Hang around writers enough – particularly novelists – and you’re destined to hear a discussion about daily word counts with someone lamenting that, whatever they achieved numerically, they weren’t sure they were ‘good words’.
But what constitutes good words?
Words that don’t require much editing… well there’s logic to that, but novels always need editing (unless you’re an unusual writers that lays down a ‘fully formed’ novel), so why stress if the words are a bit rough? You’re almost guaranteed to be coming back and deleting / re-arranging / changing them anyway.
Sometimes the judgement we pass on words is also just a symptom of fatigue or self-doubt. I know I’ve come back to ‘bad words’ a few weeks after I wrote them to find there was nothing inherently wrong with them. Some were even pretty good!
I wonder why writers pressure themselves to turn out a perfect first draft?