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Using word count to stay on track

Posted by Maria Murnane | June 5, 2012

People often tell me they would love to write a book but have no idea how they would fill that many pages. “It just seems impossible!” they say. “How do you do it?” they ask.

“Baby steps,” I tell them. “Baby steps.”

Think of it this way: if you write just one page a day, in less than a year you’ll have a book. One page a day! Anyone can do that.

When I’m working on a book, I like to give myself a goal of writing 1,000 words a day, Monday through Friday. To keep track, I use the “Word Count” feature in Microsoft Word, which is under the “Review” tab at the top of the page (or under the “Tools” tab if you are using an older version of the program). In addition to keeping my writing on track, people in the publishing industry talk in terms of word count and not page count, so it’s always useful to know how many words your book is.

Set a realistic daily goal for yourself

A thousand words a day is manageable for me. Sometimes I write much more than that, but I’m satisfied with a thousand, and having that goal keeps me focused. You may find that 500 words, or even 250, is more realistic for you, and that is fine. The point is that having a set target will help you feel like you are making progress. And it’s that feeling that will keep you going.

If there is a book inside of you, give birth to it! It won’t happen overnight, and that’s okay. A real baby takes more than nine months before it’s ready to be born. If you think of your book the same way, perhaps it won’t seem so daunting.

-Maria

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

-Maria

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