Photo by Dan Counsell on Unsplash

The last week has been full of a series of trials for my writing. The week started with some good progress, but ended with a lot of nothing.

I have several topics I will cover this week. Here is the break down of what you can expect below.

  • Goal progress
  • Thoughts for the week
  • Calculating my word count
  • What to include in my word count
  • How I am tracking my word count
  • My new publication
  • Keep Writing

The post is a little heavy talking about word count this week. It is not something that I want to focus on every week. But at the moment I want to get it sorted out in my mind so I can focus on other things.

Goal Progress

My writing log this week covers the week beginning 6 April 2020 and concluding on 12 April 2020. In this time I completed 4,290 words and published four articles.

I have written 21,390 words towards my 1 million word goal and published 32 articles.

The above result means that I need to aim a little higher each week now for 26,046 words per week or 3,720 per day. While for my publishing goal, my target is still similar at 13 articles per week or just under 2 per day there is some rounding involved here.

Thoughts For The Week

There were only three days that I recorded writing this week. I got motivated after completing my writers log last Monday. However, the motivation seemed to wane as the week went on.

I wrote some bits and pieces on the other days, but nothing substantial. If I had recorded the writing I did, I likely would end up counting it twice later on. Because it was small sections in posts that were not complete. The two posts that I published were on Tuesday, and Thursday and they performed well.

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Writing both stories was much easier than I expected. In both cases I wrote the first draft in 1–2 hours. However, In both cases I almost entirely rewrote the words while editing. But that is just how writing is sometimes, you write something to rewrite what you mean.

Beyond these two stories, the week kind of fell apart. Friday morning I sat down to put the time in for writing. But over three hours, I achieved little.

I skipped from draft to draft. In one I added a few words, but could not lock onto the topic. Another I got a few sentences down but again lost the train of thought on the topic. Eventually I decided that there was little point trying to force it and went on to other tasks away from writing. But that has got me thinking about how I calculate the words for my goal.

Calculating My Word Count

Ever since I set my first writing goal many years ago, I have struggled with how to calculate the words I write.

The most straightforward method is to take the word count when you push publish. But this rarely reflects the actual amount of words written to get to the end product. I have found to write a single 1,000 word story can take anywhere between 1,000 and 4,000 words. Depending on the amount of editing and rewriting.

I have settled into the idea for the time being of taking the finished word count when I publish a story. It would be too time consuming to record each piece of writing as I do.

Looking at Friday, I likely wrote between 300 and 500 words. But to consider recording that, I would probably spend 15 minutes calculating the exact word count. Only to need to keep track on this for later on so I d0 not count those same words again. Once I complete the story, which includes those words, it will add them in. Meaning that one day int he future I will appear to have written more words than I did on the day.

I want to enjoy the writing process and not spend (waste) hours calculating my word count. — Joel Brown

What to Include in My Word Count

Like calculating my word count, I have also struggled with just what writing to include towards the goal.

Right now I am just including blog posts, stories or any other longer form content I create. However, sometimes in the past when I have also included even social media posts.

It comes down to a balance of what we consider writing; I suppose. On one hand, a tweet for twitter is hard to define as writing. But being succinct in getting your point across in the space of a tweet. Now, that can be more demanding than writing a full-length article.

But not all social media is about one sentence. At one point when I was sharing consistently to Instagram, I would write two to three paragraphs for the caption. With each post being between 200 and 300 words. When you add up two posts a day across a week, that is a decent chunk of writing. Anywhere from 2–4,000 words.

It is a challenge that I think will be with me for a long time. There are many outlets I write, but could I include them in the tally? Things like comments on Facebook posts, even comments on Medium articles. There are dozens to consider.

With this goal of mine to write 1 million words, every idea to contribute to the tally is worth thinking about. But my question to myself every time is “Am I creating value?” If I cannot answer that question in the affirmative, without doubt, is it worth including?

How I Am Tracking My Word Count

Earlier in the year I shared a post about how I was planning to track my word count for 2020.

How I Track My Writing in 2020
My way for tracking the words I write against my long term writing

In the last couple of weeks I have moved away from this approach. The program I was using was Ulysses, with a series of folders and goals set up inside the program.

I realised that using Ulysses App for this purpose and nothing else was expensive. My subscription to a product called Setapp gave me access to Ulysses at a cost of AU$14-AU$15 per month. Although initially I used other apps in the subscription Ulysses was the only one I used any more. So I cancelled the subscription.

I could have a subscription just for the Ulysses App as a lower price of AU$8 per month or AU$62 per year. However, I still could not see the value in paying this for the purpose that I was using it.

This has left me to return to track my goal with Microsoft Excel. Since I already own access to the program, I may as well try to make this method work. I will share a separate post soon detailing how I am keeping track.

My New Publication

You might notice at the top that this story is part of a publication called “The Write Space”. It will be a place to keep any stories I write about writing and I may look at opening it up to other writers. I would love to hear from anyone that would be interested in submitting a story about writing.

When I looked through my stories on Medium, I noticed all the writing ones were not in publications. So it seemed like a logical idea to create a publication to keep them together. Especially since I am planning to share a weekly writers log unlikely to interest other publications.

Keep Writing

I hope that my general musing on my writing has been insightful or helpful to someone.

I was trying to think of my most important take away for the week and I believe it is this.

Whether you succeed or fail in reaching your goal any day, always start today with unwavering faith that today you will reach your goal. — Joel Brown

I hope that your writing over the coming week flows freely and look forward to sharing another update next week.