Movable Type 3.2
November 02, 2006
NaNoWriMo Daily Incremental Goals FormulaeGetting to 50,000
Note: This entry is very long, with lots of numbers and math. I promise it's not actually as complicated as it looks. If you don't care about NaNoWriMo and/or hate math, though, you might want to move along.
Over the past few years, I've developed1 a system for calculating daily incremental word count goals for NaNo. When sitting down to write, the day's goal can often seem overwhelming. It sounds like so much. Writing a list of smaller goals makes it all seem much more achievable. This system has two big advantages. Reaching multiple smaller goals allow you to feel a more frequent sense of accomplishment, which helps you keep going. And the goals are close together, so when one is reached, the next always seems so close that it seems silly not to try for it.
So! Ready to give it a try?
First, define your variables:
A = your current word count
Calculate the following:
The first five are the "reasonable" goals.
1. A + B (current word count plus today's minimum. This keeps you as ahead or as behind the NaNo minimum as you already are.)
The next five are the "dream goals." They're basically the above goals plus an extra day. Because really, we all want to get a day ahead, right?
6. A + (Bx2)
Now make a list of goals.
Arrange the numbers in order from least to greatest. Add round numbers in between them - at least every multiple of 500. If you want more goals, add in multiples of 250 or even 100. Also add any of these round numbers between your current word count and the lowest number of 1 - 7.
I promise this isn't as confusing as it sounds. To illuminate things, let's make my goal list for today as an example.
A = 1744 (my current word count)
1. 1744 + 1667 = 3411
Now I arrange them in order:
And I add all the multiples of 250 between my current word count and the highest goal:
Now I write those numbers on a piece of paper and keep it next to me as I write. As I reach each goal, I cross it out. The beauty of this system is that the next goal is always so close that it's easy to trick yourself into writing just a little bit more. For example, today I'm planning to try for Goal 2 (current word count + 2000), which is 3744. But once I get there, I'll see that the next goal is 3750, which is ridiculously close, so I'll write another sentence to get there. And then the next is right there at 4000, so I'll probably keep going... etc. If you like to play mind games with yourself, give it a try.