Wednesday, 23 June 2010

An interesting little experiment I conducted ...

After my post about keeping track of word count, which if you haven't read you can read it here, I conducted a little experiment. I had to convince myself that I was right, because you know, we don't always practice what we preach, do we? Of course I sneak a look at my word count! You kidding?

This is what I did:

For five consecutive days, I kept track of what I wrote per day, by bookmarking where I stopped. (And boy was that a feat for me, because I don't think I have written more than two or three days in a row before.) And I stopped writing when I couldn't write any more; where I felt I had come to a natural break in my thought process; where if I was to write any more I think it would have been forced and gobbledygook.

At the end of the five days, I counted the words I wrote for each day, and to my surprise, day by day my word count grew. What do you think that means? Do you think it means my mind felt free, and it took advantage of not having any pressure on it?

Here are the stats:

Day one: 1065
Day two: 1156
Day three: 1277
Day four: 1282
Day five: 1404

Who's up for trying this and letting me know their results?


  1. You were prolific! Yes, I agree not looking at word count freed you. I don't know how people give themselves a # to get to. I can't compartmentalize my inspiration to write that way. I hope your writing continues to go well.

  2. This is a great idea. I will have to try it sometime. I always give myself deadlines and it seems to put so much pressure on me I get writers block.
    Great job!

  3. That is fantastic! I never write by word count (although I always check it) I usually write by scene. Once the scene is finished then I can either get on to the next or stop for the day. It's helped a lot because I won't stop writing until the scene is finished. Some days I get 2600 words, other's only 900 but I don't care, as long as it's a fluid piece of writing. Beginning middle end.

  4. Wow! That's pretty darn awesome! I think I might give it shot! I probably end up disapointed with the results, but hey - at least I'm writing everyday, right? YAY!


  5. I found this very interesting as I know nothing about word count feed.
    You learn something every day.


  6. I can't give up word count altogether, but I suppose I could quit looking at it every 10 mins. You know like you watch a clock when you're waiting for class to get out, or the start of something big?

  7. Wow you've been productive! Hmm I think I might give that a try...I'll let you know how it turns out!

  8. That is very interesting (and pretty darn cool) Jessica! I'm not sure what it means but it can't be bad.

    This would never work for me though. I'm such a hit and miss writer I've written 10,000 words in a day before but then more often can only manage a couple hundred.

    Good for you though!

  9. I find that when I'm tired I concentrate more on word count because I want to bust 1,000 words out before giving up, however when I'm on a roll I just continue to write until I feel that I have to go back to reality... which sucks, so the less tired and frustrated I am the faster the words flow.

    Though to join in on the fun I will work over the next few days writing without counting and see where I end up!

  10. I really think that as we practice, every day, we get used to it and start doing more. Its just like any other exercize I guess.

    And I´d love to join the count, but I´m actually trying to cut down words lol =)

  11. But I like to see how many words I'm at :(

  12. You did awesome and I think the more often you can write, the easier the flow becomes. It's all the stopping and starting that kills my flow. However, I'm seriously trying to avoid checking my word count. Instead, I'm trying to focus on my overall goal.

  13. For a while I had a small post-it note over my word count running clock...thing. Anyway. Yes.

    I'm very tempted to join you in this experiment, but I also have deadlines I want to keep. :) But if I do, I'll link back to you!

  14. DUDE. I'm a FREAK about tallying up my word count at the end of the day. Have to do it - it makes me feel all shiny and productive and stuff :D

  15. As soon as I settle into a regular practice, I'll give it a shot! Don't wait by the phone for that call :)

  16. Great experiment - but I know I would fail. My word count shows at the bottom of the document all the time. Not only do I know my daily count, I can track it by the nano-second. Hey, don't knock it. Sometimes that's my last-ditch attempt at inspiration: Look! Another word! *claps to self*

  17. I used to check my word count all the time. But I finally made myself wait until a chapter or two were complete before checking. I get worse toward the end of the MS because I know I'm so close.
    Congrats to you on being so productive!

  18. And, okay, okay, I'll bite. Starting today, I'm going to keep track of what I write for five days (OH GOD my fear of commitment. Dude. It's harsh.), which means from today, Wednesday, until Sunday. I can do it, right?? :d

  19. hahah! Zoe! Excellent! Lemme know if you need a live person to fan you down and hold your finger away from the tools tab in those strenuous moments, and I'll superimpose myself, okay? ;o)

  20. i just dont ever count words cause i dont write stuff every day cause of doing other things like swimming and playing baseball. i just write til it feels like its time to stop and some times i get a whole bunch of words and on other times not so many. i think its best to just be happy with what you did and not get all unhappy with what you didnt get done.

  21. I measure my day by word count - it's what keeps me going! I try to aim for 3000 a day, minimum 2500. But that's my job, really, so not sure if it counts! I found I have to do it by word count rather than time, as I fritter away time very easily.

  22. The trick is to get those words written, isn't it? I try to write to the end of the scene, or the end of the section and THEN look at the word count. It is an easy thing to obsess over. I think I'll try it your way for a while try to leave the word count alone and just write. We'll see...

  23. huh- that's really interesting. My theory is that as the story expands or moves forward we writers get excited and start pushing it along.

  24. Cool experiment! You wrote a LOT!!

  25. Yes that's what happens to me too.

    Unfortunately, when you have to write to a schedule, you need to think about word count. But now, I know what my a certain amount of words look like on a page and so I know to keep going until then but I prepare my mind with enough material to keep my mind busy. However, if I have the idea in my mind when I know my word count is finished for the day, I don't stop. I don't want to lose my flow.

    Very interesting experiment.


  26. That's exactly what I hit. Anywhere between 1K and 17K - when I'm in first draft phase, which I'm not. I'm in revising/studying...phase. :)

  27. You built up steam!
    I write everything by hand first, so it's difficult to guage how many words.

  28. I love experiments and theories! Great idea. I'll have to try it when I start a new wip.
    Congrats on the wordage!
    Oh, and you were right this morning on my post. I meant prose that's gorgeous, not just publishable. :-)

  29. That is great. I build up the more I do, but then I take a day off (or two) and I have to start from the beginning all over again.

  30. Sweet! You got a ton accomplished. I've actually done that and it works. Yup, it does. ";-)

  31. Great work - you did a TON of writing! I wonder if you just 'hit the groove' with forcing yourself to write every day :)

  32. When I worked on the first draft of my current wip, I was averaging 500-1500 words/day at the beginning. Near the end, the count was between 2000-3000 per day. Maybe that was partly due to the excitement of coming to the end of the novel. :D

  33. Whoa! Nice.
    I tried to SET a limit of words...I got pissed at everyone who interrupted me when I coudn't make the goal...
    Not into goals anymore.
    I'd love to try this though.

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  35. Hi!
    "Met" you at Shannon's place and got intrigued by your name and your literary bent!

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    P.S. Just got back from China and captured both in my journal and in photo some amazing "tweakings" of the English language!



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