Are Your Sentences Costing You Crypto?

in Freewriterslast month

Short-tempered.
Falling short.
Short-sighted.

The word 'short' gets a bad rap. It's often used in negative ways. But in a digital world where people value their attention, being brief is an asset.

00120 - Short One Sentence Stories.png

A sentence, when you think about it, is really just a ‘piece of short content.’

And short content can help you. In fact, it can do a lot more than most realize. YouTube recently figured this out. They noticed that Instagram Stories and TikTok videos were blowing up, so they introduced YouTube #shorts. Will Hive eventually follow suit and embrace short blogs?

Since I've been here on Hive, I've posted pieces that are the size of novellas. They're so long you'd think people would take one look, say 'wall of text' or 'too long, didn't read', then instantly leave. You’d think my posts full of thousands of sentences would cost me crypto.

But that hasn’t been the case. My pieces have actually performed well in earnings, upvotes, reblogs, comments, and more. Here's some kind words @crosheille said about my writings:

"If you have a look at [J-Ryze’s] posts you'll see that he has challenged Mr. Hive's character limits. 🤣 However, many people, including myself have been blessed and enlightened by his work. While reading you don't say "geez when's this thing going to be over?" You literally are mesmerized and intrigued by how he makes a storyline with doodles and all and captivates your attention throughout."

I smile every time I read these kind words. But the point is, I'm starting to get known for what @dandays humorously calls my 'Terms Of Service'-length pieces. But here's something many people don't know.

I actually practice writing short-form content much more than I do long-form.

I practice conciseness because long pieces of writing are really just many short pieces of writing strung together. A paragraph is just a series of short sentences. A 'scene' is basically just a short story, complete with conflict, stakes, etc. A longer 'article' could just be a series of well-crafted Instagram 'captions' transitioned into each other. So by practicing short content, I improve my long content. Now it's not a direct 1-to-1 fit, there are definitely differences between writing long vs. writing short, but the overlap is substantial, and worth digging into.

So in my post today I'm going to give you a peek into some of my 'short' practice, hopefully it offers insights and helps you. I'll start with some of my newest practice...

One-Sentence Stories

I figure I’ll start with my ‘story’ practice, since everyone likes stories. Stories are in our DNA. They’re how our stone-age ancestors communicated and our brains have evolved to 'think in stories.' People remember & share stories much better than other forms of information. A well-placed story can 'move mountains'. Basically, stories hold a lot of value for people.

And good short content means packing a lot of value into a small space. Just like an iPhone empowers you by placing a lot of data in the palm of your hand, and a well-crafted sentence moves the hearts of your readers, generating a visceral reaction. To demonstrate the power of short content, I whipped up a few one-sentence stories. See what you think.

1. Choosing
homelessness
over my own family was the hardest part of Christmas Eve.

2. 'Here Comes the Bride' played as the
groom
suddenly realized there was no toilet paper.

3. The
nun
now realized how much pleasure was available in a single... bite.

4. Upon seeing
his own name
on today's agenda, a belly laugh erupted from the grim reaper.

5. She stroked him, then entered her, then
kissed
both.

These sentences work well because they contain value that readers are looking for. Each sentence contains a noteworthy amount of 'data' or 'substance.' Each one also defies expectations in their setup and punchline. Each one uses well-chosen words that probably didn't emerge on the first draft. Each one has a character and sets a scene, while conveying some action, plot, happening, or journey.

They could very easily captivate a reader, get their mind asking questions, their curiosity amped up, compelling them to click or read further. If you can grab a reader with your sentences and take them for a fun ride from sentence-to-sentence all throughout your piece…

...they’ll reward you for it.

It’s human nature to reward and reciprocate to others who give us a pleasant experience. And a pleasant ‘reading-experience’ literally requires good sentences. And sentences are just short pieces of content.

Currently, Hivers seem to prefer longer-form content, similar to other blogging platforms such as Medium or Wordpress, but that may change with the growth of DBuzz. And even if it doesn't, many hivers also seem to use Twitter, which is more about micro-blogging and appreciating the value in short content, so let's dive into the power of a tweet.

Witty Tweets & Captions

TWEET 1:

"I can give it, I can seek it, I can
fake
it, the only thing I can't do with advice... is take it."

TWEET 2:

"Girls used to want
hearts
on Valentine's Day. Instagram makes them want hearts every day."

TWEET 3:

"So, I wrote a
20,000 word
essay about...brevity."

TWEET 4:

"
Democracy
lets voters choose society's direction. What happens when voters aren’t smart enough to read a map?"

TWEET 5:

"I'm pretty sure
the world
runs on little white lies."

00120 - White_Lies.png

These pieces of content are quite short, but they do a lot of heavy-lifting. They're the kind of thing people may chuckle at, or share with others. They have familiar, simple language and touch on universal feelings or experiences in 'novel' ways. They’re likely to ‘get eyeballs’, and in an attention-economy, eyeballs are the name of the game.

Food for thought.

And hey, even if you often write long-form content like I do, it's still important to master short content if you actually want people to read your stuff. Because before people read your long content, they're digesting an extremely short bite of writing first, whether you like it or not.

Your headline is the short content leading the way. It’s the first sentence of all your posts and it matters a lot. And if it doesn't pass their standards for what makes a compelling, clickable headline, your pages of insight will be ignored and passed over.

Let's explore an example together.

Compelling Headlines

Let's say I'm writing a piece on how to get more of the general public to join Hive. I believe I have some 'miracle solutions' that are going to change everything. But instead of mastering short-form content and crafting an epic headline, I simply write:

  • Join Hive!

All the incredible work I put into my post will be ignored. It will go unread. And deservedly so. Why should people bother reading my stuff if I half-ass my headline? Why should I be rewarded for making a terrible 'first impression' on the viewers scrolling through today's feed?

The correct thing for me to do is pour time, energy, creativity, effort, and love into the short sentence that becomes my headline... because it's the first thing viewers will see, and it's all they have to judge my work on initially (besides the thumbnail).

So I brainstorm, and begin sculpting my headline.

  • Join Hive, Please!
  • Time To Join Hive!
  • People Should Join Hive 'Cause It's Good, Yo
  • 10 Reasons To Join Hive
  • 10 Reasons Twitter Users Win By Joining Hive
  • 10 Reasons Reddit Users Win By Joining Hive
  • Hive: The Social Platform For People Who Hate Social
  • Hive: The Anti-Social Social Platform
  • First There Was MySpace, Then Facebook, Now Hive
  • From MySpace, To Facebook, To Hive: Social Evolution
  • Why This New Social Platform Pisses Off Politicians
  • Why This New Social Platform Pisses Off Trump
  • Why This New Social Platform Is Perfect For Trump
  • Why Hive's New Social Platform Is Perfect For Trump
  • Why Hive's New Social Platform Is Perfect For Rebels
  • Why Hive's New Social Platform Is Perfect For YOU!

Hopefully you can see how my early headlines sucked, but got better as I continued brainstorming. My early headlines would not get clicked on. They wouldn’t earn me crypto. Even if I’d written a truly killer article, it would earn barely anything if I used some of those early versions of the sentence.

Fortunately, I focused on writing a better sentence. I turned up the curiosity as it went on. I turned up the name recognition. I played with phrasing and approach. I tweaked the language. The headlines ‘grew’ from idea to idea as I stayed with the task, rather than just settling. This is because most people have 'fluff' ideas they need to get out of the way first. Only by getting past the 'fluff' layer of thinking, do we begin to dig deeper and get at the 'true gold' headlines we have inside us.

Creativity shows up when we 'go further', but it hides when we 'settle' on a low-effort idea or 'phone it in.' So really pour love into creating your headlines. Study headline formulas, and great headline writers. Observe your favorite movie titles and song-lyrics. Practice writing truly compelling headlines, then test them on people. Gauge their reactions. Can you get them to gasp or chuckle with a single headline? Do these things well and you'll be surprised at the results you can get with a short sentence.

And speaking of sentences...

Learn To ‘Sentence’ Before You ‘Paragraph.’

If you can't write a great sentence, what makes you think you can write great paragraphs? Or blog posts? Or essays? Or books? It's well-known wisdom to learn to crawl before you walk, then walk before you run. Apply this wisdom to your writing as well.

This doesn't mean you have to fine-tooth-comb every sentence you write, it means that it's worth practicing short content, because you'll need it for headlines, share-worthy captions, punchy end lines, and so on. It means it's worth admitting if a sentence or two is sloppy, confusing, or awkward, then improving it.

Long Or Short, It’s Reader-Interest That Matters.

On Hive, we post content to interest readers. If this were Instagram, I’d be talking about how to make your images truly interesting. I’d be discussing the value of a single image, or ‘every pixel.’ But on Hive, the majority of content is made up of sentences. And readers begin judging us on our very first sentence --the headline-- then continue assessing the value of what they’re reading sentence after sentence. 'Bad' sentences kill reader interest and cost you crypto you could've had. But if you craft your sentences well and really pour love into them, the reader ends up on a fun journey through all your sentences. And when they’re done they either feel that they’re enriched, that they’ve wasted their time, or neutral (‘meh’).

If you want to earn crypto with your posts here on Hive, readers must end up feeling enriched by your material. That feeling is what leads to upvotes and rewards. If your readers feel ‘meh’, or their time was wasted, minimal upvotes will flow to you. Which means the more valuable your sentences are, the more likely you are to be rewarded.

Short content is each of your sentences. Long content is just a bunch of short content strung together well. And whether you write long or short, the key is to keep the reader's interest. Hold their attention. Make every word valuable to the reader. Handle each word with care. (At least as much care as is possible.) And keep raising the bar for yourself, bit by bit.

Aim to be a more valuable writer, and no matter what length you choose, whether a giant novel or a single-sentence...

Don't give your content the short end of the stick.


So what are your thoughts? Does this give you any ideas to improve your sentences? Can you see yourself writing better headlines that compel more clicks? Does it give you insight into the power of sentences lying at each of our fingertips?

P.S. I appreciate any comments, upvotes, and even just you taking the time to read. Thank you. And if you feel inspired, I’d love to see this shared on other social platforms to help people discover Hive and see that we have cool content over here. Brighten someone’s day and introduce them to Hive, it’s win-win, right? :)

Sort:  

Hahaha thanks for mentioning my comment. It was very true ;)

Putting effort into the headline is so important to reel in interest! You made some very valuable points here.

When I produce longer content I make it my intention to include several one sentence paragraphs. I like breaking up my texts to help keep interests and to change things up a little.

I often wonder why many authors write these huge paragraphs (with no pictures or special characters added) that go so long instead of breaking it up to change the scenery. Our eyes get tired and our brains need a break, so it’s good practice to break up paragraphs instead of keeping them all connected.

I also make sure I include the main subject(s) of my posts at the very beginning just in case the title lacked a little. People don’t want to read until the second paragraph to get the gist of what you’re saying. The sooner the better :)

As far as the headline goes, I usually create mine after my cover photo. I get most of my inspiration from the photos I use. I always try to pull out what a photo is saying and then relate that to the headline so it all ties in together. I am a very emotional person so most of my titles have some sort of emotional pull in them. It’s almost as if they’re poetic because I want my readers to feel exactly what I’m feeling.

It’s really interesting how authors gather their inspiration from different aspects.

This was a good read, thanks ~

My pleasure, your comment got me thinking about the process of creating long content. The stringing together of sentences.

You make an excellent point about paragraph length. I reminded of this awesome quote from copywriter Gary Provost:

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.” - Gary Provost

Aaaaannnd you make another solid point about... well... actually getting to the point. I could probably work on that a bit myself.

Since the headline is so important, and it often sets up the entire 'promise' or premise of what people are expecting to be delivered inside the article, I probably should write the headline first... but I often don't, lol. (Hence the rewrites.) We all have our own process, eh? I like yours, inspired by photos, and I love emotion in a headline, so, kudos!

Glad you enjoyed! 🙏

Whoa that quote is awesome! I love that. Varying the sentence length is definitely the way to go. These things are exactly what I was talking about, the need to change things up and have a variety.

The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony.

This! 👆🏽👌🏽

Hee hee thanks! Sometimes I don’t get to the point as quick as I’d like but I try my best not to beat around the bush for too long. 😁

I notice you do this too, but I do like adding in the headline somewhere in the post. I normally do this at the end so it can have a nice summing up effect. It also has this boom factor and helps tie in everything and gets the reader to understand even more why the headline was chosen.

Kudos to you as well. You’re doing a wonderful job with your content ~
🙂

I know right? I love that quote, it's pure genius. :)

Well, we're both improving, hopefully, lol. Yes, I do like to 'summarize' that way, it does add 'boom', heheh.

I've enjoyed every piece of content I've read from you too! 🙏

Oh wow I really appreciate that, thank you!! It means a lot that my writing is enjoyable ~ 😊

(grin) 👍😀🙏

Congratulations @ryzeonline! You have completed the following achievement on the Hive blockchain and have been rewarded with new badge(s) :

You received more than 7000 upvotes.
Your next target is to reach 8000 upvotes.

You can view your badges on your board and compare yourself to others in the Ranking
If you no longer want to receive notifications, reply to this comment with the word STOP

😁🙌🙏

I have always felt like headlines are the weakest parts of my content. I always play around with formulations and words to try and make them interesting but I still feel like they’re lacking. I’m gonna try your method going forward. Listing them in succession to directly compare them seems like a good idea.

Short content can be just as good and better as long content for sure. One thing I always tell my students is that long answers isn’t everything. It’s the content of your answers that matter. If you’re precise you can say more in two sentences than in ten. Don’t ramble.

Ayy, huge props for being able to recognize an area of improvement (it's almost shocking how many avoid doing this).

I do find listing them in rough succession to be helpful, and I usually aim for about 15-20 headlines at a minimum, then test them on target audiences, then choose the one that resonates most between myself and the audience.

And yes, I totally agree it's the value of the content that matters most, length is secondary. Thanks for emphasizing this, and for the comment, and the reblog, I appreciate you! 🙏

I've always viewed myself as my biggest critic. It's a valuable trait as a teacher. Keep on creating superb content my dude!

Seconded! And I intend to, thank you :) 🙏

Long or short content...it doesn't matter to me what You write I love it all. It's another excellent post. Super helpful and totally spot on.

Those one-sentence stories make me want to read more lol each one is excellent. Like what? Especially #5 😉😘 You made it more powerful with italics, bold, and color. Well done. Not just that one but all of them (and the tweets).

Your headline is the short content leading the way. It’s the first sentence of all your posts and it matters a lot. And if it doesn't pass their standards for what makes a compelling, clickable headline, your pages of insight will be ignored and passed over.

Yep. If you have a crap headline no one will want to invest further into the rest of the words you've written. We've talked about headlines a boatload of times. It's something we (more You than me) put a lot of focus on when we're writing. For those that don't know...You wrote this, we edited it and then we picked the headline. Then You went back to re-write the whole thing because it didn't go with the headline enough. This is the detail that no one else sees but I hope that others do (or will do) too.

Sentences are super valuable and can make or break your work. We've spent lots of time picking apart one sentence in a huge post because it matters.

I'm super grateful for this lesson. I'm looking forward to sharing this with others because I KNOW it can help them.

Well done, Sir.

~Con todo mi amor,
Siempre Suyo

I appreciate the kind words, as always. And so glad you liked the one-sentence stories. :)

"You wrote this, we edited it and then we picked the headline. Then You went back to re-write the whole thing because it didn't go with the headline enough."

Ah yes, I could've mentioned that in the article. Headlines are so important that if we come up with a juicy headline that I want to use... I'll literally re-write the entire piece around it if I have to.

I hope this helps many on Hive grow and succeed and thrive. Thanks for sharing! 🙏

🙏❤️😘

Reader attention span is less than 10 seconds so I guess the title, er... headline, should be the best place to tell the whole story. But that's just me, what do you think? 😁

Haha, very good point. Yes, the title/headline is what occupies the reader's first few seconds, so it's definitely important.

That said billions of people still read long blogs, novellas, entire book trilogies as long as they're well-crafted. :)

Definitely food for thought, thanks @juanvegetarian ! 🙏

I understand what you're trying to say in this piece and I do !LUV to read well-crafted long-form content. IMO the quality of the title says a lot about what lies ahead for the reader. Saying that the headline is a microcosm of the whole or that it is a prelude to the quality of writing should be basic stuff for every writer - I'm surely guilty of breaking this and many other writing "rules" many a time. At any rate, this should be basic reading for all HIVE bloggers. That said, I still have to read part 2 of your Masterclass in Communication. lol But really appreciate the good stuff you put out for budding content creators such as myself. :)

!PIZZA

I'm glad you get it, and I totally agree. People judge based on the quality of the title as an indicator (or microcosm) of the rest of the piece.

I've broken the 'rule' myself, and it usually costs me when I do. :)

I'm so glad you think this should be basic reading for hive bloggers. Perhaps @newbies-guide will include it in their offerings or something, who knows!

I have a feeling you'll enjoy part 2 of my Masterclass In Communication, the ending is absolute fire.

Anyway, I appreciate all the kind words. May all of us content-creators continue to #ryze :) 🙏

(Thanks for pizza!)

Welcome. Hope to read more from you. All the best and keep safe, @ryzeonline.

Wishing you the same! 👍😀🙏

Connect

Trade


@ryzeonline! I sent you a slice of $PIZZA on behalf of @juanvegetarian.

Learn more about $PIZZA Token at hive.pizza (2/10)

Back when I had kids working for me (I called my apprentices 'kids') I had to explain nicknames are good. The ones I called by first name never seemed to last long, TOS.

lol, I feel like your nicknames are terms of endearment (so far at least, lol), and I see 'em as a badge of honor.

#TOSforever , thanks man :) 🙏

Excelente trabajo, es genial ver que dedicas tiempo para ayudarna otros a crear contenido de calidad.

Uno que es sumamente necesario para que la plataforma mejore en cuanto a contenido se refiere.

Tomaré algunos tips de por acá y los pondré en práctica cuanto antes.

Thank you, I enjoy helping others and elevating content whenever I can. And I truly help it improves the platform. Looking forward to seeing you apply the tips! #KeepRyzing 🙏


Gracias, disfruto ayudando a los demás y elevando el contenido siempre que puedo. Y realmente ayudo a que mejore la plataforma. ¡Esperando ver cómo aplicas los consejos! #KeepRyzing 🙏