How Long is 500 Words?

Curious to know how long is 500 words? There is a software distributed by SpaceJock called “yEdit”. It is a notepad-like software that is specifically designed to count the words one is typing. It does so by allowing one to set the number of desired words to be typed and as one types, the application counts the words showing how many has been typed and how many still to go. It is a neat application, with very small requirements from one’s system.

I use yEdit for blog articles. 300 words is good for a blog; 500 is still tolerable. More than 500 words would be a short article. At the last period, I already typed 110 words. Still short for a blog. Untl I reach 300, this typed material would just be a snippet of typed material. Can you see what I am doing? When I tell my students to write a 100 word “essay”, they think it is already long. But one doesn’t say much with 100 words, just as I am doing now.

There is another software that is designed to tell one how many words one should write for a particular topic. It is called a writer-prompt and one finds it in a writer’s software called Anthemion’s Writer Cafe. It is much more than a writer prompt though since it provides one with a desktop filled with applications designed to help one write something. It can be a novel or a short story. I’ve never used it for any of the two. But I do use it for the writer-prompt which forces me to write a topic using a specified number of words within a specified time-span.

Writing is not just about the number of words one uses for a given material. At this point, I have described to you two software applications that I am using. And with that last period, I have completed 315 words. So I have completed a blog post just by describing two applications. At this point I still have to do about 163 words to complete the target of 500 words. And I have been writing for only about six minutes.

When I write, I do not usually set the number of words to use. I begin with one idea that I try to unravel as I type. I began this article with a question: “How long is 500 words”? And so I began describing an application that counts words as one types. I could have also mentioned MS Word, or a nice writer’s word processor called “Q10” which does something similar to yEdit but with typewriter sounds and less distraction. I would describe it in more detail but I have a little less than 50 words to do it in. 500 words isn’t that long. It took me about 7 and 30 minutes to complete this one on SpaceJock’s yEdit. After this, I’ll just copy and paste the whole thing into Notepad, add a few HTML tags to set it off from the rest of the day’s entry, and … that’s it. (515 words)

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