I admit it: I have an addiction. Every day, I measure success by what number comes up when I click the tool. My daily quota is 1,000 words. Not "almost 1,000 words." If I don't hit four digits, we have a problem. Sometimes I go over. More often than not, I am under.
My chapters are all give or take 2,000 words. Mainly, because I have an epicly short attention span and the first draft had chapters of 3,000 words that I was killing myself to get to. I somehow feel cheered when I finish a chapter. So I have more moments of cheered-ness when I have shorter chapters.
I used to check the word count every few paragraphs. I limit myself to checking once I complete a page (single-spaced; yes, I write single-spaced because it feels less like a final paper for college). It's not like it matters, really, because I have become so psychotically good at predicting how many words are on a page that I am virtually a human word count tool.
In the beginning (first draft), I was afraid I would not hit my ideal figure of 70,000 words. So I made the mistake that many people make, which is to write with an eye for the word count. You know what this results in? A lot of foam. By foam, I mean useless junk does not carry the plot forward or give any emotional development to the characters. So I don't do that anymore. But for the second draft, I condensed large foamy parts of first draft. What I accomplished in ten chapters in the first draft, I accomplished in four in the second. Then, I was afraid I would not be able to reach the ideal word count. Now, I am at 40,000 words, and I don't think I have the slightest problem getting to 70,000. I'm a little worried I might go over 80,000. Because I am addicted to word count, I try once every few days to calculate how many words the remaining part of the book will be (this never works, don't even try it).
I have to remind myself not to be too preoccupied with the final word count, because if I'm afraid the book will be too long, I'll start rushing the climax and denouement (I do this sometimes, and it's awfully anti-climactic).
Does anyone else have problems with word count?
*I would like to add that I use MS Word 2000 or 2003. None of this new stuff that is now installed at every public school and facility everywhere. Here is my question to you, Microsoft: why must you fix something that is clearly not broken? I don't like all the colorful tabs that rearrange everything. I especially don't like how the default setting for font is Calibri, size 11. I MEAN, WTF? Nobody in the world has industry standards of Calibri, size 11! WTF is Calibri anyway? Answer: the ugliest font known to man. And it's in size 11 because it's a speshul snowflake.
I know I sound like a crotchety 80-year-old bemoaning the advent of personal computers, but I care not. MS Word 2007: DO NOT WANT.