Dragging a reluctant writer back to work after the Christmas lay-off is not helped by fear of the Wordcount dragon. Like many, I use my daily wordcount as a yardstick (1,000 words as a minimum target) so having to spend a few days reading back my work in progress to remember where I got to and immerse myself in the story afresh leaves me feeling dissatisfied – even guilty. That was until I had a bright idea.

Re-reading is also an opportunity to edit. Occasionally this means inserting new text but usually editing equals cutting. And most writing deserves to be cut with ruthless determination. So why not give words subtracted as much weight as words added? This not only helps to reach your wordcount target but will almost inevitably improve the quality of your output.

A word of warning: don’t try this method too often or it will quickly become counter-productive. Once a month or so is about the correct dosage.

Oh, and it works on blog posts as well.