300,000 words? Really?

Over at Write Anything, Ganymeder asked how I know that I've written 300,000 words of fiction.

I don't know how other people count their words, or if they do at all, but since I use yWriter for my fiction, it's pretty easy. Each project, chapter and scene has a word count, with a cumulative total listed. For the big projects (so far), my approximate word counts are:
  • "Goodbye Grammarian" (superhero novel WIP): 96K
  • Flash fiction (a new story every week since September 2009): 115K
  • Short stories, published and unpublished): 50K
  • "Just Enough Power" (scifi/noir webserial, unfinished & inactive): 20K
  • "Warm Waters" (action novel, inactive): 65K
  • "Home Cure" (historical mystery novel, dead): 51K
  • A half-dozen novel false starts: 50K

I guess all that adds up to something more like 450,000 words, come to think of it. (Since this is just about the fiction, I don't count the 1000+ blog posts in any of that.) The important thing to remember is that word count alone means nothing. Some people can write and write and write and never get any better. Their 100th story is as bad as their first. It's the act of learning from the process and the willingness to invest effort in trying to improve... THAT'S what matters.

Some people have 20 years worth of experience. Other people have 1 year of experience, repeated 20 times.

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. Thank you, Tony! I appreciate it. Now I'm going to try to guesstimate how many I've written (I use open office, so I don't have a cumulative total).

  2. I've done some checking and find myself in the 325K range (plus assorted scatterings).

    Happily I've been able to detect a progression of craft (in a positive direction) over the pile of words.

    Of all I have to show for the effort: worn fountain pen nibs, stacks of pads filled with poor handwriting, burdened disks spinning off-kilter from the load of data, some $11 sent to me by Amazon because of some short stories I've published (and the haiku/photo book), I'm most proud of that - the craft is heading in a good direction.

    Fame, Fortune(!), Adoring Fans - these all will come. Or not. :-}

    But I'm getting better at being a storyteller. That's more than enough for now.

  3. I certainly hope I'm not on the annual treadmill to redundancy. That's a lingering fear.


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