On Word Targets

It’s the strangest thing how psychological this writing game is.

People (and by this, I mean non-writers) always assume that writing is such an easy thing. After all, they write hundreds of words every day with e-mails and texts, right?

Sure. The thing is… It’s easy to just jot a few words with no particular word-count goal in mind. Ten words here. Twenty words there.


But get told to write a 1500 word article. Or a 3000 word to 6000 word short story. Or just think and realize that the novel you’re working on needs 150,000 words to get finished.

Suddenly, a task that seems simple becomes much more complicated. Especially when you’re starting out and wondering if the thing you’re writing will actually hit the word-count target.

Last night, I wrote an article, and about 700 words in, I couldn’t imagine where I would find the remaining 800.

When I started drafting my story for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group competition, I liked the idea, but I just felt like the word-limit was this insurmountable mountain to climb.

Odd to think it, but I find the 150k goal less intimidating, because if I come in under that, it’s not like there will be repercussions. And that is actually the reason why I don’t like setting a target for the length of any story I write. It just adds extra pressure I don’t like feeling. I mean, I already give myself some steep deadlines to chase.

The challenge is good for me, though. It’s nice to know that, yes, I could actually write to demand and actually hit those targets.

And you know the funny thing about my short story? I’m at 3500 words now, and wondering if I’ll be able to wrap the story up in 1500 words or less.

So that just goes to show you the importance of just writing. Even if we feel like we’ll never make a word-count target, we can always surprise ourselves if we try.

Are you writing a story for IWSG competition? How’s it going?


4 thoughts on “On Word Targets

  1. I haven’t been active in the IWSG, so I’m not writing a story for that, but I’m excited to see how the new anthology goes. Word limits and other restrictions tend to help me write in a weird way. Good luck with your entry!

  2. Good for you that you are joining the competition, Misha. It is a perfect goal! I’m not a fiction writer, so I am not submitting anything for the IWSG contest. I find that I always write too many words. In any situation… which means lots of cutting words and editing at the end! 🙂

    1. I tend to add more words into my edits, but I struggle with short stories because their word counts are a bit small for my novel writing tastes. ^_^

      Thanks for stopping by!

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