The Journal: Another Way to Think of Your Daily Word-Count Goal

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Topic: Another Way to Think of Your Daily Word-Count Goal
* Today
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

“[M]y editor and agent at the time felt strongly that a degree of ambiguity in the end made the story better. I never agreed, but it was my first book, and I was dizzy from the whole experience, so I said okay. I’ve regretted it for 25 years.” John Gilstrap

Topic: Another Way to Think of Your Daily Word-Count Goal

I happened on this while replying to Diane Darcy’s very informative comment on yesterday’s post.

You know your daily word-count goal is set right when you reach it or get close occasionally… and fall short occasionally. If you never fall short of your goal, it’s time to raise it a little. (grin)

When your goal is set correctly, you should feel a little pressure to get to the writing computer. Because THAT you write is important.

But you should feel no pressure at all about the actual work in progress. Just write the next sentence and move through the scene. Have fun and keep it moving.

So just get done what you can get done and don’t worry about it. This is the joy of writing into the dark.

If your goal is set at the right level for YOU, you should be pleasantly surprised when you shoot past it but not terribly disappointed when you fall short. It resets to 0 tomorrow anyway. (grin)

In my case, my daily word-count goal is much more than just a number to reach for. It’s what drives me to the writing computer in the first place, and it’s what causes me to Keep Coming Back (my personal mantra) through the day until I’ve reached my goal or until my brain is too tired and muddled to keep going.

At present, no matter what else I’ve done through the day, no matter how many non-writing tasks or ‘writing-related’ tasks I’ve done, my brain starts to go cold right around 3000 words.

I count as writing days only those days when I write at all on the current work in progress. My daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals drive me to show up at the writing ‘puter on most days.

So in the current example (Cazadores below) today is writing day 13. That’s out of 16 calendar days, since I started it on December 31.

I didn’t count the three days I registered a zero on the novel; hence, today is Day 13.

One of those calendar days (Jan 2) I didn’t write fiction at all, so I missed my daily goal completely.

Two of those days (Jan 7 & 8) were writing days on a short story. And on Jan 6, I wrote on both Cazadores and the short story and registered a total of 4523 words.

Today is Wednesday, so I’ll meet with a mentoring student for a couple of hours. It would be easy to use that as an excuse not to write fiction at all today.

But my daily goal and a desire to see what happens next in the novel will compel me back to the writing ‘puter. (grin) So I’ll write on the novel. I might hit my word count, and I might not. I’m not worried about it. The daily goal sets a mini-challenge for me, that’s all. Just getting to the computer is the thing.

Tomorrow, Thursday, with Saturday’s short story deadline looming, I plan to write on both the novel (I want to keep the flow going) and on a separate short story. Why both? Because my weekly goal drives me to start a new short story, but I also want to see what happens next in the novel. So tomorrow will be recorded in “The Numbers” below as Day 14 on the novel and Day 1 on the short story.

So as I asked yesterday, how is your writing going? Go to the site and leave a comment. You don’t have to compare yourself to me or anyone else. We all have different lives with different commitments.

If your production is leaving me in the dust, please come brag about it. (grin) I’ll be your number one cheerleader. And if your life leaves you with available time to hit only 1000 words per day as your daily goal, tell us that too. I’ll still be your number one cheerleader.

Again, if you’re a writer, THAT you write is what’s important. So set a goal that really Works for you—one that’s obtainable but makes you stretch—and get after it.

Today, I rolled out way late (for me) at almost 5 a.m. I slept pretty much soundly for 10 hours. (I usually sleep for 6.)

In the first hour, I fed our two fur babies, made a pot of coffee, shuffled out to the Hovel and wrote all of this. Now I’ll check for items for the “Of Interest” section, then take a short break up at the house.

When I get back (probably around 7) I’ll feed the horses. Then I’ll have an hour-plus to write on the novel before I have to get ready for the meeting. And from about noon, I’ll have the the rest of the day to write more on the novel. We’ll see how that goes. (grin)

But no matter how it comes out re my daily goal, at least it drove me to the writing ‘puter. And that brings me full circle.

Well, I didn’t take my break until after 7. Then up to the house for a shower and breakfast, fed the horses at 7:50, and finally to the novel at 8. (grin)

I got 1180 words in the first writing session. Now up to the house to get ready for my meeting.

Had a great meeting, and afterward Mona and I took care of a few chores we had to do. Then lunch and back to the novel at 12:45.

Welp, I got two more good sessions and finished the day with just under 2900 words. But a good stopping place.

Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See “Lifetime Workshops” (and more) at

See “Nathan Is Running Again!” at A few gems from a traditionally published writer for whom lightning struck at least twice.

See “Stories From Beyond the Grave” at

See “Does AI judge your personality?” at

See the PG’s take on “2020: Zero year thoughts about the changes in book publishing” at

See “Being the Best” at

See “Heroes and Anti-Heroes” at

For those who haven’t seen it yet, see “Six Things Writers Need To Stop Worrying About” at

The Numbers

Fiction words today…………………… 2899
Nonfiction words today…………… 1100 (Journal)

Writing of The Cazadores Lounge and Lonely Place (novel)

Day 11… 3663 words. Total words to date…… 28768
Day 12… 2186 words. Total words to date…… 30954
Day 13… 2899 words. Total words to date…… 33853

Writing of “” (short story)

Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX

Total fiction words for the month……… 37001
Total fiction words for the year………… 37001
Total nonfiction words for the month… 15090
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 15090
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 52091

Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 1
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 45
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 198
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31