“What’s your daily word count?” has become the “how much do you bench” of writing circles. A quick and easy measuring stick to compare yourself to another writer. Well I want in on that conversation. “How much you bench. . .I mean, what’s your daily word count?”
Set aside for the moment how many words a day you write. I want to focus on how you arrived at that number and if you are hitting your mark for writing. Word counts shouldn’t be a measuring stick to compare you to other writers but to compare your daily effort to write.
Just look at the four authors below and note the difference in their daily word count and what they have to say. There are 35 more authors you can look at in this post The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors.
Stephen King – 2,000 “I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words.”
Maya Angelou – 2,500 “Nothing will work unless you do.”
Michael Crichton – 10,000 “Books aren’t written, they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”
Earnest Hemingway – 500 “I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”
So what should your daily word count be? Is writing your job or your hobby?
Answering the last question may determine how many words you should write. You may only have a set amount of time to squeeze in some writing. If that’s the case, write for time and not a word count. If you still want to have a number write for that time each day for five days and then get your average. Now you can shoot for that number.
If writing is a priority set a daily word count as a goal to reach each day. Having a daily word count is great for tracking progress on finishing your next book. If you know how many words you need to write each day to get a certain number of pages you can plan accordingly. Now you have accountability and you can plan around proofing and when your publisher can expect their copy of your latest work.
Be comfortable with your number. Adjust as you need to or by project. Oh and 50 words are better than 0 so just start writing.
word count formula pic by: Roman Mager