Word Counts: Do They Work for You?

The dreaded word count. That evil monster that hides in your closet everyday and shows its face about the time that you want to stop writing and you realize you aren’t even close to that magic number. My word count is more of a ninja that jumps out of the darkness and roundhouse kicks me in the face whenever I want to stop short of my mark. The question a lot of people have to consider is: do they want to have this overlying demon looking them in the face everyday or can they call on the word fairies to keep the story rolling at an adequate pace?

I know that I have been presenting the word count as a demon in the previous paragraph, but in all honesty, in my situation the word count has been a savior. When I started down this journey to become an author, I was flying by the seat of my pants. I fell into the group of people that just wrote whenever the urge hit me. So as you know, since most of you have been in that spot, my stories were crap and there was no consistency in my writing. I would write occasionally for a few words and stories that should take weeks to finish, would take months and sometimes years. By adding in a word count, I have been able to stay on task and finish things when I should. Stability in my writing has really worked to keep my focus and keep my butt in the seat. Adding a word count will also help keep you on track after you get published and have to fight a new monster, the deadline monster.

How do you feel about a word count? If so, what amount of words seem to work for you?


6 thoughts on “Word Counts: Do They Work for You?

  1. I feel exactly the same way. In my last novel my chapters were quite short, between 1400 and 1800 words, and the goal was to write two a day. That usually put me over 3k a day, which was fine. Without some kind of target, I barely write at all. I need to have something to aim at, something that tells me when the day’s work is done. If I want to write more, fine, but if not, that minimum means I’ve at least put another chunk behind me.

    1. Wow, those chapters are short, did anyone have a problem with you separating your book that way?

      But I do agree, I get distracted easily and it makes it hard for me keep focused if I don’t have that goal.

  2. I’ve had the same path as you, only writing in spurts and starts over long periods of time until I starting using word counts. Since making that change I’ve found it drives my writing forward, always trying to make the count.

    I’m about to start trying #wordmongering on Twitter where people write in short bursts for maximum word count. I’m hoping this will help build more speed and focus.

  3. Hi 🙂

    Interesting point.

    I’m not going crazy over word count. Only when editing or translating I keep an accurate track, since I’m charging per word. 😀

    In writing, I check it, but not as a rule. I’m not a pantser, I’m planning, organizing, making the pieces and then putting them together to complete the puzzle. I check it for the chapters, but not as a progress indication.

    Thank you for the post 🙂

    1. I figured based on my dayjob habits, that I would be very organized when it came to writing my story. I started out outlining, but it seemed that my characters were running away from what I had laid out. So I am just letting them roam and planning on fitting everything together during my revisions.

      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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