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!).


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,005 other followers

%d bloggers like this: