By Terreece M. Clarke
It’s a normal predicament writers find themselves in from time to time – trying to hit their word count. Most of the time writers will end up with far more words than their editor asked for and need to find ways to slim down their article.
Turning in an obese article isn’t an option. It says several things about the writer: I won’t bother doing what you asked me to do, you figure out how to make all of this fit, and I expect to get paid for the entire length of the article, aren’t I tricky? So instead of adding a bigger burden to your editors, let’s figure out how to put your article on a diet.
Get to the Point
What’s the goal of the article? What is the main idea you want readers to understand? Now what in the article overstates, reiterates or strays away from your main point? Chop those things.
Pull A Pull Out
What if all the information is just too good to lose? Try a pull out box. Consolidate the info into a pull out box that can give the editor the option of adding one without having one of the assistants or copywriters come up with one.
Slice the introduction
How long did it take you to intro your piece? A paragraph or two or three? Cut to the good stuff and slice down that intro.
That, Very, Really, Ugh
Get rid of extra words. See? Easy!
Hitting your word count every time is an skill that editors will appreciate and remember the next time it’s time to assign work. Make sure you’re actively hitting yours.
What do you use to keep your articles in fighting weight?
I have run into this problem more times then I care to admit. I find so much good information when I am researching a topic for an article that I want to include all of it. I have slowly learned how to edit myself to keep with the word guidelines of an assignment.
Terreece Clarke says
Every so often I get a little bummed about what I have to cut and then I realize I can take on the topic in a new angle and include the information there!
Alexander Dombroff says
I tend to more often have a problem with coming up a bit short on article word counts. I can usually take care of that by thinking of just one more tip or angle to expand on. However, when I’ve overdone it, I definitely look for places where I can cut out a few words here and there. This usually has the bonus of tightening up my writing by creating cleaner descriptions.
Thanks for this post, I have read it a couple of times as I always have a hard time sticking to the required word count and often land up offering much more.I hope I can learn to edit effectively after this!!