Back in the day

There was a time, back when I first got involved with yeah write, when there was no word limit for posts. I had read the suggestions to keep the posts tight, tell my very best story, and to stick to a word count of about 1,000. I was too lazy to find a word counting tool, and so I had no idea how long my posts were. I would just tell my story until I felt like it was done and since I was such a fascinating storyteller, everyone would just stick with me, right? After all, no one knew my stories like I did.

When you have no parameters within which to write, it’s very easy to get sidetracked. What starts as one narrative can veer off course, take a sharp left and land in a ditch. Or worse yet, it can just go on and on forever.  

Stop before attention runs out

During the 2012 summer series, we were challenged to submit posts of 500 words or less. At first, this seemed like an impossible task. My first draft ran well over the 1,000 word suggested limit I had been disregarding for months. I went through several rounds of edits, cutting and trimming, removing backstory and explanations that weren’t necessary to that very scene. I had to trust my readers to make a few assumptions, but not so many that they were confused. It wasn’t easy. That post took a lot of work, much more than I was used to putting in.

That week I won my first ever jury prize.

I’m not telling you this to toot my own horn. I was afraid to limit myself to 500 words. I didn’t think I had it in me to ruthlessly edit and keep it tight. But I did, and my guess is that you do, too. Trust yourself and your reader. Get right down to the heart of your one central idea and tell THAT story only. Leave the rest for another day. Your hard work will be evident in your finished work.  

Use the word limit to your advantage. Effort expended on editing is rarely wasted.

Odds, ends, reminders

  • This immediate past Sunday is the earliest your submission can be dated
  • Your post can be no longer than 600 words
  • Personal essays or traditional blog anecdotes only
  • There are no weekly prompts; the topic is yours. Be compelling
  • The grid is open from Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. to Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. 
  • There is voting. Voting will take place Thursday from midnight to 10:00 p.m. US eastern 
  • The challenge grid is limited to 50 bloggers
  • The winners’ post will be published by noon on Friday
  • No self-promotional posts are allowed on the yeah write grid, including those containing links to other blog events and Internet contests

Yeah write #125 is open…