Hey, SE Readers. Joan with you today for my last post of 2021. This subject has likely been covered before (probably by me) but this is the season when I tend to look ahead at the upcoming year.
I began to set writing goals several years ago. There are many ways to do this. What works for one writer might not work for another. As with most aspects of writing, there is no one-size-fits-all. A few examples are:
- Daily or monthly word count – “I will write 1000 words each day,” or “I will write 25000 words per month.”
- Writing time – “I will write for one hour a day.”
- Days of the week – “I will write Monday – Friday and take a break on the weekends.”
- Number of works – “I will write and publish two novels and three short stories in a year.” (A lofty goal for many.)
- Publication date – “I will publish my novel by May 15.”
You get the idea. Setting goals encourages me to write. I find that a specific word count works best for me. I also keep my daily word count in an Excel spreadsheet. I count blog posts, book reviews, novels, short stories—everything I write.
Here’s a screenshot from April 2021.
As you can see, I was in an editing phase, so my new word count wasn’t as large as if I’d been writing something new. Keeping to word count helps to motivate me. I have a year-to-date total and can also compare to previous years.
I made some slight changes to my format for 2022. Instead of morning, afternoon, and evening, I now have categories. WIP for my work in progress (short stories or novels). Blog posts include both personal and Story Empire posts. The “other” category is for any writing such as book promos, brainstorming, book reviews, and more.
When I’m not editing, I like to write a minimum of 1000 words a day. That’s 30000 words a month or 360,000 words in a year. Easily three novels. I’ll note that I’ve never written that many words in a single year, but I have exceeded 200,000.
If you set goals, here are a few things to remember.
- Don’t fret if you don’t reach your daily goal. Life happens and often unexpected or unforeseen circumstances arise that prevent us from reaching our word count.
- If you reach your word goal and still find you have more to write, keep going. Writing a thousand words doesn’t necesarilly mean you have to stop.
- There are days when your mind needs to rest. For me, writing at times like that usually results in garbage. However, if I allow myself time to refresh, I usually come back stronger with new ideas or ways to fix a plot hole.
- Don’t get discouraged if you don’t publish that novel when you first planned. After writing 50000 words during NaNoWriMo 2019, I felt sure I’d have Cold Dark Night ready for publication in May 2020. It wasn’t published until a year later. However, I don’t regret it because my delay in finishing the book made the story stronger.
Do you set writing goals? Have you been successful with them? Please share your experiences (good or bad) in the comments.