Thinking about Word Count

If you think that I’m writing another journal entry just to procrastinate on some really important things that I need to get done at work…well, okay, you’re right, but the thing is that I’ve been reflecting on this, and I think it might be important to say it.

Did you ever get seduced by your word count meter? You know, the beautiful shiny number that increases constantly as you add words you’re not certain of the quality of, even though you are certain of the quantity? Did you ever feel that your word count was the most important thing about your writing process? Did you ever feel guilty or bad on days you didn’t produce much, even though you planned, researched, or brainstormed? Did you ever feel wretched on those days that you edited out scenes that weren’t working, and your word count went lower?

I myself am guilty of most of the above crimes. And I’m here to tell you that the last two days have been an epiphany and a reminder that word count doesn’t, well, count. I’ve spent one day brainstorming and imagining, jotting down rough notes and ideas. Last night I wrote the first draft of an outline for my story that I will revisit as the story shifts, but like the Cylons, now I have a plan.

My story is a lot more real to me than it was now, and I feel I have more direction. I’m excited to write the scenes I see in my mind, the new characters I have created, and the ways in which all the elements will come together.

And I couldn’t have done it without you, planning days. READ: days I did not add to my word count.

So, I’ll probably fall into the trap of worshiping my word count again. We are an achievement culture, after all. But while I am in this state of writer nirvana, I say to you that some days you’ve got to do other things than worry about accumulation.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.