So I Started Tracking My Word Count

January 15, 2014 § 6 Comments

And was that ever an eye-opener.

January 15, 2014


LERA meeting January 11, 2014. L-R: Jeffe Kennedy, Katie Lane, and Robin Perini.

At last Saturday’s Land of Enchantment Romance Authors (LERA) meeting, four published authors shared their insight into the challenges of meeting contractual deadlines.

Darynda Jones (Fifth Grave Past the Light; Death, Doom and Detention), Jeffe Kennedy (Master of the Opera; Rogue’s Possession), Katie Lane (Going Cowboy Crazy; Flirting with Texas), and Robin Perini (Behind the Lies; The Cradle Conspiracy) all had their unique experiences, but one thing they agreed on:

“Keep track of how long it takes you to write and how many words,” said Katie.

“And then push yourself,” added Jeffe.

So I started keeping a daily timesheet in Excel to track how much time I spend on my writing. (This will come in handy come tax time, when, you know, I actually start making money at writing to be taxed on.) At the end of the daily timekeeping, I noted my word count.

On the second day of tracking, I had written 732 words. I scrapped more than half of those words in revisions. By the time I was done, I had only 220 final words. It had taken me a total of almost four hours.

I’m no math whiz, (obviously not, I’m a Liberal Arts major who writes in her spare time) but I’m pretty sure that four hours to produce 220 words is cause for some serious process improvement.

Yeah, I need to push myself.

Don’t tell my boss, though.

Oh, wait. My boss doesn’t care about my word count.

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§ 6 Responses to So I Started Tracking My Word Count

  • Anonymous says:

    Ha! You’re not too far behind me, Shannon. Some of us write slower than others, but, Jeffe is right, we slowpokes do need to set goals and push ourselves:o)

  • jeffekennedy says:

    Sweet words! (“Jeffe is right.” ;-)) I tried to comment earlier but airplane wifi hated me.

    So, I would qualify that drafting are revising are pretty separate for me. While I might smooth as I go, I mainly draft and then go back and revise as a totally different effort, with a much lower wordcount.

    And look at you go! Good on you to start tracking now.

  • darynda says:

    Aw great post!!! It’s amazing how much we learn about ourselves when we step back and take an unbiased look. Stats are hard to argue with. LOL. And I agree with Jeffe. During that first push, I can get tons of words on the page, but during the rewrites? Not so much. I’m doing really good to get 2k a day at that point.

    Go, Shannon!!! This is a learning process, and you are doing great just by being so willing to accept new challenges and be flexible.

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