Searching For Word Counts

Most writers, myself included, are slaves to our word counts.  They determine how long our stories can be, mark our success over time, and serve as personal trophies proving how capable we are.

It’s no wonder I stress so much over getting something written each day.

If the drive is to write more, then writers have to always–or at least frequently–get some words written day after day.  Some writers work on their craft five days a week, like any other day job.  Some only take holidays off.  I do what I can every day, trying to get a few words in, if not a few thousand.

This doesn’t mean I succeed.  Far from it.

I do try.  I have a small network of writers I share weekly progress reports with.  I also share progress with a Google+ group and follow a word count subreddit.  Word counts are important to me–but they shouldn’t be.

Progress can’t be measured just in how many words one writes.  Last week, I wrote less than six hundred words, but I finished editing a draft of Mind & Machine and sent off a query letter.  This week, I’ve already written a thousand words, worked on some short fiction, marked down a few world building notes, and sent another query letter.  If I never clean up the text I’ve already written, how can I make myself a better writer?

That’s why word counts alone won’t win the battle.  But having a lot of words written does help.


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