Blogs: How to Keep your Word Count Down

Publish date:

Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating. If the sickly-sweet word, the overblown phrase are your natural form of expression, as is sometimes the case, you will have to compensate for it by a show of vigor, and by writing something as meritorious as the Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.

Hi Writers,
Several people commented specifically on tip #10: Keep it Short from my "20 Tips for Good Blogging" article. They remarked that it's difficult to keep posts to 300 words, and that word limit is perhaps too strict.

But I stick with my original advice to keep it short. Most successful blogs stick to a tight word count.
It may seem a difficult target, at first. But as most good editors and journalists know, you have to train yourself to be economical with your word choices.

I'm a fan of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White and I recommend this classic language and style guide to anyone who wants to be a better blogger, because it really gets to the core of how to write tight. Every time I'm tempted to insert an adverb or adjective in my own writing, I look down at my Strunk & White tattoo and reconsider.

Here's an excerpt from The Elements of Style (4th edition) by Strunk & White:

Do not overwrite

When writing with a computer, you must guard against wordiness. The click and flow of a word processor can be seductive, and you may find yourself adding a few unnecessary words or even a whole passage just to experience the pleasure of running your fingers over the keyboard and watching your words appear on the screen. It is always a good idea to reread your writing later and ruthlessly delete the excess.

Don't you love it when language style gurus get all smart-alecky? But this passage makes the point well.

Take a hard look at your last post and examine it for wordiness:
• Are there unnecessary adjectives and adverbs?
• Are there redundancies?
• Are there words that you wouldn't naturally use in conversation?

Be ruthless. Cut down your wordiness. It will make your post more concise and readable and that's essential to good blogging. Good writing = Good blogging.

Today's question: Are you a wordy blogger? Please share here. It's good to share.

And join me tomorrow when I attempt to edit a wordy post from a fellow WD blogger (guess who) down to 300 words.

Keep Writing,
P.S. Wordpress and Blogger are running a tight race in the Best Blog Software for Writers Poll (below). I'm going to leave the poll open and I hope to announce a winner soon.


Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.