When I first started writing, I used to give myself daily word count goals, like 500 or a thousand words. I think when you first start writing, daily word count goals are probably a good thing. It helps you to develop discipline, to sit your butt in the chair and get the job done. It’s also forcing you to get words out, to experiment with them freely, and to try to mold them to move along a story. As you write more words, more and more ideas come to you. This is probably the greatest value of NaNoWriMo.
But I’ve since decided that daily word goals are counter-productive for me, at least in terms of the quality of my writing. I find that if I’m writing just to reach my thousand words or so a day I often will write total crap, and then I have to go back anyway and rewrite it later, when the muse is speaking a little louder.
So instead I just have certain hours that I dedicate to my writing. Some days I feel particularly tenacious and I write 5000 words. Other days I feel like blubber and I write 5, or I revise the 5000 I wrote the previous day. Some days I don’t write at all. I do something mindless, and allow my brain to wander freely and allow the good ideas to walk in by chance. Usually after some mental rest I have a great writing day the next day.
I think as long as your butt is in the chair and you’re dedicated to writing the very best you can, there’s no need to make yourself meet fat word goals. This isn’t a race. Creativity has to simmer every now and then, you know?
What do you think? Do you have daily writing goals?