Words Count

I don’t have a brilliant track record when it comes to word counts. I have a tendency to set myself grand targets, and then fall lamentably short.

In the past, this was just annoying – but now I’m trying to make it as a freelance writer, it’s a real problem. I realised that I needed some kind of motivation, beyond that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve actually done the thing you meant to do.

A few years ago, I went to a talk by the awesome Katherine Rundell, who mentioned a technique she’d once used for making sure she met her word count. She wrote a cheque to an organisation she hated, and gave it to her brother, with the instruction that, if she didn’t hit 1000 words every day, he was to pop it in the post.

I considered giving that a go. But, I’m highly aware of my general crapness and tendency towards procrastination, and I had a horrible feeling that any hated organisation I picked would indeed be getting that cheque. So, I came up with my own version of that strategy.

Each month, I’m going to write at least five hundred words per day. Each month, I will also set up a donation page for two charities – one local, one national. For every word under my word count, each day, I will donate a penny to the charities (so, if I’m really lazy, I could end up donating £5 every day).

If I do make my word count…well, if any of you fancied throwing a few pounds in, that would be fantastic. I don’t really have any skills that could be turned to the usual methods of fundraising (no-one ever wants to sponsor you to read a lot of books, or eat a lot of biscuits), but a sponsored write would be something I could do.

So, that’s the long and short of it. If you can, please sponsor me to meet my word count, and hold me accountable if I don’t reach it.

The fine print:

  • If I know in advance that I won’t be able to write on a certain day, I have to make the word count up before that day
  • If I’m unable to write for a genuine reason, like being ill or having a serious personal crisis, I can make the word count up afterwards
  • I can split the word count over several different pieces (although I imagine that generally, it’ll just be the one)
  • A completed piece that comes to less than 500 words (for example, a poem) can be considered as making the word count for that day

My chosen charities for January are Survivors UK and OSARCC. Please do give if you can!


About Alice Nuttall

Alice Nuttall is a caffeine-guzzling knitter who divides her time between Oxford and the various worlds in her head. She is the author of a YA fantasy novel, Spider Circus, and three webcomics, Footloose, Cherry, and Black Market Magic, as well as several short stories.
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