This is the first post I’ve written specifically for this blog, and I’m going to keep it short. The problem with many blogs is they tend to ramble on. It’s tempting, when you have unlimited space, to express yourself at length, but few people have time these days to read all 12 volumes of Proust.

I wrote my first film reviews for Event, Time Out and City Limits, where we were obliged to limit our outpourings to 200 words. Even when I wrote for national newspapers, there was never enough space. It was sometimes frustrating, but also invaluable training. If only more of today’s logorrheic bloggers would learn to edit themselves down.

When space is limited, it forces you to choose your words, define your thoughts, to sort out what needs to be kept and what can be dropped. Which is why I’m setting myself a limit of 200 words for future entries like this. It’s a rule I will almost certainly break at some point, but I’ve already applied it to these three paragraphs and, believe me, your lives won’t be any less richer for your having been spared the waffle. [192 words]



  1. I also worked for newspapers, as a traditional reporter as well as a critic, and you're right: it's invaluable training in making every word count. To this day I try to reread all my e-mails and blog comments (including this one), looking for ways to tighten. Perhaps that's why I see Twitter's arbitrary 140-character limit as a challenge rather than a bother.

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