Stephen King says he writes 2000 words a day, no less, no more, no matter what. Walter B. Gibson in the 1930s and 40s wrote 15,000 words a day for The Shadow pulp magazine. Setting goals in writing is a great way to get things done.
I have tried many different methods of writing: simple outlining, in depth outlining, seat of your pants writing, and so on. But I never really got much writing done. In writing forums online and in writing books almost everyone says that the best way to write is just that: write. By writing every single day, lets say 2000 words each day, you can finish the first draft of an entire novel in about three months. Using my I-don't-feel-like-it-today-but-the-next-day-I-write-like-5000-words method, I have never finished an entire first draft. After a year I get stuck at 40,000, which is the farthest I've ever gotten, though it's technically finished; it has a beginning, middle, and end, fully developed characters, and all those other things you need in order to have a completed novel. No matter what I do, I always end up with a novella-length draft that's just the bare bones of a novel, and then I get sick of spending so much time on it and move onto something new.
This happened to me three times before I decided to do something about it. Starting with my most recent project, I decided to write 2000 words every day, and I would finish the entire first draft by the end of October. So far, it hasn't really worked because I keep falling back into my old pattern, which wasn't really a pattern at all. Now I have two chapters left, and it's only 40K. Well there are still 11 days left in October.
I wanted to finish by the end of October because in November, I am planning on participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I've never written a novel 50,000 words long, let alone in only one month, so this is bound to be a challenge. I am going to take this challenge and try my hardest to do it the best I can. I have the time and I have the inspiration, but I'm not sure I have the will.
Setting goals in writing is the best way to write. If you have to goal (word count or time frame) in mind, then you'll probably never finish. However, you must also have the perseverance, the thing that I presently do not have, and reach your goal. Hopefully I will finish my first draft by the end of October, though it definitely will not be 72K, which was my goal. It will probably only be 50,000, but I can always edit later, after November. Wish me luck, and good luck to you, my writing friends!