|Photo credit: stargardner on Flickr|
thought it appropriate to cover an equally important and related topic—that is, daily writing goals.
I’d read early on about the importance of keeping a daily writing goal, and I have to say it’s probably one of the most useful bits of writing advice that I’ve ever followed.
You see, before I kept daily writing goals, I suffered from pretty frequent writer’s guilt. I would write, but even after a particularly successful writing stint, I would wonder if I’d written enough. Truth be told, no amount ever felt like enough—I always finished thinking, I could write more.
Needless to say, it made writing needlessly difficult, as I was never sure if I’d made enough progress. It wasn’t until I started to set a daily goal that I was truly able to appreciate my progress and feel accomplished after a successful writing sprint.
In addition to helping to eliminate writer’s guilt, maintaining a daily writing goal accomplished something else as well—it encouraged me to write every day and make consistent progress on my manuscript.
Now that I’ve pretty near perfected a daily writing goal that works for me, I actually keep two goals—daily and weekly writing goals. Allow me to explain.
Using Scrivener (although a calculator would work just as well), I know that in order for me to finish the first draft of my current WIP by the end of the month (or at least reach 70k), I currently need to write 1,723 words every day, or 12,061 words a week. Because I’m an overachiever, I aim for about 2,000 words a day, or 14,000 words per week, which gives me a little extra wiggle room in case the sekrit project turns out to be longer than I anticipated.
The benefit of maintaining a weekly writing goal is again to fight writer’s guilt. If I miss a day, or even two, I know that I have the rest of the week to make up the difference, which usually equates to a couple hundred extra words a day. Nothing to sweat over.
The main idea behind daily and weekly writing goals is to train you to write every day—or at least as consistently as you can realistically manage. In order to use these writing goals most efficiently, there are two rules to follow:
- Set realistic goals. Look, I’m more than well aware that not everyone can expect to churn out 2,000 words a day, and that’s totally ok. Everyone has different circumstances, and if yours make it difficult to meet more than 1,000 or even 500 words a day, then don’t set your goal for any more than that. There are few things more discouraging than setting a goal impossible to meet, so instead start with a goal you know you can meet. Start small, and if you find you can easily meet the goal, then try bumping it up a little. Everyone has a different golden number—the key is just finding yours.
- Don’t guilt yourself over not meeting goals. Life happens. Inevitably, you’re going to eventually miss a day, or several days. You may find that you can’t meet your weekly goal one week, or you may discover halfway through the month that you’re behind schedule.
It’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up over what you haven’t accomplished—instead, look at the progress you’ve made. Even small progress is progress—even twenty words added to your WIP are twenty words you didn’t have yesterday.
If you find that you’re consistently missing your goal, then don’t sweat it—it’s probably a sign that you might want to reevaluate your goal. Set the quota a little lower and keep pushing forward. You’ll make it as long as you keep writing.
Do you keep a daily or weekly writing goal? Why or why not?
Why one writer lives by daily and weekly writing goals while first drafting. (Click to tweet)
Do you keep a daily or weekly writing goal? Here's why you may want to consider it. (Click to tweet)