Words? Enough.

Short posts, long posts, picture posts are worth a thousand words at least. How many is the correct number of words?

It has come to my attention that many bloggers worry about the length of their posts. Some are fans of the short post. Other people are fans of lengthy, and detailed posts. Who doesn’t like “reading” a picture post.

There are reasons for concern with word count. The primary reason is space limitations, and is often used by academia, journalism (including newspapers and magazines), and advertising, to make sure the contribution to a feature or section of a publication will fit the space available. Only so many words will fit within a given space. In other cases a fixed word count will help publishers control their production costs, and will vary according to genre. Word count is an important consideration if you intend to publish in any of these categories. Having a limited word count makes it important that writing is “tight,” avoiding wordiness. Careful word choices allow you to fit as much meaning into a short space as possible, and keeps the reader engaged.

Bloggers are not required to keep their posts to a fixed limit of words. If anyone knows what the limit for a post on WordPress is please let us know in the comment section. This gives bloggers the flexibility to use as many words as they like. This freedom could cause some writers to ramble, which would result in loosing your readers. Readers are notorious for having a short attention span, scanning from one article to another, which is why newspapers insist that the most important information be at the beginning of an article. If you can fit who, what when, where, why, and how, called the five W’s, into the first paragraph the reader has all the essential information before moving on. Often the reader becomes so engaged that they continue reading, and will keep reading to the end if you make it worth their time.

So what does make our writing worth spending our time to read? Readers want information, entertainment, to learn, or inspiration and will read if you offer it. Readers will stay with a skillful writer that is entertaining even if the lead, the point, of the story is buried at the end. But how many words should you use?

You should use as many words as you need to say what you mean to communicate. As writers we can craft a post full of emotion and sensation with our words. The written word can convey complex ideas, can argue the pros and cons of a position, and can illuminate the human condition. Once you have clearly communicated what you want to communicate, you have enough words.

9 thoughts on “Words? Enough.

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  1. I agree, April: there is no magic number for me as a reader, although I have seen references in other blogs to not going over a certain number of words. If a post has my attention, I will read it to the end.

    While a long post doesn’t daunt me, I am put off by extremely long blocks of words that the writer has not bothered to break down into paragraphs. In fact, I usually give up fairly soon with such posts. I know I’m “old school,” but if an author doesn’t seem to be organizing her thoughts, I lose focus and move on to another post.


    1. Totally agree about organization. I’ve done tons of private journal writing, and that is very disorganized, though cute stuff is contained there among the boring! But for publication, I spend a lot of time rewriting and making sure it is organized.


    1. Only use what you need. My grandfather said we each only get a fixed number of words, and when we have used them all we are done. I hope I was blessed with many, many words. I have stored them up for awhile, but now I want to write.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you for the most part. However, when I read blogs, I really can’t do much more than 1000 words, just because I read so many. My most and best reads blogs are by bloggers who understand the importance of keeping it brief.


    1. I both agree and disagree. I like reading short posts. On the other hand, I just read a very long one that kept me going and left me wanting more. I really cared about the story it told.


  3. I don’t have a problem with long posts per se but it’d be appreciated if they were broken down into paragraphs; It’s hard for me to understand a long post when it’s squished up together.


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