Authors Answer 72 – Writing Targets

A full-time author’s job is to write. For many of them, they spend a full-time job’s amount of time writing, editing, promoting, and doing many other things for their books. But many authors write only part-time, as they often have a non-writing job. But they tend to have their own routine, or some just do it whenever they can. How about our authors?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 72 – Do you have a daily or weekly target for writing? What is it, and how do you achieve it?

S. R. Carrillo

For the past 2 or 3 years, I have made monthly goals of writing, at a minimum, 10,000 words on any given project. It’s a realistic goal for me – especially since I was playing G.I. Joe when I made it.

As for how I make it happen – I simply make it a priority. I finish a scene, start a new one, outline an idea for further down the line, edit some lines that were bothering me, all until I meet my goal. If I don’t, I work harder at it. If I do, I keep going. ^_^

Elizabeth Rhodes

It’s been so long since I was actually writing a new story (I’ve spend most of my time editing and then releasing/promoting Jasper) that I haven’t yet established a habit. In a perfect world I’d be writing a thousand words a day, but that’s definitely not happening right now. I don’t hold myself to that goal, but I plan to get a chapter down per week at minimum.

H. Anthe Davis

Normally I have a target of 2-3 pages per writing day, and I write five days a week.  I write before I go to my Day Job, so 2-3 is about the amount of writing I can squeeze in between gaining full consciousness and being forced to run out the door.  There are two writing-days where I don’t have the Day Job hanging over me, so sometimes I get 4-6 pages in, and there are always outlier days where I get up to 8 because I feel very motivated.  My main goal is to get -something- down on the page, and keep pushing at it until I have to break off for the day.  It’s just persistence — and a steady schedule I guess, because my Day Job schedule was wacky for most of February and totally threw me off my writing game.  Hopefully by the time this posts, I will have gotten back into the proper swing of it.

Eric Wood

I don’t really have a target. Though I do try to write daily posts for my blog. I attempt to write at least 500 words per post. Sometime they’re longer. Sometimes they’re much longer. Sometimes I fall short. I certainly don’t beat myself up over it. If I succeed great. If not, I’ll try again tomorrow.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

I definitely should have a daily or weekly target, for motivation purposes if nothing else, but I don’t because it would only set me up for disaster. That may sound a little jaded, but since my day job requires me to work 12-hour days for 14 days straight, there are often periods of days at a time during which I simply cannot write unless I’m willing to give up even more sleep than I already lose while on shift, so trying to hold myself to some kind of target just doesn’t do me any favors at all. I mainly just look at my monthly totals and then try my hardest to beat that total the following month.

Jean Davis

Ideally, I aim to write a thousand words a day if I’m working on a novel. Some days life happens and I don’t write at all. Other days I get two thousand words in. It seems to level out. When I’m in short story mode, I aim for half of that because there’s a lot more thought involved to be concise when transferring the story in my head onto the page.

D. T. Nova

Not a very specific one. I’ve gone through periods where I had the goal of always wanting to get something substantial done every day, but allowed enough flexibility that it achieving wasn’t an issue. Unfortunately, I’ve been having trouble with it recently due to personal reasons that have nothing to do with writing.

Linda G. Hill

My daily target is to write something. Anything. Even if it’s a sentence. I achieve my goal (sometimes, not always) by tying up my son, gagging him, and then ignoring an hour’s worth of pleas to be let loose. … yes, I’m joking. I just ignore him for two minutes. It’s about all he can take. 😉 But seriously, I’d love to spend hours every day working on a novel. The only time I seem to manage that is when I put my nose to the grindstone for NaNoWriMo.

Allen Tiffany

No.  I push relentlessly on writing and marketing my work, as well as learning about such things, but I have no word count goal. And I don’t think such things are conducive to good writing (just my opinion). I much rather mull things over, add, delete, rewrite, rewrite and rewrite. I have great confidence that problems with my story, the plot, a character’s motivation, etc., will eventually resolves themselves (often in something of an epiphany) if I give it enough time and thought.

Gregory S. Close

When I was writing full time I would set goals – usually tied to scenes rather than word count.  Now, I’m just happy to get writing time in at all.

If I can return myself to a routine, then writing first thing in the morning yields the best results, leaving time to edit the prior day’s work in the afternoon or evening. Getting something in every day (or at least 5 working days a week) is really key to establishing a good rhythm.

Paul B. Spence

Not really. When the mood strikes me/life gets out of the way/stress decreases, I tend to write a few thousand words a day. If you average it out, even on days I don’t write, I ‘write” a thousand or so.

Jay Dee Archer

I’m in a unique situation right now, so I don’t have any targets at all. Since I’m moving half way around the world, I can’t concentrate on writing. However, after the move, and once we’ve gotten everything settled, I can finally get myself into a writing routine. Ideally, I’d like to write at least five days a week and achieve a minimum of somewhere between 500 and 1,000 words. More is fine. But I can’t really say until I’m able to write, and see where I feel comfortable. With so many unknowns, I can’t really answer this very well.

How about you?

If you’re an author, what kind of target have you set for yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

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19 thoughts on “Authors Answer 72 – Writing Targets”

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  2. As an author of children’s books, middle-grade and novels of multi-genres I try to write 3-4 times a week and produce 1000-1500 words, sometimes more. At present I am working on two books at a time and editing a third. Once I begin to write I get in my zone and have a wonderful time.

  3. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Setting targets is helpful in life, but it’s not always an easy course to take. This week the Authors and I are talking about writing targets and how we go about hitting them.

  4. Goals are really hard when you’re a stay at home parent. And your son needs the PC to play Minecraft, the laptop died (you’re pretty sure the toddler killed it), and said toddler won’t nap, the older child needs to do his homework, your spouse just splurged on a new TV, and wants to fawn over the website for that for hours and hours…or watch said TV for hours and hours, fine tuning all the thingamajigies… I don’t have goals right now, other than at least try to do something. Whatever I can. 10 words a day? Sounds great. And don’t judge myself too harshly. So you have this good idea but you’re not sure what to call the character…or just what her job description is… What do I know? What do I know has to happen in this part? Remember the feeling of the story…what its voice is. Not forgetting that is a major goal.

    Hope all this rambling made sense and/or helped someone. 😉

  5. My biggest “writing target” is to edit at least 3 sci-fi novels this year, in addition to whatever random freelance work comes along. Of course, that means the usual suspects have to finish writing those novels. 🙂 (Editors — and beta readers — are kinda like hipsters: we read novels before they’re even published.)

    I also want to write a few short stories. One that’s been partially complete for a long time needs to be expanded (doubling the word count would be good) sometime soon, because it’s strongly connected to one of my clone’s current novels-in-progress.

    I don’t worry about daily word counts, though, because experience has shown me that I get a lot more — and better — writing done in the long term if I just write what I’ve got when I’ve got it, and spend the rest of the time figuring out what I’m going to write.

    1. I sometimes find that deadlines or targets are rarely met. Take our move to Canada, for example. We said we wanted to get certain things done by a certain day, and we always found that we were behind schedule.

  6. I don’t think there’s a right answer, rather there’s a right answer for me, which has been to focus on time. I find that if my goal is to spend 1-2 hours a day on writing, totaling 10 hours a week, then I’m free to get “it” right, even if “it” is a one sentence or 1 paragraph pitch.
    Of course sometimes I do get overly caught up in perfecting a small piece, when I should really move on, but overall I find that time based quotas work well for me.

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