Linda Maye Adams

Word Count Goals and Stuff


Since it’s November and many writers are doing Nanowrite, there’s been a lot of discussion of daily word count goals.  Daily word counts always make me a bit queasy because years ago I was trying to break into Hollywood and burned myself out with such a goal.  Admittedly, the goal was too aggressive, and I also didn’t stop to recharge at all — but the goal helped contribute to the burn out.

But some form of goals are a necessary evil so the book actually gets written.   Bob Mayer has a great post on the topic:

I see people who do #nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) where they try to write a certain number of words each day, every day and I have two views of that:  it’s good they are getting words down.  But are they the type of writer who works that way?  I know writers who don’t write every day, but work in creative bursts.  They might not write for a week, then knock out 20,000 words in three days.  #nanowrimo doesn’t work for them.  Stephen King says he write 10 pages a day.  That’s great for him.  Does it work for you?

I honestly don’t know how someone can do ten pages a day.  I’d focus on getting ten pages done, instead of getting the scene done right.  So I’m thinking of using a time-based goal.  I have one on my revision of Miasma, which is to finish it by the end of December.

It’s been better for me than a traditional word count goal.  It’s revision, so it’s included a lot of times where I’ve had to take wordage out.  It’s a little demoralizing looking at Scrivener’s words for the day and discovering that it’s -1,302!  Yet, I did a lot of work, but the word count sure doesn’t show it.  How does a writer even meet a word count goal when removing words?

Have you faced these kinds of issues when writing your book?  What did you come up with?

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