A Look at Longform on WordPress.com
We dive daily into the Reader of WordPress.com just as many of you do, sifting through the latest posts like we’re foraging in a vast forest. One of the things we love about this community is the diversity: from brave pieces of memoir to political commentaries to observations on overseas experiences, there’s something to read for everyone.
A glimpse at longform writing
Right now, there’s just so much to read on the web. We’re big fans of sites like Longreads and Byliner, which curate longform journalism and magazine articles meant to be “read later” and savored away from our desks. And so, in addition to the wide range of topics, perspectives, and writing styles we look out for, we dig for and discover longform writing — stories and musings that take longer to unravel — published on WordPress.com, too.
Think narrative nonfiction or engaging journalism. An open letter or a personal essay. A working chapter of your novel or memoir, an in-depth opinion piece on what’s happening in the world, or commentary on an aspect of our culture.
Or think musings on seemingly disparate threads, from a post weaving books, windmills, and the pope to a discussion linking details, contemporary television, and James Joyce. In the first post, the writer really takes the time to explore her ideas (she even uses subheads to divide her post):
Stepping out of a certain box: the work box, the home box, the SF box, the US box. And then I look around and see all the different boxes around me, boxes I’m in, boxes other people are in, boxes we’re in together. Boxes are a necessity, I realize, an organizing principle, like the pattern I imagine connecting these random little coincidences over the past few days.
We don’t want to attach a word count to this mode of writing, but will simply say these posts are journeys we take with writers; we choose to follow them as they wander the far corners of their minds and explore their interests deeply. So, these posts require a bit more time from us as readers.
We’d love to surface more longform writing here on WordPress.com, so please tag your longer pieces with #WPLongform so we — and the rest of the community — can find them.
Themes for longform posts
Inspired by old-fashioned typography, Book Lite creates an enjoyable reading experience on your blog — your readers will love it. Evoking the delicate pages of a book, Book Lite is simple and classic. Callum J. Hackett’s posts on medieval Persian manuscripts and a book of strange and beautiful animals show this theme at its best, beautifully displaying your words with your images.
With the Manifest theme, your post content takes center stage and is presented in a neat, clutter-free way, offering your readers an intimate and direct experience. You can see this in action on Meagan Flynn’s blog, Beyond the New Yorker, which focuses on longform, creative nonfiction, and immersion journalism. (Meagan recently published a Q&A with Esquire‘s Mike Sager about longform — how fitting, don’t you think?)
While Esquire supports visually distinct post formats, the default “standard” post format is clean and bold, and adds a stylish red drop cap to the post’s first letter. Reminiscent of the pages of a glossy magazine, the design is perfect for the journalist in you. That Sounds Cool (or /’kül/), the blog of freelance writer Aaron Riccio, illustrates how Esquire supports longer posts, like his recent reflection on freelance writing.
Many other themes in our Theme Showcase complement longer posts — we’d never stop you from experimenting to see which one is best for you!
Do you regularly publish longform on your blog, or do you have any favorite writers on WordPress.com that share longer pieces? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.