My August-September-Wrimo

You need goals to keep you moving, no matter what your task is. The completion of a great task, such as a book length manuscript, is not the only kind of goal. To maintain steady progress toward the goal, you need supplementary goals at specific intervals. For a writer, this is a daily, weekly, or monthly goal.

This post is about how to set those little goals. Each benchmark gives you a manageable amount of work.

I write all my fiction on my computer, not counting a few paragraphs here and there that I write on my iPad, when I’m away from the house but waiting for something. Since modern word processors will give you a word count, you can get a precise estimate for what you’ve written. This means you don’t have to count your pages and multiply by 250 (for a double spaced page of pica typewriter text). I never print out a paper MS unless a prospective publisher requires it.

Ever since I left my last day job, I’ve maintained a spreadsheet of how many words I write per day. At the beginning, each worksheet represented a week. Starting on that fateful day, April 10, 2010, I wrote about 50,000 words, finishing the first draft of Mistress of the Topaz on April 24th. It was a performance worthy of a Nanowrimo contestant. This includes losing a day due to sickness and another time when I accidentally lost a day’s work by saving a different file on top of it. Over those same two weeks, I also spent two of three hours a day house hunting, picked out a new house, and signed the contract. I had a huge load of enthusiasm to discharge and knew exactly where I wanted the book to go.

I have never matched such productivity since.

Over time, I changed my spreadsheet so that each worksheet is a month, not a week. I found that I often could not keep a weekly goal, after which I’d start getting discouraged, and be even less productive. So I changed it to a monthly goal, or in other words, separate monthly worksheets. That works better for me.

My monthly goal is always in the 10000-20000 range. From the point of view of my fellow professionals, that sounds like not very much. I can only say I’m not the same woman I was five years ago. My wife and I both have health issues that get on the way of our creativity and other aspects of daily life, so we have to spend some time helping each other.

If I run ahead of schedule, I add to my monthly goal. This august, I added first 1000 words, then another 1000, and finally another 500. I exceeded all of those goals by a few hundred words, so I credited my account for the next month, so to speak, by subtracting that surplus. But my September goal is still higher, because I feel like I’m on a roll.

To me, writing is writing. The words of this blog post will go into my monthly total for September.

Happy writing to all, and good luck getting published.





About bettysrants

Betty Cross has published a sci-fi novel called "Discarded Faces." It is now available both as a paperback on and as an ebook from Double Dragon Ebooks. It’s a dystopia with a happy ending. Her second novel is a fantasy named "Mistress of the Topaz." She has signed a contract with Double Dragon for this one also. It should be available for sale by early 2012.Both will have sequels. In April 2010, after 3 decades in the computer field, she became a full-time writer of Science Fiction and Fantasy. She writes every day, and records her daily word count on a spreadsheet.
This entry was posted in Writer Topic. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s