Develop the Habit of Meeting a Word Count

Have you ever seen the movie where the writer bangs his head against the wall while a white, empty computer screen flashes in the background?

We can run into the same frustration if we find ourselves at a deadline with too little time, and too many words left.

But can we be honest?

One way to avoid deadline angst is to get into the habit of regularly meeting a word count, even when there are none.


In today’s Tuesday Tip, I share three ways to develop the habit of meeting a word count:  

Determine a reasonable daily word count

How do you determine a daily word count?

You begin by taking an honest look at your life. If you are employed outside the home, have little ones around your feet, or are trying to juggle writing with other commitments, factor that in. If you are writing full-time, consider the other parts of “writing” such as marketing, blogging, and connecting with readers. 

Weigh what is important.

Consider removing or downsizing what takes your time, but doesn’t add value.

Determine how much time you can devote to writing each week.

For example, if you can write uninterrupted for two hours a week, consider making a goal of 250-350 words. That’s a blog post. That’s a short devotion. That’s the beginning of an article, the first page of a proposal, or the lead-in hook in a chapter.

If you have more time to write, consider a greater number of words. 


Create space on your calendar to write

On every calendar there is sacred space.

If you have a dental appointment from 3:00 to 4:30 on Tuesday, you won’t let anything else interrupt that. This is the same personal philosophy for church, or your job, or meeting with the plumber. When you write it on your calendar, you are telling yourself and everyone else in your family that those time slots are protected. 

Create space on your calendar for your writing time.

Give them the same weight that you do the dentist or small group.

As you begin to honor those hours, others around you will start to give them weight as well. 


Actually write

If you are under a deadline, write on that project. If you are blogging on a series, or blogging on a schedule, write those posts. Whatever project you have in front of you, break them down into attainable and reasonable mini-goals and work on them in your allotted writing time.

If there are no deadlines, choose a free-writing prompt and simply write. You may be surprised at what comes out of that writing exercise.

In COMPEL Training, we offer mini-tasks with each of the myriad of writing courses. Choose one and use that as your writing inspiration.


Your Turn

Can you think of a realistic word count that works for you and your writing goals?  In the comment section below, share with the COMPEL community how you determined what word count works for you.  Now, start writing!

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