Writing 101 Challenge: How Many Words Does it Take to Make a PB&J?

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Today’s challenge is to simply free write 400 words or more. I won’t know exactly until I type it, since I’m using paper and pen. (Well, I could count but that’s just too much trouble.) I think this is a help, because my eyes won’t constantly be looking at the word count. I’ve actually thought about this before – Is there a word minimum or maximum a post should be?

I often have so many thoughts running through my head about potential ideas to write about. There are always the same questions. Where do I start? Is this idea good enough? How can I get all my thoughts organized without being too stressful? Of course, the best thing to do is just pick up your pen or pencil and begin writing and hopefully it will all come together. Fingers on a keyboard while glazing at the screen also works. I think all writers fear the blank page or screen. However, this blankness is also a fresh start to anything. The connection you make with paper or computer may begin slowly like pouring molasses or pour  out quickly like salad dressing. Sooner or later these ideas will take shape, but you just need to start.

That brings me back to the word count dilemma. Perhaps it’s not really a dilemma at all. I love to post photos and everyone knows the phrase, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’. One photo is a thousand words – amazing. A photo or visual is very powerful. With the correct photo, few or no words are needed to express the feeling or explain the photo. Many bloggers, including myself, participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge. Others post photos on particular days, ‘Wordless Wednesday’ or my new ‘Foto Friday’. Everyone loves to share and view these photos that say so much with little or no words.

Posts can have a few words and still be powerful. A beautiful poem evokes emotions unique to each reader. A simple recipe can introduce readers to a delicious new dish. Readers learn the best ways to start a herb garden, basic daily exercises, or how to knit socks. Many words aren’t required to convey the message. Is there a maximum word count for a post? No there isn’t.

Some thoughts, ideas, concepts, and instructions require deeper information. It reminds me of dating profiles when I used online dating. Some individuals wrote a small paragraph to tell the world who they are. The last sentence was usually, ‘Send an email if you have questions’. Well, I really didn’t have enough information to ask. Sometimes more words are needed to fully communicate our thoughts to the world.

Try this idea with someone. One person tells another exactly how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Go ahead, it takes more words than you think. Remember to follow only the words they tell you. This activity should provoke many laughs.

In conclusion, a word count truly shouldn’t matter when writing a post. I always believe quality over quantity. Make every word count. I’m now going to type this and discover if in fact I wrote 400 words or more. If you try the PB&J activity let me know!

Word count: 538

9 thoughts on “Writing 101 Challenge: How Many Words Does it Take to Make a PB&J?

    bookshelfbattle said:
    June 26, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Put the peanut butter on the bread and the jelly on the peanut butter. Put the bread on top. 19 words. Fun exercise.

    Good luck with your writing. I’m new to blogging myself, feel free to stop by sometime at:


      Caroline responded:
      June 26, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      What should I use to spread the jelly and peanut butter? How do I get the supplies? Thanks for your comment!

        bookshelfbattle said:
        June 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

        Some things you have to leave to the imagination…

    Karuna said:
    June 26, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Fun post! Thanks……

      Caroline responded:
      June 27, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for your comment!

    thiskidreviewsbooks said:
    June 27, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    You get a jar of peanut butter, two slices of bread, a jar of jelly/jam/etc., and a butter knife. Lather a good amount of peanut butter on one side of a slice of bread. On the other slice, lather some jelly on a side. Place two slices together, jelly and peanut butter sides facing each other. [56 words]
    That was a fun exercise. 🙂 Great post! 😀

      Caroline responded:
      June 27, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Great! You used words that I can successfully make a pb & j sandwich! Have a great day!

    Siobhan said:
    July 9, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Hello! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to
    me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

I'd love to hear from you! Have a great day!

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