The First Paragraph Is My Worst Enemy

Is it time to retire intros?

OK. Maybe enemy is a bit too harsh.

Still, writing intros is the part I dislike the most when it comes to my content creation process.

It’s not that I do not see the significance and role of a gripping first paragraph. My premise is that an intro is not always needed and that there are times when its very existence dilutes the messages of an article.

 Yes, this was an intro. Old habits die hard, I guess.

When I Think Good Intros Make A Difference

  • When you’re telling a story. The first paragraph may be the reason why someone continues reading your novel or narration-focused piece. The introduction-body-conclusion structure makes sense here.
  • When you need to explain your Why. The intro can set the scene and includes the premise of your article. Highly needed for original perspectives and when you write on less-known topics. The first paragraph is where you can tell the reader what motivates you and why you think the theme of the text is significant and attention-worthy.

When I Think Intros Are Redundant

  • Listicle-style How-Tos. The reader will likely scroll right past them anyway. They are there for the key points. The intro becomes fluff.
  • When you write about the same topic over and over again. Yes, an introduction to your main topic may make sense for the new readers but here’s the thing: If you write short content pieces on the same topic, regular readers may get bored seeing the same concept explained over and over again. Not to mention that I have no interest in finding 30 ways to introduce the same topic. So, why not have a main, evergreen post that explains the main subject, and link to that one in the new post when you first mention the term? The new reader has access to the basics, regular readers only get fresh content, and you don’t spend hours thinking about a new way to present “Motivation” in your posts.
  • Old-school daily blog entries. Spare me the intro. Don’t tell me about the weather and who you are and why you’re writing the new post. Get to the point, tell me what in your day triggered this piece.

I Have A Plan

I know, courage is too much too.

I’m thinking about ditching the intros completely for those pieces where I find their existence redundant.

Sure, you can say “Then just right a non-redundant intro. Make it make sense”.

Not for me, thanks.

I think I can be more productive, more creative, and authentic if I just get to the point.

But use the write-the-intro-last trick”, you may also say.

Tried it. Not for me either. I need to know where my post is going. The intro does that, it gives direction. I cannot write it last. It just makes me feel less structured.

In fact, the whole ditch-the-intro thing is part of a bigger strategy change.

I would like to move toward short-form blog entries.

Too many intro-friendly posts on my blogs already.

I think it’s time I go back to the basics. And by basics I mean core. And by core, I mean relevant, no-fluff, no-BS content.

My main accusation against intros is that by forcing them as part of an article — “You need a beginning, a middle, and an end.” — I make my posts less authentic. It’s not how I would share my ideas at that moment. I only do it because “that’s how you write a good article” and out of habit.

Yet, one of the perks of being a freelancer is the freedom to decide the format and direction of your platform.

So, why not ditch the intros if I want to?

Experiment, experiment, experiment, I guess.

Soon, I hope.

How about you? What is your relationship with post intros?

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