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:

  1. Measurable: A daily word count is a measurable goal; I can see instantly if have reached my goal.
  2. Accountable: I keep a record chart listing words written each day which tells me instantly if I’ve been slacking off.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Good writing.

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