About X months ago, I decided to do something I had never done in my 25ish writing years. I decided to actually keep track of how many words I wrote. It was a weird experience to force myself to do so, but I thought I might get a little more done if I did.
For years and years now, I’ve read and heard about how other writers keep track of their words. I never much thought about keeping track of my own. I always thought what was the point? And to be honest, it always felt like other writers were bragging.
Yet last year, even though I released both Reawakening and The Living Remnants, I felt as if my productivity was in decline. Of course, I didn’t release anything in 2014 so 2015 was basically the payoff of that year.
I decided to keep an Excel spreadsheet of how many words I wrote. I wish I remembered where I got the one I finally chose, but if you do a Google search there are literally dozens of websites with them. They even have themes attached to them. It was very hard to chose just one.
Well, once I finally decided on one, I set a modest goal of 250 words a day for 5-6 days a week. I like to go out and enjoy life for that 7th day. That goal is pretty much the bare minimum. Yet in the back of my mind, I thought I would easily blow that count away. I was like, “I write more than that.” Turns out, I was wrong.
A long time ago, when I was a teenager, I did write a ton. I had plenty of part time jobs and I went to school, but I also had time off from school. Not exactly sure why I don’t have time off now. Living in America sucks.
During those summer, winter, spring breaks, and holidays, I would pump out another manuscript. A lot of the time, I rewrote The Passage of Hellsfire into a “better” draft. Those drafts were still terrible, but it was good practice to write a 40,000; 60,000; 80,000 then 100,000 manuscript. Since I’m an adult now with those pesky things called responsibilities, I don’t have as much time to write.
In keeping a word count, I actually learned a few things. I learned that I didn’t write as much as I thought I did. So even if 250 was my bare minimum, there would be times when I would be short of that. So I just hammered out a few words to meet my goal for the day. Most days I would exceed it. I also felt like I wrote faster. It might have had to do with the fact that I just wrote consistently, but I think I wrote more than I normally would.
The downside of keeping track of my word count is that while it helps for writing, it doesn’t do much for editing. There’s no word count to keep track of. The only reasonable way to keep track of editing is time. But since I write and edit sporadically when I come home that makes it hard.
I hope to increase my word count when I begin writing the fourth book in my Hellsfire series, Eternal Darkness. I hope that I’ll be able to release Eternal Darkness far faster than I did in releasing Reawakening.