Word counts

The advice you see everywhere is that you must have a word count. A daily number of words that you must write every day like a religious zealot.

I’ve played with this on and on and it really doesn’t suit me. Sometimes I just don’t feel the inspiration to write, so is there really any value in banging out 1000 or 1500 words of crap?

I certainly agree that it’s important to write regularly and word counts can certainly help focus you on the job at hand, but a daily count just doesn’t seem to fit. Here’s an example. This weekend is our monthly Corvette club meeting, I am the President so I have to be there. It’s also a friends birthday, so I have to be there too (and want to be there to celebrate with him). It’s also a Grand Prix weekend, so I will want to watch the coverage of that.

So with everything else going on at the weekend, dog-walking, chores etc. Realistically how much time do I have and will I really be in the right mind-set to think about writing?

The way I see it is this. I write because I enjoy writing – artificially forcing myself to write doesn’t seem conducive to good writing and guilt about missing entirely made-up deadlines just makes me feel bad.

So, recently I’ve been working with the idea of a weekly word count. Instead of worrying about the individual days, I just look to get the amount I want to per week.

Working this way means that if things are flowing, then I often write more than I ‘need’ to. This means I can build up some ‘credit’ so that then if I have a not so good day I can use my ‘bank words’ to keep my count up, or if I have a ‘life interuption’ then I can do the same.

This seems to work far better for me than a straight daily word count. Obviously everyone is different in how they approach writing, so your mileage may vary.

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