Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Word Count

Having to cut 1,000 words from an essay I had written a while back proved to be a challenge for me. The guidelines for submission spelled it out: 500 words. What? Five-hundred measly words? Yikes! I was convinced I couldn’t pare my 1500 word essay down to 500 words without it losing something. How was I going to cut that many words and the essay still make sense? No way. But I was up to the challenge. Chop, chop, chop. Every time I cut, I reread the piece. What could I take out and still leave the integrity of the story intact? After many, many cuts, I glanced down at the toolbar on the bottom of my word document and saw the word count: 500. I felt like a champ! I read the entire 500-word essay and found that indeed it still did make sense. I submitted it and it was published in my local paper. (I previously mentioned this in an earlier blog). If you want to read it again, here's the link. Turned out to be a fun exercise for me.

Sometimes we need to bolster our creativity with other types of writing, i.e., essays, poetry, magazine articles, etc. And we need to learn to follow guidelines for submissions. Make every word count. No more, no less. Here’s a link to a brief article on Word Count.

“A writing group should share your goals—whether it’s getting published, getting critiqued, getting support, or getting out of the house…” Writing tip from Writer’s Digest Weekly Planner


  1. Excellent article. Cutting words is so hard especially when they seemed so right the first time!

  2. Exactly my point. You read it and read it and think -- but I can't possibly cut and have it read the same. Somehow you do and it still makes sense. Thanks, Catherine