Credit limits – Good but consideration needs to be given to people who have recently broken up with a girl/boyfriend and need some self-indulgent shopping.
Coverage limits – Good for insurance companies.
Term limits – Good, but we need them for every political office unless a super-duper majority votes otherwise.
Power limits – Bad, unless you’re battling Godzilla because I think he can absorb electricity and it makes him stronger. Otherwise “more power” is the way to go.
Word limits –???
A couple of weeks ago, I was busy adding some drama to this blog by asking you to help me figure out what to do with the Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS) Challenge. In retrospect, I
knew should have known the answer, but it felt good to read some of your comments. It was also the only time I’ve ever used a poll on this blog and the only time anybody filled out a poll on any of my blogs. The votes have been counted. The people have spoken.
“Write whatever you like Dan but no more than two posts per week and don’t try making them longer.”
I added the last bit but it is fully supported by my editor. Actually, my editor didn’t even like my adding a potential third post as an option. Fortunately, the poll was added after the fact in WordPress so she didn’t have a chance to veto that. Then again, you ALL did, and my editor thanks you all.
I mentioned my word limit for this blog in a post about my daughter’s and my visit to an abandoned and demolished state psychiatric hospital. In response to that post, someone mentioned not knowing much about switchboards. I replied with a link to a video showing a switchboard in action. I mentioned that I had planned on including some information about switchboards in the post it but that it would have put me beyond my self-imposed word limit. She added that while people have mixed feelings about word limits, she thinks they are a good idea. So do I.
“So, what do you have on tap? … Hmm I’m not familiar with that, I like Yuengling, I see you don’t have that but are any of these nice lagers? What about…”
Seriously, what was I thinking? While 400 words isn’t nearly enough for the topics I’ve talked about here, it remains a point where I start to pay attention to the word count. If I haven’t begun to zero in on my point, I know that it’s time.
I upped the limit to 800, a limit that I still use for my technical blogs. Technical blogs can be tiring, so if I can’t spit those thoughts out in under 800 words, I feel like I must have two thoughts jammed together.
Here, the limit is 1,000 words but I start to seriously fidget when I hit 800.
Does a word count cause me to leave important stuff out of the story? Maybe, maybe not. Besides, if it is revealed that I left something out that would have been useful, like the switchboard information, I can add it back in a comment.
In general, I think a word limit is a good thing. Operating under one forces me to do a kind of Content Editing, if I’m adapting Michelle Mueller’s lessons on fiction editing correctly to a completely different type of writing.
BTW, if you enjoy writing and haven’t yet discovered The Sarcastic Muse, check, it, out, now. I have bookmarked so many posts from the fantastic ensemble cast over there that I’m starting to organize them into my own reference book.
Michelle was talking about hiring editors. I press my wife into service for editing, and she does a pretty good job, but I don’t pay her. I find editing my own to be hard, because I know exactly what I’m talking about. It all makes sense to me. I once complained about editing my own work to an editor friend of mine and he said: “editing is easy Dan. Just remove every word that doesn’t matter.”
That’s kind of like the old joke about carving an elephant – “First, get a block of wood and then remove everything that doesn’t look like an elephant.”
Of course he and I were working on a newsletter and we were using Adobe InDesign (page layout software). InDesign is brutal. You are writing inside a “bounding box” and if you write too much, it just doesn’t appear on the page.
Just so you know, in an earlier draft, I had 220 words about InDesign. I attribute that to the influence of writing technical blogs for 5 years. They didn’t add anything to this story so they’re gone. In fact, I don’t think I have any more words that will add to this story, so you get a break today – 864 well under the limit.
Pictures – We saw that sign on our way through Pennsylvania last month. I think the guy ahead of us was speeding. Yuengling has only recently made the trip from Pennsylvania to Connecticut. It’s always been a favorite of mine.