Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Countdown

I don't pay attention to page numbers when I'm reading. Hubby finds this weird. He loves charting his progress, but these things tend to float by me when I'm in the middle of a good book.

But, now that I'm writing more, I kind of understand. Some days (the hard days) every word added is like a victory. I stare at the word count, urging it to rise. Every time I write a sentence, I look to see how many words I added.

Now, I know this probably isn't the best mindset. It isn't the number of words added, but the quality. Right! Right? Also, obsessing over word count isn't the most effective way to get lost in your story or make it exciting for the reader. If you're watching the clock, won't the reader do the same?

So, then I have to ask myself if it is a flaw within my story that is making it difficult to immerse myself in the process of writing it, or if I just happen to have an obsessive, frantic brain. Different days bring different answers.

What about you? Do you find your eyes slipping down to word count too often? Does it pull you out of the story? Or, can you use it as a nonemotional check in?


  1. When I'm writing a first draft, I'm all about the numbers. I check obsessively as I'm writing. Never mind that the words might be awful! I set my quota and do what I can to reach it. (Hmmm... this is probably why my second drafts are so much work! Everything needs fixing!)

    But reading? I'm like you... I just float through the story, totally absorbed.

  2. I check my word count mostly because I have a daily word count goal. Some days it is hard to get the word count in other times it is easy. One of my writing friend swears by Dr. Wicked Write or Die. You put in your word count and the time frame and the consequences. It is kind of a fun way to write and get past the inner editor.

  3. Most of the time I check my word count once I've written a decent chunk - or what feels like a decent chunk - to chart my progress.

    I must admit, though, when I read I often check to see how far I've got to go. Mostly I just measure the pages left with my thumb, but sometimes I do check the page numbers. The sign of a really good book is one which I'm so absorbed in I forget to check how far in I am. :)

  4. I'm not too much into word count because it distracts me and tends to make writing feel like a chore. I do more of a 'scene' count, if that makes sense? I usually start the day working on a scene and try to finish, or nail down one portion of it.

    I'm an obsessive chapter reader. I have to finish once I've started. I might read 7 or 1, but rarely only part.