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Can You Say It In 500 Words Or Less?

Updated on November 17, 2009


When I was writing the official blog for season three of Project Runway for my editor’s one stipulation was that whatever I wrote it needed to be 500 words or less. This was a challenge to me each week but one that gave me a good frame for my work. I would read and re-read the blog entry and decide what needed to stay and what could go. Did I really need that group of words to describe the fight that ensued between two designers or could I be more succinct? There were weeks when I found myself at 499 words or 500 on the dot and on those weeks I was impressed with myself big time. What I also discovered over time was that there was less and less to edit. Like waking yourself up before the alarm goes off, I somewhere in my subconscious was editing myself as I was writing and more often than not came in at the right amount or words or very close. Such is not the case with my blog, I allow myself to allow the random thoughts to creep in whenever and whenever I want but after posting a couple of unusually long blog posts recently I began to wonder if like my editor from Bravo told me, can you say it in 500 words or less? – Don’t Get Me Started!

Not counting the title I’m at 231words and I’m suddenly reminded of The Book Report number from the musical “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” where they’re all writing a book report about Peter Rabbit and Lucy is counting every word to make sure hers is long enough. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I would rarely read more than 500 words on a topic so why would anyone else? After all, we all pretty much live in a short attention span kind of world, don’t we so why would the Internet which can’t seem to go fast enough for us be a place where we basically read stuff that’s as long as a novel, huh? The answer is we wouldn’t. Like the comedian, Kathy Ladman says in her act, her father would stand in front of the microwave shouting, “Come on, what do you think I’ve got, all minute?” We’re all trying to shove as much into our heads as quickly as possible so the more I think about it the more I’m convinced that although I’m my own editor perhaps I need to do a better job and keep it at 500 words or less moving forward.

I like hearing my own voice, what’s more I enjoy my own writing and while that may seem like artistic masturbation (since I’m the only one getting anything out of it) I don’t want to become one of those old people who drone on. Those people bore the living crap out of everyone. Can you say it in 500 words or less? – Don’t Get Me Started! (Word Count: 500 words)

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