When I start writing a new article, I ask: What’s the word count? It’s not because I’m a minimalist; word counts tell me about my audience. And my audience indicates the breadth of coverage of the article. Why give someone 1,000 words when they want 150?
The audience of a lexicon or dictionary is very different from the audience of an academic journal. The audience of a magazine desires less coverage than the readers of a manifesto. Likewise, someone reading a textbook or grammar desires something different from someone reading a handbook, or book of tips.
Word counts matter for more reasons than we probably acknowledge. This seems basic, and perhaps even trivial, but we often forget this. Know your audience. Give them the amount of content they want to read.
I know the audience of this blog. And that’s why I’m going to stop writing now, at 150 words.
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