In The Numbers

It took 5 days, but I finally hit my goal of 1,000 words written of fiction on the 5th.

I am not sure why it’s 1,000 words. I guess I came up with that as a simple round number that was more than attainable. Given that if I sit down and focus, I can achieve over 3,000 words of writing in a day. My max that I’ve done is actually 3,600. I hit near that a few times. You’ve guessed it, folks: today’s post is going back to my favorite well of writing process and word count.

A few of the frequent readers here will know that I’ve been recording my daily word count (for the most part) since 2017. There’s been a handful of spots where I wasn’t diligent about it, such as for about 4 months last year. In that time, I recorded myself as having written hundreds of thousands of words. 627,534 words to be exact. That’s between 2/4/2017 and 1/5/2021. It includes what I’ve written for fiction, blogs, and whatever. The only thing it does not include is poetry, of which I do not count words.

1,000 words is a struggle, or at least it has been. And I am not certain as to why it has been so difficult for me to maintain since 2018. That year between February and September, I logged 206 days I wrote at least 1,000 words each day in fiction, save only 10 days in the mix, only 3 of which I did not write at all. That’s a third of that 600,000 words and in fiction alone.

Of course there is a lot of that total that got thrown away. Writing is like a lot else, you do a lot wrong to learn what to do write (I know it’s actually “right”… I am feeling punny). As with anything, the goal is to get closer and closer to needing 0 revision, although that I am certain will never fully happen. There might be stretches where that is possible, but it still is a goal.

This examination into my word count productivity reignited after The Passive Voice posted an article from Dean Wesley Smith titled “Math is the Friend of Prolific… And the Enemy of Excuses…” where Dean outlined word counts and what they add up to. He’s not wrong anywhere in that article. At least not from my vantage point.

Dean lists a set of 4 excuses in the article too, a couple of which I will likely tackle in future blog posts… maybe in the next few days. But that’s a different topic.

For me, reexamining this topic shows me that I am capable. I am capable of more than a book every 4 years (or more if you count now that my last release was in December of 2016. But in that time between that book and now, I’ve written over 600,000 words. That’s twelve 50,000 word novels, or 3 per year. Or it’s six 100,000 word novels. Or it’s twenty 30,000 word novellas.

Like Dean describes in his article, if I am consistent with 1,000 words a day, as I’ve shown possible, then I can write 7.2 of those 50,000 word novels a year. That’s a book every 2 months with one to spare. My issues with revisions not withstanding, I should be able to do this whole writing thing. I only have to get over those other excuses, those other fears, and maybe I can make it.

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