Why Smaller Word Goals Might Be Better Than Larger Ones

I’ve often found that setting word goals is a good way to motivate myself. When I’ve been procrastinating too much, sometimes a certain word goal can help me get back on track.

But other times, I find word goals intimidating. Sometimes I’ve told myself I’m going to write 1,000-2,000 words a day––but the thought of it would be so exhausting, I just wouldn’t end up doing any writing at all.

This is why I’ve found that sometimes setting smaller word goals is better motivation than setting large word goals.

It’s all a matter of figuring out what works best for you, of course, but for me the ideal daily word goal is somewhere between 300-500 words. It’s enough to write a good chunk of a scene, but it’s small enough to not seem too daunting.

Not only that, but smaller word goals help me focus on what’s important. I’ve found that if I try to tackle an enormous word goal in one day, I only end up writing a lot of filler and dancing around the point of the scene. With a modest goal, I have less of a sense of panic. It’s not about cranking out a massive amount of words, but about making those few words count. As the old adage goes: it’s about quality, not quantity.


How about you guys?

  • Do you set word goals for yourself?
  • If you do set goals, do you prefer smaller or larger ones?
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4 thoughts on “Why Smaller Word Goals Might Be Better Than Larger Ones

  1. I tend to make writing for the day my goal. I look at word count after I’ve written all that came to me. If, as is the case with my current NaNo project I find I’m short of my target word count, then I’ll go back and look for places I can explain more, fluff up for now, or add to make my words. I find that during the editing process, I can often turn some of the fluff into gold so it works out in the end.

  2. I usually set goals based on time. With my schedule, if I can get in an hour of writing each day, the word count will come. I don’t think about word count too much. When the story is told, it’s told.

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