Friday, July 8, 2011

Daily goals

I've said this before, but every now and then I need to remind myself of it: I am not a word-count writer.

I need to remind myself of this from time to time because the word-count mindset is so tempting. Word count is an easy way to measure progress. It's a number, hard and fast. Many writers do use word count to track their progress, or to serve as a goal. That's great, but it's not for me.

I find that when I focus on getting a certain number of words down, I write crap. Also, since I revise so much, a day on which I've made good progress is often a day when my total word count decreases. I may add 50 good words and delete 175 lousy ones, and that's a step forward for the book even if it's a step back for the word count.

I do pay attention to my total word count in a general way, just to make sure that what I'm writing will be long enough to qualify as a novel. I tend to write short (45-60K), and I like my first draft to be at least 40K, and my final draft to be at least 45K. But beyond that, daily word count doesn't matter.

Examples of goals that do work for me:

I'm going to write for an hour.
I'm going to revise chapters three and four.
I'm going to write the party scene and the thunderstorm scene.

Do you set daily goals? What are they like?

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