Word Count and Daily Goals

Lake Huron shore
Lake Huron shore

I read a great post by Elizabeth S. Craig yesterday about word count in which she says, “I set myself a daily goal, but for others a weekly goal might work better.  If you have a chaotic schedule, setting a weekly goal can give you a chance to make your goal by either spreading your goal out each day or having a marathon writing session all at once to catch up.”

Okay, my goal has simply been to write every day and make some progress on one of my writing projects. It seriously has never occurred to me to set a number for pages or words to be completed in a day or a week. The only time I’ve ever done this is when I did NaNoWriMo. My focus has mostly been on simply finding the time to write. I think I am definitely missing something here. I love seeing the word count go up, but I’ve never worried about whether it went up by 500 or 1500 words, as long as the number increased. I’ve decided that I want to get the draft of the sequel to The Dragon’s Pearl done before the middle of August, but when I think about it, I could get it done sooner if I changed my approach, and then have time to write other things, too.

I work to deadline and word count all the time in my freelancing life, but even then I don’t set myself a daily number of words to produce. I just get the work done.

This is going to take some thinking about. How do you work on large projects? Do you set daily word or page counts? I feel like I’ve been on another planet or something when it comes to this. Hmmm. Time for me to get in gear.

There are two links in Elizabeth’s blog post that I’m going to add below. They really are compelling reading, though Elizabeth added a justified caution about the strong language in Chuck Wendig’s post.

Have a great weekend!

India Drummond’s “How I Easily Doubled My Daily Word Count”

8 thoughts on “Word Count and Daily Goals

  1. I’ve been setting a daily goal of 1000 words this past month. I don’t always reach it ( my average is about 850 right now), but it’s still gotten me writing a lot more than I’ve been doing so for a while.

    • That’s great to hear! I have some short stories on my plate next and then a rewrite of a short mystery novel for middle readers. When I start to work on the novel, I’m going to try using a daily word count goal. I’m in a bit of a hurry with this project, and I think that the word count process will get me to the end more quickly than my usual non-system. Thanks for the follow!

      • Sounds like you’re keeping a lot of things going on at any one time. Do you have any particular method of managing multiple projects, or do you find that things sort themselves out on their own?

        • I have a monthly wall calendar on which I write my due dates, so I can see at a glance what’s ahead. Also, I have a 8 1/2 X 11 notebook on my desk that I use every day to write phone numbers, notes, etc. of things that come up during the day about the projects I’m working on. Then, before I finally walk away from desk, I start a new page in the notebook and make a list with everything on it that I have to accomplish the next day, including work projects, errands, appointments, etc.. That page becomes my note writing page for that day, and so on. If I’m not working at home, the notebook slips into my laptop case, and everything is with me. I’m sure that there are all sorts of apps or ways to take care of this note-taking electronically, but paper and pen are what work for me–partly because I love crossing things off the list as I complete them. That swish of the pen feels very satisfying.

  2. Great suggestions as always!

    Now, do you have any suggestion for getting over huge bodies of work being taken? Thank you! It is ever so hard to re-commit. I do get a few poems and such written but it is such a hurdle. Thank you.

  3. When I moved to France a large portion of my shipment of belongings disappeared somewhere in Felixstowe ( the last port before France). Among the missing items were boxes of journals, manuscripts… These things are not replaceable.

    • Oh my gosh! That is just awful! It must have been so hard to find the heart to face the page again. I’m so glad that you’re even trying some poetry after such a loss. I know it’s hard to think this way, but maybe you’ve been given a clean slate for a reason–that the writer you are becoming really starts with the life you’ve chosen in France. Whatever way you find to face that loss, I hope that you find a way to keep writing and telling your stories. All the best!

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