higher level calculations

islandbreezedreams  asked:

How do you get over comparing word count? It feels like everyone's book is a million times longer than mine and it feels like Longer=Better

Aw, comparison. It’s an old enemy of the writer. 

Rationally, we know that longer, of course, does not equal better. I’ve read some books that were terribly long- punny emphasis on the “terribly,” because they weren’t good.

Still though, the temptation to compare oneself to others is a hard one to beat, and it can result in making us feel really insecure even when we know it’s silly. Thus, we can work together to figure out ways To Not Do That.

1. Don’t Even Look At It: This one is a little hard, but for some people it works. The idea is really to not even think about word count. Don’t even look at it, don’t think about it. Just write your story the way it wants to be written and don’t stop until you’ve reached the end. I know I use word count sometimes to get an idea of chapter lengths and so on, but I actually have a friend who hand-writes everything specifically with this goal in mind. 

2. Be Petty: Make a list of books that are long, but suck, as reassurance that longer books are not better books. 

3. Be Not Petty: Make a list of books closer in length to yours that are phenomenal, as reassurance that little things can do big things with a lot less overcompensating.

4. Take Pride In Your Work: When you’re feeling a little insecure, look again at the parts that you’re really proud of. You’re a good writer. You know you are. You have the proof right there with you, and nothing can change that. It can also help to write yourself reassurances when you need them. Quality over quantity, 

5. The Armor Story:  I used to play this one game that my brother also played. He knew everything about it, every stat on every character and every piece of armor. He spent hours crafting armor and weapons, grinding his characters to higher levels, perfectly calculating the exact points he needed to beat every mission and level. Me, I was more in it for the plot and the characters than the actual gameplay. My brother used to come in and critique me, constantly making snide remarks about how bad I was at gaming. One day, I told him, “I don’t understand why you think I’m so bad. I’m accomplishing the exact same things, but with less help.”

Moral of the story? You are accomplishing the exact same things. And you don’t even need fancy armor and weapons to do it. 

I have heard writers talking and boasting about their word counts so much, it’s almost embarrassing. I’m not saying that word length isn’t a pretty cool accomplishment. It takes a lot of work and determination to words onto the paper. But it’s also very easy to lose track of your priorities when all you are focusing on is length. You start to forget about the passion and heart of the story and keeping a constant eye on your numbers. You lose sight of what’s important. 

Now for Penemue’s Words of Encouragement!

You are doing a great job! Your work is top notch! You have accomplished a lot more with less fancy weapons! Keep your eyes on what is important. It’s not what’s on the outside, but rather, what’s on the inside that counts. <3

I, for one, am proud of what you have accomplished. 


Edit: I forgot my links.

Your Word Count Means Nothing to Me

Should You Care About the Word Count of Your WIP?

Why Word Count Goals Can Be Destructive