The Silliness of Word Count

or Why I’m Deeply Regretting Getting Embroiled in This Whole Business. I’m not yet, actually. I’m just preparing myself for the inevitable crash and burn. I’m not quite sure how flammable turtles are, but given enough internal friction, I suspect I could manage spontaneous combustion.

Counting. Counting and I are not friends. Never have been. Too close to math. Some might say it is math, and I have no reason to argue. Feeling just the slightest bit optimistic tonight without really a shred of a reason other than a dark chocolate bar and a jar of peanut butter beside me, my first week behind me and the rest of the month ahead of me, I’ve decided to count the ways I can make my TuNoWriMo a success against all odds.

TT: That’s Turtle November Writing Month, if you’re wondering. Yes, it’s all about me!

Chores must be done by 7 PM. That means TV watched, dishes complete and, absolutely essential to the plan, cats fed. Have you tried to type around a hungry cat? Can’t be done.

This also halts potential procrastination obstacles. If everything is done, I can’t go do something else when I should be writing. Sometimes, I have to psyche myself out. It’s a lack of maturity thing.


No computer. This sounds funny. You may think I’m writing 50K longhand and you would be so wrong. I should say “no internet.” For me, that means taking my old laptop with its failing battery and typing in a room away from both the TV and the computer with internet.

I can’t concentrate when FB, Skype and silly jokes are vying for my attention any more than when a hungry cat types plsnfd;adhoshon tnk;st9u[n while trying to get my attention. No, I didn’t allow a cat to type that. All the cats are currently fed and asleep. See? It works.


No Farmville. You think this is the same as “no internet.” You’d be wrong. And right.

I’ve learned what many of you already know: I’m addicted to Farmville. I’m a functioning addict, meaning I can function as long as I get a little bit each day. My “little bit” for November will have to happen in that evening “chore slot” (and a few minutes when I get up in the morning, but mostly evening). I can do this.

It works if you work it!


MC POV planned. This is the hardest and easiest bit I figured out this week. As long as I know which character is telling what parts of the story, I don’t have week- and month- and year-long pauses between writing spells. I pretty much boot up the computer and go for it.

Wish I’d figured this out years ago. Never said turtles were smart, just stubborn and food-oriented.


Just do it. The times I’ve sat down and written this past week were productive. Not only in surprising-to-me word counts, which are, let’s face it, a somewhat silly indicator of progress. I mean, the guy in The Shining had a great word count, but no one is going to publish pages of repeated “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” At least, anyone who does publish something like that isn’t going to last long in the business. Word count is one indicator of progress, but it is the one I’m counting this month. I’ll worry about the quality of those words next month. Editing is always easier than creating.

For those of you who jumped on this wacked-out word count roller coaster, how are you doing after your first week? Totally amped or completely bummed? Let me know. I’ll give you 15 minutes to tell me about it and then I have to go write.

I’m already 5K words behind.

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

5 comments on “The Silliness of Word Count

  1. I could also create epic word counts really quickly by copying and pasting the sentence, “I will finish this novel!” a gazillion times.

    However, my current “real” word count is somewhere just over 3000.

    In all fairness, though, I am in the middle of moving houses, and packing/unpacking, and have been since Wednesday of last week. And now I’m sick with a so-far mild yet aggravating version of the crud.

    I believe that I will run out of these excuses for not writing by the end of this week.

    Then I will have to excuse my lack of writing by pointing out that my Teak Shower Chairs business isn’t going to run itself while I write, and it is time I figured out just exactly how all this “promote promote promote” stuff actually works (as opposed to not working yet), and get to it…

    😉 Since I can stand promoting anything just so long for so many hours in the day, I suspect that by this time next week, I’ll get back to writing again even if I am way behind on word counts.

  2. I am about 3700 behind. After a stint with illness this weekend that had me pretty much laid out, I didn’t get much writing in Fri/Sat. Ugh. I’m not really bummed though–more motivated to get my rear in gear this week and catch back up. Readjust. That’s part of life, right? The best laid plans… and then we adjust.

  3. […] The Silliness of Word Count (newauthors.wordpress.com) […]

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