Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Do You Count?

Recently I was talking to a fairly prolific writer friend and commented that while she had written two books and edited a third last year, I had only managed on 7k word short. She was horrified. She went on to say how many thousands of words she'd written and deleted in that time and estimated that just those alone would be another full-length novel. And that was when I realized that I count much differently than most writers.

I only count what I consider "finished" and "successful". And so while I revised my first book twice, throwing out the bulk of it and rewriting from scratch, and while I made several starts on my next book, and another 15k or so of figuring out my anthology short, filled a 100 page notebook with detailed plot and character info, not to mention all my Tangled Fiction stories, I only had one thing make it to its intended destination. My 7k anthology short, STILLWATER.

It honestly never occurred to me to consider all the things I wrote that have not yet become something as something I wrote, LOL. But now I'm starting to wonder if I'm not giving myself enough credit. I suppose if I were to put it all together, I actually did write over 100k in 2011. I just never thought of it that way. Maybe I should, since each word I write, makes me a better writer. And looking at it the way I have been makes me feel more like an underachiever.

So I ask you, how do you count? And does it matter to you how much writing you've done? No matter where it goes? (Or doesn't go?) I'm really curious!


  1. Hmm. I don't really count too much. This year, I was able to complete my memoir draft by doing five pages a day, five days a week. It turned out to be 70k words, but who knows what will stay or go when I begin revisions in April. I think I notice word counts more when I draft and revise a picture book.

  2. I count by the finished book, meaning it's edited and revised to where I'm happy. I don't keep track of how many words I've written overall. Going by that method I'm averaging one novel per year, but I'm shooting for at least two and maybe three this year. :)

  3. I guess I count the finished product as well. Not that the stuff I delete isn't writing. I think I compare it to, say, an Olympic game. The finished writing is like what I actually do in the game, and the other stuff is just my training, work outs, and warm ups. If that makes any sense.


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