These days we are prisoners to the idea that achievement in writing equates to number of words written. I often see tweets from writers bemoaning lack of progress, because they missed the target.
Well, I don’t subscribe to this idea at all. Word count is an essential writing tool. Publishers and editors use it to define scale of commissioned work. Writers have to learn to meet those counts. It’s part of the skill set.
But it is not an end in itself. What counts more is whether what’s been written meets the purpose intended by the author. Which, ultimately, is to evoke an emotion in the recipient. So instead of feeling guilty at not having written x-number of words, try looking back over what you’ve achieved in terms of those deeper goals and aims of writing. The key questions are:
1. Has it advanced your intent in the writing?
2. Is the style to your liking? Are they the right words?
In short, what counts is the quality of end product – focus on purpose. Being able to produce that to a specified word length is one marker of that quality. But only one.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013