I’ve been talking to a friend about goals lately.
Specifically, word goals.
She’s a brand new writer, who hasn’t completed a full manuscript yet. And a few days ago she emailed me to ask whether I thought October 31st would be a reasonable deadline to aim for, for a new, completed manuscript. This happened the middle week of August, so basically, she was looking at two and a half months to write a brand new book, beginning to end.
For me personally, a new book in two and a half months isn’t a goal I’d set myself.
There are people out there whose goal is 365,000 words per year. One thousand words per day. Every day. Christmas, July 4th, their birthday, the day their kid starts school, the day they come down with the stomach flu and can’t drag themselves away from the porcelain ring long enough to answer the phone.
Not me. I know I need downtime. There’s gonna be days when I won’t write. There might be a week or two when I don’t crack open the computer because I’m on vacation or because I finished a book and I’m not ready to start the next yet.
Or—since writing isn’t just about adding words to the manuscript—there’ll be days when I’m revising. Lots of days when I’m revising. Days when I don’t add a single word to the count. Days when I take them away instead. Days when I do copy edits or when I proof read. Days when I’m at a conference doing a workshop and a signing. Days when I just don’t want to write; I want to read instead.
If my goal is 1K/day, I’m going to have to make up for those days. If I spend a week revising, suddenly I’m behind my goal by 7,000 words. In just a week. And when you’re behind 7,000 words, it can be hard to catch up.
And so we come to the three Rs.
Set a goal for yourself, by all means. Goals are great. Most of us are motivated by goals. If you’re not, then feel free to ignore this post.