Blog housekeeping (shorter posts, sharing, and spiritual talk)

This is a little blogging business post about a couple things going on right now with my writing. (And super brief life update at the very bottom.)

Post length and publishing strategies

First, I'm trying something new in how I publish my posts. I've received some feedback from readers on "ideal" post length. The problem is that this ideal length is shorter than necessary for me to fully develop an idea.

I've felt this tension for a while as a blog writer who wants to grow her audience but can't, for the life of her, write the "industry" recommended 500-900 word posts with bullet points and easy takeaways. I let that standard go a long time ago and figured I'd just do my own thing and if I don't attract people here, oh well.

But there are actual readers, not the future ones I want to bring to this site, but those of you reading right now, who find it easier to engage with shorter posts. I totally understand.

I care deeply about your experience here and how you can, or can't, engage with my writing, based on post length. You're busy. I get it.

One of my solutions to this long-post problem is writing series. Which is something I've done for a while. That's a great way to go in-depth on a topic, to explore a lot of nooks and crannies of thought. I try my darndest to keep individual posts in a series to approximately 1,000 words.

But I'm going to try something else for the really long posts that aren't series material. I'm going to break them up. It's not genius or anything. But I just wanted to give you heads up that the next three posts are like that and other future posts will probably be similar.

I don't have a fancy structure set-up for that type of publishing. It will just be a post in three-parts, or two parts. When you get to the end of the first or second post you might be left hanging a bit because there isn't a conclusion but I'll let you know that it's a "multi-post" post.

This is a little more work for me since one long post is easier to publish than three shorter ones. But I hope the effort will pay off in satisfied and engaged readers.

How to share my writing

Speaking of which, if you like what you read here please tell your friends. I love that I have loyal blog readers, it's such a gift. I am the same way about my favorite blogs and that I am on someone else's favorite list is so heartwarming.

I love the readers I have and I'd like to have more :) The bottom of every post has share buttons that are super easy to use. You can email a post link to a friend, you can share on Facebook, you can tweet. Also, I share all my posts on my Renee Tougas: Writer Facebook page and you can share to your Facebook community from those posts if it's easier for you.

About all the spiritual stuff

You've probably noticed I am writing more these days about spiritual stuff. For years I was fairly reticent about my spiritual life because I didn't want to alienate potential readers with lots of religious writing. Also, I have a complicated relationship with my religious beliefs and religious community. I don't always want to identify myself as a Christian. And there are so many types of religious writing that make me cringe, and I don't want to be like that.

I've been writing more about spiritual matters because I'm moving past those fears but also because I write at the edge of my growth curve. And the edge where I am growing the most right now is in my spiritual beliefs and understandings. It's been this way for a few years and the blog is catching up to that reality.

The trick with growing an audience as an "edge writer" is that the edge changes. That there are still readers here who have been with me since I wrote mostly about living in Maine, hanging all our laundry, homeschooling and soapmaking is both surprising and delightful to me. All of those still factor into my life in varying degrees (these days we just visit Maine) but they don't drive my writing.

spring night in Montreal

In my off-blog life I'm in the process of dreaming, discerning, and tentatively charting a path for this next stage of adulthood and I do think that writing, spiritual matters, and building community (or supporting existing communities within organizations, institutions, etc.) will be part of that. I don't see my blog as my career but I see it being a part of that career. I'm exploring that right now, the career options and how blogging might fit. And so the exploration of working in this realm is the edge as much as the content is the edge (ie: talking spiritual stuff).

Either this meets existing readers needs and interests or it doesn't. But I know it meets some of your needs. And I'm thrilled that you follow along.

Right now

I'm publishing this from the morning of day 3 of 6 straight days of driving, rehearsals, and performances for our homeschool co-op production. These are ten to twelve hour days away from home.

I don't write this week, or reflect. I barely think. I don't have a life outside of this drama production.

I wrote this post (and the three coming) last week.

I'm sure some of you know what it's like, late spring/early summer can be such a busy time of year. I wish I had the physical and emotional energy to write about the experience, while in the experience.

It's a real emotional roller coaster ride, wanting (and needing, by virtue of commitment to this group) to be present to all the happenings, and yet desperately wanting to escape for just a moment to catch your breath and to feel like all sense of time, space, and self isn't swirling down a drain of total commitment to a large group of people over which you have no control.

driving to rehearsal, Laurent working on tech stuff, Celine helping my mom with her website

Right now, it's out of my control and I'm all-in for the ride. But that means I'm barely thinking, much less writing.

See you on the other side.

« The warmth of May
Mother's Day in Ottawa »
  • Melissa R

    Melissa R on May 24, 2018, 9:30 p.m.

    I am one if your since-Maine readers. I agree your posts are long but that's not a problem for me. No I can't read them when I'm on the go, but that's ok with me. I save your blog for when I have time to absorb, mull, and process. I like that your blog gives me that. And if your thought process runs long winded on something that I'm not enjoying so much, then I skim for the fun parts. It's all good!
    I love watching your family grow and change, discover and expand. Many of your life angst aren't my life angst. That's ok too. It's always a good thing to understand others.
    I do miss the long posts about the kids, about family, about homeschooling and motherhood. But, I get it, with a teen of my own, it's hard to share without over sharing their lives. Anyway, happily read whatever you write. Thanks for sharing you!


    • Renee

      Renee on May 25, 2018, 2:12 p.m.

      Oh, I appreciate hearing about your reading experience. How you save, savor and skip. Loved where you said, "And if your thought process runs long winded on something that I'm not enjoying so much, then I skim for the fun parts." Such freedom for me in that. Thank you.

      I miss those posts about family life also. I am hoping as my kids get a bit older I can go back and re-visit some of the challenges we've experienced in raising teens and talk about my own growing process in that journey. I feel like I've gone through so much change with teen kids, some of it precipitated by my own stuff but a lot precipitated by their growth. but I am a mama bear/milkweed plant with those babies of mine and just won't share certain things here. Thank you for your encouraging words :)


  • Michelle

    Michelle on May 25, 2018, 2:22 a.m.

    Yes, we are still here! I think I started reading when you were in transition back to Canada. :) And yes, I don't make it to the end of long posts, but it could be my phase of life more than your posts! Nonetheless, shorter ones are great. I also miss your writing on family life, but yes, I get it!


  • S

    S on May 28, 2018, 7:44 a.m.

    Another long-time reader here. I LOVE your long posts. Your blog gives me something valuable, food for thought, inspiration I can actually use in my very real life. Instead of just swiping mindlessly through glossy pictures and unrealistic expectations. I make time to sit down and enjoy it, and it's always worth it :) Also, I really enjoy how your pictures offer a natural beauty and I admire how you're able to make the visual experience blend in with the words in your texts, it deepens the reading experience and makes time and space (literally) to think as I read.


    • Renee

      Renee on May 30, 2018, 11:48 p.m.

      Dear S,

      Thank you for sharing that you love longer posts. I don't think those will disappear entirely and the content will still be the same, just spread out. We'll see. And for everything else you said, thank you.


  • Nicole Cipriano

    Nicole Cipriano on June 5, 2018, 12:25 p.m.

    Long-time reader here (when I mention you or your Blog I refer to you as my "virtual friend in eastern Canada" LOL!) who loves your long posts. In fact, I have pretty much never missed a post in all these years, until the last couple months when I started a Master's of Ed program and had zero time to do anything else besides that course and teach, and usually eat and sleep! So this week is a one week break between my MEd courses, and I was so excited to have time to catch up on reading your Blog! I have savored every one of your posts from April and May over the last two days.

    I really identified with the thoughts in your series in which you mention not feeling like yourself. That is me right now! We are content to be living in Bangkok, we totally feel like we are doing what God wants us doing, but I miss that part of me that used to jaunt out into the California wilderness with nothing but my backpack for days on end. That kind of adventure is hard to find here, and I feel like I am not "me". Your thoughts on this subject gave me lots of fuel for reflection, thank you! I have a long plane flight from Thailand to the U.S. next week, so I plan to journal about this stuff.

    I think it's an interesting sign of how culture is changing if people are wanting shorter posts. Are we always in a hurry? Do we not have time for sitting down and reading slowly and chewing on deep things? Do we really need someone to bullet-point things out for us? I am not criticizing anyone who has said this, I am just curious about it as possibly being a shift. My kids make fun of me for texting in complete sentences with punctuation. I know I am a "digital immigrant", not a "digital native", and maybe somewhat traditional about some things.

    Anyway, I am positive I will continue to like your posts whether they're short or long.


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