7 Reasons You Should Set a Writing Goal

If you’ve ever done NaNoWriMo, you know all about setting daily targets. That intimidating 50k breaks down into an average of 1667 words a day. It seems much friendlier when you think about it that way, doesn’t it? But writing goals don’t have to be limited to NaNoWriMo.

Consider what it would be like to have a target to aim for every day. Does that seem scary? It really doesn’t have to be. Writing daily, even if it’s only 100 words, has numerous benefits. Here are my top seven.

1. It increases your productivity.

With a target to aim for each day, a minimum number of words, pages or time spent writing to do, your output increases. Your story grows and you move ever closer to that elusive and tantalising point: The End.

Your target can be as high or as low as you feel comfortable with, whether that’s 200 words a day or 2000. Whatever your goal, it’s the process of writing every day that’s going to yield the greatest results.

2. It adds up to a lot of writing.

No matter your target, it accumulates over time. If your goal is to write 500 words daily, then that’s 3500 words a week, around 15,000 a month and 182,500 a year. That’s, like, two whole novels. Even if your target is only 100 words, it all adds up.

3. It kick-starts your creativity.

Writing that first sentence is always the hardest. After you’ve cleared that hurdle, it’s easier. The words come, one by one, and as you get into the story, they start to flow faster. Creativity sweeps you away. Before you know it, you’ve reached your target and want to write even more.

4. It creates good habits.

Write daily and you’ll fall into a routine. Keep that routine up and habits will form. That comes with several big advantages for writers.

Firstly, putting bum in seat and starting to write is no longer the battle of will it used to be, because now you’re used to it. Not only is getting yourself to begin writing less taxing, finding the right words is too. You’re well acquainted with sentence-crafting and storytelling, so using them becomes more effortless. And, finally, because you’re making progress, because you’re succeeding, because you’re living your story each and every day, writing is much more enjoyable.

5. It feels good to achieve your target.

Because you have a concrete goal, you feel you’ve accomplished something when you go to bed at night having reached it. If you just write however much (or little) you feel like each day, then that feeling of triumph may be more elusive, perhaps only appearing when you beat a previous all-time record or write an unusually high amount. With a minimum goal in mind, you can feel good every time you surpass it.

Also, watching your word count rise and your story flourish makes you all warm and tingly inside.

6. It motivates you to break through writer’s block.

You can’t stall out for days when you have a daily target to meet. Instead of floundering around and waiting for inspiration to strike, you write on through the block (TIP: word sprints help—a lot) or skip ahead to a scene that you can write and return to fill in the gaps later, once the words start flowing again.

7. It can give focus and drive to your word sprints.

Leisurely word sprinting is great. It’s fun. It’s fruitful. It’s wordelicious. But if you want a further challenge, then having a goal to aim towards—such as a word or page count—adds focus to a word sprint. It motivates you to sprint more and write more each time.

So, are you ready to set yourself a writing goal?

If the answer is yes, check out the #WriteChain Challenge and work towards your daily target alongside a rapidly growing community of writers! Nothing motivates like having others beside you to support, encourage and compete against.

If you’re looking for a gentle(ish) prod to send you on your writing way, come join our word sprints on Twitter (@TheSprintShack) or spread the word sprint love by hosting some of your own. Together we’ll reach our targets, one sprint at a time.

~

What kind of writing goals do you set yourself? Tell us in the comments below!

Do you have any questions about setting daily targets? Leave us a comment or email us at thesprintshack@gmail.com and we’d be happy to help!

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6 thoughts on “7 Reasons You Should Set a Writing Goal

  1. This is something I seriously need to get good at. I only participated in your #WriteChain challenge for a week, then broke it and haven’t picked it back up since. :( It’s hard to set a daily goal when life is so hectic! I admire you guys for being so diligent about it.

    • You can do it, Cristina! It’s all about finding the right goal for you, I think. If you can’t reach your target amount one day because something unexpected came up and interfered with your writing time, then that’s fair enough. If you struggle to reach your target on a daily basis, then that’s a sign your target’s too high.

      I think it’s better to set a low target (e.g. 150 words) and achieve that day after day than set a high target (e.g. 1500 words) and only achieve that SOME days. Consistency is key. Pick a goal that allows you to do that.

      That’s my take on daily writing goals, anyway :)

  2. Great advice. I know I write better (and more) when I have a goal and track it. It helps me stay focused on my story instead of just kicking ideas around. Love the idea of doing short sprints too.

    • I know exactly what you mean. If I don’t have a target—and I’m not being swept away by the creative spirit—then my writing flounders. I procrastinate. I hesitate when writing. My story goes nowhere. But put a minimum word count in there and suddenly the plot starts moving, my characters start acting and my progress starts snowballing. What would I do without it? (Throw my laptop out a window in frustration, probably.)

      Thanks for the comment, Ainsley! It was great to hear from you :) We host many a speedy sprint on @TheSprintShack; drop by and join a few if you have time. We love the company!

  3. Pingback: How to Write 10,000 Words in a Day | The Sprint Shack

  4. Pingback: The Sprint Shack Is Open for Business! | Writerology

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