We like to get stuff done. Nothing better than checking something off a list, shutting a computer with everything finished, or collapsing on the couch after getting all that stuff you needed to get done, done.
Writers like to know that they are finished for the day. The edits that needed to be made were made, they finished that chapter, they finished that outline, they finished their word count.
Word count. These are the golden words of the day. WORD COUNT.
You’ve heard it before. You need to set a word count for the day. You set it so you get stuff done. We’re writers, and we are supposed to write, and hopefully more than two sentences, so we give ourselves a word count to fill up.
But….is it necessary? *some voices in the back disagree*
Ahem. Yes. *some voices in the back boo*
Ok fine. Maybe it isn’t absolutely necessary to have a word count, but it sure has worked out fine for me. Let me explain.
Among the many blessings of setting a word count, one of them is getting through Writer’s Bock.
When you have Writer’s Block, the temptation is to slam the computer shut and call it a day, even if you only wrote two words.
But maybe not if you have a word count goal. That word count goal constantly breaths down your neck, reminding you that you haven’t accomplished it, giving you incentive to force something out of that blocked up brain of yours.
There IS something in there. It just might need a shove.
But won’t we just end up writing lengths of gibberish junk????? Well I don’t know. Maybe.
I set a word count goal for myself. And sure, in the last desperate three hundred words I’ll shove in extra adjectives and frivolousness sentences which I will surely delete later on. Maybe have a bit of extraneous dialogue. Or maybe just finish up a scene in a way that honestly just sucks.
But it’s OKAY. And here’s why:
1: Practice. Any writing is practice and in order to be a writer you need practice.
2: Honestly it take 2 seconds to delete extraneous words later on. You’re not wasting your time.
3: You can fix the end of the scene WHEN YOU EDIT. At least now you can begin to write the next scene, thus you are proceeding on the story instead of being stuck on this one scene for DAYS ON END.
4: A lot of time what we feel like is junk isn’t junk. Plenty of times I’ve gone back and read things and thought “hey, this scene is actually really good.”
5: It gives you a sense of accomplishment. You wrote something. Which brings me to my next point…
Having a word count goal and fulfilling it gives you a sense of accomplishment.
This is one of the most important things. Writing can be – well it can be a lot of things. Including tiring, boring, mind numbing, and discouraging. The story isn’t playing out well. You’re beginning to question the merit of story itself. You feel like it sucks. You’ll never get published……
But hey! I got the word count done for the day so that’s something.
A word count grounds you a bit. Stops you from going down the endless spiral of the Pits of Writer’s Despair. It reminds you, “you are a writer. You are writing. You are getting something done. You are getting nearer to your goal.”
Now that we have established that word counts are a good thing…..how many words should I set for myself a day????
Honestly that’s up to you. I don’t know. Start with 1,000?
2,000. 3,000. Heck 10,000 if you want to do some fast drafting.