If You Can Fill “Awkward Time”, Your Work Will Be Popular

2014 Artwork Awkward Time Sketch

This article was inspired by a time when I had about twenty minutes to spare between things – twenty minutes is kind of an awkward time.

It’s too long not to do anything, but it’s too short to watch an episode of a TV show, it’s too short to play a level of a decent FPS game, it’s too short to really immerse yourself in a good novel and it’s just too short to read a comic.

I’m sure that you’ve probably experienced periods of “awkward time” too. There’s nothing more annoying than having an amount of spare time that is both too long and too short to really do anything with.

This is probably why things like Youtube and casual mobile phone games are so immensely popular – they’re designed to fill these “awkward” periods of time.

Most Youtube videos are anything between two and ten minutes long, you can watch just one or two of them if you’ve got a few minutes to spare or you can watch entire playlists if you’ve got more time.

Plus, although I don’t really use mobile phones, all I’ve heard about casual phone games are that they’re the kind of thing which can easily be enjoyed for either three or thirty minutes.

The same is true for daily webcomics too – most daily webcomic updates take less than a minute to read. But, because people don’t always read them every day, it’s easy enough to amuse yourself for a few minutes by looking through all of the comics that have been previously posted on there.

Yes, some webcomics are more popular than others, but the fact that they can easily fill “awkward time” is probably one of the reasons why webcomics are so popular.

Likewise, people can browse the headlines of a newspaper fairly quickly or they can read every article in depth. People can glance at a painting quickly or they can study it closely for hours.

So, how is any of this useful to you?

Well, if you want to make something that will appeal to people, then it might be worth thinking about the time it takes for your audience to enjoy your work.

If you can find a way to make something that can both be enjoyed quickly and can also be enjoyed over a longer period of time, then this is probably ideal.

But, failing that, creating things which can be enjoyed in less than twenty minutes – things which can fill “awkward” periods of free time- is certainly one way to appeal to your audience.

So, how do you do this?

It’s really simple. You can either make lots of self-contained things or you can make something continuous which is split up into lots of shorter parts.

This is why, for example, Dan Brown’s thriller novels were so wildly popular as holiday novels last decade – since each chapter is only a few pages long and can be easily read in a couple of minutes.


Sorry that this article was so short Hold on, this is the one time I don’t have to apologise for a short article. Anyway, I hope that it was useful šŸ™‚

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