September Writing Challenge

Word Count Program

It was only a few weeks ago that I blogged about the challenges of using word count as a measure of productivity, and my decision to abandon counting words on a daily basis.

Feedback on this issue has been interesting and unexpected: it turns out word count matters to a lot of writers, and they are passionate about it.

While not a perfect method, I agree it is worth using if it can help motivate and reach writing goals. For me, it had reached the point where it made me stop writing altogether and that’s why I had to stop.

After more readings and discussions on the issue, I still have mixed feelings about word counts. Therefore when I was challenged to participate in the #SeptWritingChallenge on Twitter, my knee-jerk reaction was to immediately decline.

I am always up for trying new methods if it can help my writing in any way so after some reflection, I decided to try it for a month. WritingChallenge.org’s challenge is to write 500 words a day, and they accept one hour of editing as the equivalent of writing 500 words, which addresses my main concern about word counts not taking into account revisions. Participants are asked to tweet everyday about their results, whether the writing day was productive on not.

It’s still not a perfect system but it is still better than pure word count. Revision time is often not easy to calculate as I don’t use a stopwatch to eliminate every interruption, but it can still be estimated. It also doesn’t address time spent on research or critiques, among other things, but I still take them into account in my Twitter reports.

We’ll see at the end of the month if it has helped with my writing production. I have so many projects on the go, I can use any help I can get to get me to the finish line. Just knowing I have to share my results on Twitter for everyone to see forces me to make sure I have something to report: the reporting of results is an even bigger motivator than the word count itself so perhaps that is the key to everything.

I believe no system is perfect and most everything can be improved upon, so it’s a worth a try. Like my mother says – “Il y a juste les fous qui ne changent pas d’idée.” (Only fools never change their minds.)

My progress can be followed on Twitter @JennerMichaud.

WWR1436

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