#513: The #200wordchallenge

200 word

The #200wordchallenge (hosted by mikeladano.com)

Writing is a process of continual improvement.  This challenge started a couple weeks ago when I posted my epic Def Leppard review for Hysteria, at approximately 2400 words.

One benefit this writing journey has done for me is put me in contact with some great professionals.  Rock journalist Mitch Lafon (from One on One with Mitch Lafon) is one such professional, always willing to offer advice and encouragement.  Mitch has a decades-long history with writing, having done many reviews for the print medium before embarking on his current journey interviewing the stars.

“Anyone can fill a page,” he said, “but it’s much harder to come up with a sharp 200 word review.”

Back in his print days, they used to have to adhere to a strict 200 word limit:  no more, no less.  Not 199, not 202.  Mitch encouraged me to try this exercise.  “It hones the mind and sharpens the skills,” said Mitch.  That’s all I needed to give it a try!  “Pithy is king,” he says.  Sharp, concise and expressive.  (Mitch also told me about the old “Hit & Run” review format – a hard 80 words!)

A few of the budding writers here have taken up the #200wordchallenge, and you will see our work next week.  I will post links to all of the #200wordchallenge reviews from the writers taking part.  Would you like to participate?  Are you up for it?  Leave a comment below.

Interestingly, WordPress and Microsoft Word seem to count words differently.  My first #200wordchallenge review came up to 194 words on WordPress, but 200 words in Microsoft.  My manual count was closer to Microsoft’s, so that’s what I’m using for my word counts.  You may use whatever method you like as long as you’re consistent.  Title and score do not contribute to the word count.

There will always be a big place in my life for an epic-style review.  I don’t think I could have done Hysteria any other way.  (I mean, I could have, but I wouldn’t be happy with it.)  What’s your attention span like?  Can you make it past 200 words when reading a music review?  Comment below and let us know your take.


You up for it?

Look for reviews from the #200wordchallenge from Aug 29 – Sept 2.  This page will be updated with links.


GOODGIRLFRIEND (Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend
TRANS GILMOUR EXPRESS (The Orb featuring David Gilmour – Metallic Spheres)
DEAR HERR FROESE (Tangerine Dream – Phaedra)


The Sugarcubes – Life’s Too Good
Hanoi Rocks – Back to Mystery City (1983)
Sigur Rós – Ágætis byrjun (1999)


MSG (1981)
Badlands (1989)
Stereophonics – Performance (1999)
Tragically Hip – Roxy and Elsewhere (1993)


Ratt – Ratt & Roll 8191
Two – Voyeurs (1998 Japanese bonus track)
Journey – Look Into the Future (1976)
REVIEW: Megadeth – Countdown to Extinction (Remixed & Remastered)


Black Sabbath (The End World Tour -Toronto 2016)
Prophets of Rage – EP
Misheard lyrics (bonus)

“HIT & RUN” 80 word reviews:


Aerosmith – Devil’s Got a New Disguise – The Very Best of Aerosmith
Jim Cuddy – All In Time
Jim Cuddy – Skyscraper Soul
Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch
Willie Nelson – The Great Divide
Willie Nelson – Countryman
Holly Golightly – Slowly But Surely
Pegi Young – Foul Deeds
54-40 – Smilin’ Buddah Cabaret
Elliott Smith – Figure 8
Trews – Acoustic: Friends And Total Strangers Deluxe Reissue
Jake Bugg – On My One



    1. Awesome J! I just did my third one, and I know Deke has a few up his sleeve. Aaron? Who knows what that guy is capable of.

      It’s forcing me to write a different way, which is way fun.


        1. I found that instead of spending close to 2 hours getting a post ready, I could do it in an hour or less, so I was able to spend more time with my family!


    1. Yeah go for it! Or post the link here and I’ll add it to the post!

      A few more cool Reviews went up today that I have to add here including a Sabbath concert review.


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