“How many words did you write today?”
That’s a common question that we writers often ask each other. A novella is a minimum of 20,000 words while a full length novel can be anything above 50,000 – so that’s a lot of words to write, make pretty and get ready for publication. Famous writers have shared their daily word count goals through the decades. Stephen King said he aims for 2,000 a day. Others have named figures between 500 and 3,000 words.
I’ve done the NaNoWrimo style sprint thrice but with a target of 30,000 words each time as I was writing short stories for kids and before that, a rom com novella. Thirty days for 30,000 word seemed comfortable enough with an average required target of 1,000 daily. So even if I skipped a day, I could easily make up for it the next day. A thousand words take me between 45 to 60 minutes to write.
This month, I started writing my first full length novel. I’ve been able to put in between 1000 to 1600 words each day, in sessions of around 45 minutes each. I am enjoying the daily writing habit again which comes with every WIP, but I confess that I feel guilty when I’m not writing. There are authors around me who say they’re writing all day. I wonder what kind of massive word count that translates to. I can’t go beyond 2,000 usually and find my writing/content quality suffering. Maybe it’s because my hands and brain get tired by then.
My highest daily word count to date has been 3,500 words when I was writing The Adventures of Ernie Fish during a period of high functioning depression. Fellow authors I interact with seem to clock in at about 1500 to 2000 at the most just like I do. Of course when there’s a deadline (from a publisher or yourself), the daily word count goes up near the finish line.
I always say that a shitty first draft is better than no first draft. We writers are in a race with ourselves, trying to get our words out there. What’s your daily word count like?