Words, and lots of ’em.
Something I’m seeing a lot of as NaNoWriMo heads into the final stretch — word counts. It’s the nature of the beast, I suppose, as there’s a word count goal for the (contest, exercise, whatever you want to call it). You’ve got to keep track of them, see how you’re pacing towards 50,000. Most people probably use Word or OpenOffice’s word count feature, and a few might use older methods, but they’re all writing to a metric at the moment.
But what if you’re not doing the NaNoWriMo thing? How important is word count then? The always-awesome Cherie Priest tracks her word count daily, and even blogs it with a little graphic, showing the words completed versus the projected total. What about you, writer friends? Do you keep track of your word counts? Do you have a goal in mind when writing a story?
I do and I don’t. On the Twitter Novel Project books (the first three, anyway), I set a minimum per-night word count goal of 500. I always hit it, sometimes just barely, sometimes overshooting by a bunch.
But here’s the thing — I don’t often have a larger goal in mind. Sure, I might like a book to end up more than 50,000 words, or around 80,000, but I don’t lock myself into it. I try to tell the story as much as it needs to be told, then hope the word count levels out in the end.
Hit me with your thoughts, folks!
On the 47 Echo sequel, I’ll check how much I’ve written when I’m done for the night, but never while I’m writing. I even write old school, in Notepad, to keep myself from checking. I’d rather write what I want to write for the evening and trust that it evens out eventually.