750 Words

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

May 22, 2011


Categories: Blogging Before SEO

Goal 1: One post per day. Can be anything.

Goal 2: Try to write about something with substance.

Goal 3: Try to focus on 750 words.

I actually got the benchmark from the last season of Sex and the City where Carrie describes how great her new job writing for Vogue is. She has a line where she explains how  $4 per word at 750 words is a lot in the journalism world. I did the math.

$4.00 x 750 words = $3,000.

If it’s a monthly column, yea, that could be a lot. I’m not sure if it’d be a lot in New York, but for me, in Portland, that’d be a decent monthly salary.

Why 750 words? Because 1,250 is too much. Because 250 is too little. Below 750 I find I am not often exploring an idea. More than 750 (and yes I give myself wiggle room), I find that I am verbose and redundant. So, 750 words provides focus. It gives me a parameter. It gives me a goal.

750 words is also about the attention span I have reading other bloggers. There are some talented writers who have some interesting things to say, but they go on and on! How can the say the same thing over like that? How do people read it? These bloggers have followings! What am I missing? Am I in an episode of the Emperors New Clothes and I don’t know what I’m naked?

Sometimes I exceed the goal. Sometimes I underachieve. But, the most important goal, for this year, and may be indefinitely as encouraged by The Pioneer Woman, is posting something once a day. That something can be a poem, a link to something interesting, a photo I’ve taken, something I’ve sketched, one line about how I don’t want to write – anything. But, as long as it’s  a post a day, we’ve achieved the very important bench mark.

Creating substance will be the habit that will come later. This is another reason why longer than a year is probably the “right” path. The time concept is entertaining to me as the first month I kept telling myself, “It’s only a year.” In the second month, I had the same mantra. Then, something happened, and I no longer cared. My husband asks me to go to bed, and my response is, “I have to write in my blog.” Because it doesn’t matter, it’s just the discipline of getting the butt to the chair to make it work. So, some posts have been trivial. Some posts have been banal. Some posts have been boring. Some posts have held no profound insights whatsoever. What would it look like if I focused on having one thought provoking post a week? A sort of weekly recap maybe integrating themes of learned? How would that change or improve my writing? How would writing 750 words with a point look? Not just a daily recap of he said she said rants, but substantively trying to understand the world in which I live.

750 words a day. The focus on substance and succinctness. Being able to say the point in 750 words without boring the dear reader who helps with this motivation.(Note: to all you have told me you read my blog, this is motivation, so please keep telling me!) The thing is, though, when I’m done writing about something – I am done. I don’t like to exert more energy trying to fill a void thinking about what else I can talk about for another 150 words. I like to end it and see where the chips fall. Focusing on 750 words (of substance) is a challenge. No longer is drivel accepted. Now you have to really rack the brain to see what trails it will take you down.

What I find is that when I force myself to commit to something like 750 words, I get writers’ block. I think of the succinct point and I have every difficulty surmise, which all prevents me from hammering out the remaining hundred or so words. Here, if you can’t tell, I struggle to get this capstone 750 since I keep talking about it! Yet, if it’s a subject where there is a lot on my mind, I can spew out 1250 with no problem – and there is where the censoring should probably take place! So, now my word count sits right around 700. I keep typing hoping the number will change to 750 sooner rather than later so that I may finish up these other things and go to bed with a post-a-day-in-the-bag.

Well, how many words is it now??

Ah, good 755.

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