Don’t over think your word count

Don’t sweat the word count

Don’t sweat the word count

It’s November, and most of my writing friends are currently participating in NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is, it’s National Novel Writing Month where participants are challenged to write 50,000 words on a month. I’ve recently seen posts from a number of children’s authors also worrying about word count on their first draft.

I know I’ve blogged about this before, but it seems to be an issue that comes up a lot, especially in November…

One of the things I’ve learned with first drafts is to just get it done, and don’t sweat about the word count. Your word count will change as your manuscript is edited.

If having a word count goal for your first draft is helpful to getting it done, that’s fantastic. I set goals too – usually a number of chapters of at least 750 words each. I know this will change.

Instead of focusing on your word count, look at the story itself. Will adding words add to the story? In a recent draft I’ve been working on, I found that I needed to add a couple of chapters, thus increasing my word count. This was after I had been through the draft twice.

Many publishers let us know what word count they are looking for. This is wonderful for us as we know what to aim for, however I think we need to focus more on writing a strong story than the number of words, especially on your first draft, as they can change so much as you go through the editing process.

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