poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘words per day

writing a novel – words, day by day

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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

writing a novel – words, words, words

with 2 comments

I have kept close track of my progress during the writing of my novel.

I began writing my novel ‘Saving the Landing Church’ on November 1, 2012.  By November 18, I had a short story of 14,432 words.  After November 18, each day, before I saved the document, I took a word count.  This helped me feel productive and let me decide when it was time to start editing the first draft.  In the graph below, you can see the number of words I had on each day after November 18 (Day 1).

During the writing, I decided 60,000 words would be a good goal.  At first, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to reach this many words.  By December 9 (Day 22), I had reached 50,000 words, the story was almost told, and I knew I would reach my goal.     Around Day 26, at a little less than 60,000 words, I was beginning to edit.

total words written at end of day


I also made a graph to show how many words I wrote per day.  My daily goal was 2000 words, as Stephen King recommends in his book On Writing (Schribner, 2000).  Until my editing phase (beginning Day 26), my production was highly variable.  However, I usually wrote more than 1000 words per day.  I had four very productive days when I wrote more than 3000 words.

number words per day

I hope this might help you to be aware of your productivity when writing.

I know that quantity does not equal quality.  I also know that, during editing, my word count could begin to be in the negative.  But, during the phase of producing the first draft,  I do think the number of words is a useful indicator for a writer who wants to make progress on a particular project.


Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

January 7, 2013 at 7:17 am

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