A Plea

glossy red pencil

The glossy red pencil of deletion.

Guys, I love your detailed, nerdy hearts, I do! And I am one verbose lady!

But I’ve got some letters in my inbox that are over 1500 words long. Those will never get answered, because I will never read all the way through them and I don’t have time to edit your thoughts and your needs down to what’s really important to you. Even when you get at interesting stuff, I find myself skipping your question for the short and snappy one that catches my interest and that I can knock out pretty quickly.

300-400 words is a good maximum length for  question.  Feel free to go shorter! 140 characters is also a good length, and I’m on Twitter as @CAwkward. Maybe type the draft where you vomit it all out, and then reshape it into the thing you send?

Much appreciated.

  1. Penelope Trunk said the New York Times has a 600 word limit on their editorials. If the most important ideas in the world can be expressed in 600 words, chances are so can your question.

    • For that matter, if a New York Times editorial can fit in 600 words, so can …

  2. I don’t know if the middle of November is a particularly inspired or a particularly unfortunate time to warn against prolixity.

    • JenniferP said:

      Yeah, save those extra words for that “novel.”

  3. You might want to add a FAQ that includes the word count rule. People who find you later may not backread everything (though they totally should!).

%d bloggers like this: