The Journal: On Daily Word-Count Goals

In today’s Journal

* Topic: On Daily Word-Count Goals
* Today
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Topic: On Daily Word-Count Goals

In case you don’t read the “My Own Getting Ready” in today’s “Of Interest,” I found it very interesting (and pleasantly surprising) that both Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch still use word-count goals. As I learned from Dean back in early 2014, a daily word-count goal is indispensible for several reasons:

  1. Whether you fall short or go way over on a particular day, the next morning the goal resets to zero and it’s a new day. That’s refreshing.
  2. Having a daily word-count goal drives you to the computer every day, including some days when you might not write if you didn’t have that goal.
  3. It reminds you to keep coming back during the day until you’ve reached your daily goal.
  4. It’s a great way to get a streak started, which will also drive your writing.
  5. Maybe most importantly, having a daily word-count goal helps you train yourself as a writer. It shows the critical mind that you, not it, are the boss.

Back in early 2014 I set a goal of 3,000 words per day. And I maintained that through the first few year, writing almost every day. In many months, I wrote well over 100,000 words of publishable fiction per month. As a result, today I have over 50 novels and novellas and am just shy of 200 short stories.

Then, at the beginning of 2018, I let go of the daily word-count goal. I was in the habit of writing fiction almost every day, so I felt like I probably didn’t need the daily goal anymore. (Conscious, critical mind, anyone?)

That was a huge mistake. As you might imagine, my production fell off.

So as I wrote above, I was pleasantly surprised to read that both Dean and Kris still use word-count goals. If someone with their experience and accomplishments needs word-count goals, who am I to argue? (grin)

So in 2020, I will re-establish my own daily word-count goal again, bearing in mind the average over time is what matters. It feels really good to put up a 100,000 word month.

By contrast, this month I felt satisfied with writing only 51,000 words of fiction. That’s how far I’ve slipped.

In 2020 my life and my schedule will change considerably too, as my wife retires and transitions from working away from home every day to being home every day.

But she’s also moving into her new position as the publisher at StoneThread Publishing. And in her capacity as a publisher who wants our business to succeed, she too will enable my new daily word-count goal. After all, I’m 99% of the Production Department. She can’t publish what I don’t write. (grin)

So think about this. Give it some serious thought. No matter your life or your schedule, almost everyone can find at least one hour per day to write, even if it’s in 15-minute increments. (If you really believe you don’t have an hour every day and want to learn how to find wasted time, email me at I’ll be happy to share.)

If you can put even 17 words per minute (1000 words per hour) on the page, people will consider you a prolific writer.

2020 is coming on fast. Just think of the possibilities.

Today I hadn’t planned to publish an edition of the Journal, but I decided to put out a short one so you could see the items in “Of Interest.” Then I read Dean’s post for today and was moved to write the topic above.

By the way, through a comment on Dean’s site I went to a website called Six Figure Authors. It’s billed as “the podcast that helps you take your writing career to the next level.”

Wow. I bookmarked it and will be browsing it off and on. I recommend you do the same. You can find it at

Also, just a heads-up reminder: The Licensing Transition Class and Shared World Class will close for new sign-ups on the 1st.

If you want to take your writing business to the next level, I really strongly recommend the Licensing Transition course. There are already 50-some videos up, with a lot more to come. To check it out, go to and look for the Licensing Transition course (or any others).

Now I’m gonna go write some fiction. You’ll see my updated fiction numbers when I write another edition of the Journal.

Have a great day. Talk with you again soon.

Of Interest

See the comments on “Playing With Covers” at

Listen to Dean talk about writing and publishing on “Six Figure Authors” at

See “My Own Getting Ready” at

See “Science Fiction Writer Writes Whatever” at

See “The Joys (and Perils) of Serial Novel Writing” at

See “Latest Top Pages” at

See “What John Dos Passos’s “1919” Got Right About 2019” at

The Numbers

Fiction words (see specific numbers below)
Nonfiction words today…………… 800 (Journal)

Writing of

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

Total fiction words for the month……… 50996
Total fiction words for the year………… 448561
Total nonfiction words for the month… 20480
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 323740
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 772301

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 10
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 4
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 44
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 197
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31

1 thought on “The Journal: On Daily Word-Count Goals”

  1. Great post Harvey. The word count goal is huge! And when you fall off just get back on. Over and over. It will make a tremendous positive difference in your writing.

Comments are closed.