What's really been suffering is this blog! Poor bloggy has been grossly neglected as of late, since I just don't have the time to write epically long posts (What was that? Write short posts, you say? *snort* Yeah, right, as if.) while trying to exceed my daily word count goals in order to make my deadline.
SO...I decided to RE-post one of my oldies-but-goodies (originally posted on 5-25-10) that has a huge relevance to what I'm going through in my writing at the moment. I haven't edited the original content of this post even though I feel the writing is sub-standard and it's killing me not to make changes to make sure it's up to snuff. However, I think either way, it'll get my point across. Make sure you weigh in on the comments section! I'll take the time to respond and discuss. :)
P.S. Now that I'm a writer with contractual deadlines, I absolutely and positively understand the need for word count goals. But I still think we need to evaluate our obsession with high counts versus slightly less counts with higher quality. End verbal disclosure. :)
It’s in the progress posts on our blogs. It’s in little widgets in our sidebars. It’s what we obsess over. It’s our Literary Odometer.
It’s our WORD COUNT.
As writers we measure our progress by this term. It’s universally understood in the writing community as the success – or lack thereof – of our daily, weekly, or cumulative progress on our current Works In Progress (WIPs).
It seems that the majority of writers have a specific goal in mind. Whether it’s 500 words a day or 5000 words a day, it’s a way of keeping oneself motivated and on-point with an estimated date of completion for a rough draft.
But at what point does that ever-present, ever-looming Word Count goal become counter-productive?
If we get wrapped up in how many words we can “put on paper” as opposed to the QUALITY of those words, we’ll officially be hurting ourselves when it comes time for revisions. I can write 2000 words in one day and feel like I accomplished a whole helluva lot, but when I go back to revise that section, if the words weren’t quality to begin with, I bet I’m going to be spending a lot more time trying to fix them than if I would’ve just taken a little more time to make sure they were somewhat decent to begin with.
I’m not saying that our rough drafts will be all but flawless and revisions will be a piece of cake with this method – the day that happens will be the day I turn down dark chocolate (NEVER). But what I am saying, is that maybe we should find a happy medium.
If I sit down to work on my WIP and I only have a few hundred more words than when I started, I shouldn’t have to feel that “OMG, I suck” sense of failure. I should be able to look at those few hundred words and say, “That was a really good addition to that section – nice job, Maxwell.”
So I propose that we change our concerns of a generic Word Count, to a positive mindset of putting down Words That Count.
What do you think?
Do we have too much emphasis on our Word Count? Do you feel that sometimes a high Word Count compromises the quality? Or do you feel that a strict Word Count goal is the only thing that keeps you moving forward at a steady pace?
**This post has a word count of 424, and THE shortest post I've ever written, ironically enough.**