Organize your copy into thoughts. Break when you have a new one.
Paragraphs separate lengthy copy into smaller conceptual chunks. Each paragraph is supposed to be a new thought, more or less. When we were taught essay-writing in school, the format was:
- First paragraph: introduction (and thesis statement), where you "tell
'em what you're gonna tell 'em." Sometimes the teacher was strict and insisted on three sentences which solely contained the points you wanted to make in each of the following three paragraphs of your essay.
- Second, third, fourth etc. paragraphs: the body of your essay. Each
paragraph is one major point. Anything in that paragraph must support your point and only that point.
- Last paragraph: conclusion, where you reiterate your major points.
In your question, you have a several thoughts packed into a single paragraph. It looks like everything supports your opening sentence, so the reader has to read everything to understand your point. I would break it up something like this:
When I write answers to questions on the stack exchange network my end result is often quite lengthy. While length itself isn't a problem for me, sometimes my answers end up like this. This happens significantly more frequently than I'd like, and I'm never sure what to do when it does happen.
Sometimes the long-answers work out fine, especially when I fall into a pattern that I'm comfortable with, such as an essay. However, when I don't naturally fall into a familiar structured writing format by feel as I write the post, it seems almost impossible for me to fix the problems through editing.
Usually I just leave a comment to the first person to point it out asking them for help breaking up the text walls, and usually they are willing to do so and that works out okay. However, I'd like to be able to fix these problems myself, though I'm not entirely sure why I struggle to do so.
How does one go about breaking up a text wall into a more easily digested format?