Word Counts

I’m lazy as fuck. In order to circumvent this unfortunate state of affairs, I drink a lot of coffee believe in word counts. When I began my current project, I was at a writing residency. I knew I was embarking on a book, and I had some major pre-book jitters.

How do you write a book? Where do you start? Can I write something longer than two pages? Can I write all the way to the right margin of the page (a common poet concern)?

And so I wrote 2,000 words a day. They didn’t have to be beautiful, they just had to say something. This is how I wrote a hundred pages in two weeks.

A reader of my work suggested that I write more about [subject redacted]. I thought I had said everything I had to say about [subject redacted]. Turns out I was wrong. It’s 1,000 words a day until I say everything I have to say about [monkey balls].

Do you believe in word counts?



4 responses to “Word Counts

  1. There are words counts and then there are word counts.

    For my editor it’s 600 words an article, no more, maybe less, although less seems a little leaky regarding the size of the jug I get to fill. A year ago, for a different paper, my count was 650 to 900. I found myself sometimes abandoning my structure and rambling just to get more ink. The piece I’m working on now was 850 at first draft, I have whittled it down to 633 and I’m wondering if I can communicate what I need to say in so few words. (Of course I can I’m just complaining.)

    Regarding self-imposed word counts, in order to pound out a novel. I set myself at 1000 words a day and more if my hands can take it, which I should be working on right now instead of sharing what I ostensibly call my need to regenerate, but it’s really procrastination.
    Okay, I’m on to my quota…well maybe later.


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