One of the things a lot of us do to keep our selves accountable to writing is to set a daily writing quota. Whether it’s to make sure you’re on track for Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) or just to to ensure you’re actually writing everyday, having a daily writing quota is a great way to make sure you write.
So how do you choose a quota?
This depends on each person and how much time you have as well as your writing goals. If this is for Nanowrimo, where you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days, to stay on track, your quota would be 1,667 words a day. For a lot of us thoug, that’s a lot of time each day that we might not have (if you need help finding time to write, check out my post on that here). 500 a day might be plenty. Or maybe you write crazy-fast and 2,000 words a day is easy. There’s really no one ‘right’ quota…the important thing is to find one that works for you!
I recommend finding a quota that’s a little bit of a stretch but a number that’s definitely achievable. If you pick a number that’s easy to hit, there’s a big possibility that you can do more, so why not challenge yourself? If you pick a number too high, you might struggle to hit it which can lead to being discouraged.
Regardless of whatever number you pick, the important thing is that you write. Miss a day? Don’t hit your quota? You don’t need to feel bad about it-just get back up and write the next day! I’ve had the situation where I’ve missed a few days and felt pretty bad for missing them so I didn’t write the next day and so on…don’t let that happen to you!
How to use your daily quota? I use it as a ‘minimum’ guideline: I can write more if I want to, but I need to write at least that much. Some people stop when they hit their number even if it’s in the middle of a sentence, so it’s easier to start off again the next day. Again, do whatever works for you.
Your quota can also fluctuate depending on how busy you are. I let myself write a lot less the week before finals because I’m pretty dead and exhausted every day, and I’m okay with that. I even give myself a day off if I need it. They’re at thing about having a quota is that you know if it’s working for you, and if it’s not, you can always adjust it.
Why have a writing quota?
I think having a daily quota helps to make sure that you do write daily, since for me at least, the hardest part of writing is to actually write. Other than that, it’s also a great feeling to hit your quota and realize that you created something today, and even more importantly, you honored a commitment to yourself.
Are there other types of quotas other than word count?
Although I see word count as the most common type of writing quota, it’s definitely not the only one. Here are a few more:
- Writing for a set amount of time
Personally, I don’t like this one since I’ve found myself spending the entire time thinking about a scene or completely distracted and not having written anything at the end of the session, but if you have more discipline than I do, go ahead and try it!
- Writing a certain scene/chapter
I sometimes use this one and it’s especially great when you get really into a scene/chapter. The only thing I’d advise is having some sort of plan or outline of what’s going to happen in your scene. Also, it might be good to note that some of your scenes are going to naturally be longer than others, so you might be writing more on certain days.
The important thing isn’t what type of system you use or what your daily word count is…it’s to write!
What type of writing quota system do you use? What’s your daily word count? Leave your comments down below.