I’ve been busy this past weekend, attending my cousin’s bar mitzvah in Detroit and when not doing bar mitzvah things, I was busy with homework or being in the car (hard to get Wi-Fi while in the car). Otherwise I would have posted something Friday or Saturday. Well, better late than never, right?

And on the subject of writing posts, I want to talk about something that’s a subject of controversy for writers: a daily word count. I’ve heard plenty of writers give their opinions on the topic, from being proponents of 500 to 1000 words a day, to others who say that the daily word count is some draconian form of masochism for writers. Me, being “ambitious”, as my English major advisor called me (or was it “overachiever”?), have tried to at least get 500 words typed out each day, whether it be short story, novel, or blog post. 500 words seems to be the amount of words most proponents seem to advocate, whatever the reason that be.

Well, the other day I was working on a short story that I’ve been working on and off for about eight months. That night I barely got three or four hundred words written and I was feeling pretty ashamed about that. This story’s been wrestling with me for ages, and I’ve been trying to get a version of it written that I feel would be up to the standards I (and possibly the magazines I could submit it too) like of my short stories.

The next night though I had a different idea of where to go with this story, and I wrote about fifteen hundred words. Obviously, I felt elated by that. But I also had a bit of an epiphany that evening. The night before I’d been unsatisfied with the direction the story was going and obviously it stalled. The next night I had a different direction for the story that I thought might work better and I got out over a thousand words.

I won’t be worrying about word counts while writing any time soon.

It made me realize that some days, if I’m enjoying how the story goes or if I’m really in the flow, I’ll write a huge amount. And other days, if I’m tired, if I’m not really liking the direction of the story, or if it’s just not my day, I might not get a hundred words out. It’s not any fault of mine, it’s just the way sometimes these things go. Writers have bad days too and on those days we just have to deal with it, and maybe try again tomorrow.

These past couple of days, outside of homework, I haven’t gotten anywhere near five-hundred words written. Am I upset? More about not having the chance to write than anything else. The word count isn’t important to me anymore. Or it isn’t as important as it used to be. I’ll definitely try to get more written out than I have previously over these next couple of nights. Since I’ll be editing Rose starting Tuesday, I might just get a lot out depending on how much I want to change from one draft to the other. We’ll see.

But I’m not that concerned. As I said, some days you’re going to get plenty done and some days you’ll only get a few words out. It’s important at the very least that you try. And believe me, I’ll be trying.

How do you feel about daily word counts? For or against? Why?

Are you planning on asking me how many words this post is?

If you are, you shouldn’t! Because if you ask, I won’t tell you! I’m evil that way.

And by the way, thanks once again to everyone who contributed to Buckeyethon this past year. Even though I could not attend the dance this year because of my cousin’s bar mitzvah, I heard about the great achievements of my fellow students and I this year. 1.2 million dollars towards cancer research! Thank you so very much for your spiritual and financial support in this. You helped make the difference with me.

Well, that’s all for now. It’s getting late, and I’m going to head to bed. I’ve had a lot of late night recently, so I need some sleep if I’m going to be able to deal with school and work and the writing tomorrow. Have a great night, my Followers of Fear.

  1. I think daily word counts can sometimes motivate, but I don’t feel bad if I don’t reach them, so I am not sure how much they actually mean.

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