"God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform..." William Cowper

Friday, March 4, 2011

Short and Sweet Friday: Word Counts

I have a confession to make: I'm not a big fan of word counts. I've always felt them rather...well...restrictive for someone who is suppose to be creative. Nevertheless, I'm attempting to rethink my verdict. I've heard a lot of good things from my critique partners and other writers who've had much success with a daily word count. And I usually do work better with a clear end goal in view.

Still, I'm a little frightened of setting myself up for failure.

What do you think? If you are a writer, how do you handle word counts? Do you have a set number to attain each day? Each week? Each month? If so, would you mind sharing how you've found a word count helpful (or...not so helpful)?


  1. Two things:

    A confession...when I first started writing novels I wasn't sure what the correct word count was to shoot for...so I grabbed novels off my shelf and counted the number of words per page! Yep, this is before I roamed the internet.

    Another thing...my last novel I held to the 1000 words per day. I've been editing it and it hurts. This WIP I sit and write whatever comes (usually over 2000 words) and when I go back and read it I know there's something about this novel that's going to make it. My point, I'm glad I stuck to the 1K for the last novel but the whole novel might amount to a practice novel. I can tell work is truly soaring when I don't even think about the word count.

    And that there is my novel answer for you. ;)
    ~ Wendy

  2. Heidi,

    Even though I had begun to keep track of my word count before using it, I found ACFW's Novel Track to be a great way to hold myself accountable. I think the trick is to know beforehand how many weekly words are realistic for your circumstances. If you make it too high, you'll be discouraged. Maybe start out on the low side and raise it each month, stretching yourself.

  3. Wendy--I was laughing at your confession. I did the same thing about three years ago! And your answer is very encouraging. Word counts might not matter if the Spirit is moving. Love it! Thanks!

    Sandy--I think you hit upon the key for me. I'm going to take your advice and start with a lower word count, then reevaluate and move it up if I think I can handle it.

    Thanks for the input Ladies!