Word Count Challenges

Every April since 2006, I’ve been participating in a writing challenge known as April Fool’s.  You can choose your word count goal – anything from 500 words to 300,000.  (Or more, if you really want, but that’s already 10K a day.)   It’s also more forgiving than, say, Nano on what can be counted – basically any prose, on as many projects as you like, poetry, school work, Script Frenzy, things of that ilk.

Back in 2006, I was searching for motivation and tried out of a variety of writing challenges.  I think I only “won” AF that first year, but it did lead me to my main writing group, so it forever stays in my heart.

We’ve got an influx of new, younger people at AF this year, and many them belong to a group that does a “Nano” (so 50K) every month.  I mean, there’s been copycats for years.  I only do Nano, but there’s FiMo (Finishing Month, in Dec), JanNo, FebNo, JulNo – pretty much any month you want, there’s a word count challenge somewhere.  Even NaNoPubYe (National Novel Publishing Year) does a warm-up for Nano in October, and NaNoWriYe (National Novel Writing Year) encourages year-long word count goals and provides challenges throughout the year to help people reach them.

I write pretty much year-round of my own volition these days, but I don’t tend to bother with word count goals.  I work by projects, and so often a project is in an editing or a submission mode and that lowers my overall word count.

If you do a Nano every month, you end up with 600K words at the end of the year.  That just…boggles me.  Not that I don’t think it’s doable, but why? Assume you end up with a minimum of six novels out of that – are they usable?  Will they spend next year editing?  Are they just writing to write and they don’t care if anyone ever sees their stories?

If you are someone who likes back to back word count challenges, that likes to pound out a ridiculous amount of words every year, please let me know what you are getting out of doing so.  I would be extremely interested to know if you move past the first draft stage, how editing works around the writing, if you submit your stories to agents/magazines and what your success rate is.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Idunno on 2011/04/06 at 10:47 AM

    I just hope the people pounding out 600k a year aren’t flooding agents with unedited, unpublishable drivel. It’s hard enough to get noticed in a slush pile of normal dimensions. Imagine trying to stand out while mired in a SPOUS!

    Reply

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