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?
34 thoughts on “Word Count For Writers”
Thank you for this. I was discussing this with my husband today, writing in my chosen niche. My subject is non-fiction and I may settle on 300 words a day for that subject.
Thanks again, very helpful. Love the art.
Will you write in the morning?
‘Tis morning now, and having just tended all my animals, I’ll write something for children on my blog, thecrowandthepebble. Later, after a bicycle ride to a field of willowherb, I’ll write a “Letter from Darylann” to them. 😀 Then, there’s the unknown writing that will just come to me.
“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.”
I agree with you there. I used to write 15-20 pages per day when I was in the groove, but after a certain point, I was just writing because I didn’t want to stop. If you are going for quality, there has to be a limit. I think the 500-2,000 words per day mark is healthy.
– Augustus Manatee
How much do you write now Amadeus Mirabel?
Enough to realize I need to write more, but not enough to stop.
I would think it is far more a matter of quality over quantity. Why write when, at the heart of it all, you don’t have anything to say. When people talk about word counts etc, I just think of “For sale, baby carriage. Never used”. 500 words seems a lot of words and a lot of temptation to waste them.
I think it really depends on what you are writing. For poetry it might be much, but not for a story with 200 characters. And when you are writing a big story there’s a lot you have to say. I’m never really out of ideas, only that sometimes I write them more slowly.
Wow! I think I might like to have a daily word count too. hmmm. I bet this would be very effective! This is just what i need right now because lately it seemed like I lost my focus in writing. I write and crumple. LOL
Do recycle the crumpled paper. 🙂
Just on stories alone, I’m not too sure. I questioned this myself a few days ago and did a little bit of research on what I had written. Between blog entries and comments, personal journal entries, and writing in short stories, I would have to say one day was over 5,000; another was over 3,500; the third day that I checked was nearer to 7,500.
I find that when you first begin to write a story it doesn’t really matter how much you write, so long as you write daily.
All in all I write a few thousand words myself every day.
Writing is always healthy. I was curious about how much I had been writing. The numbers were actually fairly shocking. It’s quite easy to lose track and simply write, no matter what the topic.
It’s difficult to use word counts without losing sight of the goal. You don’t appear to have that issue. I’ve seen word counts as the excuse for horrible writing…no focus on the quality of the effort. I think a daily discipline is very important. I wish I had one.
These routines help order your life, don’t they?
I don’t know how many words I write daily. I mustn’t spare my words on your entertaining posts.
They do, but sometimes they also make you feel like an old, old man, which I am not sure whether it’s good or bad.
Drink a lot of water if the weather is hot! And complement the protection provided by the hat with a parasol! Julia must return unharmed from her trip. The fate of this journal depends on it!
Haha! That’s too much said! 🙂
I think the hat itself will do. It’s not that bad here.
Most writers use a word counter to help them to know how long their articles is. It will keep tract on how many words more they need.
Is it writing or typing? or both are same?
Though like the idea of daily writing as a habit and word count 🙂
I think having a daily word count would be a good idea for me—depending on what I’m working on. I could definitely use more structure in my writing life. And Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a great book.
Did you notice we both use this picture for one of our posts? Kindred spirits indeed.
I am a typer, by the way, but can make love really well.
If you re passionate about writing the word count doesn’t matter, as long as you write on a daily basis.
Reblogged this on Sue's Space.
“Spellcasting” is an astute observation of the power of writing, and how it can be used to influence the minds of others.