Friday, October 15, 2010

Daily Writing Goals

Many writers rack up word count on their manuscripts with the help of daily writing goals. They might set for themselves a goal of 500 words a day, 1000, 2000, perhaps even more. Having such a clear-cut goal can provide great motivation.

Sure wish that worked for me. ;-)

Once I've gotten a good start on a new work in progress I'll aim for at least a thousand words a day. Sometimes I get more, a lot more, but I've had plenty of days when I was happy to squeeze out two hundred words. Plenty of writers are a lot faster than I am and therefore far more prolific, and that's fine. If you can write five thousand words a day, I applaud you. Especially if you're happy with all of those words. Every writer is different and I figured out some time ago that I'd rather write two hundred words I was happy with in a day than two thousand words of crap. When you're just starting out and still trying to figure out what kind of writer you are and you see all these writers on Twitter reporting their daily word counts, it's easy to pressure yourself into thinking you need to do that, too. Both the high daily word count, and the reporting it to Twitter. I can't say I've never reported my word count, because I have, but I don't always do it, even on days when I write a lot. I know there will be days when I don't write as much, and I've learned not to worry about that. I only start to get worried if I go too many days in a row without writing at all, and that rarely happens anymore.

If a daily word count goal works for you and helps motivate you, then by all means go for it. But if you start to get obsessed with your numbers, you might want to remind yourself that it's the quality of the words that really counts.

Next Friday I'll talk about the complete opposite of this advice - NaNoWriMo. ;-)

1 comment:

Nerine Dorman said...

Daily word counts are a great way to gauge progress but honestly, it's not great to be a slave to them either. I use my writing as a reward between editing cycles. Obviously on days with fewer distractions, I get more done, but if things go pear-shaped then I don't stress too much if RL gets in the way.

But most importantly, it's vital to be disciplined and to write every day, whenever possible.