Get Short: The Struggle to Prevent TLDRs

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Hobbies, Life
Tags: , ,

October has been getting the best of me, quite literally.

Every year it seems that my October calendar is filled with obligations and events, and this year was no exception. I was prepared for it this year, and intentionally limited my efforts to the major, most important things. I think I was able to give my best this way; looking back, I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride over the (slightly) smaller list of significant things we’ve done, instead of regret that I tried to do too much and screwed up half of it.

How effectively do you edit?

Unfortunately, one of the things that got jettisoned was my focused attempt at keeping up this blog. But I still gave it some thought during this brief hiatus even though I wasn’t actively writing. In my writing, like my calendar, I’m going to cut things back a bit.

Many of the posts on this blog are around 650 words, which works out to about a page and a third printed out on ordinary paper. That’s pretty lengthy in this ADHD world. Sometimes it’s by design (a 5-part series covering the 5 biggest topics in a complex book, or a 9 point essay on life – one topic per golf hole). But for the stand-alone, single-topic blog post, usually it’s just because that’s how long it takes to make my point.

The least obvious thing about my writing (or anyone’s, maybe) seems to be how much pruning goes on prior to publication. My best guess as to how much was left on the “cutting-room floor” would be around 40%. I know, doesn’t look like it when there’s still 650 words left, but there you go. It makes it all the more heart-breaking when the response I get is “TLDR” – Too Long, Didn’t Read.

No one has literally responded that way. (Well, one person has, but she went back and read it later. Thanks, sweetie.) But I can usually tell that it’s what they’re thinking. There’s just so much a person can write before the next shiny object distracts the audience’s gaze.

So let me be as reassuring as I can be – I promise to keep it short and sweet, and there will be a darn good reason when it’s not. And for the record, today’s total is 381.


What’s your storytelling style – short & sweet, instructional, funny, verbose, strictly factual, a grammatical mess? Does it change depending on the listener/reader? Share it in the comments below.

  1. Kathleen says:

    Well, I don’t mind if there are more than 350 words..!..(But, of course, I’m prejudice)..and always interested in how you actually think, on these various things that interest you..
    Since I’ve retired somewhat, I notice I spend more time reading Long articles, books and commentaries…even reading most of the AJC (for what it’s worth)…and I have taken an
    interest in reading all of Paul Ryan’s work, blogs etc..Maybe because I take the time and have slowed down a bit, and I don’t feel so rushed..!

  2. Margaret says:

    I’m glad pizza with the Peltiers made the October cut 🙂

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