JusJoJan — Magazines

I used to subscribe to a lot of magazines. Time, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, Sports Illustrated, People, and, yes, I admit that, way back when, I had a subscription to Playboy.

I also have had home delivery of the local daily newspaper for as long as I can remember. I’ve always enjoyed starting my day reading the paper while sipping my first cup of coffee before starting whatever activities and adventures awaited me as the day unfolded.

But that was the way it used to be. Today, I get most of my news on my iPhone’s newsfeed or on cable news shows. Yes, I still get the morning newspaper, primarily for the sports and business sections for me and the crossword and Sudoku puzzles for my wife. But I no longer subscribe to any magazine except for one: The Week.76D5E807-9DEE-4D19-904B-2AA2CB53F29CAs its tagline suggest, The Week provides “All you need to know about everything that matters.” And it does so concisely. The current issue has only 42 pages and can be fully digested in a single day!

The Week is also nonpartisan. It generally provides all sides of the news in an objective way. So Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, there’s something for everyone. I recommend the magazine to everyone.


Written for Linda G. Hill’s JusJoJan prompt, where the word, contributed by Willow, is “subscribe.” Also for Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (paper).

TL;NR

134761B0-AA2B-4B43-9DD6-955C3D55378FWhen I first started this blog, some of my early posts were fairly long, probably ranging from about 700 to more than 1,000 words. On one of my longer posts, someone wrote a comment that simply said, “TL;NR.” I had no idea what that meant. I thought it was a typo. I finally Googled “TL;NR” and found out that it means “too long; no read.”

Interesting. I was writing blog posts that were too long to read, or at least that was the opinion of one blogger. Was he or she right?

In July 2017, just a month and a half into this blog, I wrote a post titled, “A Man of Many Words.” In that post I wrote, “When it comes to the written word, I’m a man of many — not few — words. Maybe even too many words.” I acknowledged that I have a tendency to over explain things and that “my style of writing, verbose though it may occasionally be, adds color and life to what I write.”

I remember reading somewhere that concise writing helps to grab and hold your reader’s attention, to be more memorable, and to make a lasting impact on your reader. So I decided that I really needed to learn how to be more concise in my writing. Especially since I began responding to prompts that imposed word limits ranging from 50 to 300 words.

93A9CCD5-312F-4EDF-B095-8ED9BB59D277But that was hard for me. Removing what some might consider to be unnecessary words from my writing is difficult. I like to think that everything I write is germane to the subject matter. For me, removing words, phrases, and especially entire sentences, is akin to asking a mother to choose which child she’s willing to edit out of her family.

That said, I am clearly making progress in my efforts to be more concise. And I can prove it, too. Below are the average Words Per Post stats from my previously WordPress Blog (July 2009 to April 2015).B02BF791-0D4D-44BA-8994-CA706AF16BBEAnd here are my stats since I started this blog (May 2017 to present).CC4D54A5-23D5-48AD-A508-86A9695335EADamn, I really am concise after all!


Includes the Word of the Day Challenge (learn), and Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (concise)

FOWC with Fandango — Concise

FOWCWelcome to February 1, 2019 and to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). It’s designed to fill the void after WordPress bailed on its daily one-word prompt.

I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (US).

Today’s word is “concise.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. You will marvel at their creativity.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

img_1370I read a post yesterday in which a blogger I recently started to follow, The Haunted Wordsmith, quoted a so-called blogging expert who wrote, “In my opinion, no beginning blogger should be publishing anything under 1,000 words. And really, 2,000 words should be your goal.”

I’m sorry, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Well, speaking for myself, anyway, I don’t have the time to read posts that are between 1,000 to 2,000 words, much less to compose posts of that length. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading long posts. I do. But I’m more likely than not to skip such posts because I just don’t have the bandwidth.

Wait. If you tend to write longer posts, let me explain before you get pissed at me.

My full-time job is not blogging. Well, truth be told, I’m retired now, so I don’t have a job at all — full-time or even part-time. And I’m not a professional blogger. I don’t make a single, solitary cent from my blog. Blogging is just something I enjoy doing and I do it in my spare time.

I probably spend three, maybe four, hours a day on WordPress. A third to a half of that time is spent writing, proofreading, editing, fixing, and posting my own posts. The rest is spent reading and commenting on other bloggers’ posts.

Three or four hours a day may sound like a lot of hours, but it’s really not. I do have a life and I try very hard to ensure that my life is not consumed by writing or reading blog posts. So, in order to publish my own posts — usually two to four posts a day — plus read those of others who I follow or who comment on my posts, I have to manage my WordPress time effectively.

That means that I can’t spend a whole lot of time reading longer posts. And by “longer posts,” I generally mean posts longer than 500 words. Okay, 600 words if posted by some of my favorite bloggers (and you know who you are).

Yes, some of you might have noticed that sometimes I will write a post that exceeds 500 words. This post, for example, has 549 words. It’s rare, but it happens. And I will certainly understand and accept that there are those who, like me, can’t invest the time it takes to read longer posts.

I admit that by skipping posts that go much beyond 500 words, I am missing some great posts from some great bloggers. But if I can read three or four 300 to 500 word posts in the time it takes me to read one 1,500 word post, I can read more posts and get to experience more bloggers.

Besides, there’s something to be said for brevity. The late Al Neuharth, founder of, and columnist for, USA Today, wrote that “long-winded stuff loses the attention of listeners and readers.” He quoted FDR, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain, all of whom made comments about how difficult it is to be concise in one’s writing. Twain, for example, said, “If I had more time, I’d write shorter.”

Again, I’m not saying that I won’t read your posts if I follow your blog. But I just might skim (or skip) the longer ones. It’s not you. It’s me.

Because as Sweet Brown famously said:

Flash Fiction

 

Hemingway

Flash fiction seems to quite fashionable in the blogosphere these days. Much more so than when I first started blogging a dozen years ago and more than when I quit my last blog around two years ago.

At least half of my posts since I returned to blogging this past May are flash fiction, and many of those pieces are in response to other bloggers’ prompts.

But what exactly is “flash fiction”? Its definition seems kind of fluid. It’s obviously fiction, we can all agree on that. But I’ve seen it characterized as stories ranging from “extremely brief” to up to 2,000 words. The idea is to tell an entire story — beginning, middle, and end — within the specified word limit.

Many of the flash fiction prompts I participate in set word limits, usually between 100 to 200, although some I’ve seen set even lower limits while others set no limits. Some set limits based upon the number of sentences or paragraphs rather than words.

I am challenged by flash fiction with word limits because I’ve never been a very concise writer. Left to my own devices, I tend to write longer posts. In fact, I wrote an entire post back in July about how brevity in writing is not my strong suit. That post was almost 500 words long!

But that’s why I participate in these flash fiction prompts. They force me to tell my story in fewer words than I would otherwise use. They require me to be brief, concise, selective in my choice of words.

Besides, who has time to read a 500-plus word blog post in these days?


Written for today’s one-word prompt, “fashionable.”