Write, but Don’t Count the Words


Perspective on six- and ten-word stories

This idea was birthed into my life during my upper-classman semesters at college: “Write a story using only six words… It can be about anything, and you can write more than one, but it can’t be more or less than six words,” my professor had said to our 12-person class.

Now, you’re expecting me to tell you about the stories I wrote or the best one in the class, but the truth is I can’t remember a single word I wrote or any others that I heard from my peers. But I do remember thinking it was a clever idea. It forces us to write something with severe complexity into utter simplicity. Six words. That’s all you get.

More recently, I came up with one that has remained my Twitter bio for a year or more now: “Wanderlust, but afraid to be lost.” For me, it’s pure accuracy. After being comfortable with who I am for probably the first time in my life, I have this dire urge to take a jump and go somewhere new, but I’m afraid that I’ll lose myself along the journey.

However, the more time I spend on Twitter and especially Tumblr, the more I see these creative six-word stories… and ten-word, 12-word, 13-word, 20-word and 27-word… (Are you catching what I’m throwing down here?)

It seems that writers, bloggers and social media moguls around the world have wrung out the restriction and creativity of a six-word story altogether. Rather than using this concept to construct their complex idea into six words, they’ve decided to write a quote, count how many words there are and then title it as such.

There is nothing impressive about a 23-word story — you might as well just title it as you find suitable because the 23 isn’t impressive and it’s not adding to your quote about heartbreak. Now, a 10-word story? Well, it’s just a six-word with a bone tossed to the writer, so I think it still has that sense of creativity to it.

The trend of this x-amount-of-word story has really picked up and taken off with all sorts of turns and twists that, for me, dissolved its uniqueness and creativity. So for all of you writers, bloggers, or artistic expressers, leave the math out of it and just write something that feels real to you. Quit counting the words.

And that’s my 393-word perspective piece. (Just kidding…)