The Counting Of Words

First of all, my son is gonna have to get his own place soon. He ventured where no child should. He approached me about my “temptation” with candy. Thanks, Larry Boy.

Which brings us to the fact that I am awake at 2:53 am and my tummy has exploding butterflies in it. See, not only did I go to bed at 9pm – because I was too tired to keep myself from doing so – but I had a fried egg samich before doing so. And I’ve been awake for dang near an hour at this point aaaand tomorrow’s not gonna happen the way I had hoped. So now I’m eating crackers like a pregnant woman (or the way I like to eat them because they’re good….mmmm unsalted tops) and trying to figure out why Jesus let this happen.

You’re still lame for wearing this.

So, I was going to write about word count. Like two days ago. But I just didn’t really wanna. Which brings me to – word count. Here’s the deal. I’ve undertaken a writing task in a completely new (for me) fashion and for said task I am actually tracking word count, as well as outlining ahead of time. I am the writer who has always let the story reveal itself at its leisure, which is so – well, leisurely. I love to take it from the scene that first presents itself and write for a while, following the muse, so to speak (I know – that made me roll my eyes, too). But I also love doing things differently. Writing freehand, calligraphy, typing, on different varieties of parchment, thicknesses of stock. I went through a painting phase senior year in high school. Which I suppose has been overtaken by my love of photoshopping and video-making. So anyway, I do love all of my creative options.

But. Word count is ridiculous to me. On so many levels. The thought of having a daily word count – necessitated by my own timeline and which I am not questioning so stop yourself from suggesting that I do something different – is exhausting. It can suck the energy right out of the writing. It can also reduce an amazing composition day to disappointment. Of course by “composition day”, I’m referring to those days when you are researching, outlining, sketching, musing in some other fashion – all of which benefits and is required to perform the writing… but you didn’t make the word count. I’ve given myself permission, not to chuck the word count or alter my schedule (this project and everything going into it is ridiculously exciting for me) but to enjoy those days of musing and sketching without the guilt-inducing little shoulder nag.

In other news, I have to tell you about State of Play – and I can’t just open with the title and leave the rest of the entry blank which is what it deserves.


8 thoughts on “The Counting Of Words

  1. I agree with the whole idea of word count. Write until the story is over, don’t create a scenario in the story because you want to reach 600, 700, 800, or some other (ARBITRARY) number of words. 🙂

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage


  2. I wish my professors had your same vision on word count. My 5 page thesis should enough shouldn’t it?

    Anyways, I have a formula that you can use to subjectively meet you word quota when researching. (XM)P*(R)=(X*V)W. So what does this mean do you say? (X) number of (M)inutes times the (P)roduct produced through the (R)esearch completed equals said (X) number times the (V)alue you want to give towards said minutes for your total (W)ord count.

    Or you could just chuck the count when it doesn’t suit the work needed to be done on the project that day. The the formula would be (W)= FAIL.


    • You know – I’ve noticed a few more agents repping novellas/short story collections than I used to. If nothing else, there’s that. Or trying to have excerpts of it published in literary journals to drum up some faith?


  3. Pingback: Spring, Spring, Spring « Expatriate Games

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