The Problem with Word Count Goals

I’m glad I’m doing this project—but it doesn’t handle edits!

November 10, 2019Filed under Blog#editing#productivity#writingMarkdown source

I’m a little over a week into my November writing project, and I’m very much enjoying it. However, I ran into a fairly obvious problem today: word counts goals don’t handle editing well. This morning I picked up a piece I started a few months ago, which I’d like to finish and publish by the end of the month. After ten minutes of working on it, I had written some new words… but there were 40 fewer words than when I started.

This is to be expected. Good writing requires editing. This shows the downside of word count goals quite clearly, though: progress on good writing often entails the word count going down.

In the case of this little project, I’m fine with it. The point is to get all these muscles moving again. Most days this month, I am working on new materials. Hitting my goal won’t be hard even with editing involved. Still: a reminder that time spent writing each day might end up being a better metric in the long run for these kinds of goals than word count.