"The whole paradigm strikes me as an odd way to go about producing works of art . . . I should say, I don’t think there’s anything about the technique, but I do think it can be restrictive, arbitrary, and doesn’t take into account the realities of the unforeseen, the bursts and surges and bubbles of creativity. In short, I think it puts an artificial constraint on the artistic process."
Whew! I'm not the only one struggling with making word count goals work. It's a shame, too, because I love the idea of visual progress - a stack of pages, a neat row of numbers. I want to feel like I accomplished . . . something.
Now, this concept of word count works for me during NaNo, when I attack that first draft with the energy, focus, and intensity of a tortoise hunting a banana. In my normal writing life, though, I am much slower, more deliberate. I delve into characters' backstories, layer subplots, travel back and forth in time, move from notebook to computer. Some days, the only words I write are scrawled on my mind's notepad with invisible ink.
So, instead of feeling bad that word count goals don't work for me, I'm going to remember the following:
"In short, strive for quality, not quantity. Rather than tracking word count, make sure every word counts and create work you can be proud of and that will entertain and impact readers for years to come."
Do you use word count goals to keep your writing on track? Or do you use some other method? Does it depend on the project? Do you usually feel productive or do you constantly think you're not doing enough?