Friday, August 19, 2011

Word Count

I haven't posted anything lately for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons is that I'm concentrating on revising my novel. I've never counted words before as a method of tracking or motivating myself. But I feel that at this point it's beneficial.

I'm working hard now on the final draft of a novel I estimate to be 110,000 words. I started reading the book aloud as the final draft a couple of months ago. Earlier in the year I had hoped to finish the final draft by the end of August, but that became unrealistic. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I estimated I had about 90,000 words to go. I calculated that if I could finish 692 words a day six days a week (I don't work on my writing on Sundays), I'd finish the book around December 31. Then I figured that, if I could finish about 1,153 words a day, I could finish it in three months or around the end of October. So I decided to keep track of the words each day and week that I finish. Thus far, the results look like this:

August 1-August 6- 2,621 words
August 8-August 13- 3,766 words
August 15-August 18- 7,036 words.

It looks like I'm accomplishing more and more as the weeks go by. Part of the reason for that is that the remainder of the book is already highly polished. I added quite a bit of new material to the beginning of the book when I started the final draft, so I needed to do more work to polish it than on the rest of the book. I'd certainly like to continue at the 6,000 to 7,000 word mark each week. If I can finish the chapter I'm revising now, which is over 1,000 words long, by tomorrow, I'll have finished over 8,000 words for this week. That's probably about the best I'll do on a weekly basis. But that should finish the book sometime in October.

Another reason I'm accomplishing more each week appears to relate to the fact that I am keeping work count. I feel motivated during the day to work on my book rather than do other things. Yes, I appear to have a goal.

Another reason for accomplishing more is that the modem on my computer died and I had no internet for over a week. At first, I was totally lost. But then it became easier to find time for writing. It's only common sense that eliminating as many distractions as possible frees up more time for writing. It reinforces everything you read about controling your time. And, putting writing ahead of all the voluntary distractions we indulge in is a huge benefit.

So, at least for the next two or three months, I'm buckling down to writing. I'll try to blog every so often, and I'm still reading a lot of blogs I follow, but in this case less is more.


Valentina Hepburn said...

Hi, Richard,
So glad you're back with us. Come on over to my place. There are a couple of awards waiting for you over there.
Love Valentina x

Pk Hrezo said...

No internet for a week can be a good thing. :)
I monitor word count with every first draft, so I know if I'm only halfway thru the first draft and almost at my word limit I have some major tightening to do. It really helps me stay on track.

Tanya Reimer said...

Made me think about my last trip to the doctor. I went in with a diary of how I'd been feeling. And he chucked it. "I just want you to go home and live. Be happy."

I'm going to tell you the same thing. Richard, stop keeping track, just go write and be happy. hahaha!!! Once day you'll reach the end. Damn. You're so close now, stop counting.

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I applaud your output, Richard. I have never been able to write to a word count. But I guess everyone is different in how they work. For me, I have to have some goal, although it might be a bit vague: How does so and so feel about the latest developtment? Or, What is going to happen when X sees Y? and then I write to that question, which can sometimes spill over into two or three days' work. But if I try a word count, my mind suddenly goes blank. It's like being at a party where you don't know anywone well. I can chat away to good friends, but in a room full of strangers, I can't think of anything except the most mundane things to say.

Deb Shucka said...

Congratulations on the wonderful progress you're making. It was fun to read your process here. Looking forward to getting to read the final product someday.