Friday, October 7, 2011

Setting Yourself a Daily Writing Goal

So it's clear I wasn't going to reach 16000 words in five days, but that kinda doesn't matter since my actual goal this week was to finish a certain writing project, and since I did that on Wednesday, all writing I did/do yesterday and today I view as a bonus :-)

Anyhoo... I've been pondering the idea of setting yourself a specific number of words to be written each day...

  • I started caring less about the story I was writing and more about the word count in the bottom left corner of my screen.
  • I felt bummed about not reaching my desired word count, even if the number of words I managed to write was still pretty impressive for me.

  • Knowing I was aiming for a certain number kept me more focused and disciplined than I would have been otherwise.
  • Keeping track of the numbers means I can look back on the past few days and see exactly how much I've achieved.

Things I've Discovered
  • Writing that much in a condensed period of time (which I haven't done before) is more mentally tiring than I expected.
  • If I were to do this full time, every day, with no other work to distract me (something I've wished for for a while) I think I might go insane! A long gym break in the middle of the day would definitely be required!
  • I would also have far more frequent back ache - I'm just not used to sitting for so many hours a day!
  • And I'm kind of grateful that I'm a teacher (though I still wish it took less time!) - a job that gets me out of the house, interacting with young people and on my feet for several hours a day.

Have you discovered anything recently about your writing process?


Sarah Pearson said...

Congratulations again on finishing your project :-)

I'm thinking of trying out weekly targets rather than daily ones, I think they'd suit me better.

Maria said...

Hi Rachel,

I set myself a weekly goal list, sometimes I manage it, and sometimes it goes by the wayside.

Without it I think its much easier to procrastinate and do little, or on occasion nothing!

Recently, I've buddied up with another writer, we swap lists on Sunday evening via email, do a mid week report on Wednesday, then finish up with a 'done' list the following Sunday along with the new Goal list.

We have been at it a few weeks, and its proving productive so far.

Worth a try.


Claire Robyns said...

I've tried setting goals, especially word counts, I think it's a brilliant way to move toward the end of your book. As Nora Roberts said, it's easier to edit a page of rough writing than a blank page, so even if some of it feels forced, at least you've got something to edit and work on.
Unfortunately, goals have never worked out for me due to many factors (not least of which is that I'm just a slow writer)

Cally Jackson said...

Gah! I just wrote a long comment and Blogger ATE it. :-(

The most important thing I said was congrats on finishing your project. Very exciting. :-)

I agree with you about full time writing - if I was home by myself all day every day I have no doubt I'd go insane, so no matter how wildly successful I become as a writer ( ;) ) I think I'll always keep a part-time job.

RaShelle Workman said...

Rachel - A daily writing goal is a great idea. It's one of the reasons I love NaNoWriMo so much! =D

Kari Marie said...

I need to get back on the goals bandwagon or this next book is going to take six years. I think I'll focus on time rather than word count. I seem to have better luck that way.

Trisha said...

Sometimes I think that having a full time 'other' job is what keeps us as motivated to stick with our writing. Usually when I'm on holidays, I write less.

Weird, but true!