If you want to increase your daily word count, congratulations – you’re already one step ahead of other aspirational authors and bloggers! People who seek out writing goals are more likely to be successful with their books, blogs, etc. because they’re focused on achieving and exceeding.
However, knowing what to set your daily word count at can be difficult. Some people might have more time, energy, or thoughts than you; and if English isn’t your native language, you might need extra time to put your ideas into words.
While there’s many different answers as to what you should ideally reach for your daily word count, this post is designed to help break down the idea and give you tips on how you can realistically improve the quantity you write each day.
What is a daily word count?
A daily word count is the number of words a writer strives to write each and every day. The amount you write depends on the length of time and words per minute that you type in a writing session.
You can check how much you write by opening up a blank document. Most word processors will tell you how many words your full piece is (usually located in the corner). You can also copy-paste the text into a word counter and find out how many words are in your draft.
The advantage of keeping a daily word count
Rather than count by paragraphs, content, or pages, keeping a daily word count ensures that you’re actually writing a target amount each day. You’re also setting the same measurable goal to reach each time. A target word count can help you achieve a certain deadline, such as finishing a book during National Novel Writing Month or completing a goal you’ve set for yourself.
Cautions when keeping a Word Count
Before I dive in on how you can improve your daily word count, I’d like to give you a word of caution: five hundred good words are better than five thousand half-baked ones. While every writer should strive to meet a high word count, I want to stress that you should set realistic expectations that match your time and writing style. Personally, it’s taken me two years to get to the three to five thousand words per session. Your goals will depend on who you are, your writing style, and your time.
Please use this guide to help yourself when writing words full of weight and substance. If you don’t set realistic goals for yourself, you’ll end up writing gibberish just to meet a certain number. Now, let’s get into the ways of how to increase the amount of productive words you write.
Make Writing a Habit
Before you can set a word count goal, you should first make writing a daily habit. This is important especially if you’re a newer writer; you want to make sure that you’re taking writing seriously enough to make it something that you can do every week.
Ideally, I recommend writing every day, but I understand not everyone has that luxury. If you’re busy, start with a goal of finding one day a week where you can set aside time to write for a few hours. You can gradually move on to writing three-four days until you’re writing almost every day. Measure how much you write and then set a goal of where you want to be in the next three months.
Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day when forming your habit. Take a deep breath and just make up the time the next day. If you can’t make up the time, then continue on meeting your goal from that point forward.
You’ll gradually find yourself writing more and more over time.
Start out Small
You wouldn’t try to lift a hundred pounds without working out for months beforehand, and you should view building a word count as building tolerance for writing. If you want to build any skill, you shouldn’t just set a goal of writing ten thousand words a day; after all, you want to get the most out of what you put down on paper!
Here’s a six-week chart that I designed on what I think would be helpful for someone looking to build their writing skills from scratch.
- Week 1 – 500 words/day
- Week 2 – 600 words/day
- Week 3 – 700 words/day
- Week 4 – 800 words/day
- Week 5 – 900 words/day
- Week 6 – 1,000 words/day
As you can see, the first week you start out with a small goal of five-hundred words a day. You tack on an extra hundred as you build you skill; this ensures you’re building up the tolerance for writing, and will also prevent you from burning out. The amount of words you end up taking on per writing session will be up to your goals and personal style.
Push Yourself – Realistically
Let’s say you hypothetically write eight-hundred words of your novel per day. Maybe, just maybe, you decide that every other day you’ll write a thousand words instead of eight-hundred.
It might be tempting to say, “well, if I write two-thousand words, I’ll finish faster!” However, this mindset can be detrimental; if you push yourself too far, then you won’t steadily improve.
Get Enthusiastic About Your Writing
If you’re not reaching your word count goals, then it could be that what your writing about is boring.
Writing should be endearing and fun! You should want to get up in the morning and put your thoughts down onto paper. If you think writing boring, tedious, or a pain, then maybe you just need to find a topic that inspires you.
Writing is all about experimentation. Try one topic, then another. See what sticks and doesn’t. You’ll be surprised to find that the things that interest you the most will pass the time by.
Turn off other Distractions
Social Media, Youtube, television, music – turn them all off if you find it hard to focus on writing. While there’s many variations of multitasking, you might that these distractions slow down the progress of your writing.
Shut down your phone and put it in a drawer. Forbid yourself from having Youtube commentary in the background. Do what you need to do to focus on your writing, and you’ll find that you’ll start to meet and exceed your word count goals.
A Final Word
Making a word count goal is a fantastic way to ensure that you’re making progress on your writing. Keep a schedule, write passionately, and focus on a number that works for you. I wish you the best of luck on your writing endeavors!