Project targets are good. I have been using them to write these blogs and they seem to help me to reach a certain word count. Targets are something to aim at. They are a lot like goals, but they are not quite the same thing. A goal can be a target, but a target isn’t necessarily a goal. You may set a goal to write five thousand words a day, but don’t have the time to sit down and write those words. You pick two or three times a day when you could sit down and just write. That’s where targets come in. You have to write five thousand words in say two sessions. You simply set a target number of words to write for both sessions, twenty-five hundred words a session. Those are your targets. Think of them as interim goals, but target is easier to remember — and say.
During NaNoWriMo last November, I set my session targets at one thousand words a session. I averaged two sessions a day and three on weekend days. My word count added up very nicely. Of course, I didn’t hit a thousand words each session, but I went over a number of times. Watching your session targets statistics climb makes the overall goal of fifty thousand words in thirty days much easier to attain. I used Scrivener, which has a nice little feature called project targets. You can set the manuscript target and the session target. It works well. You can see your progress at a glance by looking at the progress bar. It starts at red, progresses to orange and then green. It also progresses along over a space which also lets you know how you are doing at a glance. It even tells you the number of words you have to go before reaching the target.
Fifty thousand words in thirty days seems impossible, but if you break it down, as I did, into a series of thousand word sessions, it became not only easier, but attainable. Millions of people do it every year. I even have a spreadsheet that I used to track the number of words that I wrote per session, which totaled up for the day as well as keeping track of the time I spent in each session. It kept me on even ground for the project. Knowing how much time it takes to write how many words can help as well. You can plan future sessions on the basis of how you performed in the past. I bet you never thought that you would use statistics, but they can help you attain your goals.
The only complaint I have about the target tracking in Scrivener is that it doesn’t tell you the percentage of what you are doing. It tell you how many words you have towards your self set target, but it doesn’t calculate the percentage. It probably doesn’t need to, but I would find it interesting to see a running percentage of how I’m doing on my project. So I do it manually, after each session. I enter the number of words I wrote in each session into a spreadsheet, which calculates what I have done so far and how much I need to do to stay on target for the ultimate goal.
Whatever your project, having targets that break your goals down to smaller and smaller pieces will only help you complete the project in the end. Statistics can help, assuming your project has metrics that can be statistically analyzed. Just figure out your goal, break it down into targets and go for it. That’s the way to get it done.