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The Weekly Wordcountalizer

Sunday, 27 September 2009

I've added a new sidebar widget to my blog today : the Weekly Wordcountalizer. My plan is to set a weekly target of 2,500 words, and then to track my writing progress towards this each day. It's a pretty public commitment, but I think it will be beneficial to get used to meeting a regular "deadline" like this.

Now, I'm wary of such simple targets. I'm no fan of "target culture" and I'm well aware that quantity does not necessarily imply quality. I mean, after all, I could just write the same word 2,500 times and be done with it. But still I think it might be useful to have a clear target in mind each week. 2,500 words is enough for a smallish novel chapter or a short story. If I can produce that much each week I'll be happy. Mind you, if I happen to be working on poetry it's going to be tough! 2,500 words is pretty much a complete volume.

The rule of thumb that is generally used as a target is 1000 words each day. But I've decided to aim for less than this for now. Partly this is because I mean 2,500 new words each week. New shapes hewn from the rock. I do, of course, spend quite a lot of time editing and redrafting, and I'm not going to count any of that towards the total (unless I decide to create a completely new section, say.) And then of course there's all the stuff that needs to be done but that isn't actual writing : like researching markets for submissions and, um, writing this blog.

So, 2,500 words a week it is. We'll see how it goes. I'm sure there will be weeks when there are just too many distractions to meet the target, but hopefully there will be others when I do more ...

Update (10/01/2010) : I've decided to change this around a little. I still want to write a minimum of 500 words per day, but only on "writing days". I found trying to hit 500 words every day when I really needed to be doing some editing/redrafting was a little distracting. So a strict weekly target no longer makes sense and I've removed the Wordcountalizer. I'll just have my resolution to do at least 500 words per writing day to stick to ...


  1. Hello. I'm stalking from Nicola's Bloggoffee. :P

    I tried the deadline thing. It worked reasonably well in terms of me pushing out a 40,000+ draft of a kids book. Unfortunately, it cramps my creativity now that I'm trying to mould it into something "readable."

    Good luck to you! Hope you can keep your count up. :)

  2. Hi Amanda,

    Fair point - following it slavishly isn't going to work. I am in writing mode just now but if I do need to stop to just redraft something full time, then I'll have to suspend the Wordcountalizer too!

  3. Oh I love my little WIP counter, although I now find I update it once a week instead of every day. That way the jump is bigger and more satisfying!

    Good luck with reaching your weekly 2500.

  4. I've always been wary of such counters, for precisely the reasons you give. But as you're aware of the pitfalls, it may well work for you, Simon. I hope it does.

    Certainly, the feeling that the world is watching can certainly concentrate the mind.


I'd love to know what you think.