Self-Destructive Underestimation

I am the worst at predicting how many words my stories and novels will be

When I decided on a plot concept for an anthology submission, I worried about making the 8,000 word minimum. Today, the day of the deadline, I had to cut 1,000 words to make the 15,000 word maximum. The story was twice as long as I thought it would be! Is accurately estimating your word count a necessary skill? Jeez, if so, I have no idea how to improve, except to double my first guess.

Ghostwriting did not help my abominable forecasting, though I was paid by the word. My client was extremely accommodating and paid me when I exceeded my calculations, even when one project overshot my 60,000 word estimate to 120,000 words. I certainly didn’t do it intentionally to increase my pay, seeing as how I struggled to meet the deadline as a result.

My goal, for the rest of my life/writing career, it so be prolific. Of Anne Rice/Stephen King proportions. As long as my books turn out to be twice as long as I plan, my ambition is that much more of a challenge.

I don’t think that my problem is writing more words than is needful. I don’t consider my work to be overly descriptive. And according to Helen Sword’s Writer’s Diet Test, my prose is quite lean. The problem lies in my perception. I think in my desire to write as many stories as possible, I underestimate the amount of work it will take, the words and time necessary to create settings, plots, and characters.

My current novel is 130,000 words and counting. I haven’t reached the pinnacle of the climax yet. So help me Brigid, muses, and Dickinson, I will stay under 2oo,ooo. Fingers crossed.


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