Word Count

For a large part of this semester, Dr. McCoy has been teaching us to focus on creating a concise piece rather than shooting for length. This was a highly discussed topic toward the beginning of the year. How were we supposed to write an entire essay based on a single question, no outline, and no word count? In reality, there really is no significance to having a set word count for an essay or a blog post.

Last semester I took a media writing class, and everything about the class was related to word count. When you’re writing a newspaper article you are given a small column with limited space, and it is important that you don’t exceed the space you are given. Or, when you are writing for news broadcasting, you are given only 30 seconds, 60 seconds, two minutes and so on. With this example as well, if what you write is too long or too short, you throw the timing of the program off.

So why does word count matter so much when you are writing an essay, or a blog post? Beth taught us that it doesn’t. She had similar views to my high school English teacher who use to always repeat, “like a women’s skirt, long enough to cover the topic but short enough to keep it interesting.” From the very beginning of our essay careers we were taught that a long paper must be a good paper, and even my previous English teacher would cave after everyone asked her the word count at least ten times. But this semester, it has been drilled into our heads that our paper may be shorter than the persons next to us, but that’s insignificant of we have answered the question in a professional way that portrays our thoughts correctly.

Although I have learned to grasp this concept a little bit more, it’s still soaking in. One of Geneseo’s Values is “Learning,” under which it mentions personal growth. Assignments like this, where there is no word count or length, and we aren’t given an outline of what to write, are what stimulate personal growth.

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