I’ve read the cheeky quote “the first million words don’t count” some authors like to promote and I smile. I understand the thinly veiled attempt at describing the writing life, but ultimately the saying is trite, pompous, and not conducive to inspiring new writers without some sort of addendum to acknowledge that many words after a million don’t count either.
Which brings me to the quick topic of the day, word count milestones. I often tell writers in my workshops that word count serves mainly one main trait other than defining whether you’re writing a flash fiction, short story, novella, or novel. Then there’s the non fiction length books which can range quite small, say around 5K words to 20K, 30K, 50K and up.
For me, the primary value of word count is motivation. When I check my word count and see numbers that make me feel like I’m accomplishing my goals, I feel momentum. I feel inspired. I am motivated. The morning of April 17th, I found myself on the cusp of a significant word count milestone – One Million words on the writing site 750Words.com. I purposefully stopped writing on the 17th to get this screen shot:
This morning, I caught the screen shot after I wrote my first word (Michele). I’ve written far more words on my blog sites and likely all my manuscripts. While I have nine published books and one in edit and another in progress, I also possess over a dozen unpublished book manuscripts as well as collections of short stories and poetry never published. I really wanted to commemorate this milestone, because so few sites reward you with a tracking of your cummulative word count over the years of writing on the site. I had a two-and-a-half year period on 750Words.com where I did not write a single word. Yet they kept track of me and kept stats on me, patiently waiting for my return. I am so happy they did so!
My next milestone on 750Words.com is 200 consecutive days with at least 750 written words. I get a badge for that! Ah, the writing life! We do have our fun…