Friday, March 11, 2011

limit the lines

I talk a lot. Not a little, but a lot. A. Whole. Lot. My grandmother used to call me Mouth Almighty, Tongue Everlasting. However, I am the first to admit I can be a bit too talkative. I go from topic to topic with random rants thrown in and lose focus easily. Unfortunately that same trait carries over to my writing.

The news industry often tells reporters to write tight, meaning keep it to the point, clear and concise. I have to keep that rule in mind constantly at work because space is limited sometimes. In my personal writing and reflections I tend to throw that rule out the window. My early days of blogging started on Facebook. Each Facebook note probably read more like a college essay. I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. And just when you’d think I was done, I added another 2,000 words for good measure. That’s not to say what I wrote was bad. Some of it was fairly good, but it was too long. 

I knew writing 10,000 word blog posts wasn’t going to be an option while participating in NaBloPoMo. Lengthy posts, even though they are my own thoughts, take time to write depending on the subject matter. I set up a word limit of 365 for each post, which is about half of what I normally write. A person’s attention span is only so long. Following a word limit can sometimes be challenging. You have so much to say but are only allocated a certain amount of space. It’s kind of like using Twitter. You only have 140 characters to tweet.

I am starting to see some improvement with my self-imposed word limit. It’s helping me cut out a lot of fluff in my writing and become a stronger storyteller. This should hopefully carry over to the day job. There might come a time when I feel the need to write a good 500 words again, but for now I’m following the limit. I still tend to write with no end in sight in my personal journal. Readers can rest assured there’s a limit to my posts now. I’ll keep it simple.

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