poetry and prose about place

writing a novel – words, day by day

with 4 comments

I have reached Draft Four of my novel ‘Crossing at a Walk’ and the story is all told.  I want to see how I reached my current word count of  78,598 words, so I have created some graphs showing my progress. I began in 2013 with 8 days of writing. I did a little more on one day in 2014. And this year I have worked steadily since early March.


Crossing at a Walk


My daily writing goal was 2000 words, as Stephen King recommends in his book On Writing (Scribner, 2000).  I was quite variable in the number of words written each day. Early in the writing, in 2013, I had three very productive days when I wrote more than 3000 words.


Cummulative Words


A graph of the cumulative number of words shows I was steady in my progress.  Now, with editing, the total number of words should stay steady, or decrease.

If I compare this to my progress during the writing of ‘Open to the Skies’ (‘Saving the Landing Church’), my progress was similar.  You can see below where I began editing, at about 25 days.  For this book, it took 27 days to reach this point.


Open to the Skies


Keeping track of the number of words I write has three purposes:

  • the daily number of words is a tangible record of progress and for me, a reward at the end of the writing day.
  • the cumulative number of words shows me how long the book is getting; may aim is for less than 90,000 words, usual for books of the type I am writing.
  • I report the number of words I have written to my husband, keeping him ‘involved’ and making him extra joyous as the day comes when I will read my book to him.


For your writing, do you have an aim for your daily number of words?


Copyright  2015  Jane Tims 


Written by jane tims

April 15, 2015 at 5:15 pm

4 Responses

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  1. How fascinating to graph this progress out. It becomes something so tangible seen this way. Good for you, Jane. Go, go, go.

    Liked by 1 person


    April 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    • Hi. I also like to compare my progress with respect to the first book. No word yet from a publisher. Jane

      Liked by 1 person

      jane tims

      April 16, 2015 at 7:38 pm

  2. “I had three very productive days” This statement caught my eye/attention. How do we measure/account for a productive day? I imagine yours isn’t all about word count but it is part of your criteria. Do we all need the same standards? Of course we don’t. Do we all need to do something useful everyday? Useful to whom?

    Jane, just thinking and writing…out loud. LOL Going to try to find something today that makes me feel productive. 🙂 And not going to beat myself down for not writing a great novel. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


    April 16, 2015 at 7:21 am

    • Hi. Thanks for the comment. Of course, quantity does not equal quality. Just one of many measures. With writing, I usually set a goal (for example, make a character’s diction consistent all through chapters 4 and 5) and I get up from my desk when that task is done. I am like that with everything I do. It is one reason I love writing poetry … The goal can be reached in a short time (sometimes). Jane

      Liked by 1 person

      jane tims

      April 16, 2015 at 9:54 am

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