My first job (which began as a summer intern) was as a newspaper reporter, and I became an investigative reporter fairly early on.
I was trained by a legend, who would get up and yell at me across a newsroom things like:
“Dammit Snyder!!! The writer’s best friend is a period!!”
The stories I was working on each day were somewhere between 900 and 1000 words. They had to be RIGHT. There was no taking them back once they were on the front page. Too late for apologies then.
So I learned to get to 900 or 1000 good words (or more if there were several stories) but shied away from cranking out anything that would be embarrassing later on.
I still have that guy’s head over my shoulder when I type and I am glad. I don’t want to have to go back later and kill 200 pages of sloppy, verbose junk that has no real point to it just to hit some word count. Some stuff will always have to go, sure, but I am way more interested in quality than quantity.
If I get to 1000 words of good stuff in a sitting I am really happy.
On draft two, I could slow down to 250 words on a pivotal edit.
I could also be happy with 50 words in one sitting if those are the fifty words that are going to make someone cry.