipline to my online presence, and stop the “Look at me! Look at me!” splashing in the pool. 

    I hope damage control is achievable through modified behavior. 

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      I love this reply!

  • Anonymous

    Well said.  Beginning salespeople often confuse activity with accomplishment.  And beginning writers often confuse quantity with quality.

  • http://www.thehahnhuntinglodge.com Nikole Hahn

    I post everyday, but I do work at making each post what my readers are looking for. For one thing, my readers came to my site because I asked the difficult questions or I related to their struggles on some level. I have to keep consistent with that. I try to blog ahead of time so I can edit the same post during the week, rereading to make sure it is what I want to post. Sometimes, I end up deleting a post after a week.

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      This is the mark of an excellent writer! I applaud you, Nikole :) This is precisely how I write my columns. I pray and pray first, then I sit down and write on Thursday or Friday, edit on Saturday and post for Sunday. In my columns, I used to worry about how many followers and how many stars or whatever, now I’m much more concerned about bringing God glory and since that mental shift, God has blessed my ministry both on my blog and in my columns.

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    I know I have. Quality content has become king over my thoughts. In the past, recently even, I have posted a blog post just so I can post something. Like any online socialite, I want my follower counts to go up. But more importantly, I want community to happen and discussion to take place.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      I’m with you on this. Sometimes I have posted just so I can tweet or Facebook that I have posted to try and keep my page visits up.

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        No kidding. Plenty of times for me too!

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      I can relate with you Chris. I think it is important to know why we are writing – and to focus on that rather than page views and follower counts. Yet, it is so easy to get caught up in the stats.

      • Jmhardy97

        I agree totally.

        Jim

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        You should take a look at goinswriter.com

        Jeff is a guy who has helped me a lot recently. If you need a little motivation, or a lot, as to why you write, this a great place to start!

        • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

          Very true, Chris! Jeff’s good stuff, and he’s even doing a guest post on my site next week. Good times. 

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          Jeff has a great site! I have been Reading his stuff for quite some time now he has put out some really good posts lately.
          Sent from my iPad

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          I like what Jeff writes, too!

      • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

        Sometimes I will make myself go a few days at a time without looking at my site stats to get myself focused back on why I blog instead of being consumed by my traffic.

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          Me, too, Dylan. Sometimes obsessing over your stats is just a waste of time. However, reviewing your stats at reasonable intervals is good, though, so you know what your audience is reading, and what they respond to.

        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          That’s a great idea Dylan. That really does help to get your focus back on writing.

    • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

      The beauty of blogs is that sometimes when you don’t have the full content, you can still release a quality post. 

      What this post has underscored for me is that very few of us have a realm of expertise in a particular industry like @michaelhyatt:disqus . We can’t post authoritatively like he does.

      But all of us amateurs have the ability to bring people into our learning-journey. Sometimes that’s all we need for a day to make a great post— asking for the input of others.

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      As long as you’re creating value for your audience, everything else will take care of itself – pageviews, stats, even clients. 

      At least, that’s my experience. ;)

  • http://lauradroege.wordpress.com/ Laura Droege

    Yes, yes, yes! I appreciate this post so much. I’ve been told that I MUST blog 2-3 times a week, MUST post daily to my Facebook page, etc. But when I do that, I’m exhausted and have no time to write fiction (which is the entire reason that I do FB/Twitter/blog). I’ve learned that one post a week is fine; I try to make it as absolutely fabulous as possible and relevant to the topics of my novels.

  • http://seekthecity.wordpress.com Chad M. Smith

    Your logic is overwhelming, Martyn. Quality over quantity. Great post.

  • http://billrice.com Bill Rice

    I think back to that classic note from Hemingway to Fitzgerald: “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of sh-t,” full of his vibrant language. 

    I hesitate to tell writers to write less, but rather to get comfortable with the second part of the admonition: “I try to put the sh-t in the wastebasket.” 

    But, herein lies the problem…where is the modern wastebasket? I’m not uncomfortable with it being on a blog within some reasonableness, if you are working hard to refine it into a masterpiece. 

    Copyblogger.com is a master at this–posts become featured post, featured posts become ebooks, and ebooks become a tool or (maybe in the future) real books. That group is constantly curating the best masterpieces such that it consumes most of my attention when I visit. Great model.

    Fabulous post. I need to improve this.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I wonder if the model should be that you write a “post” every day, but don’t necessarily post that “post” every day.  That way, you’re still writing enough to get that 1% of masterpiece, but you’re only posting the best of the best.

      • http://billrice.com Bill Rice

        Good point. That’s probably what drafts status and editorial calendar plug-ins for WordPress are good for–leave them in there even and refine them over time.

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          I agree.

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        I have found myself doing this more lately. I have written a lot; yet, I have posted very little. So, now I have several articles started – some may turn in to great posts and others may never see the light of day. At least I am working on my craft.

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          I should start doing this. I tend to write only when I feel that I need to post something the next day. Then, after I write for a while, I edit, and then post it. I almost never think, “Maybe this shouldn’t be published at all.”

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      Funny that you mention Copyblogger. While most of their posts never end up on the “popular articles” sidebar, the quality of their “mediocre” articles is better than most of the “good” stuff you see elsewhere. 

      Trust me, they reject a TON of articles. I’m lucky to have appeared on it twice. Heh

  • http://tvbreakroom.com/ Katie Hart

    I think the counterpart to this would be those people we follow just because of who the person is, not because of the content they provide. It’s why we tolerate dozens of Facebook updates from our closest friends, or follow obsessively-posting celebrities on Twitter. Informal, frequent updates foster a sense of community and friendship. Yet, since they require more attention, we tend to be picky about how many of these people we follow.

    If a blogger posts for people he’s never met, but he isn’t a celebrity, I do think the best way to build a following is through great content. The exception would be what I’d consider a “celebrity in the making,” who people follow because of her personality, not her content.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    I like this perspective. The paradox is that the only way that you can know what is “great” is by showing up and producing every day.

    What happens if you spend all week crafting the “best blog post ever” and it flops? You can look at it as 5 week days of opportunities to improve based on feedback or 4 opportunities a month to deliver or bomb.

    I’m all about editing and getting your best work out. Also about filtering to some extend what you share on social media. 

    But part of learning how to do the right thing is doing the wrong thing enough times.

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      This is so true, Tony. I’ve spent six years trying to figure out what the ideal blog post is. One that will have Lifehacker, Gizmodo, and Copyblogger all posting back links to it. Unfortunately, when I have spent days putting together the most amazing post in the world, it usually flops. Yet a simple post that I put together in 30 minutes on a Saturday morning, about a desktop flowchart, took off huge.

      Bottom Line: You never know for sure what will take off.

      • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

        I wonder if that’s because 5 hour posts can seem crafted, and the 30 minute posts can seem more  natural.  To a degree, blogging is about conversation.  Bloggers may intrinsically be able to tell.  

        Do you think that’s true?

        • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

          Mark, I do think what you’ve said is true. I love the conversational posts rather than the preacher posts. I do take to those posts I’ve found in my Google search which teach me something, and if the poster is clean, concise, and informative then I’m likely to either subscribe or at least follow, and if a Christian I’m ever more likely. But, if I find something foul I’ll move along without looking back.

        • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

          That’s something to that, Mark. 

          But remember, the copy that gets the best results, the books that sell the most copies, and the blogs that attract the most readers are generally the ones that take the deepest, most deliberate thought. 

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That has totally been my experience as well.

      • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

        Most often, I am usually very surprised by my most “successful” blog posts. I’m with you guys on this. You never know what will actually take off!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I like this perspective, Tony.  If we write every day, we’re more likely to hit on a really good post.  If we don’t write every day, then we won’t hone our writing, and the things we do write will not be as good.

    • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

      For me, I’m beginning to see it like this.  Posting more often is practice for improvement in writing.  

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      “But part of learning how to do the right thing is doing the wrong thing enough times.”
      That’s so true! Thanks for weighing in, Tony. Good to see you here. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.rolin1 Alex Rolin

    I just started posting self and this gave me a good perspective on doing this, i though more ment better but totally agree with making one good one and not flood my people with misc stuff thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Martyn, for this excellent piece.

    I think you are absolutely right: too much exposure leads to self-sabotage. I read an article just this morning on WriterUnboxed where a commenter shared that she stopped following people whose products she previously loved, but was repelled from the person they depicted socially online. I have done and felt just the same things myself.

    I have debated the benefits of blogging more frequently versus less frequently, etc. and now feel convinced of the right frequency for me, to achieve better balance in all aspects.

    Thank you, again, for this wonderful and rare glimpse at productive and purposeful online interactions. Just what I needed to hear.

    -Jennifer

  • Judeagbayani

    Hi! I really do appreciate everything you said here.  I guess I also fall victim to the so-called “productivity” but as you said, my posts might end up demanding too much attention that would eventually end up not getting any attention at all.  Another aha moment for me :-) Thank you! 

  • Joe Lalonde

    Martyn, thanks for the post. It’s interesting because I often hear the advice that you should write and post as often as possible. It’s typically due to the feeling people will start to forget about you and fall away if you don’t post something every day. Have you seen any of that happen?

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      To the contrary. If you publish really good content just once per week, your readers will look forward to your prose much more than if you write mediocre content on a daily basis. 

      In fact, I’d argue that the only blogs that can publish great content every single day are those that have multiple authors. Seth Godin marks the exception. 

  • Ladyfreelancer

    This was exactly what I’ve been saying on my own blog but that you have said so much better! Thank you!!!  

  • Lisa Whittle

    Great, great post.  As an author with a book coming out soon, people advising me want me to increase my posting from 1-2 times a week to 3 times a week, to buoy my following.  I have committed to do this, so long as the posts are solid and good.  But I won’t put something out there I can’t feel great about.  This post proves why I shouldn’t.  Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    Great advice.  I’m not currently blogging, though it’s on the goal list.  Starring and filing this one away for future reference.

  • http://markjmartin.com Mark Martin

    The timing of this is uncanny to me.  I just made the decision the other day to try to post every weekday.  My thinking, based on several blogs I had read, was to force myself to write every day, thus getting practice.  

  • http://www.melaniebolke.com Melanie Bolke

    This is just what I needed to hear today. I am new to blogging and just posted my 2nd article this week – it took me over a week of non-stop writing to finish it.  

    I chopped and refined, chopped and refined, until I believed it was the absolute best content I had to deliver.  Afterward, I was somewhat discouraged, wondering how I would ever reach the “suggested” daily posting frequency.

    Thank you for encouraging this newbie!

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      This is off the subject, but why is your site logo in bold on the home page and normal on individual posts? Is that intentional?

      • http://www.melaniebolke.com Melanie Bolke

        It’s a WordPress template, so I think the bold is to indicate the home page, but I can’t say for sure.

        • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

          Interesting. That’s how it functions, out of the box? You’ve not customized it?

          • http://www.melaniebolke.com Melanie Bolke

            Correct – I did not customize the logo part – that’s how it seems to function. I did customize other pieces of the website, however. Do you think it is a bad thing?

          • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

            Hmm not necessarily bad, though I might get rid of it. :)

  • http://www.mikeoates.com Mike Oates

    Michael, I really enjoyed this article.  Exactly what I needed to read as I’m beginning to blog more frequently.  Your blog is a great resource for me.  Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/susiedavis Susie Davis

    Martyn. You’re brilliant.
    And I like the way your parents spelled your name.
    Thanks for handing out the chill pills this morning.

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      I’m named after Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 

      And I read his books, too. :D

  • Susankayequinn

    Love this! I post three times a week, but try to make sure I have high quality content. I’ve considered going to twice a week, not because I don’t have resonant posts, but because they take time to do, and I don’t always have it. Plus I want readers to have time to read the ones I’ve done. Choices, choices ….

    Thanks for the great post!

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      I usually post three times a week as well, although I’ve had more time during the summer so I have done more. But in the fall I plan on going back to three.

  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com womenlivingwell

    Yes – a thousand times yes!  This is exactly what I have learned in my 3 years of blogging! 

    I used to post 5 times a week.  Then I  read somewhere that it’s better to write one awesome post than 5 regular posts because people spread awesome.  So I’ve gone to 3 days of blog posts a week and it has not effected my traffic at all!  And it just keeps on growing and I have found that others are retweeting and facebooking my links more now because I am focusing on writing “awesome” lol!  And it’s nice to not have that daily pressure – I’m a more carefree blogger – I have time to connect and interact on twitter and Facebook :)  Great post -you hit the nail on the head!
    Courtney

  • http://www.mosaicmiamichurch.org Shari

    I think its incredibly important to take the time to dicover who you want to be, and what you want to write BEFORE you begin. I was just trying to be noticed, with the attutiude of tweeting alot. I realize now, that content, which translates slowing down, and planning, is the way to go. 

  • Tiffanycox

    You are brilliant!  I loved this.

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Interesting post. As many have said, I’ve heard that you need to post, post, post to gain a following. I think the unspoken is that the content needs to be solid. If your content is not good, it doesn’t matter if you post ten times a day or 2 times a month. The interesting part for me is that when I read the post, in my heart it made me immediately relax and think, “hmmm. Maybe I can slow down a bit.” This is dangerous territory.

    I started my blog in late April and have consistently posted 4-5 days per week. My readership has SLOWLY risen, but the power has not been in my readership growth – it has been in MY growth. As I write each week, I am becoming better at expressing myself and really understanding what I believe. So, while I understand the concept of taking more time to craft a well-written post, I still believe that producing regularly and consistently is the only way to beat the “resistance” and “do the work.”

    Thanks for the thoughts, Martyn. It certainly has caused me to do some thinking.

    • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

      I so agree with your thoughts on personal growth. The more I write the better the content and the better the response. Recently though I’ve started writing and holding on to things. Some posts are still drafts and that’s okay. I may come back and use them after some editing or reworking. They may never see the light of day, but I’m better because I wrote them and that’s what really matters.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    My favorite paragraph: “The less noise you make and the more effort you put into each point of contact, the more attention you build. As you develop a reputation for only putting the best of yourself online, readers will notice.”  It gives me something to think about.

    Thanks for a great post, Martyn!

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      Putting only the best out there is really hard (!) but rewarding. You and I both know Twitter accounts that get more than their fair share of attention because they only tweet and link to the best.

      It takes incredible discipline and self-will, and that’s probably why so few manage to pull it off. 

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    This was absolutely “hit between the eyes” great! I just started tweeting a few weeks ago, and it’s easy to get sucked into the trap of thinking you must tweet dozens of times a day to be heard. I believe I read a previous post of yours that recommended that six or so a day should be the norm? Though I certainly keep it at that or less, I see that some folks seem to tweet about every five minutes!

    I think I’ll go with your advice…and remember less is more. Unless Gabriel is blowing his horn and I feel the urgency to tweet about it. In which case, it wouldn’t really matter. You and I both won’t be here.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I toned down the number of times I’m tweeting every day as a result of this post, too.

  • Dgoodman

     This is so insightful.  Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!  You are truly a blessing!

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    Great post! Very good insights into the importance of fewer but higher quality posts.

  • http://www.timdruhym.cz/ Milan Kramolis

    Thank you very much for posting it. It encourages me to write less but with more attention to every post. I am glad to see that I do not have post every day some stuff.

    I hope I will remember this in my bloging – and not only there :-)

  • http://thethriftymama.com Crystal Collins

    This was such an incredible post and spoke volumes to me!  You actually have me re-evaluating what I am doing. Love what you said here:  “productivity is overrated. It is not the secret sauce that leads to success.” Lately I have felt so scattered with Google + coming out, Pinterest, and then of course Facebook, Twitter and email, that I’ve felt less and less productive. Except that these things have been such valuable tools for learning a lot in the past week. So today, I will not beat myself up for being less “productive” because I am learning and growing online through what I am doing. Thanks Michael! You are such an encouragement to me.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      It would be interesting to hear what you think of Google+, Michael (if you’ve tested it at all).

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Yes, I have been on it for a couple of weeks. So far, I like it better than Facebook but not as well as Twitter. I plan to write a review eventually.

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          I’m looking forward to it. I’ve read a few reviews that say that they like it better than Facebook, too, which is extraordinary.

        • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

          I’m looking forward to that review as well!

  • http://stephenalynch.tumblr.com Stephen Lynch

    Never thought of productivity as countering quality, especially in the context of a digital presence, but there is certainly some validity to it.

    I think the amount of time spent working is just as relevant as the number of posts/emails/products. Not tthread should discredit rest/recharge, but quality usually shows itself when we put more time into the product.

  • Lana Vaughan

    This would be why I’d like to follow Guy K but just can’t handle the shear volume he cranks out. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/matthew.la.snyder Matthew Snyder

    I think I wrestle with this. Some successful bloggers say that frequency is key; others say that quality is the most important characteristic; and still others say BOTH. 

    In my heart of hearts, I know that quality trumps quantity. I’ve seen it proven true over and over again when I post, but I oftentimes forget this to be the case.

    I like what you said, “The less noise you make and the more effort you put into each point of contact, the more attention you build.” It’s a great confirmation of the pressing I feel the Lord putting on my heart regarding human trafficking awareness. Thanks so much, Mr. Hyatt! 

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Great post, but I’m not sure I agree with all of it. You are certainly right that attention is hard to get and easy to lose. But I still think people like to be involved. They like to see more than just a blog, they want to know parts of you. It’s about building relationships too. 

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      We all love relationships Sundi, but the tendency is to overdue the autobiography stuff. 

      Would you want your Twitter stream to have a bunch of “I just got out of bed” tweets or helpful links? A little (usually) goes a long way.

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        I agree that some get out of hand. I think it’s finding that balance. 

  • http://thethriftymama.com Crystal Collins

    Oh and the best “unproductive” thing I have done so far today is reading your post ;)  

  • Anonymous

    I write a Monday morning Blog with sales and communication as the main theme. I have written one every week for 79 weeks. It sounds like to blog more frequently would be a poor decision. Good blog.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Blogging more frequently is not necessarily a bad idea. I think it depends on (a) your audience, (b) the depth of your posts, and (c) how much time you have. There are some very successful blogs that post multiple times per day, or even once per day (as evidenced by Michael Hyatt).

  • Bonita

    This is such excellent advice! I’ve been blogging for years, but I’m fairly new to social media. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed at the thought of having to be glued to my computer posting updates. I’m going to take your advice to heart. It’s so freeing and so true.

  • http://www.cathrynhasek.com Cathryn Hasek

    Between working on getting blog posts out and building my writer’s platform, it is difficult to find time to do anything OFF of the internet!!  I find it much easier to start my day with a plan to either concentrate on writing or spend time building my platform through social media.  I do, do some of both each day, but I really have to focus to be productive in my writing on most days.  I am, after all, a “recovering sluggard!”

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Cathryn, it is difficult, often times, to find the time to do what’s necessary to build your platform as a writer. Keep persevering!

  • turner_bethany

    I think there is a lot of pressure in this technology age to get many things done in short amount of time in all excellence. And we as humans were not created to work and live at that pace. We need time to process and reflect. 

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    Thanks for sharing that great advice. You distilled something I’ve been thinking about myself. I can’t stand reading silly personal drivel, (I don’t care that you’re about to take a nap, do it don’t tweet it!). 

    I post predictably three days a week. Then usually an unscheduled thought one other day. Once in a while I post on the weekend a very brief highlight of art I’m enjoying. I’ve wondered if that’s too much and I should cut back and hone my topics a little further. Do you have a rule of thumb on how often to post for optimum impact?

    Another thing I’m working on is not putting any content out there that is without purpose. Each comment I edit and try to make personal. I’m finding leaving a sincere, warm comment on a blog post makes a difference in my reputation and reciprocal visits.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.rhodes Phil Rhodes

    I’m a lawyer, so I write and communicate orally for a living.  Especially at 9 am on a Friday, when I want to rush through 10 writing projects to complete them today.  Thanks for the great reminder that productivity does not always equal quality.

  • http://twitter.com/fess2us Gerrard Fess

    So says the Guy who blogs all the time ….ah irony …

  • Anonymous

    I really liked Martyn’s site.  Just subscribed and got his free e-book, Everything You Know About Traffic Is Wrong.

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      Awesome Karl! That’s cool to hear. ;)

      And for the record, I’ve been blown away with how vibrant and receptive this community is. I’ve never seen anything like it. Nowhere. 

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That’s good to hear!

  • Barbara @ www.therextras.com

    Well, if you send me an email, Michael, I will respond quickly, too!  ;)  I subscribed to Seth’s Domino project after viewing your interview with him.  He.is.efficient. 

    On the other hand, I think you are changing, if subtly, since your retirement as CEO of Thomas Nelson.  This post feels like you are shouting and pointing a finger.  And while the message to be efficient is different from a recommendation to post often – there seems to be a conflict with your previous recommendations.  Seems to me. 

    Nonetheless, I take your recommendations to heart and will mull over them for what I need to learn.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Barbara, I didn’t write this post. It is a guest post from Martyn Chamberlin. I did publish it, but I believe a diversity of opinion is healthy.

      • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

        For sure Michael, it looks like I’ve really gotten some of your readers thinking. It’s funny, because an article like this would be “mainstream” if it were on Copyblogger. 

        I’m glad it’s here instead. :D

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          You sure have. I love it the conversation!

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            I’ve really enjoyed the conversation, too, Michael! It’s interesting to hear another point of view.

      • Barbara @ www.therextras.com

        Ack! How did I miss that this was a guest post! My sincere and embarrassed apologies.  Diversity of opinion is fine. 

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          No problem. It is easy to miss!

  • http://jamsmooth.com Jamsmooth

    I just wrote about this very topic on my own blog the other day. http://www.jamsmooth.com/2011/07/managing-the-temptation-to-publish-yourself/

    I agree with Michael and John Mayer.

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    I’m going to run, not walk, to my archives and clean house— the post I wrote two months ago is killing me.

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      One of my clients is actually deleting the majority of his blog posts and starting over. 

      We tend to ignore our old posts and assume others will too – but it’s simply not true. They’re either helping or hurting. Glad to hear it, Bret!

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        I’m actually going to post on this exact topic Monday morning. Watch for it!

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Wow, that’s a big step. But, I’ve heard that pruning can help with new growth…

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Bret – I go back and edit those archives and re-release them as new articles (sometimes tweaking the title).

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Jeff, that’s a good idea… I should try that.

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        That’s brilliant.

  • lilli

    Thank you for confirming what I believed, but haven’t had enough experience yet to find out whether or not my belief was true.

  • jesse

    You nailed it. With so many people vying for my attention, I stop following anyone who wastes my time. It was Kurt Vonnegut’s number one rule, not wasting your readers time, and I try to keep that in mind whenever I post/publish.

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    Ironically, Problogger has a related post today called,

    23 Blogger Breeds http://ow.ly/5QFmS

    (I think I’m a combo between the “Passion Purist” and the “Commenter.”)

  • http://twitter.com/ashleighallen Ashleigh Allen

    Interesting take on productivity/efficiency in blogging. I don’t know if I’ve heard anyone else talk about it in terms of stewarding the attention of your audience by filtering content.

    I’ve just entered into the blogging world in the last year, so having someone confirm that approach is so valuable. Thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/ashleighallen Ashleigh Allen

      Judging by the comments here, there are some other posts I need to take a look at on this topic too!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I thought that angle was what made this post particularly valuable.

  • http://twitter.com/FitnessWarden Jim Warden

    Guilty!

  • http://www.awomansview.typepad.com Lenore Buth

    Martyn, thanks for the offbeat wisdom. It refreshes  like a cool glass of  water on a hot day.

    I remember with longing the now-looking-blissful past when it was enough to write as well as I possibly could for whatever project I was involved in. Once upon a time that fulfilled my part of the bargain.

    Now I constantly hear a nagging voice that says I should be doing more IF. (If I want to be taken seriously. If I want to rate notice by editors and agents. If I want to have sufficient platform which seems to be taken as seriously as the quality of one’s writing.)

     

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Something to ponder the next time I feel the need to post. Thanks for making me take a deeper look at what I do when I write. This connects well with something my wife noted about a month ago in relation to my Facebook posts. I made too many posts (actually LoseIt.com did it automatically) about exercise and calorie goals. It diluted my Facebook presence and made other posts less appealing.–Tom

  • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com Gail B. Hyatt

    Thank you. Everyone can go home now. This post was written for me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are a very funny person. Now quit being distracted and WRITE!

      • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

        Uh-oh, this looks like a family moment. Looks like I’ll need to reinstate that disclaimer policy. 

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Ha, ha!

  • http://www.irunurun.com Travis Dommert

    This quote came to mind:

    “I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.”

    by Blaise Pascal

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      Ironically, the original draft for this article was a whopping 1,200 words long. Michael told me it was plain too long. 

      So I spent extra time and made it shorter. :) This Blaise dude is on the money.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        I agree, it’s a great quote.

  • Nancy

    Began to focus to much on productivity and now moving back into quality. Learning in social networking and writing in this venue; Many times less is more and more is less. Meaning my readership drops when I shift into the area of productivity. As I read this article on productivity I am reminded of the email I receive from Harvey Mackey. It arrives in my inbox once per week. I always find time to read it. Why? It is written in a concise manner and applicable to my life’s circumstances.  I am a picky email forwarder, but this email is one that I always forward to at least one person. Why? Great content.

  • Emily

    Yes, yes, yes! I am sweating over my fiction, writing, re-writing, studying my target audience on a forum for my genre, because what I want is thousands of hours, collectively, of people’s precious TIME! Something cobbled together in a hurry and shipped off because I want it for my own ego, or money, or whatever, is not worthy of that.
    I hope that when the book is finished, it will give back to the consumer many times over the hours they gave me by reading it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Aadeez/100002620262146 John Aadeez

    Hello.This article was extremely remarkable, particularly because I was investigating for thoughts on this topic last Thursday.Web Development

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Interesting article, Martyn. I actually hear you not vying for non-productivity but for a different type of productivity.

    You seem to be criticizing this fast-paced, American mindset of “just shipping SOMETHING” and calling writers to take their more seriously. (Which I agree with.)

    Something that I appreciate about you as a writer is that quality is more important  to you than quantity. This is definitely an emerging theme in the blogosphere.

    With so many people writing and shipping mediocre content regularly, the real cream that rises to the top may be the slowly-crafted, more thoroughly thought pieces.

    The challenge for me, of course, is that by regularly shipping, I’ve really improved in my craft. Scaling back would tempt me to neglect this discipline and possibly cause my writing to suffer.

    How do you balance this?

    • http://twohourblogger.com Martyn Chamberlin

      Jeff, you’re an unusual guy because you can write a lot of content and still keep it high quality. The fact that you blog each weekday is (in part) what makes your blog so fun to follow. Everything is fresh, and there’s a certain spontaneity that y0u just can’t get elsewhere. 

      To become a better writer, you have to write a ton – no question about it. Whether you publish everything is personal preference (just look at the discussions here!).

      I’m actually a bad one to advise on this. I haven’t done *serious* writing in a week or two – been too busy designing Web sites and making money! :D

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        thanks, martyn. you have a lot to offer to the writing community. i’m learning from you!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Jeff, that’s the good point. What if you were to write regularly, but only publish sparingly?

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Hmmm… I think you need to do both but some stuff just needs to stew before getting released.

  • http://financialplanningapprentice.com Robinson Mertilus

    Timely post, I need to work on my next blog post. That’s why I logged on in the first place.

  • Dyuhas62

    I rarely post more than once a week simply because it takes time for me to develop a well-written article and life goes on in the meantime.  Now I’m glad that’s so.  It’s also true that I skip over too-frequent posts and unsubscribe from sites that inundate my inbox.  Furthermore, I see that I must be less concerned with gaining new followers than interacting intelligently with the followers I already have. Thanks for a timely reminder.

  • http://twitter.com/astridparamita Astrid Paramita

    I agree wholeheartedly. It is very tempting to produce more (so-so) content just because everyone told you it’s what you need to do to keep your online presence. I think what you wrote makes perfect sense. Even if everyone could post whatever they like, as often as they like, we’re all still looking for a good content :).

  • http://paulswann.com Paul Swann

    Isn’t this what John Locke was trying to say in his book (How I sold over 1 million…) that you advertised? Thanks for this post. 

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  • Anonymous

    This is a quality post. It has made me really think about spending more time on my posts so I can produce better quality posts on my leadership blog. 

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    ” Instead of spending five hours writing ten blog posts, spend five hours writing one good post.”…..”slow down and be unproductive. Focus on just one thing and do it right.” — That was a much needed advice to novice like me in the early stages of my career.

  • Phil Rothschild

    Outstanding post. I’ve been accused of spending too much time on making our posts or newsletters perfect. Your explanation captures what I’m trying to accomplish — efficiency not perfection. Thank you.

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    As I read the comments on this post, I realize one thing that I personally do. No matter how often I post, I typically spend the same amount of time on each post anyway. I don’t know that I could force myself to post less and spend more time on a single post, but maybe I should give it a try!

  • http://www.betterhealthtoday.co Kay Wilson

    Now you’re scaring me Michael, I only pray that I have enough to say that will keep my readers coming back often.  

  • http://www.rickwomack.com Rick Womack

    Timely post…I’m in the midst of trying to find (again) my groove on posting. I imagine I’ve lost a lot of followers because of my infrequency so battling the “how-many-readers” in my head is an obstacle I must overcome.

    Thanks for the timely post.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Laughed out loud during the first 2 paragraphs. Then looked around to see how in the world you are watching me.

    Great post, Martyn.

    Now I’m off to write Seth!

  • http://www.agilelifestream.com/ Voranc Kutnik

    Great post. I’m glad that I’m not the only one feeling guilty and unproductive after 40 minutes of behind the computer…and nothing done.

  • Joshua Monen

    Martyn, thank you for this article. It’s easy for me to feel guilty for not getting more done in a day but you hit the nail on the head. It’s better to write one killer post than five mediocre ones. Good stuff!

  • http://kevencard.com Keven Card

    I have to tell you; this article hit home for me. I am guilty of productivity over careful censorship. I will make the adjustments to produce better; more focused content from now on.

  • http://byrdmouse.com Jonathan

    One thing that I have decided is that it is unproductive to continue following these comments. It seems  we’ve gotten into a rut with them. At the same time, perhaps it IS productive because it has made me review my blog (albeit it has slowed down my drive to post) and identify some needed improvements.
    At the same time, it has given me fodder for a post, too. Productive Unproductivity http://bit.ly/byrdmouse82

  • TalkYourWalk

    We are on the same page…I saw an increase and interest…WooHoo! my passion and enthusiasm ramped up and I want to share more. Adding value to others who are listening and want to learn and grow increases the desire. Pacing ourselves is so key. Not everyone has the focus to add value. Love the John Maxwell Team, like minded folks encouraging change in the world. Keep up the good work Michael! Having an accountability partner truly helps.

  • http://newvintageleadership.com Tim Spivey

    Michael, that was a terrific post! I think all of us with any online presence have a tough time with how much to “produce” online. One of the biggest difficulties is simply deciding how much personal vs. how much professional to blog, tweet or Facebook. Great stuff!

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  • Jennifer@SurprisingJoy

    Very helpful, Mike. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Aadeez/100002620262146 John Aadeez

    Hi…
     This is really amazing article… thanks for sharing me… good work nice job
    Web Development

  • http://www.freelancewriter.co/ Harleena Singh

    That is a very interesting and honest post!

    Being a freelance writer myself, I can connect to it so well and understand the true meaning of this post! I totally agree to writing one good post by taking the time you want, rather than squeezing several posts within a short time span, as this just shoos away your readers.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Brenda Welc

    Well, I hate to say this but in response, in the environment in which I work, yes productivity can often come before quality and this a sad arrangement.  I won’t mention the name, however, I work for a major fast-food restaurant and it just irks me when they want us to go faster and faster, yet nothing improves for the quality.  We have a good reputation, yet we seem to be ruining some of the quality aspects just because we want to move more customers through the drive thru lane.  Along with quality over-productivity reduces the one on one contact with regular customers.  We get so focused on move, move, move we barely can get a wave or a smile in as the customer grabs their food and goes.  I agree about slowing down and focusing.  Even as I am new at this blogging, as  Christian writer, I do not want to bore people yet I know they need to hear what God is doing in the lives of others.  I strive to find a balance in the frequency of my blogs.  God calls us to be less productive and He urges us to spend some down time with Him.  I  feel this is just another aspect of being in the world but not being of it.

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  • http://www.15minutewriter.com Sharon Gibson

    This perspective is very reassuring to me. I care about my posts and care about the quality I offer my readers. Though I’m not perfect and do make mistakes, as much as  I can,  I feel the need to be a good example.
    The idea that you need to “provide content that is worth people’s attention,” is a relief . I’ve wondered if I should buy a course that teaches how to write articles in 7 minutes or less. Now, I feel reassured to continue on, investing the time in quality. In an age of fast food and cheap products, I believe a focus on quality content will set you apart.Writing is a labor of love for me,  love of God in using the gifts He’s give me to help others, love of my readers in nurturing them in their writing desires and love of my chosen craft of writing.

    Thank you for sharing this insight with us.

    Keep up the good writing, good thinking and good content!

    Sharon Gibson
    http://www.15minuterwriter.com

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  • http://twitter.com/plantedinchrist Brandon Weldy

    This was one of the most challenging posts I have read in a while! I was immediately pulled in and I kept thinking “do I do that?” I have been guilty of putting too much out there. I come across a good article so I write about it or just update my facebook or twitter with it. Then a few minutes later I do the same. I started thinking about people who do update all the time and how I really am less likely to read any of their “stuff.” Apparently I never thought about it applying to me! Thanks for helping take my blinders off for me. 

  • http://ashleyscwalls.com Ashleyscwalls

    Over the past 6 months, I have managed to blog about 3 times a month. Recently I started grad school again and my blogging has greatly decreasaed. Very glad I read this post because it confirmed what I was thinking regarding quality blogging versus quanity of blogging. I have slowed down to 1 or 2 blogs a week, but I do miss posting as much as I used to.

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  • michelle

    I have to say i am very impressed with the way you efficiently website and your posts are so informative. You have really have managed to catch the attention of many it seems, keep it up!