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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Sunday, August 8, 2010


The sentence might have 25 words, the page, 300. An article is 6,000-8,000 words. The book is 80-100 thousand. If you wrote a sentence a day, you could finish a book every 11 years. That's pretty respectable, considering scholarly careers of 35 years where someone might have written 2-3 books. Writing a page a day gets you enough material for a book every year, which nobody ought to be writing.


When I look too closely at the word count, I produce wordier writing. I'm hoping the days I write 300 words, that those are 300 better words, than the days I write 700. On the other hand I live to force out a few extra hundred words at the end of my writing session.

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