I write daily at least 500 unique words for my story, even on those days when inspiration is fickle, and the hand is heavy, and the head under the hat is dull, and the planet seems to rotate a little slower than usual.
Many famous authors had a daily word count:
- Hemingway wrote between 500 and 1,000 words a day, early in the morning. He stopped while he was still going good.
- In On Writing, Stephen King mentioned he wrote 2,000 words a day.
- Trollope, one of the most successful authors of the Victorian era, wrote at least 2,500 words in three hours, from 5 to 8 in the morning.
Is a daily word count forced labor?
It might seem so, but the moment I begin handwriting or typing I forget all about my word count, and I just write. When I stop my daily word count is always surpassed, even on those days when the writing goes slowly. On good days I write more, on bad days I write less, but always at least 500 words.
What’s the point of having a word count if I surpass it anyway? A word count is a resolution. If I go to bed every night knowing that tomorrow I have to write at least 500 words, I set myself a goal, and when I wake up, I know what I have to do. Without a word count to keep my on track I would procrastinate.
More than 500 but less than 2,000
500 is the minimum. I have to rewrite much these days, and if I would write more, I would not have enough energy for rewriting. When I will be done with rewriting, I will increase my minimum daily word count to 1,000 words.
2,000 is the maximum. Writing too much might be almost as bad as not writing enough. After writing 1,500 to 2,000 words I lose my focus, and I start to write too fast, using too many words to say too little. When writing feels like writing and no longer like spellcasting, I stop.
In the end…
Having a daily word count helps me make writing more of a daily habit. How much I write daily can change – it all depends on how much time for writing I have, and on what I want to write. The important thing is that I have a word count that gives me a daily goal to reach, and that makes it easier for me to measure my progress.
Do you have a daily word count?