Having to count your words while writing can be annoying at best, and intimidating at worst. Professional writers have to deal with this conundrum on a regular basis and it is annoying.
However, it doesn’t have to be a stumbling block and I hope it doesn’t discourage you from wanting to contribute to What Were We Thinking? Parents Confess Their Biggest Mistakes so You Can Avoid Them. Forget about counting words and just write your story. Also, don’t worry about grammar, punctuation or even if it makes sense. Just get your thoughts down. This will give you a structure that you can build on later. Many of us have had these stories in the back of our minds for years; now is the time to let them out. By the way, you just read 124 words.
Good stories have a beginning, middle and end. Set the scene – the age of your child, the circumstances that led to the situation and what happened. Describe why you regret the decision you made or the action you took. This can be very painful and hard to write. I had difficulty writing about what happened to my son. For my story about my daughter, I started with her high school graduation. Then I described how we limited our options for choosing a school, failed to communicate effectively with her about her options, and described her choices after she left school that we ultimately accepted and even celebrated.
There is a very easy way to count your words if you are working in Microsoft Word. Click on “tools” at the very top of the page and select “word count” in the drop down menu.
My next blog will have more tips on writing – stand by . . .
Kathleen Vallee Stein