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In our last post about word count we discussed the importance of setting a goal early on in the process. For this blog, let's focus on how you're going to reach that goal. Theories abound on the best approach to amassing the words necessary to complete a book-length manuscript, and over the years, I've probably tried them all. Each philosophy has its merits, and there is no right way to reach a word count goal. Here are the three things to keep in mind as you move towards your goal:


  1. You don't have to take a daily word count approach. Let's face it: writing isn't just the act of typing. A lot of times it's the act of ruminating over an idea, scene, piece of dialogue, etc. You shouldn't beat yourself up if you let a day or two or three slip by without adding actual words to your story. They're building up in that gray matter of yours. If you're the type that likes to wait until a scene or chapter is fully realized in your mind, that's a legitimate approach. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
  2. The Stephen King approach is admirable but not for the faint of heart. The master of horror has stated that he commits to a daily word count of 2,000 words. That's a hearty pace, and it's not for everybody. During NaNoWriMo, I approached that kind of output, and I have to say I found it invigorating. In a way, it felt like I was in training for a marathon
  3. Commit to a single word a day. I'm not kidding. I love this approach, especially for beginning writers. It removes the pressure of being productive and takes away the anxiety of sitting down to write. The secret here is that once you convince yourself you only have to write a single word a day, you relax and far exceed your. The writer's mind is full of fun ideas, but it';s also easy to trick it into doing some actual work.


When mapping out how to reach a word count goal and deciding which strategy works best for you, there are two things you want to keep in mind: your personality type and your timeline. If you work best under pressure and you've set an ambitious release date for your book, obviously high volume output is for you. If the pressure to create makes you less productive and creative, and you're not in a hurry to get your book to market, take your time with a low volume approach.


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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.




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3,787 Views Tags: authors, author, indie, publishing, writing, craft, word_count, writing_tips, writing_advice

May 21, 2015 10:20 AM Ptdale    says:

Excellent insight! I never thought about writing a single word per day as a minimum. It's possible that I have an all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to my approach in writing. My daily goal is to have 1,000 words yet when it comes time to let my fingers do the talking, I find small distractions to take me away from my work so that I have an excuse to come up short of my daily goal. With one word per day, that really relieves the pressure.


Awesome article!

Jun 2, 2015 12:49 AM LovelyPoet    says:

This is my weak spot. I get nervouse about word count. But thank you this article.

Apr 21, 2018 4:14 AM hellenrose    says:

The piece of information which you have provided here would be useful to all those who are interested in writing and would like to get some tips to improve this skill. Since I want to improve my writing skills, I will follow these tips. Thank you. photo editing


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