Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Weekly Word Count

 

This week, I did something I have never done before: I kept track of my word counts for a week. For the first week of January, I tracked my daily word count while I was writing the January ebook. It was three days in that I realized I should have tallied my TOTAL words written for each day, which would include writing in my other WIPs as well as assorted things. Oops! Since I could not do that when I thought about it, I decided to give that a try next week. So that’s what I did! I tracked my daily word count for ALL words written for one week.

 

And when I say I haven’t done this before, it’s true. Some writers make a huge fuss over how many words they write in one day. Some writers track their daily words written just because they like to. Me? I don’t really care about daily word counts; all I care about is getting some writing done!

 

But it would seem that now is the time for me to actually care about daily words written, because this year, I plan to do NaNoWriMo, and, gosh darn it! THIS will be the year I get to 50,000 words! I have done NaNo in the past, but my novel didn’t get to 50,000 words. I think it was 30,000+. But THIS will be the year I get to 50,000! And if I want to get to 50,000 words in a month, then I’m going to HAVE to pay attention to how many words I write in one day. That’s part of the whole strategy of getting to 50,000!

 

Now, I also want to say that I DO try to write every day. This is another important habit I must nurture, on account of the ebook challenge I am doing this year. I only have one week to write the ebooks, and if I miss a day of writing, then that’s MORE words I have to write the next day! All the same, I have a strategy of writing the ebooks that is not based on how many words I can write in one day; mostly, what part of the book that I can get done.

 

That was the strategy I have been using for all of the things that I write. I write a chapter here and a chapter there. Or, I write one section in a chapter one day, then the next the next day. It really just depends on the type of book that it is, what kind of work needs to be done for it that day, and how it is organized. It also depends on what information I have available for it! For example, I tried to write an article about something this week, but I had not done enough research on this topic to be able to write about it. If I don’t get enough research done or I don’t have interviews or I don’t have my notes, then SOME things won’t get written.

 

So here are my word tallies for the seven days I tracked them. Some notes about what is listed: The “Miscel writing” is any kind of writing. An article, essay, poem, etc. Something I don’t have for a current WIP. I am working on several works-in-progress at this time. I am also writing a nonfiction book which I started writing several years ago and only recently picked up to finish writing.  

 

Day One:

Miscel writing: 1202 words

WIP1: 495 words

Chapter notes: 125 words

Total: 1822 words

 

Day Two:

Miscel writing: 705 words

Blog post: 945 words

WIP1: 131 words

Part of a Chapter: 735 words

Total: 2516 words

 

Day Three:

Article: 1675 words

More of the chapter I started writing yesterday: 850 words

Total: 2525 words

 

Day Four:

The rest of the chapter I started writing two days ago: 1968 words

(Total word count for that chapter is 3562 words. It was 10 pages!)

WIP1: 400 words

Total: 2368 words

 

Day Five:

Miscel writing: 1333 words

150 words of an article (need to do more research)

135 words in WIP2

Total: 1618 words

 

Day Six:

70 words added to the chapter I finished writing (I thought I was done??)

200 words added to the ebook I thought I “finished” writing (I was reviewing it before sending it to the editor)

Two interviews: 683 words for both interviews

Total:  953 words

 

Day Seven:

Blog post: 1325 words

Blog post: 1147 words

Total:  2472 words

 

 

I noticed something I did a lot when I was actually paying attention to how many words I wrote: I pushed myself to write more. If I wasn’t satisfied with the number of words I wrote when I was done writing, then I would see if I can write 5 more words or 10 more words to get to some “magic number.” Usually, when I did this, I went above and beyond that suggestion. I wrote a hundred more words or even three hundred more words. That was awesome.

 

Another thing that happened was that, sometimes, I would call something I wrote “done” then add more stuff later in the day. I usually write in the mornings, and then I go about my day doing things. But I will still have what I wrote in my head. I’ll keep turning sentences over, wondering if I should delete or add something, or if there was anything I forgot to cover. I often went back to add more. I guess we are never really done writing the things we have finished writing!

 

Also, sometimes, it’s hard to make time to write every day. I ran into that challenge a few times this week.

 

Friday was a challenge. I did a lot of running around on that day. I was constantly jumping in and out of my car! I squeezed in bits and pieces of writing here and there, but nothing substantial. It was only in the evening, when I finally had some time for myself, that I was able to sit down and get some serious writing done.

 

On Saturday, I went over my ebook and added more stuff. I also added more to the chapter I “finished” writing and I also did two interviews on that day. That was basically all the writing I was able to get done!

 

Sunday was also a challenge. Right after I got out of bed, I had to take my oldest in for a COVID-19 test because he had close contact with someone who had close contact with someone who tested positive. So we got that done. I could have done some writing in the two hours I spent waiting in the car, but that would not have gone well because I was FREEZING! My fingers were like icicles. Then I had a bunch of stuff going on after I got home, like getting the crockpot dinner going so that it would be ready at a good time. It was later in the day, after I did some editing for a friend, dinner was done and the Christmas tree was put away, that I was able to finally write. That writing was my two blog posts (I usually blog on the weekends).

 

I am still glad I found the time to write, though. It’s so important to me to have time to write – especially every day! I actually WANT to write every day, now that I have been for so long. If a day goes by and I don’t get to write, then that day just wasn’t complete. I feel the same way if a day goes by in which I can’t read. If it’s important to us to write every day, then we need to make that time to write every day. All the same, I go easier on myself if I am not feeling well or I don’t have the energy to write!

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