Up Close With Abraham Piper

Abraham Piper is a Christian, husband, dad, and blogger. He may be some other things too, such as accomplished ninja, but you’ll have to ask him personally. He blogs personally at 22 Words and Downhill Both Ways, and he also blogs for Desiring God Ministries.

Abraham was kind enough to take a few moments to answer some questions about blogging.

All of your blog posts are limited to exactly twenty-two words. Why do you do such short posts and what are you trying to accomplish with the blog?

I write short posts for four reasons.

  • I enjoy seeing if I can summarize an idea that briefly.
  • I like being freed of the responsibility to explain myself. When people don’t get what I’m saying, I’d have no excuse if my words could’ve been unlimited. But the way things are set up now, when I make no sense I can just shrug my shoulders and point to the premise of the blog as my excuse.
  • I’m lazy. I can’t even imagine writing full posts every day. Writing 22 words, on the other hand, is pretty easy.
  • People don’t generally read much more than 22 words of any given post anyway.

I want following my blog to feel similar to knowing a person: Sometimes it will be encouraging or funny other times depressing or infuriating.

Obviously, with certain individual posts, I want to make things happen in my audience’s hearts or minds or behavior, but I wouldn’t say I’m trying to accomplish anything in particular with the blog as a whole. It’s just me living life, saying some hopefully helpful things and also saying some definitely stupid things.

You blog personally and for Desiring God. What do you think makes a good blog? What separates the good from the mediocre?

Despite all the varieties of good blogs out there, I think what is true pretty much across the board, is that excellent bloggers care about how to blog. They’ve educated themselves and experimented enough to know what will work for them and their audience.

You can find answers all over if you Google for what makes a good blog. And they’ll all say mostly the same things. And they’re mostly right. Good bloggers obey these rules or disobey them carefully.

In light of the fact that there are eight bazillion blogs now, should someone start a new blog? If so, what is one tip you would give them?

Absolutely. Maybe no one will read it, but if that’s ok with a potential blogger, then go for it.
May I give three tips, instead of just one?

1. Use a theme that has a light background.
2. Use a professional-quality photo in your banner.
3. Keep every paragraph to 5 lines or less.

  • http://www.JanetOber.com Janet Oberholtzer

    Love reading 22 words … short, sweet (or not) and to the point
    Great tips for blogging – thanks!
    I've been aiming for shorter pieces and now I'm really committed.

  • http://jcrylequotes.com/ Erik

    Two lines I completely agree with:

    Use a theme that has a light background.

    Amen to that. Blogs that have a dark background will only keep me there say, oh, 5 seconds. Reading a site that has a dark background is simply NOT easy on the eyes. In fact, it's annoying and painful. Abraham hit the nail on the head.

    People don’t generally read much more than 22 words of any given post anyway.

    Yep, the average person stays on a blog 96 seconds. That's it. Make it short and to the point.

    Very insightful post and tips. Thanks a bunch.

  • http://www.wordandspirit.co.uk/blog Mark Heath

    any reason why Stephen's words are 5 times larger than Abrahams?

    My experience of blogging is that you will get far more people via google searches than you have regular followers. I have one five year old blog post that gets over 50% of my traffic. It wasn't even a particularly good one.

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Stephen Altrogge

      The only reason my letters are bigger is so that I could easily distinguish his response from my question. Thats it.

  • http://calumhenderson.com/ Calum Henderson

    I do like the idea of using 5 lines or less in paragraphs. If people are only reading for 96 seconds or less, then they need to be able to scan what is written really easily. Thanks for the tips!

  • http://bondchristian.com/ bondChristian

    Nice job, Stephen. I like the interview (and interviews in general… you should do more of these).

    By the way, I break all three of the blogging rules. Definitely agree with tip about paragraphs though. Blog no es equal un booko!

    -Marshall Jones Jr.

    • http://twentytwowords.com Abraham Piper

      You may be happy to know that I was unclear, and you're not breaking the "rules."

      1. Your text is dark on a light background and that's what matters.
      2. I only meant use a pro photo if you're using a phot, which you're not, so you're all good.

      I think your site looks quite nice.

      Sorry for the confusion. Happy blogging!

      • http://jcrylequotes.com/ Erik

        I agree with you Abraham. I also like bondChristian's site as well. Very professional, easy to navigate, and easy on the eyes. His font is dark and crisp on a lighter background.

        The problem with the darker (especially black backgrounds with the white font) is that I have to strain my eyes to read cause I'm simply not used to reading that kind of contrast. I "secretly" wish Zach over at Take Your Vitamin Z would change his theme/background. ;)

        I REALLY enjoy Z's blog (it's easily in my top 10 and I visit it daily) however, reading is so incredibly difficult on my eyes.