The Beauty of Distraction-Free Reading

April 6, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of being interrupted while I read articles online.

“Tweet this”
“Join the email list”
Sidebars full of ads

Pop-ups galore and hundreds of other catchy ways to divert your attention have become the norm, so I decided this blog was going to be different.

I want you to enjoy writing from a space so it makes your day more peaceful, not more hectic. I want you to have the feeling of reading a book in a quiet room, sitting by a fire, so for this blog I took out all the distractions I could.

Here are some major changes I’ve made and why.

No Comments

Let’s be honest, although there are some comments that are really useful, most are just noise. I also noticed that many people prefer commenting on the links posted on social media than the blog itself.

Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that a Facebook comment is fleeting, while a blog comment is forever. I welcome discussion on social media but the comment doors on this blog are closed.

No “Share This” Links

Now, I know this sounds crazy and it seems like I’m throwing traffic out the window, but here are a couple reasons I got rid of those buttons.

1. I looked at them all the time and was becoming obsessed with having the numbers be high on the Facebook or Twitter buttons.

2. I think other people look at them too, which takes away from the overall experience of the reader.

3. I don’t think they actually get people to share more. I could be wrong, but something tells me my site won’t get any less traffic, if anything people will be happy about the simplicity.

No Italics, Bold or All Caps

The more I write, the less I use italics, bold or ALL CAPS. I found they were a cheap way to draw people’s attention to something, and what ends up happening is it dulls our natural ability to read into what the author is saying.

I went back through all my articles and removed almost all of the bold, italics and all caps. I will still use them, but no longer for emphasis.

For example, I may put a quote in italics, or if I’m making a list, I’ll use bold. This is another thing I picked up from zenhabits, in fact Leo has a wonderful zenhabits style guide which inspired this post.

Posting Once a Week

This is a big one. I’ve tried this in the past and it’s failed, because I was doing it for the hits or eventual outcome. What this is about now is practice. I’m writing to write, and for no other reason. Writing is a practice I do, not a result I achieve.

With that, my commitment is to publish at least one article a week, to honor the practice of writing. If I write more, I’ll post more, but every Monday, there will be a new article, for the rest of 2015. That’s my promise practice.

Black and White

My inner graphic designer is very strong these days and right now I’m in love with black and white. I can’t really explain why but it seems as though it highlights the writing, which is what I want.

Colors distract me as a reader and again, I want people to have the best possible experience reading my blog, with as little distractions as possible. I used the same design concept for my podcast for writers about the creative process called Darken the Page.

Beautiful Pictures

I wanted to treat my articles like a work of art, and as I scrolled through some of the pictures, I realized they were cheesy, unappealing or just plain boring. No more. I’m using a combination of flickr and google image search to find beautiful black and white pictures to include with posts.

Thanks for Reading

Although I removed the comments, I love feedback. You can email me or leave comments when the articles get posted on the Facebook page, which they do automatically when they get published.


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