I think I have an obsession with counting how many words I’ve written.
While I realise that how many words I put down on paper doesn’t matter that much so long as I tell the story well without bloating it with unnecessary scenes, I can’t help but frequently check how long my chapters are. That little word counter in the corner of a Word document is the equivalent of a clock during an exam for me. Which means I basically stare at it instead of actually writing. I turn off my internet, music and keep my phone well away from me, and yet I still get distracted.
If I could write as fast as I find ways to procrastinate, I would be done my first draft by now. Probably my second too.
But I must say, it is rather interesting researching word counts in famous books, especially since I’m not entirely sure how long mine should be. I read somewhere that publishers prefer books to be between 80000 and 100000 words, so I’ve been using those figures as a very rough guide, and have come to the conclusion that I would like my book to be around 1000000 words. It’s helpful to see physical copies of books and know how many words are in them. In this regard, the Harry Potter books have been a great help.
And then there’s the issue of my chapter word counts, because they are terribly inconsistent!
On average, one chapter is around 4000 words, yet I’ve had ones that were only 3000 and ones that were well over 7000. Basically, I jump around a fair bit. However, I’m trying to stick with shorter chapters, and any long ones are broken up into sections.
Shorter chapters, for me at least, tend to be more appealing, as I like to read an entire chapter in one go and books with long chapters make is terribly difficult to do so at times. At least breaking up longer chapters offers places where a reader can take a break without being in the middle of something important.
So while keeping a tab on my word count is important, I probably ought to stop doing it every couple hundred words.