I read a lot of content every day, but regardless who the author is or the topic, there is one thing that always results in me either bookmarking the article for later, or just closing it and moving on – long and intimidating paragraphs.
I, like many others, have a lot on my plate, very little time in the day, and hundreds of articles to skim through every week. So when I see excessively long paragraphs, it intimidates me and makes me feel like I don’t have enough time (or energy) to read the whole article.
Because of this, I have always recommended, whether to a client or as a speaker, that writers break paragraphs whenever possible, so readers are less intimidated and able to skim content easier.
While preparing for my presentation on Creating Blockbuster Content for SMX Advanced last year, I found myself again adding this concept to my slides and decided I wanted to know a bit more about this concept of One Thought, One Paragraph.
Why, Why, Why?
Does the brain read better this way?
Are we able to absorb more information with shorter paragraphs?
Is this the trick to keeping someone’s interest?
I started digging into the core reason behind the writing standard of one thought paragraphs. I found there was more to it than I realized – there was a science behind the writing.
It seems that writers, researchers, colleges, governments, and well… every writing expert, supports the “one thought, one paragraph” rule. Keep each paragraph you write limited to one thought.
If you read for pleasure, grab a novel. If you read for action, One Thought, One Paragraph divides the message into bites that are more easily tasted, more digestible, and more immediately actionable. ~ Peter Killeen, Professor of Psychology at ASU
Although it makes sense on the surface, there is scientific proof to back up this core rule of writing.