How To Write Interesting Long-forms?
Work-in-progress, How dreams work, A newsletter on writing and earning money
Welcome to The Longform Addict, a weekly newsletter where I shared my interest in writing long-form, including Work-in-progress, Medium posts, interesting reads, and newsletter/website discoveries.
Work In Progress
“How To Write Interesting Long-forms?”
(A short version of a blog post I’m working on; I’m open to any discussion ☺)
There are movies I watch over and over again without skipping any parts, but there are those I skip restlessly. Why do some movies make us hooked while others fail to keep our attention? Is there a magic formula or is it just pure luck?
Recently I've come to think of writing as movies. I wouldn't make such an association a while ago as most of the content I read online was short compared to movies. In fact, I rarely read anything 1 to 2 hours long, except how-to guides broken down into one-liners.
But as I started to read long-forms, my point of view changed. Though at first, I was skeptical—We often see with movies or other visual content, it's hard to stay attentive if there’s no action or visual effects involved. Now that long-forms are just text on paper, how do they stand a chance?
Isn't it why many blockbusters yield hundreds of million dollars in revenue while lots of documentaries remain in obscurity?
Besides, most people only look for quick consumption. I have a hunch the majority of online readers only read to quiet their non-stop-thinking mind, not to dive deep into a matter. Or they are the staff writers in a rush of researching and crafting 1000-word blog posts in less than an hour.
Long-forms, especially essays and journalism, exist in a different world. They are not written for quick fixes, as the people who come to them are not in lack of time or expect to heal their pain, they read for joy and learning.
The first long essay I read is by David called The Ultimate Guide to Writing Online. It has impacted me in many ways, but the most important shift is that of my perception on writing. I used to think of writing as a research-to-paper process. You come up with a topic sentence, read a bunch of text online, and write. Writing is just like making a report of what you already know.
But then there is this new approach where writing is an accumulation process. It starts with the daily collections and conversations, then you only write when you have too many ideas you can't help but write.
Perhaps here that writing becomes more like movies. As if movies are made of multiple scenes, writing is made of multiple pieces of ideas. And like movie scenes filmed in fragments that come together into a cohesive piece of art, the final writing can be put together by different ideas collected at different times.
Also, there's the element of surprise. Surprise means being unpredictable.
Great movies are unpredictable. The further the plot derives from your imagination, the more interesting the movie turns out to be. Since you can't predict, you must go on watching. If everything happens the way you expected, there's nothing to look out for.
Your writing should flow "surprises".
How to make your writing surprising? Make a habit of collecting uncommon ideas, from your reading, daily life, conversation, thoughts etc. As you collect ideas, take notes or write shorter posts.
The Age Of The Essays: How a real essay differs from a school essay, what makes a good essay, and how to write one that matters.
Beer Mode And Coffee Mode: The importance of focused and unfocused state in writing.
The Serendipity Of Note-taking: How to take better notes, and why your notes don’t have to be perfect.
Longread of The Week
Do dreams help you work out unsolvable problems during daytime? Or are they just fragmented memories randomly created by the brain? Where and how do dreams take place? Can we control what we dream (lucid dream)? What is dream incubation and its connection to creative work? This article gives you a dive deep into the most mysterious phenomenon of our mind.
3 dream theories:1) Sigmund Freud: Dreams are an outlet for our repressed longing—What we can't achieve in real life are realized in our dreams. 2) Carl Jung: Dreams help us reflect and work out problems in our life. 3) Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley: Dreams are just fragments of imagery put together and they don't convey any specific meaning.
The five sleep stages:Sleep is divided into 5 stages, repeating in a few cycles of 90-minutes during our entire sleeping time. The first two are light sleep, which are easily interrupted. The third and forth ones are deep sleep, and the final stage is REM where dreams take place.
Dream incubation:The technique where you go to bed fixating your mind on an issue and wake up the next morning with a solution. (A study to show that it works.)
Dream and creativity:Many inventors, writers, artists and scientists have found solutions to their creative problems during dreams.
A newsletter sharing tips on you can grow on those writing platforms—Medium, Quora, Vocal Media, and Newsbreak; and make money.
A sample issue:
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