James Scott Bell has a great post on word count goals over at the Kill Zone. This is one thing I want to do better with, but I’ve had difficulty with daily goals. Many years ago, I tried to break into Hollywood. A well-meaning individual told me I had to learn how to write a script a week. A TV script is 50-60 pages, and a movie script is 120 pages. I did both versions, one a week and burned myself completely out. The goal was admittedly very aggressive, and I did not take time out to recharge between writing projects. I probably wrote 30-50 scripts, none which got any agent interest.
Even setting a low goal of 250 words (from Holly Lisle’s site) was difficult for me because there were days where it just wasn’t possible to write, so I’m instantly behind. JSB notes the problems with daily goals and why he changed it to a weekly goal:
I used to advocate a daily quota, but I changed it to weekly because inevitably you miss days, or life intrudes, and you can run yourself down for “missing” your quota. So set up a weekly quota, divide it by days, and if you miss one day make it up on the others).
I set mine at 1,800 a week, which is 300 a day if I write for 6 days a week. But, I did one more thing. When I note the current word count, I add 300 to the total to get a starter goal. Then I round it up to the nearest hundred, so I always have a few extra words built in. So, if I have 28, 228 words, I add 300 to it. That’s 28,528. Round it up to the nearest 100 and that’s 28,600.