The perils of counting your eggs.

Or, in our case, words. After a year and a half of reading blogs by fellow authors at various stages on the writerly path, one thing has stood out to me: the disagreement over word counts and word limits and whether having a word per day goal is a valid way to end up with a useable work and not a rubbish heap of words.

While I see where people are coming from when they say that a word limit does not work and can in fact, distract from the quality of the work, I think word counts are important. To have a limit, however large or small, a goal, to achieve forces you to write. Every day. At least however many words. It creates discipline and while at first the work might be kind of rubbish, there is the opportunity to edit later. Admittedly, I’ve been a bit slack in the writing department. Before the uni semester stated in March, my prequel novel was about three or four chapters from completion. Until last week, I didn’t add a word to it but then I sat myself down and said ‘Write. 600 words, per day. Do it.’ I changed my computer background to a note book with the above mantra written over and over again so every time I turn it on, before I can check Facebook or WordPress, it screams at me to write. And so far, it’s been working. 600 words per day is not much at all, I know that, but I needed to start small. By the fourth day, I was writing over 1500 words in an hour and was back in the rhythm of writing.

So while word counts may have their disadvantages, for rekindling the writing flame, there is no better way. Bit by bit, step by step.

3 thoughts on “The perils of counting your eggs.

  1. Kate Sparkes says:

    I’m the same way. If I don’t have a daily word-count goal, I get nothing done. Even if what I write isn’t perfect, at least there’s something there I can go back and edit. I’ll take crap* over a blank page any day!

    *OK, it’s not usually that bad, but you know what I mean…

  2. thegrowingvine says:

    Without the added context of why you’re setting the word count I didn’t get it, but with the example it kind of makes sense for that purpose.

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