Not too long ago, I was in high school writing research papers in various classes for all sorts of topics. Some were to research events and people who helped shape the United States, while others were to give ideas on what I thought the future might hold. 

One thing they all had in common was they had to be a certain length. Depending on the teacher, some needed to be over a certain amount of words, while others had to be a certain amount of pages in length. Each presented its own challenge to overcome in order to receive the desired grade. 

How much filler information do you include to fill the required space while making sure to cover all the important facts and highlighting the needed material? It was a fun challenge to find just the right balance. 

I believe there is also a lesson for our lives that can be taken from this. I have been known to talk a lot and just ramble on and on. One of my siblings, cough ‘Rachel’ cough, has told me more than once, I am just one continuous comment. I use to not see any trouble with it. Then I realized sometimes I speak too much and don’t listen enough. I have learned sometimes, not always, less is more. 

Just like with this column, I set a goal of 250 words or less and for those wondering, with editing and revisions, it has 244 words.

•Matt Gardner is the Publisher of The Blackshear Times. Email him at