The Journal, Wednesday, 2/8

Hey Folks,

Welp, I lost a subscriber. Either too little in yesterday’s Journal or too little about writing. Mea culpa. Sorry. I hope the guy will occasionally drop by the website to see what’s there.

That being said, I can’t be ‘on’ all the time. Been there, done that, got the shirt. Maybe somebody can, but I can’t. So….

I’m expecting the novel to break loose and run any time, especially now that it’s taken on a huge, wide, tall new direction. I hope it’s today.

Either way, unless something unexpected happens, I should have a good day of writing today.

Topic: Thoughts on Goals

I learned goal-setting from Dean. I wanted to add “at least as it pertains to writing,” but really that doesn’t fit.

I did set goals in my pre-Dean past and accomplished them, but I didn’t really realize what I was doing. It was kind of haphazard.

Now, as I’m teaching my grandson to set goals, I’ve had cause to explore the process of it.

Recently, Dean mentioned in his blog or a comment that he doesn’t do any of the “silly” daily goals for word count.

I do.

When I set a distant goal (for example, to write 1,000,000 words of publishable new fiction in a calendar year), I know that’s too big to manage. It’s overwhelming.

So I break it down into smaller goals, as I learned from Dean.

I know folks who set their sights on monthly or weekly goals, but those are also too large to work for me. Also, the end of a month or even a week is too far away for those goals to push me much. Finally, they’re easy (for me) to put off. After all, I have 7 or 30 days to accomplish it.

That’s why I set a daily word count goal. It works for me. It makes every day a new beginning. Whether I go over my word count or fall short, it resets to zero the following morning.

Once I set a large goal, to find a smaller goals that I have to accomplish to get there, I just do the math.

If I want to write 1,000,000 words of publishable fiction in a year, I have to write 83,334 words per month. Or 19,231 words per week (for 52 weeks). Or 2,740 words per day for 365 days.

You can also plan vacation time, etc. by deciding how many days you want to write.

For example, if you want to write only 5 days per week and 50 weeks per year, but you still want to write 1,000,000 words of fiction during that year, you still have to write 83,334 words per month.

But now you have to write 20,000 words per 5-day week, or 4,000 words per day for 5 days (or 2858 words per day for 7 days).

My current daily goal is 4,000 words per day. For me, that’s around 4 hours of writing time.

But I also know that Average is what really matters.

So if I miss my goal one day (or several days in a row), I don’t panic and worry about “making it up.” I just keep writing.

I also don’t contain myself to writing only 5 days per week. If I need a day away (or if a day away becomes unavoidable), I take it. If not, I write.

If you keep the immediate, short-term and long-term goals in mind, the average will work out.

Figuring the mean average now and then is also a good way to gauge your progress and guide you to get back on track.

For example, the year thus far (through yesterday) has held 38 days. In that time, I’ve written 105256 words of new, publishable fiction. The mean average is only 2769 words per day. (As of today, the mean average is 109,329 words / 39 days or 2803 words per day.)

So that tells me I need to lean a little more heavily toward spending time in the chair and then actually writing while I’m there.

Today, and Writing

Rolled out a little before 3. By 3:30 I was outside with a cigar. Got a few good shots of Luna and posted them to Facebook.

I wrote off and on all day in increments of no more than a half-hour. Today I focused on Keep Coming Back. Finally hit my daily goal for a change.

Back tomorrow.

Of Interest

I hope you’ll take time to read at least the first long comment on Dean’s post from yesterday. It’s here:

Also see Perfection and Writing at

If you enjoy the magic of math, check out this link:

Fiction Words: 4073
Nonfiction Words: 750 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 4823

Writing of Will Perkins (novel, working title)

Day 1…… 4219 words. Total words to date…… 4219
Day 2…… 4003 words. Total words to date…… 8222
Day 3…… 3383 words. Total words to date…… 11605
Day 4…… 3124 words. Total words to date…… 14729
Day 5…… 3373 words. Total words to date…… 18102
Day 6…… 2294 words. Total words to date…… 20396
Day 7…… 3102 words. Total words to date…… 23498
Day 8…… 2578 words. Total words to date…… 26076
Day 9…… 2111 words. Total words to date…… 28187
Day 10… 2561 words. Total words to date…… 30748
Day 11… 4073 words. Total words to date…… 34821

Total fiction words for the month……… 16719
Total fiction words for the year………… 109329
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3860
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 23550

Total words for the year (fiction and nonfiction)…… 132879