Wednesday, March 16, 2011

La-La-La-La-La-La Word Count

I must hit my word count.
I must hit my word count.
I must...

Must I?

Setting a word count goal is supposed to be good for us as writers. These targets push us. Keep us motivated, but they can also crush us. They make us write on days when we can't squeeze out the words   (and you end up deleting them the next day due to the dreaded word poop). Sometimes the total word count becomes more important than the quality of the words.

And the delete-rewrite-delete cycle begins.

During first draft mode I like to write a chapter at a time. If I'm having a writing spurt, I'll write about 1k a day. Some days are plotting. Some are rewriting days. Some days I write nothing.

But that's okay. We all have our different methods. The main goal is to finish, right? Does it matter how many words we hit per day so long as we write the darn book?

Holly Black wrote a wonderful post about tracking her word count while writing a draft of BLACK HEART. In the end, Holly Black averaged out the days/words the draft took to write. It came out at around 81 days and just over 800 words per day. You can check out the full post here.

What about you? Do you like to hit a daily word count?

11 comments:

  1. I do while I'm writing a NaNo novel of course, but the rest of the time I don't have a number I MUST hit.

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  2. I never have a word count in mind. I try to finish a scene or a dialogue, but that's as far as I go.

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  3. Nope. I usually just write with the hopes of achieving a comfort level with how much I accomplish. Plus, I co-author, so a lot of it depends on how much she wants us to get written in any given day as well. Great post:)

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  4. I stuck to 1-2K words per day with my 2nd novel and ended up with a very messy first draft (messier than usual, that is). Maybe I'm not organized enough? With the last novel, I took my time. Some days I wrote a lot of words; other days I didn't write any. Sometimes I even took a week off in between chapters to think about where to start the next chapter and to do some plotting. I found that if I write that way, my first draft is a lot cleaner. (Of course, I still have to do rewrites and revisions.)

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  5. I don't stress myself out with a word count. I'm usually slower at the beginning and pick up steam near the end.

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  6. When I draft, I love seeing word count climb -- it's very satisfying. And then when I'm revising, I love seeing word count drop -- just as much fun :)

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  7. I am often go way beyond whatever word perimeters are set by contests, agents, etc. It takes me 500 words to clear my throat.

    But I don't set a word count goal.

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  8. I am trying the word count goal with my WIP but as I prefer to write longhand and then go back and type it up later, I don't have a clear view on how it has worked out. It is stifling at times, but I am so busy with the rest of my life if I didn't force myself to sit down and write 1k a day, it wouldn't get done. Sure some (okay a lot) of it is crap, but if I can get the story down, I can revise as I type it up.

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  9. For my new book, I'm keeping a daily word count in a spreadsheet, but it's also really important to give your brain time to process what's coming next.

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  10. I have never been able to nail word count goals. I just don't work like that. I have goals about when to finish a chapter, and that's as close as I get. That said, I still get lots of junk I have to weed out. :)

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  11. I do not have a daily word count goal. Even during NaNo, I didn't have a daily goal. I'm better at weekly goals, if not monthly. I got to my 50k for NaNo and I would like to self-impose another challenge to myself before the next one but I'm much better at just sitting down and doing it. If I think about the number, I won't write...if that makes any sense.

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