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The Word Count:
It’s a Good Reason to Quit Babbling

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

Do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (Matthew 6:7, NIV)

A Word For Writers

“Word count: 1,000 – 1,200 words or less.”

The Word Count: an online devotional for writers based on Matthew 6:7 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingDevotionals #WritingTips

For the longest time, I mistakenly believed that editors posted submission word count limits solely to ration space.

And that’s part of it. With a nod to their advertisers and page count, editors must be ever-cognizant of column inches. 

But the internet and free domains and no-cost blog platforms mean that these days, anyone can post anything of any length.

Yet why would you use extra words if you didn’t need to? I considered this question and came up with a few answers of my own:

I use extra words because …

  • I don’t want my point to be mistaken. (Fear)
  • I want to be considered to be thorough. (Pride)
  • I don’t know how to tighten a passage. (Ineptitude)
  • I haven’t refined my point yet. (Laziness)
  • I’ve chosen too broad of a topic. (Excess)

None of my excuses pass muster, particularly when overlaid with Jesus’ words: “Do not keep on babbling.”

Extra words do not amplify my point. That’s why word count limits, like other limits in life, work so well to keep my heart in check.

A Wise Word

Extra words do not amplify my point. 

A Word To Pray

Gracious Father,

Thank you that your limits keep me in your will. Help me to use that principle as I write. Keep me from babbling. Show me how to avoid using extra words that I don’t need. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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