September Nonfiction Writing Challenge: Develop a Daily Word Count Goal

daily word-count goalYou say you want to write a nonfiction book. Maybe you plan to write a full-length book of 60,000 words or so, or maybe you have a smaller goal, such as to write a 7,000-word ebook.

What’s your plan to accomplish that goal? If you don’t have a plan, you’ll have a difficult time bringing that book into the world.

Without taking you through a detailed project-management process, here’s one thing you can do to create a simple plan: Develop a daily word-count goal…and stick to it.

And that’s your challenge for this month.

September Challenge: Develop a Daily Word-Count Goal

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you want to write a 60,000-word book. You plan to complete it in three months. (I know… That sounds like a really short amount of time, but it’s possible. I know; I’ve done it. So can you, as you will see…) How will you do that?

To create a plan to accomplish that goal, you must first createa a daily word-count goal. That means you need to know how many words you need to write each day—or however many days per week you intend to work on the project.

I’m going to assume you plan to sit at your desk and write five days per week. That means you need to produce 1,000 words per day; that’s your daily word-count goal.

How’d I come up with that daily word-count goal? Simple. I multiplied 5 (days per week) by 4 (weeks in an average month) and came up with 20 (writing days per month). I then multiplied 20 (writing days per month) by 3 (months), which amounts to 60 days of writing total. Next, I divided 60,000 (words in the completed manuscript) by 60 (writing days over the course of 3 months).

Do the math… You need to write 1,000 words per day to complete your manuscript in three months.

That’s pretty doable, right? Of course, it is.

Let’s look at the 7,000-word ebook and assume you will write 6 days per week for 3 months:

6 (days) x 4 (week) = 24 (writing days per month)
24 (writing days per month) x 3 (months)= 72 (writing days total)
7,000 (desired manuscript goal) ÷ 72 (writing days total) = 97 (words per day)

Obviously, you could finish writing the ebook much faster. For instance, you could change your goal from a 3-month completion date to a 1-month completion date. In this scenario, you could finish the book on time by meeting a word-count goal of writing 291 words per day.

Write a Book Fast

When I came up with the idea for blogging a book, I recommended writing just 300 words per blog post. I now suggest 500 words per post, but the idea is similar. Publish three 500-word blog posts per week and finish the first draft of a 60,000-word manuscript in 40 weeks. (Read aother post about using writing quotas to blog a book here.) I blogged my book, How to Blog a Book, by writing and publishing 300-word posts three to four days per week over the course of five months.

If you plan to write a book in a month during the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge, aka National Nonfiction Writing Month (or even during National Fiction Writing Month), you need a plan. A daily (or even weekly) word count goal is essential to complete the challenge. (I’ve written a lot of posts on the topic of preparing for a 30-day writing challenge; you can read them here.)

During my Write Your Transformational Book Challenge, I encourage change-inspiring book authors to write 700 words daily for three months. In that time, they produce a 60,000-word manuscript.

Your turn. Determine the desired length of your book project. And then create a daily-word-count plan.

Once you’ve done so, just write as planned consistently—meet your goal daily. That’s the only plan you need to complete your manuscript in no time…and on time. But if you need more help, use the strategy in the August Nonfiction Writing Challenge.

Do you have a daily writing quota, and, if so, how does it help you remain productive?

become a productive writerNeed help developing supportive writing habits and mindsets? Join the High-Performance Writer Group Coaching Program. Save $100 if you resister by midnight September 10.

Equip yourself with the tools, strategies, habits, mindsets used by the most successful writers in the world. Learn more and register by clicking on this link: And don’t miss the early-bird special…Save $100 by registering before September 11.

Photo courtesy of Nonwa Andriy Popov|

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