Forget The Word Count

When writing, the temptation is always there to meet a certain word count. It’s tempting to believe that length is equivalent to importance or value, and only when the thing you’re writing is long enough, it will be worth reading.

Forget it.

Forget the word count.

The word count is the least important part of writing. Some of the most profound ideas ever communicated are as long as a tweet. Some of the least important or most damaging philosophies are found in books hundreds or thousands of pages long.

Your goal is not to meet a word count. Your goal is to communicate important ideas to the world.

The right word count, or page length, is whatever is necessary to communicate your idea clearly. If that takes 10 words or less, great. Brevity is the soul of wit. If it genuinely requires more than 1000 pages, fine. Some ideas and philosophies are genuinely complex, and require hundreds of pages to fully explain.

Maybe you’re a journalist who has a daily word count they have to meet, or an author with a specific contract – even then, you should consider writing first, and THEN meeting the word count. If the thing you write is too short, you can add to it later. If the thing you write is too long, you can remove and revise later.

Forget the word count.

2 thoughts on “Forget The Word Count

  1. Stuart Danker

    Yes! The best writing often comes from the heart, although I understand the necessity to churn out words for an assignment or signed contract. Thanks for sharing!

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