(By the way, I think the words in the graph should be included in the 22 words.)
He also says in person that I’m verbose, and then cites the “unnecessary vowels” in the Oxford spelling I use as just more evidence to bolster his claim. I suppose I could be more allusive and just write poetry instead of prose and spare everyone the five or more small paragraphs I usually write. I do admit that, because of Paul and classical authors, my sentences are, on average, longer than those of an average American writer of that population which, most “authorities” decide, are incapable of holding their attention for longer… Ok, ok, I’ll stop, both the self-parody and the hyper-British grammar.
“If you have 50,000 words on each page, you’ll do fine so long as the actionable and critical information copy is easily accessible and well designed.”
— Andy Rutledge
Joking aside, I’d like to say that this observation does not dictate how many words people should write in one sitting. Andy Rutledge says such a conclusion about the volume of copy is poppycock (read his post!). It’s actually about designing with that in mind so that all colours (ha!) of people will find what they need and want to consume.
It’s true, however, that copy must be well-written, not flabby. As Strunk and White put it in The Elements of Style, “make every word tell,” and “omit needless words.” Use what you must for your line of thought — real thought, that is — and cut what weighs it down rhetorically, regardless of how much you’re writing. Then design in such a way that you can accommodate all kinds of readers.
Right, so what can I do to help busy readers read here, given that I ain’t writing in simple sentences about my day? I have in mind: better writing, headings, images, pullquotes (which probably won’t display right in feed readers). Talk, anyone?