Man of Many Words Asks Alex


My editor wants me to trim my weekly column word maximum from 650 down to 500. I also run a photo I have taken which sometimes doesn’t get used, except on their website. As a freelancer I have little input on decisions so should I just accept the new number? — MAN OF MANY WORDS


DEAR MAN OF MANY WORDS: There’s not much you can do here other than accept the reduced length if you want to stay with that newspaper. It could end up being a blessing in disguise.  Being concise and good editing skills will make you a better writer. Also, a 500-word column is marketable for self-syndication or for an op-ed in another paper.

If you want to approach your editor on anything, perhaps you can compromise by offering a shorter version for print but an extended version for online. Try sending an appropriate-sized photo with your column each time you submit.  Sometimes photos don’t run because either they are poor quality, or the editor doesn’t have the time to hunt for it.  The easier you make things for an editor, the more things fall in your favor.  At the very least, end your column with your email contact and website address, so readers can easily find you. Best of luck,



NSNC Ex-President and humor columnist Jerry Zezima also has some advice for this member.



Here are your choices:
(a) Make your next column 800 words. If you have to trim 150, you’ll be left with 650.
(b) Lose the photo.
(c) Remembering Mark Twain’s dictum to “eschew surplusage,” write 500 words.
(d) Do what you have to do to stay in the paper.
(e) Don’t tell your editor you have even heard of me.
(f) Good luck.



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