Word counts, keep them at your fingertips with a spread sheet

Word counts can be a contentious subject for writers, with some being very word count orientated and very detailed in their record keeping while others are “whatever” with it, so long as they know the end number for the finished work.

Me, I am a bit of an obsessive when it comes to word counts and any sort of record data for my books. It is all part of my training and former life as a geologist when data management was vital on big projects like motorways and so on. There was just so much of it, one had to keep good records.

This has spilled over into my writing management and is part of the many tips I provide in The Handbook Of TOP TIPS To Manage Your Writing, now available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.


For any book I am writing I create a new spread sheet with the following headings

Chapter     Title   Words     Total Words     Pages     Total Pages

It is then a simple case of inputting the data and you have a chapter by chapter page and word count ready for any publisher or agent to have whenever they want it.

There are easy ways of using the cells to add the correct data together so that if you make changes, the maths is done for you rather than sitting there with a calculator re-adding the data.

It keeps you disciplined and keeps tabs on what ever you are writing.

For my current book, The Truth I had to add in a few lines here and there to make something consistent all the way through the book and every chapter changed by a few words, adding 647 to the final total. It is so much easier keeping this data on your spread sheet and if you are like me, you can make a short cut to your computer desk top so that it is always just one click away.

Keep writing, for you know you have to….

About purpleandrew

Andrew was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at 51. A former geologist always had short hair, suited & booted for work. That all changed when the credit crunch hit. Now a speaker and writer, Andrew is focused on writing for teenagers and his new fantasy series starts with Jack Janson and the Storm Caller which is out now and is getting 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon.
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2 Responses to Word counts, keep them at your fingertips with a spread sheet

  1. Gary Bell says:

    I don’t keep track of my word count per chapter, but rather of how much I do in any given writing session. I total up the words I have and see how many that is since the last session. It also lets me check against my “ideal” word count number to see what sort of percentage I am through the book.

    I might start to break it down per chapter so I know which ones are clearly too short, and which might need editing down to keep an even balance in chapter lengths, as best as possible.

    • purpleandrew says:

      Thanks for the feedback Gary
      I am also a bit of a word count per session freak and set myself 1500 per time/day. When I am in full flow I can get well over 10,000 a day, so keeping count per chapter and per day is something I do
      keep writing

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