A Guest Post By George Angus
I‘ve got some writer’s block going on. I still write nearly every day. How can this be, you say? Well, it’s because my wall is made of 500 words.
You see, I’ve been blogging for over a year now and most every post is – you guessed it – 500 words. I’ve done a lot of work for clients and writing on other blogs and the criteria for most of the posts is…
Being the anal-retentive, short attention span type of fella, I adhere to this unspoken rule of blog post length. I may be a few words short of 500 sometimes (and a few fries short of a happy meal) but I rarely exceed the speed limit.
This has had an impact on my writing. Now, if I try to expand a topic to more than 500 words, I stare blankly at the computer screen, eyes glazed over, a thin line of droll trickling from the corner of my half open mouth as I cogitate how to go over the speed limit without saying what I’ve already said.
It really is a remarkable case of writer’s block. An unintended consequence of blogging if you will. In the back of my head I wonder how this would affect any future novel I may write. Would it have 500 word chapters? Would each scene in the novel be a mere 500 words?
I’m ghost writing a non-fiction book for a chap and honestly, it is becoming more and more difficult to exceed the speed limit with each sub-section of the book.
Who decided the speed limit, anyway?
I suspect no one did. Not even Darren or @ProBlogger. Not even our good friend Jan. I think it was decided by mob mentality. That’s right. Blame the readers. After all, we are told they have the attention span of a gnat. “Don’t go over 500 words! You’ll bore people! They’ll leave, never to return”. Okay, even with the snarkiness of that last sentence, I have to admit there is some kernel of truth there. For myself, if I see that a post is like 1000 or 1500 words, I say “Thanks, but no thanks” and I move along. Unless it is something I am outrageously interested in. In that case I’ll hang for quite a while.
Maybe that’s the key to breaking the speed limit. Maybe we need to write stellar content regardless of length. Make it interesting to as many people as possible and let the short-attention-spanners stumble along to their next page.
I’m not certain if that is the answer to this dilemma. I’ll leave that to someone with much more talent and wisdom than I. Ahem. That would be YOU, dear readers.
On a final note, I am wondering how many of you did a cut and paste of this post into your word processor to see the word count. I know you are out there. I can hear you breathin’.
Thanks for having me Jan.
About the Author: George Angus is an Author, a Teacher and an all around good guy. He owns Tumblemoose Writing Services, lives in Alaska and has a beautiful six-year-old daughter whom he orbits around.
- Nine and a Half Ways of Sending Your Writing Into the Stratosphere
- Copy Length, the Golden Rule
- Behind the Bars of 500 Words
- Do Long Blog Posts Scare Away Readers?
- How to Say Nothing in 500 Words (A Lesson on Writing)