Small Goals, Big Plans: Finish Your Novel

A while ago I was talking to Braden Russell from The Storymonger about varied writing topics and he mentioned his daily writing goal: 100 words per day.
100 words.
To be honest, I smiled and nodded and generally pretended like I thought his goal was a good one. Inside, I’ll admit, I wondered whether his goal was even worth having. Come on, 100 words? Really? That takes all of ten minutes to accomplish. On a bad day. 100 words isn’t much at all. In fact, 100 words is actually so little, that you’ve read 100 words since you began reading. What’s the point of setting a goal that’s so easily accomplished?
Since that conversation however, I’ve put a lot of thought into Braden’s 100 word goal. Now, I’m actually starting to see that it makes sense. A lot of sense.
Here’s three reasons that a 100 word per day goal could change your writing:

Actually Writing

Let’s deal with the obvious first: you will write 100 words per day. Per day, that doesn’t sound like much; and really it’s not. But if you don’t write on Monday, it’s actually really easy not to write on Tuesday either. If you haven’t written anything on Monday or Tuesday, why start on Wednesday? By the time you get to Friday, you decide you should just wait until the next week to start writing again. Then you forget all about it, and in a month you’ve still written nothing. Writing just 100 words per day prevents this vicious cycle from even starting.

You’ll Write More

You’ll write more than 100 words per day. It’s true, every time you sit down to write, the first 100 words you write are, generally speaking, the hardest you’ll write for the whole session. They aren’t too hard, but they are the hardest. You have to reconnect with your characters, remember your setting, and reinvigorate your conflict. Once you’ve done that, you’ll probably find that it’s just as easy to write 200 or 300 or 2,000 words.

You’ll Love It

You won’t get discouraged. Not that life will be a game of Candyland, but if you write every day, you’ll never feel like you’re failing to write. Since you’ll be writing, you’ll be winning, and slowly your energy and excitement for your story will build on itself. Plus, by chipping away at the project, you’ll avoid getting burned-out by a month-long sprint to finish the draft.
What is your word count goal for the day? What other tricks do you use to boost your production?

(Did anyone else notice how this post was ironically short?)

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Raised on C.S. Lewis and matured (to whatever extent) on Tolkien, Brandon Miller is a huge fan of Christian speculative fiction. His favorite stories artfully bend the physical reality to reveal spiritual realities which apply to all realms, kingdoms, districts and solar systems (including our own.)
When not writing fiction Brandon spends his time tending his blog The Woodland Quill, sportsing, or just struggling through that last-year-of-high-school/first-year-of-college which is really neither but is definitely both.


  1. Laura September 2, 2015 at 10:44 PM - Reply

    My pleasure! Thanks for posting!:)

  2. Laura August 17, 2015 at 9:31 AM - Reply

    Wow! I must say that Braden is one of the last people I expected to have a goal of only 100words a day; but I must say that it’s a big encouragement to people like me that already struggle with being frustrated at how slow a writer they are, and that fact only makes things worse when the school year starts back and I have to fight a battle just to find time to write once a week. It takes away the pressure of feeling like everyone will think you’re lazy and unproductive. Thanks a bunch for sharing this!
    The post was pretty short. Testing out he 100 words?:P
    One trick I’ve found pretty helpful when writing actually comes from Jill Williamson and Stephanie Morill’s Go Teen Writers book: if you fun it hard to start back up writing than leave your day of writing with an un completed scene to come back to tomorrow. That way you’ve already got your stage set with scenery and actors putting on a performance from yesterday so all you have to do is jump to the keyboard press the play button. Once done with that scene you can flow into the next much more easily and leave it hanging in the middle for you to come back to tomorrow. It saves a lot of stress over having to start with a new scene and make your writing time productive. You won’t be staring at the computer screen for an hour before finally thinking up a first sentence… And then 30minutes more a second…. And so on.

    • Brandon August 24, 2015 at 7:52 AM Reply

      That is a great trick. I’m definitely going to have to give it a try. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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