Complaints Department – Too Many Words, Too Little Time

The Crabby Lady from the Complaints Department stopped by this morning. “There are just way too many words.” she griped. “They are coming at me from every direction. Phone calls, emails, text messages, internet, radio, TV… You know, people blame all the extreme weather on global warming, but I know what is causing it – all those words whizzing through the airwaves…”

Her tirade stopped as suddenly as it started. She realized she had used up most of her quota of words for the morning, and she still had a few to give to the weatherman if he forecast another day of high winds. She slapped a sticky note on my forehead, then marched back to the outer reaches of my mind.

The sticky note said, “Cut the crap. You are using too many words.” I shrugged off her stinging criticism, and opened my Google Reader. I follow lots of interesting blogs, and always look forward to seeing what other bloggers have to say. My Google Reader announced, “I’ve missed you. Where have you been for the past few days? Your absence means you have 145 unread feeds to read…” Whoa. Too many words.

One day away from my computer and I was snowed under. So I spent several hours picking my way through other peoples words, and came up with a few promises that I think the Crabby Lady can live with. Feel free to use any of them, because my Crabby Lady thinks some of you use way too many words too.

1. I have resigned from the WordPress Postaday 2011 Challenge. I don’t have the time nor topic ideas to churn out something worthy enough for you to read each day. That is not to say I won’t someday write a pithy post about breakfast cereal, but I will spare you from posts about how I have NOTHING to say. Leave that to Twitter.

2. I will Proofread what I write, and I will take out all the words that don’t add anything to the meaning. Most of my posts start out at around 700 words, and end up at about 500 words. If I have a very long story to tell you, I will make sure that each and every word adds content, and that it isn’t just a long post because I was too lazy to edit.

Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.
Mark Twain

3. I will do some Research before I express opinions on something. I will acquaint myself with at least the rudimentary facts about an issue or idea. Factless, regurgitated opinion is a waste of words.

4. Not everything I write about will be of Interest to everyone. Sometimes even The Car Guy isn’t interested, but I ignore that one small flaw in his character. But there will be one little bit of truth or wisdom in every post I write… unless I accidentally edit it out. Sometimes I cross out a few right words too.

(And this is what 501 words looks like.)

16 thoughts on “Complaints Department – Too Many Words, Too Little Time

  1. Great advice. I’ve been practicing this myself for a while now. I used to use the word “very” a lot. Now, I try not to use it at all.


  2. It’s so hard to write something meaningful every day. It seems that’s the only way to keep the attention of a loyal group of readers, but sometimes I worry that the most meaningful or interesting things we post get diluted by our lower quality posts.


    1. A loyal group of readers would come back to read fewer but better posts, I hope. I’m not buying into the advice that it is best to post once a day. I tried that, and it is a hard pace to maintain. It made the weekly view count look better though…


  3. Who is the crabby lady? I just watched Amadeus with Fisher and I love the scene where the Emporer tells Wolfgang he is using, “too many notes”. Your response should be – “which ones can I cut when I use the perfect amount?” If you have an abundance of words you should try writing a novel in 30 days. Evidently you have to write just under 2,000 words a day, no editing. Could be a good way to use up some of your words!


    1. You have met the Crabby Lady at my house many times over the years, yes?
      I thought of that line from Amadeus when I wrote the phrase “Too Many Words.” I actually like the editing part better than the original writing.


      1. So you are complaining about yourself under a pseudonym? Maybe you can do some editing for me this summer. I don’t like to do it, but find it absolutely necessary. Otherwise my writing is un-readable.


        1. I like to think of the Crabby Lady as my literary alter ego.
          I believe WordPress now has the capability to send a draft post off to friends for input or editing before you post it. Look at “Request Feedback” at the bottom of the post.


    1. I’ve been told my mouth sometimes works before I engage my brain. I write that way too. Editing is when my brain goes to work.


  4. I do editing and some proofreading on the side, and I can vouch that it’s much easier to edit someone else’s work than my own. Perhaps it’s because I get too close to what I’m writing. The words are mine and therefore I might be ruining something great. I don’t know. I try not to edit my own blog, just because I won’t write as much if I do. Hopefully that won’t backfire on me in the end. 😉 Lovely post, I enjoyed it!


    1. I think everyone who writes figures out what works best for them. I hope as I become more experienced, and confident, I will not have to edit as much as I do!


  5. Margie, shaving my posts to +/-500 words is quite the challenge. My descriptions suffer a bit, but, overall, my writing is all the better when I force myself to be economical with my words.
    Thanks for checking out my blog. You look like quit the pro, so I’ll be signing up to your blog. I know I have a lot to learn, but life is about learning.
    All the best,


    1. Hi Lorna. I enjoyed your blog and am looking forward to reading your thoughts. Thank you for the compliment, but I am far from being a ‘pro’! I just write what I think, then spend a bit of time cleaning it up so everyone else can understand it!


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