keeping track of wordcount
September 8, 2011
Last week, Jay Lake posted about how fast he writes, and how none of us should compare ourselves and our processes to anyone else’s. He’s right.
It’s easier said than done, of course. I’m one of those people who reads other writers’ blogs and other writers’ daily word counts, which often seem to stretch into the mid-four figures. This makes me feel deeply inadequate.
My daily wordcounts? 800 – 1000 words on average. 1200 makes me pretty happy. 2000, I’m ecstatic. I only have a handful of 2000 word days a year. So you can imagine how I feel when I read the blog of someone who’s in the middle of a big novel drafting push and posts 3000 – 4500 words a day. I feel so lame. If I were a better writer, a more productive human being, I’d be able to write that much, too, right?
Well, no. Because daily word count means nothing. NOTHING. You know what has meaning? Finished product. I average about 800 words a day, which is close to 300,000 words a year, and that ends up being 2 novels and half a dozen short stories. Which is what I’ve done every year for the last 5-6 years. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with my process and I’ve got the publication credits to show it. 800 words a day works for me, obviously.
Daily word count isn’t important (unless there’s something about your process that gets off on knowing what that daily word count is). Steady progress and finishing, those are the important things.