I figured I’d start the year with some numbers.

Last year, my word count goal was 500K. I didn’t make it. When I look at the planning that I did for 2023, I had estimated that I would only reach 450K words and that I’d have to do a writing marathon sometime during the year to make it to 500K.

I didn’t do a writing marathon in 2023. My final word count for the year ended up being 441,735 words. This is close to my original estimate of 450K words for the year. Given the year that we had in 2023, I’ll take it.

So continuing my look back, this is what I completed:

10 short stories

5 novels

In addition, there were:

41K in Essays

17K in Newsletters

23K in Patreon-specific content

7K in Blog

3K in Misc edits

I averaged 36811 words per month and 1210 words per day.

So what does all that mean for 2024?

Looking ahead, I’m going to have quite a few days when I’m not going to be able to write.

I’m making regular trips to Portland to be with my niece, and there won’t be much writing done on those. So that’s as much as one week per month when I’m not really writing.

We’re traveling to Mexico at the end of February for two weeks, and we’re not taking our computers. (We will take notebooks, so some writing will be done. However, writing won’t be a priority during that trip.)

I’m going to get my eyes fixed (again!) at the end of March/beginning of April. This will mean days when I won’t be able to do much due to blurriness. (Yes, my eyesight continues to diminish. I’m dealing with it. Given the rate it’s going, I’m assuming that I’ll still be able to write until the procedures.)

We’re going camping this summer, at least once, possibly more than once (a decision that will be made this next week). While we’ll get some writing done during those times, it’s more iffy.

We’re going to be traveling in the fall. Fingers crossed, we’ll be spending a solid month on the road. That’s additional time when we won’t be doing a lot of writing.

If things go well, we’ll be traveling for the Christmas holidays, which means more time not writing.

On the plus side, I am writing better/faster. Yesterday I sat down and finished a short story. I’d done the first 500 words the day before, then knocked out 4000 in about three hours.

We don’t have any big projects planned around the property. Some smaller projects, but nothing that’s going to eat up days and weeks of time.

Even with the grief and the not writing and the visit to Portland and the holidays, I still managed 36K for December, which is MUCH more than I’d anticipated. Seriously, I’d assumed I’d only get in half that many words.

Weighing these things together, trying to balance them out, I’m right now setting a low word count goal for myself, that is, only 400K for the year.

I know, I know! That’s lower than what I expected to do this year. And maybe come mid-year, when I do my goal resetting, I might raise it.

I might not, though.

400K for the year means about 33K for the month. That’s lower than the 36K I managed for 2023. It also means 1095 words per day on average.

Most days, I’m going to be getting in a lot more than that. I’m all excited about the new novels I’m going to be writing, have everything planned out in my head.


Writing a lot of words on some days means that on other days, when I’m not writing, I don’t have to feel bad about it. I don’t have to beat myself up for doing the right thing and taking care of my niece, or taking care of myself. It means giving myself some breathing room.

I’m also not planning any sort of writing marathon for 2024. If I end up doing one, I’ll probably readjust my word count goals. But for now, that just feels like one thing too many.

So there you have it. 400K words for the year.

What are your goals? What do you have planned?

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