We write every single day. We write social media posts, blog posts, and compositions in schools and/or novels. Some make a living by indulging themselves with words. However, one does not have to be an author to be able to write because whether you are an artist, a student, an office worker or a researcher, it is an inevitable task to write essays or reports.
How much do we write each day, or how much did we write in a single piece? We can measure this statistically in fact through word count.
General Tips on Writing and Word Count
Gone were the days when people had to write in pen and paper hence not a lot of people wrote back then. But these days, with the advancement of technology, many of us write, and we write a lot. There are also a lot of types of crafts that have emerged such as tweets and blogs.
If you’re about to embark on a writing journey, here are tips to help you out:
- Have an outline. Having an outline makes it easier for you to craft your thoughts and organize them. It also helps you focus on your topic and prevent unnecessary items (though you may not have to have an outline when writing the 140-character tweet).
- Know what you want to write about. We cannot give what we don’t have, right? In the same way, we cannot tell others about something that we just don’t have a clue about. Hence, it’s important that you know your topic. Figure out what you want to write, know your topic, and then write.
- Know the type of content you’re writing. Determine the type of content you’re writing, whether it’s a Facebook post or a commentary at a newspaper, or a poem. Some compositions have definitive word counts set for them, such as the abstract of a research paper which should be 200-250 words. News items and advertisements are kept as short and catchy as possible, while novels usually have 60,000-100,000 words to be generally safe.
How to Become a Prolific Writer
Have you ever wondered how Rick Riordan could manage to release at least two books in a year when you just can’t seem to finish your own story even after a year? Or how Stephen King wrote The Running Man within a week?
Ernest Hemingway on the other hand, wrote approximately 500 words a day, and still had lots of bestseller novels. And did you know that Tom Wolfe wrote A Man in Full in eleven years? Why is that so? No, they don’t have forty-hour jobs, nor experience frequent writer’s block to slow their writing pace. But they aren’t unsuccessful, are they?
As a writer, inspiration could always be a factor at how you work. Some good days, we could write 20 pages in three hours. Some bad days we write seven words in seven hours. Nevertheless, tracking the daily word count determines the progress in our composition.
To help you become as prolific as possible when writing long content, here are some helpful tips:
- Set a daily word count goal, but you don’t have to set it at 5,000 words punched in your keyboard. You can start with 300 word count goal and start working up for the next days or weeks, depending on how you manage. If daily goals make you feel constrained, others recommend you set it instead to weekly goals. Nevertheless, keep it achievable.
- Write at the same time every day. This sets you ready to write every time you sit in front of your computer.
- Find out the location and other statistics where/why/how you work best. Tracking your word count in different locations may help you determine what helps you work best, and what distractions you’re dealing with. It could be good to write in bursts without interventions such as the Internet (especially emails and chats, ugh).
- Never bore yourself. If you are bored with what you are writing, most probably, your readers might be bored when they read it too. Pump up your imagination and recreate! You’re more creative than just that.
As an author, in reality, having high word count may mean you have not edited it, or the story was too long. Having high daily word count may only mean we write fast thus deliver a story fast and saved time, but may not mean we wrote it really well. Always value quality over quantity, as the adage goes.
Why Count Words?
Different types of writing require different lengths. Some legality requires documents to have certain lengths. For journalism and advertising, the goal is to entice people through lesser words because not everyone has enough time to take too long on news items and announcements. Translators were paid according to word count. Lengths of different genres of books also vary – thrillers pacing by 50,000 to 70,000 words, romance by 50,000 words and fantasy by 120,000 – 150,000 words. Some awards recognize and classify works according to the number of words in them. So, the questions should be, why NOT count words?
If you want to start practicing writing different lengths, check out this word counter tool that you can use to determine word count.