How To Fulfill Your Word Count

August 1, 2019 § 6 Comments

By Jenny Klion

If you counted backward from three hundred and ninety one, which is the exact number of words you need to complete your daily requisite word count of one thousand (#1000wordsofsummer)—less now, since with every word, every letter you type, you’re getting closer to that three hundred and ninety one more words to go goal—you might be able to call it a wrap for the day. At this point you only need, from here: three hundred and seven more words, less now, even less now, and isn’t it crazy how when you count down from three hundred and ninety one you’ll eventually hit zero? Or that you can write all these words and not say much of anything?

What this online group writing quest slash your mind’s a blank slash SOS shows is that it takes lots of words to be a productive writer. Or a writer in general. Also, which words count for the win, the tie, or at least the job getting done, and which ones don’t? Who gets to decide? Oh, good one—you!

For example, from right here, here, no here: you have one hundred and ninety six more words to go, which includes spreading out the word one hundred and ninety six into four words, five if you count the word “and,” when in reality, or at least via Chicago Manual of Style, one does not spell out words over ten. Or 10. Unless it’s the first word of a sentence.

You can’t remember exactly and you’re not stopping to check it out, because you can fix that later and look at you go! You’ve written a total of eight hundred and ninety three words, though you haven’t hyphenated where you should have, especially regarding number usage you are completely off the chart wrong, so you are cheating grammar wise but never mind. The countdown is on, and in short, or in long, three hundred and ninety one words turned out to be a lot more than you bargained for.

So much more, you realize you’ve got to sign your name now to fulfill the word count, and you include the middle initial, with the period, because the letter on its own counts the same as the word. Total word count: one thousand, including the title.


Jenny Klion’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, Longreads, The Rumpus, Tonic, The Hairpin, and the anthology Flash Nonfiction Funny (Woodhall Press 2018), among others.

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