yeah write #125 weekly challenge is open for submissions: personal essays and traditional blog anecdotes

yeah write #125 weekly challenge is open for submissions:  personal essays and traditional blog anecdotes

yeah write #125 weekly challenge is open for submissions: personal essays and traditional blog anecdotes

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…

About the Author


  • Cindy R [Wed] 4 Sep 13 at 2:50 pm

    Yes! My strongest string of posts came from that summer. Like Louise, I was all about making contractions 🙂

    • Erica M [Wed] 4 Sep 13 at 2:54 pm

      …and deleting prepositions. Deleting prepositions is a secret weapon against high word counts.

      • Michelle Longo [Thu] 5 Sep 13 at 11:04 am

        I was definitely a fan of the contraction!

        What’s a preposition? Why are you using fancy words, Erica?

  • KarenPatricia [Tue] 3 Sep 13 at 9:41 pm

    In the beginning when I would write articles, they were always about twice as long as the editor wants. But in the process of cutting back, I realized that power is in the simplicity. Now I work on getting the story short and tight. Thanks for encouraging me to do the same with blog posts!

    • Michelle Longo [Thu] 5 Sep 13 at 11:03 am

      Particularly here on this grid, there is so much to read in a short period of time. We want to grab someone’s attention right away. There just isn’t time for extra words. When I’m writing longer pieces for my own blog, even if I’m using more than 500-600 words, I do still try to make sure I stay on point. I’ll stick with a long post if it stays on target.

      Glad you found this helpful!

  • Sam Merel [Tue] 3 Sep 13 at 1:52 pm

    I remember being terrified the first time I cut one of my posts basically in half. It took hours, and I cursed my way through every press of the “backspace” key. But it does make for a much better post, and after awhile writing tighter stories becomes (almost) second nature. Sad I’m missing out on the grid this week and for most of September due to Jewish holidays, but can’t wait to be back in a few weeks. Love the new bio!

    • Michelle L Author [Tue] 3 Sep 13 at 4:50 pm

      It really does become “easier” to cut the posts. I don’t feel comfortable with a long post and I’ll admit that I have trouble reading non-yeah write pieces that go on for much longer.

      We’ll miss you while you’re gone!

      • that cynking feeling [Wed] 4 Sep 13 at 7:08 am

        I’m glad it’s not just me that finds it hard to read longer posts. I thought I was getting lazy or that my attention span has decreased, but I think it is remembering how the grids improved exponentially when the 500 word limit was first imposed. There were always great stories, but their power increases when each detail must count.

        • Michelle Longo [Thu] 5 Sep 13 at 11:01 am

          I’m definitely lazy with a short attention span. I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. You, on the other hand, I’m sure you’re fine. 🙂

  • Stacie [Tue] 3 Sep 13 at 1:05 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with Louise! And I love your bio 🙂

    • Michelle L Author [Tue] 3 Sep 13 at 4:51 pm

      That bio is all Erica and I’m glad you enjoyed my intro!

  • Louise Ducote [Tue] 3 Sep 13 at 6:08 am

    Michelle, what a great story! I remember cutting and cutting, or changing “you are” into “you’re” to get one word closer to 500. And I also remember how the quality of the whole grid, my posts included, improved. Now my older, longer posts seem insane and rambling. The word limit is a brilliant Erica M. idea that was met with resistance at first and turned out to be pure genius. Looking forward to another excellent week!

    • Michelle L Author [Tue] 3 Sep 13 at 9:16 am

      Thanks, Louise! That push did wonders for my writing. I can barely stand to read my older posts!