Should We Stick to a Word Count?

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s shortest short story. Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.

I’ve heard published writers talk about writing to meet a word count. Emily Shore from Eagan, Minnesota, writes 1,000 words a day to fulfill her writing goal and wrote “The Legend of the Last Bookkeeper” in 2012. She, like many authors, writes to ensure her work gets done and possibly that she never loses her creativity. But for me, I’ve never been a word count geek.

I always abide by my instincts and prefer to write on a flowing stream of consciousness until I realize that my novel is more than 30,000 words. But I never set a word goal because to me, the content is more important than the length. I understand that some writers never obsess over an exact number of words, but I want to assure you that having a word count is irrelevant to writing fiction. Only your stories count. Your truth, your characters, and your beliefs will shine through your fiction and render all calculations gone.

Stephen King says, “If you want to be a writer, you must…read a lot and write a lot.” This is true, but I don’t think that a word count is necessary for finishing one’s creative writing. If you’re like me, and you don’t like calculating your words, don’t ever stress over the idea of writing 1,000+ words a day. Your readers will relish your fiction when you allow yourself that freedom, and it doesn’t matter whether your stories are 300 words or 30,000.

Did you know that some stories are only 6 words short? Visit Ernest Hemingway’s story to find out more at Six Word Stories.


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