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Old 03-27-2012, 11:52 PM   #1
gmw
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Writing goals

Having recently been looking at software to aid in writing, and reading a couple of threads on this subject, I was curious about the emphasis on dynamic word-counts and writing goals.

Yes I check my current book's total word count, sometimes at the end of the day, sometimes every few days or week, but generally just to find out whether I've gotten too carried way (I can be very verbose, as anyone reading my posts here will have noticed already). I certainly don't watch the word count every few minutes. But then I don't write for a living, I don't have deadlines or specific publishing criteria that I'm trying to meet, so the concept of a writing goal (and pretty little graphs to show how much you've written each day over the last month) seem very strange to me. I'm aiming to finish my current book in the next few months, and the next one probably in about six months to a year after that, but that's about as far as I ever get. Which brings me to my question:

Do other writers really have writing goals? (x words per day or whatever.) What is their purpose? Do you find it helps even casual/hobby writing, or is it strictly a professional writer feature?
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Old 03-28-2012, 03:27 AM   #2
Justin Nemo
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I think you summed it up when you said you don't write for a living, because that is the difference. If you have a day job it can be hard sometimes to get back into the swing of your writing, when all that other stuff is swimming around your head.

For me personally I go with the flow, I have my own business with all the crap that entails, so I can't devote all of my time to writing. I don't count words, because sometimes that can be so depressing. Sometimes I look down and I've only written a paragraph, other times I look up and the sun is rising and I've been writing all night, sometimes it just grabs you like that.

I guess you'd need the opinion of a full time writer, but for us part timers I think it depends on why you write.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:17 AM   #3
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No fancy graphs, just a running word count, usually updated at the end of every chapter, sometimes at the end of the day even if the end of the chapter isn't in place. Divide by 400 to get an approximate page count. Just gives you an idea of how long the whole thing is likely to be.

A LibreOffice Calc sheet does the trick.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:40 AM   #4
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When I read Stephen King's "On Writing" he suggest 2500 words per day
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:40 AM   #5
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I have a full time job, and as Justin says, it is sometimes difficult to get going on my writing unless I force myself to do so. As a result, I have a target of 500 words per day, or more accurately 3000 per week (allowing me a day off if I need it ). I keep a running daily tally of words written to help me keep focused on my goal of 100,000 words by September.

Quote:
Originally Posted by James_Wilde View Post
Divide by 400 to get an approximate page count. Just gives you an idea of how long the whole thing is likely to be.
Interested that you use 400 words per page as an average. Scrivener defaults to 350 per page, and I was wondering if you chose 400 for a reason?
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:59 PM   #6
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I write when I feel like it, so I don't write every day. When I do, I set a goal of 250 words. That might seem like very few words, but it is easier to achieve than 2500 words. Quite often, I find that I have written a lot more than 250 words, often more than 2500 words.
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morriss003 View Post
I write when I feel like it, so I don't write every day. When I do, I set a goal of 250 words. That might seem like very few words, but it is easier to achieve than 2500 words. Quite often, I find that I have written a lot more than 250 words, often more than 2500 words.

This is somewhat like what I do.

I set a range (that's the key word for me). With a range of around 250 -750 words, I'm happy. If I go beyond that I get drunk. Well, not drunk: Euphoric.



Don
That range is for one year.
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:19 PM   #8
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Worrying about that will only distract you from the important stuff... writing your book.
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Old 04-08-2012, 01:46 PM   #9
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Usually write one chapter. It's a nice stopping point, and works pretty well. Of course, some chapters are smaller than others so don't use a word count.

Also try to write everyday or as consistently as possible. Like anything else, it's a habit. Keeping an established pattern is just easier for me. Like exercise. If I don't exercise regularly, it's overcoming inertia all over again! Somehow doing it on a regular basis establishes momentum.

Never beat yourself up -- let your readers do that for you. As long as you're making an effort and doing the best you can, you're making progress!
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Old 04-08-2012, 07:17 PM   #10
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When I am in "writing mode" I try to set myself on a quota system. Typically 1000 words / day is my min quota. I find that's a fairly easy number to reach and on a good day (note: they're not all good) it can be as little as an hour's worth of work. That being said, my quota is 1000 but I'll often set a goal of 2000. Anything above that is gravy
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:12 AM   #11
Anna Drake
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My goal is 2000 words a day, and yes, I sometimes check my word count every five minutes. But I enjoy writing, and I like having ebooks out there.
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Old 04-10-2012, 08:59 AM   #12
Nancy Fulda
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I find it easier to focus on time spent writing than on word counts. I'll sit myself down for 45-minute sessions -- no internet allowed -- in order to force my brain to concentrate on the story.

Because my brain is often recalcitrant, I use a handy little program called Freedom to make sure I don't cheat.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orlok View Post



Interested that you use 400 words per page as an average. Scrivener defaults to 350 per page, and I was wondering if you chose 400 for a reason?
Sorry Orlok, didn't see this till now. I counted the words on several pages of an admittedly Swedish book and got just short of 400. Same with the paperback of the same book. In fact I could see that the paperback was identical apart from a smaller typeface.

Just a few days ago I saw another value, unfortunately as I write I can't rememeber where, which gave about 270 for hardback and 240 for paperback. I thought those figures were pretty low actually.

What do you mean that Scrivener defaults to 350 per page? In my copy I only see character adn word counts. Character count is pretty worthless, but that's where I get the day's word count from. Is there another setting in version 2 that I've not found yet?
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:52 AM   #14
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http://www.writersservices.com/wps/p_word_count.htm
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by James_Wilde View Post
Sorry Orlok, didn't see this till now. I counted the words on several pages of an admittedly Swedish book and got just short of 400. Same with the paperback of the same book. In fact I could see that the paperback was identical apart from a smaller typeface.

Just a few days ago I saw another value, unfortunately as I write I can't rememeber where, which gave about 270 for hardback and 240 for paperback. I thought those figures were pretty low actually.

What do you mean that Scrivener defaults to 350 per page? In my copy I only see character adn word counts. Character count is pretty worthless, but that's where I get the day's word count from. Is there another setting in version 2 that I've not found yet?
Thanks for the explanantion. I agree 270/240 sounds low.

I'm using Scrivener v1.0.3, and in the Project/Project Statistics display it shows a number of pages your book equates to in paperback. If you then click on the Options Tab within that same display window, it gives you a Words per page field, which defaults to 350, but can be altered. I was just wondering if there was a "standard" word count for hardbacks and paperbacks, and that you may have the inside track....
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