When people find out I’m a writer, I often have people tell me that they want to write a book too. A lot of them don’t, but I think it is partially because they are not sure how to set goals that will help them get closer. Setting small, but achievable goals is a great way to make progress when writing.
In the past, I have made the mistake of setting high daily word count goals, usually something like 3k or more. The problem with setting a high goal, is if you don’t make that goal, it’s easy to give up. I’ve found that 500 words a day is something I can achieve, and when I hit that goal, it’s actually easy to keep writing. This means that I generally write more than 500 words.
I think 500-1000 words is doable for most people. Many professional writers actually write between 1000-2500 words a day, and consider themselves accomplished for the day.
When my goal was high, if I didn’t make my daily word count, I felt discouraged.
But, here’s the thing. If you hit your goal every day and your goal is small, it still builds up. In a month, 500 words a day becomes 15,000 words total. That’s 180,000 words a year. It may not be fast, but you also have to consider your time constraints. A lot writers have many other jobs they fulfill. I’m a fast typist, so I can usually write 700-1000 words in a single writing sprint.
500 words will usually take anywhere from a half hour to an hour for most people, especially if you quiet your inner editor and just write. Doing so daily, you will often find you write more than your prescribed word count and that after a few days have passed, you’ve made some real progress on your writing project.
What are your writing goals? What is your daily writing habit? Do you often make your goals or do you struggle with them? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments.