Why I Have Word Count Goals

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As I work my way through the second draft I thought ‘d post about why I think having word count goals are a great thing.

I’ve recently upped mine form 1,000 to 1,400 words a day, with a weekly total of 10,000. This is more than 7 days of reaching the goal will do but there is always some extra time I can spend making sure I hit my goal.

I find the goals useful for two reasons. They give me something small to aim for each day and are great for checking my progress.

The first reason I am finding very helpful right now as the second draft looks like it will be around 120,000 words by the time I’ve finished it, which is a big book. Focusing on each day at a time makes sure I slowly chip away at that goal and get closer little by little. The second reason lets me plan in advance for when I may need to hire an editor, or if I need to change my plans if I slow down/speed up as time goes on.

I set my goals based on how I have been doing, when I started my first draft my daily goal was 500 words. As I made progress and started beating the goal regularly I raised it to 750, then 1,000 and now to 1,400 on the second draft. Because I have my outline done I always know what I am working towards so each day writing moves the story forward and brings the book that much closer to being finished.

I know this advice sometimes gets bandied around on its own, but I think it must be done when you have a plan. Setting a goal without one could result in striving to hit the word count for the word counts sake, not for the good of the work as a whole. For that is the thing, when you are working to the plan and setting goals based on what you can achieve they won’t feel like a challenge. The goals will feel like natural progress markers as you write.