Feb 11, 2015

How many words?

Posted by AJ Blythe at Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I've been thinking about daily writing goals. There seem to be so many different approaches: 

Image source here
  • write for a minimum of xx minutes
  • write a minimum of xx words
  • the words can be draft
  • the words must be polished
I like this quote by Arthur Hailey...


I set myself 600 words a day as a minimum output, regardless of the weather, my state of mind or if I’m sick or well. There must be 600 finished words–not almost right words.


600 words is a doable number. I like his philosophy - you write regardless of anything. I even like the idea the words should be finished words. For someone like me with a strong desire to edit, it would save time the next day and let me move on. 

I'm just not sure that I agree they should be finished finished. I think reasonably finished would work for me, Enough that I'm not tempted to go back and edit. 

I'm going to give this a shot and see if it does work for me.

What is your daily writing goal?

4 comments:

Colin Smith on February 12, 2015 at 2:16 AM said...

Right now, I'm good with "something"! Word goals can be good, and I can even see the value of "finished" words. That might take longer because you spend more time pouring over them (hence the lower daily word count). But unless you're a fanatical plotter, you don't know until the story's written how "finished" those finished words are. By the end of the story, you may want to cut that scene. Or you may need to re-write it because of character development you didn't anticipate.

But for me, I'm trying to balance family, work, reading, and writing, so if I manage to get words on the page every day, I'm doing well. :)

AJ Blythe on February 15, 2015 at 10:23 AM said...

Thanks for stopping by, Colin *waving*. Apologies for my tardiness in replying, but major computer issues have kept me offline for a few days now (hence my radio silence in the blogosphere). I worry this machine isn't long for this world :(

I often write with my eyes closed (lucky I can touch type) to try and avoid my internal editor. But I agree that until it is written it can't be finished.

As for life/writing balance... ugh! I struggle often to get the time for the same reasons as you. Hence the hope that a small goal each day will be achieveable? Haven't actually managed it yet, but I give up one of the day jobs in a month so non excuses then.

Susan Gourley/Kelley on February 19, 2015 at 2:16 PM said...

You picked some really good ones. I spend a lot of time on my first sentences. As a writer, when I'm deciding whether to buy a book, I read beyond those lovely firsts to see if the author carries on with the same voice or intrigue.

AJ Blythe on February 19, 2015 at 10:56 PM said...

Hi Susan, thanks for stopping in :) What you say is very true as there is little point in managing a brilliant first line if the rest of the writing doesn't carry the promise of that first sentence. I guess that's why I selected the examples I did as I love those books. Their first lines really do reflect their writing.

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