Every serious writer knows that to get a book finished you have to turn up everyday and get it on like Donkey Kong. But if you do that for long enough then you wear yourself down and the rest of the people in your life start to forget what you look like.
This is where daily targets come in to it. You hear most bestselling authors talking about their daily word target and how they stick to it religiously. So, what’s the best word target to shoot for?
The simple answer is: you decide. It has to be the best thing for you. It depends on the speed you write, how long you have to write, and what you want to write. I constantly hear the mantra to self-publishing success which goes, publish as many books as you can. There’s the other mantra though that goes, concentrate on the quality of your books.
If you have 2 hours a day then it’s reasonable to aim for 1,000 words, if that’s too easy then go for 2,000, but you don’t want to be perpetually behind your count because it’s just not good for morale.
Maybe it’s best to work backwards. How many books do you want to release in a year? Average word count for a novel say is 90,000 words. You write 6 days a week. Double the time needed to include editing. Let’s do some maths:
First of all strip out your Sunday:
6/7 *365 = 312 days to dedicate to writing
Then plug in how many books you want to publish in a year:
3 books / 312 days = 104 days per book
Halve the time between writing and editing:
104 / 2 = 52 days dedicated to writing and the same for editing
So, how many words do you need to write a day?
90,000 words / 52 days = 1,730 words per day
Daily Word Targets Necessary
- 1 book per year = 577 words/day
- 2 books per year = 1,154 words/day
- 3 books per year = 1,730 words/day
- 4 books per year = 2,308 words/day
- 5 books per year = 2,885 words/day
Unlike writing, with editing you don’t just sit down and do the same thing every day. It’s difficult to set a target for how much editing you can do because it depends how much of what you read needs editing. You could edit a whole novel in a week, or it might take you forever. Word targets don’t work for this.
I think the best thing you can do with editing is set yourself an hourly target. You’ll clock in and out for so many hours a day and as long as you stick to that then you’ll get to the end as soon as you can.
Hopefully this helps you to set an appropriate daily target for your efforts. Let me know if you work it out in a different way.