No Word Count

excerpt-airship-princessA new year and a new Round of Words in 80 Days!

I am trying something new this round. I’m working on a novel, and I’m writing it by hand.

Although I usually type my stories straight into MS Word, I have written several of the stories in The Cities of Luna in lab notebooks. They’re just the right size for a five to ten thousand word short. When I transcribe them, it automatically becomes revision one because I edit and revise as I transcribe.

This is the first time I’m doing it for a novel-length work. I expect it will take a half dozen notebooks. I average about 150 words per page, and there are a hundred pages in each.

When I first started posting with ROW80, I kept track of how many words I wrote in the blog, in my WIP, and whatever else I had going that week. It pleased my OCD to have this detailed information, but it was exhausting. I soon switched to simply reporting the wordcount in my WIP and just noting that I’d done a blog post or two.

Short stories don’t have chapter breaks. I know if I fill close to half the notebook, my story will be over five thousand words. I don’t need to know the exact wordcount until I transcribe it.

In the past few weeks, it’s bothered me that I don’t know my exact wordcount. I don’t know how many words I had when I sat down to write, and how many words I had when I stopped. I have no idea whether I’m ever reaching the magic rate of 1k/hr, and there’s no way to tell if I reach the ever-evasive 2k/hr.

Yet, this also means I can not obsess over my wordcount. I sit down with my notebook, either at home or while I’m out with the kids. (This is one big advantage of writing by hand.) I start writing, and I keep writing, only allowing myself brief internet checks on my cell phone to figure out something like the altitude of the Kármán line, (100 km, by the way) or to pick a character name. I’m finding myself getting more done, even though I can’t back that up with an actual wordcount.

So, for the ROW80 goals…

Write at least a page or two six days a week.

That simple. If I sit down to write a page, I usually write more. But I’m not keeping close track. Next round, I might go back to writing directly into MS Word. I will definitely have different goals then.

It will be the spring.



…are happening in the spring!

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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6 Responses to No Word Count

  1. Chris Loehmer Kincaid says:

    I spend a lot of time on numbers as well. And then once I have those numbers, I figure out averages and percentages. Sometimes I make myself nuts with numbers. Oh, well. I’m at least glad that I’m not alone.

    Best wishes with changing things up. Keep going!

  2. alberta says:

    good luck with the novel – envy you writing by hand – I’ on dictaphone full time now:) still words are words are words – looking forward to hearing more of your progress:)

    • I’ve used a voice recorder to make notes, but I would probably get frustrated speaking the actual story. Something like…

      She leaned in, but still couldn’t..
      What? I’m busy?
      (Mumble mumble)
      If you need something from me, speak clearly!
      I just want to know what’s for dinner!

      • alberta says:

        🙂 it is difficult – mainly putting in punctuation and ‘new line’ commands – checks the flow somewhat:) – am getting used to it slowly- takes time tho’ take care:)

  3. spottedgeckgo says:

    Getting words down is more important than counting them. Remember, counting words is really just a metric to keep you honest and writing every day. Pages can fill that same goal, even if it isn’t directly comparable to what some others are going. As long as you are writing every day and getting words in, your story will move right along. Reposting an article I wrote on this today, it’s that time again. It specifically tackles total length and why not to worry about it at all until you are deep into the editing phases of a novel. For daily tracking it’s nice, but pages are just as nice. Good luck on meeting your goals.

    • I used to cut a lot when I edited. Now, although I still cut, I find that I am adding MUCH more! So I always keep that in mind when I think about my ongoing word count… 50k could easily blossom up to 60k or more.

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