How to Set Realistic Word Count Goals

If you’re a writer who is in any writing community on social media, you’ve probably heard of, or are participating in, NaNoWriMo this month. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), is a month-long event in which writers devote themselves to penning an entire novel (or 50,000 word equivalent) in thirty days.

I personally don’t participate in NaNoWriMo; however, my current writing goal is to reach the 50k mark on my current WIP (work in progress), The Fall, by year end. At the time of writing this post (October 1st) I’m currently at 26k on this project, after starting in July. So, how do I set my monthly word count goals in order to achieve them?

Be Realistic

The main reason I don’t even try to do NaNoWriMo is that I know trying to fit in writing 1,666 words every single day for a month with my current schedule is far from realistic. I just can’t force myself to consistently write that amount day after day without experiencing burnout. So instead, in order to increase writing productivity while staying sane, I began to study my writing habits and set goals according to what I found I could accomplish within a month’s timeframe.

How to Find Your Ideal Word Count Goal

If you’ve been a writer for years and still can’t figure out what your monthly word count goal should be, have no fear! It took me three novel-length projects to find my groove.

When I first started redrafting The Crush, I only got to less than 30,000 words within the first nine months, mainly because I did not have concrete goals set. Once January 2019 rolled around, I set a small goal of writing 5k words for the month. By the end of January, I had added 11,700 words to my WIP.

So, being that I doubly exceeded my goal, I set February’s word count goal to 10k. This time, I only added 6,000 words, but continued to set goals of 10k until The Crush was finished, because I had proof it was attainable. By holding myself to this attainable standard, I continued to meet that 10k goal each month until the project was completed in June.


I’m in no way talking down writers participating in NaNoWriMo. I know some writers that are able to participate and win the challenge. But, if you’re like me and can’t fit it into your schedule, I highly recommend trying my method out for a couple months to find your writing groove. Remember to set small goals first and work up from there. Don’t stress yourself out too much. Your WIP will transform into a completed manuscript as long as you keep at it and don’t give up!

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? What are your current monthly word count goals? Share in the comments!

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

5 thoughts on “How to Set Realistic Word Count Goals

  1. Thanks so much for this!! It’s something that took me a while to figure out too. It used to be that 100 words in one sitting was good. To me, it’s kinda like working out. When one goal gets too easy, I slightly increase it. I don’t have a set monthly goal but now I know when I sit down I need to write around 1k to keep stretching my writing muscles. 😉
    I hope to do Nano someday but today is not the day. 😝

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