Writing Hint #25: Keep a Word Count
Goals, if they are to be meaningful, need to be measurable.
One very useful hint I picked up early in my writing endeavours is to keep a record of my daily word count. I have set a goal for how many words I write each day and try to exceed that if I can. Last year it was 750 words per day and I achieved just over that. This year I have upped the goal significantly; I aim to average 1000 words per day. At this point in time I am just below 900 words per day and closing fast.
Why keep a word count?
Here are my reasons:
- Measurable: A daily word count is a measurable goal; I can see instantly if have reached my goal.
- Accountable: I keep a record chart listing words written each day which tells me instantly if I’ve been slacking off.
- Motivational: Setting goals like this motivates me to keep on writing. If I know that a novel needs another 50,000 words approximately, that should take me about seven weeks if I write at least a thousand words a day. Breaking down huge tasks into smaller day-sized chunks makes the task much less daunting.
- Personal: I am a self-confessed statistics-loving junkie.
Setting Your Goals: A Word of Warning
If you are new to the writing or blogging world, don’t set unattainable goals. I know I can achieve a thousand words a day because of many years of writing on demand. To the beginner, setting a small goal like 100 words a day may be sufficient. After a few weeks you might be able to set the bar higher, say 200 or 300 per day.
Set Small Realistic Goals:
- Set small goals first.
- Get into the habit of writing something every day to start with.
- As you begin to achieve that small goal, increase the daily word count.
- Keep on stretching yourself by raising the bar.
- Remember to keep the goals realistic though; a goal of 1000 words in not achievable if you can only set aside a half hour per day.
- Writing Hints – many articles giving writing hints and tips.