Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's your word count Wednesday

There should be a question mark somewhere in this post title, but I couldn't figure out where to put it without looking awkward. Such is life.

I've been playing with numbers lately, childrens; always a bad idea for my brain, but I can't help myself. See, I'm not a patient person, never have been. I am definitely of the "me" generation, and as soon as I have a thought that I want something, I want it right that very second. Which makes buying books on Amazon hard because I have to wait like three to seven days and I just caaaaaaaaaaan't doooooooooooo iiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttt OHMUGAH it takes so long.

So writing, as you can imagine, is a somewhat masochistic endeavor for me. I mean, 2,000 words? I got that down. 5,000 words? Well, you're pushing it, but I could paint you a pretty word picture. 70,000 words? 80,000 words? I know you must be trippin' with those kinds of figures. Let's see if I can do some simple math here:

80,000 words total/2,000 words per day = 40 days
80,000 words total/1,000 words per day = 80 days
80,000 words total/500 words per day - 30 words that I wrote and rewrote seven times = 160ish days
80,000 words total/2,000 words one day followed by two days of sleeping followed by another 500 words one day followed by some cider-induced introspection followed by 1,000 words that will probably get cut later = ???

I've seen the 500/1,000 word a day goals posted on some blogs around the internets, but we'd all be laughing if we thought I'd actually stick to a daily goal. And even though I try to write a little something every day (doesn't always happen), I'm still only at 45,000 words and that seems like it's taken FOR-BLOODY-EVER. In all fairness to me this is manuscript #3, so I know I can do it, but why is it taking so long? Maybe I should be outsourcing this thing, Grisham-style. I work to be patient, I do gentle readers, but it is HARD and does not involve CHOCOLATE OF ANY KIND. A great injustice that should swiftly be remedied.

So my question to you, authorly friends: how do you keep yourself going? Do you set word count goals for yourself? Do you lock the basement door and shove cotton wads into your internet port? Do you steal a few minutes while standing in your towel fresh out of the shower? How DO you DO it?


Lydia Kang said...

I tend not to think about word counts per day but scenes written. And then I check the counts to see if it's anything good...

Jennifer Shirk said...

I set word counts for the day based on how I'm feeling and what I know I have time to accomplish. But I take blog and e-mail breaks as a reward, if I'm on a good pace. :)

Tahereh said...


when i'm writing a book, i have to maintain at least 5k a day. otherwise i go a little loopy.

weird, huh?

best of luck with your work, love! i can't wait to read it! :D :D

Lola Sharp said...

Pretty much what Jennifer said.

But, I do go on manic writing-zone sprees when inspiration and motivation strike and coincide with time availability. On those moments, I knock out 5-6,000 words a day for a couple days...but then I crash and burn and don't look at it again for a few days. So, yeah, that sorta defeats the purpose.

It takes me about 3 months to write a full first draft.

It takes me 9 months, at least, to revise the damn thing.

Doing the math, it takes me about a year to complete and polish a 95,000 novel.

And plenty of cocktails... and Doritos.

CitiZEN said...

I'm an anecdotal writer, and so I write based on what has happened that day. I let people around me and their adventures/victories dictate whether there's a story to tell that day, and how long it should be. I guess numbers don't matter that much to me -- because I'm also not one of those people who gets on the scale to see how much I weigh....

Elana Johnson said...

I'm a total numbers girl. I do set a word count goal and then I make myself accountable to someone else. Otherwise, I'll just sluff it off like nothing if I don't make it. But if I have someone emailing me saying, "So what's your count?" I'll feel stupid telling them I played Bejeweled Blitz for an hour instead of writing.

You know?