Industrial Distraction | Attention Span | Listening to Professional Advice

Had a bit of a fight with my book designer the other day.

I had sent the content of my ebook him, in order to create a front cover and design the interior layout.

And as you know, I have a very particular format for my writing.

With me, a paragraph is only one sentence long.

And a sentence is short.

Sometimes only one or two words.


And yes, I know that I break 400 years of typography with that.

I know it’s not ‘correct’ writing style.

And yes, I know that for some people that just doesn’t read well.

But there’s a particular reason for it, to do with psychology, so when Emma and her husband (who does the actual design) told me to please make proper paragraphs with a head and tail and a central thought, my initial reaction was: No.

I have my way, my reason, and my style – and that’s how it’s going to be.

Unless there’s a very good reason, I don’t see why I have to zig when everyone else does.

If I want to zag, I’ll bloody well zag, by Jove!

But then I got some advice from a few pros in the writing field.

James Chartrand said, more or less: “Don’t be stupid, just format it into proper paragraphs”.

Mark McGuinness said it’s up to me, and that his own editor once told him that attention spans have totally eroded due to the internet.

So that didn’t help me decide.

But it did help me think.

And what I thought was this:

It’s not attention spans that are the problem.

Maybe they are shorter than before, but the real problem is what I call the distraction industry.

You’ll have noticed:

Nearly everything on the internet (and indeed a lot of stuff in the real world) is based on pattern disrupt.

Whatever you might be doing, there’s someone out there who tries to break your concentration and corner your attention for a moment.

Money gets made when you get interrupted.

Even if the interruption is only clicking away an ad: the advertiser earns a few cents because you saw the ad.

Whatsapp, Facebook messages, Skype, SMS, ads – everything these days beeps and flashes.

At any time, you might be assailed by yet another distraction.

And make no mistake: this industry has developed this distraction skill to nearly scientific finesse.

And that’s why we get so easily distracted.

Not because our attention spans are shorter, but because there’s someone out there who makes money if only he manages to distract enough people.

This is also why I think the Android system is fundamentally broken.

Just consider: There’s a ‘back’ button on every Android device.

That means the system is designed around the concept of distraction and interruption.

You were doing something, got interrupted, and you hit back to return to what you were doing.

And I don’t think that’s good UX design.

But anyway, back to the book.

After a bit of back and forth with Emma and her hubby, I gave in.

Because if there’s one thing that isn’t useful, it’s clinging to our own ideas despite what a professional says.

And he’s a real pro, after all.

His designs are awesome.

Which means it would be stupid of me to ignore his professional advice.

Just like when I sold copywriting services:

Sometimes, a client would want a style that I knew for a fact wouldn’t work.

And I’d explain why, what to have me write instead – and if they wouldn’t listen, I wouldn’t take the gig.

When someone with expertise tells you how things need to be done for maximum effect, it’s worth your time to listen carefully.

When you do?

Well, magic can happen.

Like Anook, for example.

She listened to my advice, took it seriously and adapted it to her style and personality, and boom:

Massive success.

Anyway, my advice is yours for the taking, in case you need some help.

Otherwise, I bid you a fantastic day.

You can make it even more fantastic if you get my custom report on how to optimise your site for conversions.

But only if you take the advice and recommendations in it, and put them to use.

If so, here’s where you can get yours: –>



Menu Title