As a new writer/author, it’s super easy to get caught up in word count.
Word Count = Page Count= Price=Sales=Readers
Or something like that. If I plan on writing a Novel, the standard is 50,000 words (approximately 200 pages), so that becomes my goal. Sure I plan on writing my story my way, but that 50K is always looming in the background. It becomes a question of adding that extra description here or maybe even a whole extra chapter going into detail about something that in the grand scheme of my plot is not necessary. I don’t want to write anything that encourages the reader to skim, but at the same time I really want to reach that 50K goal. It’s a compulsion, the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I can do it but is it really worth it? What if this particular story is better left as a novella or short story?
The best advice I’ve received has been to focus on the story and not on the word count as it will change constantly as I write, edit and re-write. I’ve tried to take this to heart, but it’s been slow going as I struggle through writers block, outside distractions, and trivial self-imposed deadlines. How I measure my progress? Word count and plot progression. At present, I’m just shy of 30K words and a little over half way in my plot development so that 50K isn’t far off. I just have to remember that word count is not important; it’s the actual words that count. It’s not a big deal if my work is longer or shorter than that 50K, all that matters is telling a good story.