Thursday, August 18, 2011

Word Count Mafia !

I always get a lot of questions on word count and do I have a set goal for how many words I write a day. I used to have an idea in my head, but on my worst recent WIP I started it out with a daily goal and tracked word count every day.

My goal was to get in around 3,000-4,000 words a day. Yeah, not exactly always feasible, but I really wanted to finish a novel in under a month.

So I created this nifty chart to track my word count in Excel 

Sunday July  31 Monday Aug 1 Tuesday Aug 2 Wed Aug 3 Thus Aug 4 Fri Aug 5 Sat Aug 6
 No clue  No clue  20,622 25,775 32,742 38,011 40,943
Sunday Aug 7 Monday Aug 8 Tuesday Aug 9 Wed Aug 10 Thus Aug 11 Fri Aug 12 Sat Aug 13
44,752 48,192 50,998 54,624 61,131 63,345 68,389
Sunday aug 14 Monday Aug 15 Tuesday Aug 16 Wed Aug 17 Thus Aug 18 Fri Aug 19 Sat Aug 20
69,981 72,827 79,591 85,333      
Sunday Aug 21 Monday Aug 22 Tuesday Aug 23 Wed Aug 24 Thus Aug 25 Fri Aug 26 Sat Aug 27
Sunday Aug 28 Monday Aug 29 Tuesday Aug 30 Wed Aug 31      
 So I am averaging around 5019 words a day. And that doesn't seem right, but there are some days I'm a writing machine, which helps the average.

Some of my crit partners and such have asked how do I write so much? Well, it helps not to have children. For starters. But the biggest thing is to really set a goal and stick to it. Don't let yourself get distracted or make excuses.  Treat the word count goal as you would a job. If your boss told you that you needed 1000 words a day but you decided to watch a Final Destination Marathon instead, do you think your boss would be happy?


So be the boss of yourself when it comes to word count. Set up a reward system. When I hit my goal for the day, I read or work on a SPARKLY NEW IDEA. I might actually talk to a human being. Or my dog. I watch crap television. I eat a honey bun. Either way. I reward myself for hitting my goal. 

And if I don't hit my goal. Well, first off if I'm just slacking off I sit my butt down until I hit my goal. It's as simple as that. But if something has been going on that day or I'm really just not feeling it, then I look at my overall average and see where that puts me if I stop for the evening. 

I just never stop and think, "Well, tomorrow I'll write 8,000 words to make up for it." Because that seriously never works. 

Having goals helps with deadlines. When I tell my editor that I can have a first draft or edits back at a certain time, I need to do that. 

Anyway, there is my whole word count saga for you.  Please don't forget the Half-Blood Tour. Schedule is in the post below!