Trust me - word counts have helped me write more than a million words in less than a year.
I’d like to talk a bit about how I write while keeping word counts in mind. What I have in mind for this piece of writing is a word count of 500. Of course, as I’m writing this sentence, I’ve already finished everything else and am actually proofreading. Just telling you that put my word count up to 520.
I’ve written novels where I don’t really care how much I write, and they’ve gotten so large that they never would have had a chance of being published unless I whittled them down a bit.
I’ve also written lots of eBooks where there is a predetermined word count goal in place. Lots of times that word count is the only thing between me and an employer that would hold me forever in a sort of writer’s bondage unless I could point to the word count we both agreed upon. Even then their reluctant to relinquish their reigns of editorial control, however.
And I’ve of course written lots of articles that have as their goal a specific word count, usually 500, 750, or 1,000 words being normal. When you do that type of writing, you always seem to be checking your properties menu on MS Word quite a bit, hoping that you can get just a few more sentences from somewhere deep in the ether to help you to your goal.
What I’ve found works really well for me is setting down on paper a list of what I want to write for the day, and how many words I want to write on it. I usually do this the night before, just before I shut the computer off. This is an outline, and I often will skip some items, or write a bit less or a bit more depending on how the day plays out. And you get a great sense of accomplishment when you cross those items off your list.
I also keep a spreadsheet of my word count for the day, week, and on the large projects I’m working on, like eBooks. When it’s in the computer it’s easy to see and pull up again and again, and I like comparing how many words I get each day.
Another thing to consider are word count meters, like I have on the homepage of my site, and which I started nearly a year after I started this site.
And always keep in mind titles and introduction or closing paragraphs when you’ve got the word count in the back of your mind. I usually try to write those last, and you can easily get what you need from a few extra sentences here and there. Remember, it’s always easier to write the intro when you’ve written everything else. At that point it’s just a recap, and touching on each point in your paper, article, or eBook is a great way to increase your word count.