Writing Targets

I’m a target-driven writier.  I guess this comes from the years of writing assignments, reports and theses (well, OK, one dissertation and one thesis) more or less continuously from 1992 through to 2014, that’s 22 years of part time study.

Now I’m deep in the nitty gritty of my novel writing, I set myself two deadlines, both a daily writing target and a lone-term deadline to get the first draft completed.  I remembered that the late, very great Iain Banks used to set himself a target of writing 1,000 words a day, and completed most of his books within three months within that target, of course some of the Culture novels became epics in themselves, so were probably longer than that.  I also suspect he sat down with a good structure in mind, similar to what I achieved recently on my writing retreat to Malta.

One of my favourite authors at the moment, Ben Aaronovitch tweets his daily witing word count, and this seems to hover around the 500 to 1000 word a day target.  He also seems to write most days.  Now that I am part time, in theory I have four days a week when I should be able to write.  Assuming life doesn’t get in the way of course.

Everyone knows I love Scrivener, and despite the steep learning curve, which I’m still on I would advocate it for any serious writing. I wish I’d written my thesis in it rather than the monster that was Microsoft Word, towards the end I felt I was wrestling, rather than using the product.

Scrivener has a really neat writing target mode, and what I didn’t realise until recently is that the target can adapt on a day by day basis.

So I’ve put the numbers in, and I get the following.

Screenshot 2019-04-15 11.27.06

Pretty neat eh?  I remember I did something like this with my PhD through a spreadsheet.

Well having spent 2/3 of my daily target writing this post I’d better go and do some actual, you know writing.


Published by

Andy Hollyhead

I'm a writer, theatre trustee, housing association committee member associate lecturer with the Open University and associate professor at a UK University. All views are my own.

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