My Word Count Experiment, the Rachel Aaron Way

I’ve posted before about Rachel Aaron and her 10,000 Words Per Day plan. It’s a simple, yet effective method to increase your word count. And while you might not reach 10,000 words per day, you should increase your output.

Of course, like many exercise routines, diet plans, or productivity programs, it looks cool and easy, but then you never follow through with it. I say “you,” but I really mean “me.” But I’m sure I’m not the only one. We all know some things we could do to make our lives better, but for whatever reason, we stall, we delay, and we continue to be lazy. Well, I’m sick of it. I want to start getting more bang for my writing buck. I want to know how much I can really churn out. I want to know when I am most productive. I want to know what other factors affect my word count.

So what got me super excited about trying the Rachel Aaron plan? I think it was reading about writer Holly Black and her Project Write Faster. Holly Black challenged other writers to use the Rachel Aaron method and post their results. Many writers took up the challenge, and posted results, including Holly Black herself.

So what did I see from their results? 1) Writing, and a word count, are very personal things that tend to vary dramatically for all sorts of reasons. There is no such thing as a uniform, established when, where, and how much to write–not that I thought there were. I was just surprised to see how varied it could be. I want to find what works for me. 2) Just about everyone saw their word count improve. I want to improve my words per day, but not burn out. 3) Data is king. It might not get me up to 10,000 words per day, but it should help me find factors that help and harm my word count.

So what is my plan? Like Rachel Aaron suggests, I’ve set up an Excel spread sheet to track date, time, words, total time, words per hour, and any other random notes. Hopefully I can spot some trends. When determining my words per day, I will include not only my fiction, but also my blog posts and my freelance writing. A typical day for me has been around 1,500 words per day, but I really have no idea. But I have a feeling I can do better. I’m curious to see what the data shows. I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

And as much as the idea pains me, I may have to turn off my internet, or at least go invisible on gchat and close the Twitter tab for stretches of time. That should be interesting. Also, like Rachel Aaron (and others linked to above), I will purchase Scrivener. I’ve been losing a lot of time either jumping between documents or forgetting where I’ve written something down. I want it all contained in one place. Other than getting more sleep, I’m not sure what factors to look for. That should make for some pleasant surprises.

Did anyone else participate in Project Write Faster? Anyone have results for Holly Black that I missed? I’d love to hear your stories, your tips, and your warnings. Post them below if you like.

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