How’s the Word Count Experiment Going?

Not too long ago, I posted that I would be running an experiment to see if I could successfully improve my daily word count using the Rachel Aaron (twitter, blog) method that allows her to hit upwards of 10,000 words per day. So, it’s been a little while. Have I seen any changes in my writing?

The short answer? Yes. Before the experiment began, my word count would average around 1,500 words per day. This included everything from the blog posts, to writing fiction, freelance articles, and other writing projects. Once I started keeping track of my writing (and pushing myself), I averaged a daily word count of 2,400 words per day. That’s 60% more writing per day on average. That’s great, right?

Well, yes and no. I did write more, but I didn’t write consistently. Some days I did great, getting a word count of over 3,500 words. But towards the end of the first week, I wrote just under 800 words one day. So, first lesson: write more consistently. Any other lessons or surprises?

Yes, self. Many. So I didn’t hit 10,000 words, like Rachel Aaron does. I don’t know if I can ever get there, let alone do it consistently, but I think I can get closer to it. I realized that I didn’t know what I was capable of. Also, I learned that I wrote faster and better in the morning. My pace and quality fell off in the afternoon, and I was spent by the evening. This surprised me, because I had always thought of myself as a night owl. During college, I would write late into the night. I guess having to wake up early as an adult (not to mention spending evenings with my wife) shifted things around. I learned that I might get a small burst of creativity just before I headed off to bed, but if I needed to write a big project, it was best to get it done first thing. This also means I need to shift errands, interviews, and appointments to the afternoon. A lunchtime errand makes it too easy for me to move slowly in the morning, and then the day is wasted.

I also realized that the “knowledge” portion in the Rachel Aaron equation was crucial to turning out a good word count. If I was outlining or plotting, I moved slowly. If I knew what I wanted to write before I started typing, I could produce big numbers. So final lesson: consciously think about what I want to do before I start writing, even if it’s a looser, more creative task like plotting.

So will I get to 10,000 words per day like Rachel Aaron? Probably not. But I’ve already learned so much about how I write that I didn’t know a week ago. Even if I stumble and have an off day, I’m sure my numbers can only go up. It’s just a question of fine tuning the process and constant measuring. I’ll keep you posted on future results, and thanks again to Rachel Aaron for such a great plan. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs to boost their word count.

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