A Good Blog Post Doesn’t Have to Take 2 Hours

A Good Blog Post Doesn’t Have to Take 2 Hours

This week I discovered Martyn Chamberlain — the Two Hour Blogger.

His premise is that any writing worth reading in the blogosphere must take two hours to create.

“You need to spend a minimum of two hours writing every article you publish,” he writes.

Later: “In order for an artist to create beautiful, harmonious, well-balanced paintings, it takes him vast blocks of uninterrupted time – regardless of his decades of experience.

The same principle applies to writing. You need to spend a lot time and effort in order to create valuable content. Regardless of your experience, this takes hours of labor.”

Martyn, I respectfully disagree.

What I have learned is that the more experience you have with blogging, the easier it becomes.

I may have spent nearly two hours crafting some of my first blog posts, but in the time since then, I have learned to write more quickly. Other bloggers whose work I deeply respect have encountered the same phenomenon. We’ve learned to write blog posts more quickly out of necessity.

Martyn, I do agree with you on several other points:

There is a lot of content on the web that seems thrown-together, haphazard.

There is value to be found, for both the reader and the blogger, when the process is slowed down.

AND.

A requirement of spending two hours per blog post is not realistic for most busy business owners.

As Phil Gerbyshak shared: “If I had two hours to write a blog post, I wouldn’t need to write a blog post.”

Have you noticed many abandoned or neglected blogs lately?

The very reason that many bloggers don’t write more often is TIME. They don’t have two hours, or one hour even, to write content for their blogs. Or, they have an expectation that writing and publishing a post will take a long time. So they don’t even start.

Perhaps, Martyn, our difference of opinion comes from a fundamental difference in our core audiences.

If so, I am curious: who are these people who have two hours to spend on every blog post? What are their goals for blogging?

Our audience here consists of

  • the time-starved
  • the over-committed
  •  people short on time and high on passion.

We write for people making a big difference in the real world who also want to make a difference through social media.

We want to help:

  • skilled jugglers
  • expert multi-taskers
  • professional time stretchers, and
  • those who squeeze every possible productive moment out of each day.

To them, we say:

What if you could write — or even start — a blog post in twelve minutes?

Could what you accomplish in those 12 minutes propel you forward?

Would you post more frequently, building a library of content to help search engines (and customers) find you?

Martyn, what if a published post is just a published post, not a work of art. Is it still valuable? Can it find an audience? Can it add value to your business?

Or is this post, written in (slightly more than twelve minutes), just noise that will get “lost amid the heaps and heaps of mediocre” posts?

Filed As:  time, 12 Minute Media Tips

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • Thanks for this, Becky.

    I read Mr. Chamberlain’s post earlier this week, and I disagreed. It did make me wonder if my posts could be better if I spent two hours on them. Depending on the subject–and if I wanted to publish elsewhere, I would probably go that route. But I guess my measure of success differs from his: I write to encourage, to inspire, and to comfort others. Sometimes all someone needs to be comforted is a few words–not two hours worth.

    Thanks for this, Becky!

    Daphne

  • As a blogger (of sorts), I think that if an idea takes you two hours to articulate, you haven’t thought about it for long enough, or maybe it isn’t interesting enough to excite you into writing faster.

    And as a reader I want insight, not the Illiad. 🙂

    • Stuart, can I reuse that line? I love it! “As a reader, I want insight, not the Illiad.”

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. If you have other friends who would want to weigh in on this topic, I hope you’ll direct them here.

  • 100% agree with Stuart, “as a reader I want insight not the iliad”. I had to look it up. Becky, personally I could not take less than two hours (factoring first thought, pen to paper, typing and refining and an independent editor). That is why I could not produce material daily and I don’t put pressure on having to produce once a week. The fact that once a week happens is more a function of I am inspired to put something out there.

    So my goal for Blogging is to think out loud, put my thoughts in a logical easy format to read (so not in the hectic patterns that I think nor convoluted and all over the shop). If it resonates with one person, great! If it helps someone deal with a situation they might find themselves in at the time of reading great. It must be useful and easy for someone to find should that be what they are looking for.

    Many roads lead to Rome, but you need to work with what suits your strengths. Your audience can then adapt to you rather than you trying to adapt your strengths to your audience as that is possible but hard.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly with you, Thabo. There is no right answer. We all do what we can, with the time with have, in the hopes that what we write can make a difference for others in some way. Keep up the good work!

  • If your blog has more than a thousand readers and your online business is making more than 2K/mo, I’ll pay closer attention.

    Otherwise, two hours works better. 😉

    • Thinking about how to respond to this, Martyn.

      Not every blogger is blogging for an online business. Many of us blog as a compliment to more traditional businesses. I cringe a bit at the thought that a blogger’s worth can be measured by her income that is directly tied to a blog.

      Some bloggers write for the love of the words, the power in the connections we make, or for what we can give away, with no expectation of anything at all in return. That type of value can not be counted in dollars and cents.

      The essence of what I hope you’d hear is that there is no one RIGHT way to blog. Everyone has to work to find their own sweet spot with writing and publishing. What I might write in 20 minutes could take someone else an hour.

      If you’re still listening, I would invite you to share more with our readers about why two hours is such a magic number for writing a blog post.

      • Two hours isn’t the magic number. It’s a beginning.

        I know folks who spend up to 4 hours writing just the headline. Seth Godin once spent 11 hours writing an article.

        You need to read “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. The essence of writing is rewriting. That takes time, regardless of talent or experience.

      • How very rude. Maybe you should have taken two hours writing that response, then maybe you wouldn’t have turned myself (and probably others) off your blog.

    • Shame, Martin. Your blog post is simply your opinion, not the gospel. Becky’s response to your blog was also her opinion, and she also pointed out things in your post that she agreed with. Picking a “Mine is bigger than yours” fight is not only disrespectful, but shows a lack of maturity. I’ll stick to reading Becky’s blogs.

      Please learn how to respond to a dissenting view.

      • I’m focused on results, Tony.

        Apparently you’re not. It’s okay to blog for fun, but don’t mistake a hobby for a business.

        If you want to grow, you must learn what works and what doesn’t.

    • As an author, my blogging is there to help build an online platform. My priority is my writing. My blog isn’t there to market myself as a product, but to build the kinds of relationships that drive an author’s online presence. Check out Kisten Lamb’s blog:

      https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/

      She is far more qualified than I am to comment on the difference between an author using an online platform and a company trying to sell a product or service.

      The 2-hour plan might work for your business, but not every business is the same. Different markets require different strategies, and 2 hours of an author’s time is always better spent writing their book than one blog post.

    • Oh, now I’m going to have to respond…Martyn, I’m confused as to the correlation of # of readers and income to blogging habits. Are you saying, your 2hr/post rule is what made your readership what it is and not what you write about? I think we all know bloggers who have a larger readership than 1k and make more than 2k/month that do not spend 2 hours on each post. Just sayin’…

      Why not help in the discussion instead of snarking it out? 😉

  • Becky, I totally agree with you (although my own blog is sadly in need of attention at the moment!)

    Sometimes a blog post can be just about “noticing” something. It’s a quick, though-provoking post that encourages people to perhaps think a little differently than they may have on their own.

    Other times, I might blog with a simple question in mind. In these cases, I hope to generate discussion and sharing of perspectives and insights from readers. We can all learn that way

    Of course, there are also many times when I have invested two hours in a blog post. That’s when I really want to pack it with a lot of meat, and I include research and other blog posts with supporting evidence.

    They key, I believe, is understanding WHY you are writing your post and what you want to achieve with the content.

    Seth Godin posts something every day. Each post is short and makes me think. I’m confident he accomplishes this within minutes each day…and I still find a ton of value there!

  • Becky, I would agree with you that there is no “right” way to write a post, even within a single blog. I’m also an author and I blog as part of a dialogue with readers (and prospective ones). Like Paul says, it’s about building relationships. Sometimes I do this through the long, sit-down-and-have-coffee-type session that requires a blog of 2 hours in the making, and other times I do it through a quick, hi-how-are-you visit that takes 12 minutes to put together. In my opinion, the quick blog has as much merit as a friendly word to a neighbor on the street…and when the neighbor and I both have time, the longer chat is lovely.

  • I agree with you, Becky. As a professional writer and blogger, if I spent 2 hours on every post, I’d never get anything done. While I don’t restrict writing time, I find 20-30 minutes is about average writing time for me for a blog post of up to 800 words. Occasionally, some will take longer; that’s OK too, as there’s no hard and fast rule. I have to disagree with Martin on the correlation between spending two hours on a post and blog readership. Again, I think there’s no hard and fast rule – some of my shortest posts are the most visited and overall my blog has plenty of readers. I imagine many bloggers would have a similar experience. To sum up, time spent on writing does not equal quality; that’s a function of experience, writing voice and sometimes research, in my opinion.

  • Hi, all

    A rousing discussion indeed;)

    After browsing the comments so far, I have several thoughts to share:

    1) Different strokes for different folks

    Just like in real life, where people exhibit varying, but predictable behavioral traits, so do we blogger folks. Some of us are busy, fast-moving business types, while others of us are slower, more reflective folks, along with many variations on that theme.

    We do not all think alike, see the same values, or agree . . . and that’s OK.

    2) Different Needs Demand Different Approaches

    As several pointed out, if you are working with a complex topic, you may need to take a much longer time creating a well-composed message, whereas other times, you can just “whip” something out. I use Tumblr more often now for exactly that reason.

    Even those fast-thinkers and slow-thinkers I mention above have the ability to change pace when given a good reason to do so. Sometimes your creative juices can be stimulated by doing something, like writing a blogpost, against your normal bent.

    3) The only wrong way to do something is to declare it the “only” way.

    The blogospher is a very LARGE pond with plenty of room for different folks. If you doubt me, just start reviewing blogs in alphabetical order and we can talk in a couple of decades:)

    By the way, I thoroughly enjoy “On Writing Well” – but it was written 30 years ago for a very different world. Even the journalists have had to change and adapt to a much faster moving world. Not arguing the point about rewriting ~ just saying that is another skill which can be done slowly or quickly.

    This is one great discussion:)

    John

  • My time spent on posts ranges from 30 minutes or less to much more than 2 hours and it is entirely dependent on the topic and the purpose of the post. Sometimes I am connecting different ideas and take the time to make a strong connection or to consider other perspectives and opinions. Other times, I can’t write legibly fast enough to keep up with the flow of an idea and it goes right from head to page in a matter of minutes.

    We are all in this for different reasons, for different results and with varying intentions. What works for one will not work for another. No matter where you are heading, who you are along the way makes all of the difference in the end.

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