Pushing yourself for word count


As we race headlong towards the start of National Novel Writing Month 2011, I’ve been thinking a bit about writing for quantity. Trying to get yourself to write more can certainly be a worthy goal, though it isn’t the only worthy writing goal, and Nanowrimo certainly helped to show me what I could accomplish in terms of my raw writing output. But what about after November has come and gone?

Some people look for a different ‘50,000 words in a month’ challenge every month, or set goals for an entire year’s worth of writing – I’ve participated in Nanowriye several times, but I’m not sure that it’s the best way of going. Being able to choose your own goal and decide when you can take it easy and when you’re going to swing for the fences is key, as well as having a timeframe that doesn’t seem so distant or keep you from recalibrating your performance frequently.

I’ve thought about trying to count my word count on a week by week basis, but never actually gave that a try. A month is a good timeframe – I love the idea of Ninja Novel Writing Month, which is every month. And for a truly supportive monthly word count tracker whenever I feel like writing – yes, the Stringing Words forum has got that too.

Monthly word counts on Stringing Words are pretty simple affairs, no flashy gimmicks, but they work. You pick your target at the start of the month, or whenever you get around to it. You write, you track your count, and you cheer each other on. That’s about all there is to it.

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2 Responses to Pushing yourself for word count

  1. Lisa (Woman Wielding Words) says:

    I have been tempted, at times, to join National Novel Writing Month, but something always holds me back. I know it is helpful to have deadlines, and I work better when I know someone is waiting for that work to be done. But, I wonder if writing for quantity is as important as writing for quality and meaning? Recently, when assigning papers in composition classes I stopped giving a word/page count expectation. Instead I would say something like “this essay needs to be as long as it needs to be to achieve the goals of the paper thoroughly.” What I found was that when student’s wrote to the word/page count, often the paper just became repetitive as they tried to reach that count. Whereas, by shifting the focus to quality, and emphasizing that you can’t write a quality paper that fulfills all the demands in one or two pages, I got better papers (usually).

  2. alberta ross says:

    I am trying NaNo for 1st time – for the fun and challenge but also to see if this is my way of writing – I suspect It will suit me better than a linear checking as I go way – I don’t seem to think in straight lines – so if it is maybe I’ll try your ninja nano’s they sound good – anyway thanks for dropping by and all the best for nano – and REN3

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