Don’t Settle in Your Writing Goals

This past April, I did Camp NaNoWriMo. If you’ve been around here, you’ll know that before April, I was busy-ish with school and hadn’t been really writing. When I decided to do Camp NaNo, I saw it as a way to help me get back into writing.

Now, starting to write when you haven’t been writing is hard. Your imagination rusts up a little, and it can be hard to get words flowing onto the page. Writing is a little bit like exercising in that way; you need to stay in shape, otherwise you’ll have to work to get back to where you were.

Because I was anticipating to have to work myself back into writing, I started out with a goal of 15,000 words, which meant 500 words a day.

From the start, it was a little rough. While I wasn’t purposing to put off writing my 500 words for the day, I was, which meant that I would scramble to pound out a quick 500 words in 15-20 minutes when I got home for work. Or, I would write my 500 words earlier in the day, but I didn’t feel the need to write any more. Some days, I wasn’t even meeting the 500 words.

I was settling in my writing. I was meeting my goal and felt the need to go no further. Something needed to change.

On April 14, I changed my goal from 15,000 words to 50,000 words. That meant I had to be writing 2,500 words daily instead of 500. While I wasn’t sure that I would make the 50,000 words by the end of April, I knew that it was entirely possible. Before writing fell slightly to the wayside, writing 2,500 words a day wasn’t that hard for me. It meant I had to write for an hour and a half to two hours.

Once I changed my goal, my writing changed. I was striving to meet the goal. I wanted to reach that 50,000 so badly. There were a few days when I didn’t meet my word count, but that meant that I just had to adjust how much I had to write over the remaining days.

I pushed myself hard. I devoted the necessary time to writing. And, if you’ve seen my posts about my 2020 April Camp NaNo, you already know that I won. I wrote the 50,000 in thirty days.

(a graph of my daily word count during Camp NaNo)

I didn’t settle in my writing goal. I realized that I was slacking and that something needed to change. I pushed myself to reach a challenge that was doable, but still a challenge.

So, my advice is this: set yourself goals that challenge you. It may look like 2,500 words a day, or it may look like 500 words. Maybe it isn’t even word count based, but time based. Everyone’s lives are different, and everyone’s writing journey is different. You may not have the time or energy to write 2,500 words a day. You may be a slow writer. So don’t feel the need to have goals that match everyone else’s. Make goals that fit you.

But don’t make easy goals. Push yourself. And, my guess is you’ll probably find yourself rising to the challenge.

I hope that you writing journeys are going well friends! Until next time!

2 thoughts on “Don’t Settle in Your Writing Goals”

  1. That’s crazy that you met your 2,500-word-a-day target! It’s not an easy wordcount to meet, and I’m inspired that you did.

    I myself adhere to a no-zero-day routine, which means I write every day, no excuses. Of course, to do that, I need to set an easy target of 250 words, but often I find that I easily surpass that target, which is why I prefer setting low targets to get myself going rather than pressuring myself and making me dread the blank page.

    This was still an interesting read though, so thanks Hailey!


    1. Thanks Stuart!
      I think it’s awesome that you can set a goal like that! I’ve found that for myself, if I don’t challenge or push myself a little, I’ll slack off. But if you can set easier goals and exceed them, by all means, do so! That’s what I was trying to get at towards the end when I was talking about setting yourself goals. You just have to do whatever works best for you. I have a little bit of a competitive steak in me, so I really like challenges. I completely understand how other people don’t, and how too large of a challenge could be a hindrance instead of a help.
      Hope your writing goes well!


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