WORD COUNT GOALS! (I realize the irony of this post so close to NaNoWriMo.)
“Hey, how many words do you write a day?”
“Oh, I don’t know. 1000 maybe. Depends on the day. Some days it’s maybe ten.”
“Seriously? Ten?” *snickers*
Okay. It’s really not that bad. But is word count really all that important? I used to think so, but now, I’m not really so sure.
I’ve had those days where I didn’t want to write a single word and knew that if I did they would end up being the worst words ever written and put together to make the worst sentence/paragraph ever.
I used to be adamant about writing every day. I had a goal. At least 100 words a day. That turned into more. And in turn that turned into an almost unrealistic EVERYDAY goal.
I know reaching goals is important. It’s nice to be able to say, “Hey, I need to meet my goal,” and actually meet it. You feel accomplished, good about yourself. But what if you can’t meet your goal that day? Don’t beat yourself up over it. Don’t worry about how many words you’re writing. Worry about what the actual words are.
I think we should strive to write as much as we can each day. I think a small goal would be okay. After talking to Jo Eberhardt about her 100 words for 100 days word count challenge over 100 days ago, I tried it. And although I achieved a lot of writing during those 100 days, I skipped 10-20 of those days, but I don’t regret the decision to try writing at least a 100 words a day. What I do regret is beating myself up over the days that I missed meeting my goal.
I put too much thought into meeting my goal that I forgot about my original intention. Write each day. Even if it’s a little bit.
As I said, goals are great to have, but don’t put too much stock into them. Write when you have time. Enjoy what you do. Don’t make writing a chore.
Now, as far as NaNoWriMo goes. That’s a completely different story. If you signed up for it, that’s torture we’re willing to put ourselves through. We have to write roughly 1700 words. (That’s what I’m shooting for anyway.) Okay, it’s 1667 words but still – We knew we’d have an insane word count goal to meet each day.
But, aside from tortuous writing games, I’m not sure the word count goals really work for me.
Admittedly, I see how many words I write a day. I managed 1,008 yesterday. Woo hoo! But, I went at it without a goal in mind. I just wrote. I wrote more words not thinking about the goal, because when I had the 100 words a day goal, I barely scraped by. Some days I wrote 100 exactly. Some days I wrote 96 and then forced a few more words to reach the 100. Then again, it really worked for me, and I wrote a lot. (I don’t want people thinking it didn’t work for me, because it did at times.
I’m not saying that this is the right way to work. We all work differently. (Take pantsers and plotters for instance.) It’s all about finding the right balance for your work/schedule.
What’s your opinion? How are you with word count goals?