Setting short-term writing goals is key when it comes to hitting your big deal writing goals. And even though it may seem like setting sub-goals won’t get you to that published novel, short-term writing goals are the key to improving as a writer.

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Messy desk with an old typewriter and the text "short-term writing goals and how to crush them"

Original photo by Dimitry Anikin on Unsplash

For me, short-term writing goals are all about creating sustainable and replicable practices. I set them because I know in the long run, achieving them will make my life easier.

I’m not saying they’re a magic bullet.

It’s definitely a very wax on, wax off part of writing though.

So, in the past, I’ve set a few short-term writing goals for several reasons, In some cases, I wanted to complete a lot in a short amount of time. In others, I wanted to be a faster writer. And in others, I wanted to just get some practice.

I’ve got a few short-term writing goals here in this post, but this list isn’t exhaustive. When it comes to the goals you set, make sure they work for the writer you want to be.

When it comes to the goals you set, make sure they work for the writer you want to be. Share on X

Short-Term Writing Goals

001: Daily goals

In April, I wanted to write 2,000 words on my short story collection and 2,000 words on my novel project every single weekday.

There were a few days that I didn’t hit it, but for the most part, I did. And it felt really great to complete all that.

I set this goal for a number of reasons, but mostly I wanted to have a sense of consistency in my writing, and I wanted to consistently be hitting high numbers.

I won’t say this is for everyone, but I do think a time-based daily goal works great for nearly everybody.

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If you’re interested in setting a daily writing goal, try writing for 20 minutes every single day. It’s enough time that you can get some words on the page, and short enough that you can fit it into a busy schedule.

HOW TO CRUSH IT: Make this goal the focus of your day. Put it on the to do list first thing, and make sure you schedule time to tackle it.

002: Weekly goals

When I worked as a ghostwriter, my weekly goal was always 12,500 words. That seemed really daunting on Monday, but by Friday, it was a cake walk.

(This is why I love breaking things into smaller chunks, just because it makes it seem so much easier.)

I know for me, weekly goals don’t work. I need to think smaller. That’s why I like to create quarterly goals, and then break them down into small, daily tasks. It tricks my brain into thinking I’m not doing anything huge.

But if a week is a good amount of time for your head to wrap around, then setting weekly word count goals or a number of weekly writing sessions may be a good short-term goal.

Don’t overthink this the way that I tend to. Instead, just think about what you’d like to have done at the end of a week.

HOW TO CRUSH IT: Break this down so you know how much you need to complete each day to make it happen. As always, make sure you schedule time to work on it every day.

003: Monthly goals

Is there a greater monthly writing goal than NaNoWriMo?

I love NaNoWriMo, but also recognize that it’s not possible every month. Hell, I complain every single November because that’s such a busy time of year. But it’s doable, if you want it to be.

Don’t just stick to that 50,000 words a month. And I would say don’t just stick to a word count.

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I mean, you can, if that’s your favorite metric.

But maybe you want to clock a certain number of writing hours each month. Or sessions at your local coffee shop. Or pages written. Or scenes completed.

The possibilities are endless, but picking a month to focus on a specific part of your writing to measure is a great way to stretch yourself and get a lot done.

HOW TO CRUSH IT: Make this goal the focus of the month. You won’t be able to hit a big stretch writing goal if you’re also trying to hit a stretch running goal or something similar at the same time. Acknowledge that there is a finite amount of time the day, and you have to make sure you’re allotting the proper amount of time for writing.

004: Writing speed

Writing speed has been the key to my happiness as a writer.

No, you don’t have to be a fast writer, but it sure does make it a lot easier to get more done in less time. If you need a little more information on increasing your writing speed, check out this post on how to write fast.

One of the best ways to track writing speed and see if you’re improving is to do timed writing sprints, and track how many words you get every single time.

I know that we’ve talked about writing sprints often, but I think it bears repeating.


You don’t have to do this though. You could still track writing speed by seeing how many words you complete in a typical writing session every single time you sit down to write.

I do recognize that this may not be a goal that everyone cares about, and that’s cool. If you love slow writing or enjoy the process of intentional and deliberate writing without the sprints, then you do you.

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HOW TO CRUSH IT: Check out this post on how to write fast, or pick up 2K to 10K by Rachel Aaron or 5,000 Words Per Hour by Chris Fox.

005: Consistent publication

Writing is it’s own practice, but so is showing up and sharing it.

Consistent publication is a great way to show up and be seen, and to give yourself deadlines. Having those deadlines is key for me.

A lot of people ask me how I publish a blog post and an essay on Medium every week, and it’s because that’s a goal I have. It’s important for me to show up online and leave a footprint on the internet.

You don’t necessarily have to do this. But setting a goal to get a blog post up every week or month is a great way to put yourself on track to consistent publication.

HOW TO CRUSH IT: Create an editorial calendar so you can know what you’re posting and how often you’re posting it. If you need help coming up with blog posts, check out the 7 ways to come up with timely and meaningful content. Check out this post to find the best editorial calendar for you, or get my free content brainstorming workbook here.

What are your short-term writing goals? Share on X

What Are Your Short-Term Writing Goals?

What kind of short-term writing goals do you set for yourself? How do you go about tracking writing speed? Do you like to publish consistently? Are you a NaNoWriMo fan and can you do 50,000 words every single month?

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