Here's the final count for my long weekend writing binge: 6,131 words.
My target was 10,000 words. So how would you view the actual words written against the target number? If you were doing the goal setting, and the writing, would you feel you had failed?
Here's the thing about my writing habits. Because I was itching to write, and because I had set aside specific blocks of time to work on my book, I probably would have written 3,000-4000 words if I had set no goal at all. By setting a goal that was much higher than my normal output, and then announcing it to anyone who would listen, I challenged myself to work a little longer and with a little more focus than I would have otherwise. That 6,131 words feels pretty good.
If I set a goal that's reasonable and conservative, my tendency is to be satisfied when I've reached that goal. Meeting the target word count means I can quit for the day. I achieve less when I expect less.
What works best for you--setting an easily achievable goal, or raising the target high enough that you must stretch to reach it?
For more information on goal setting and goal setting exercises, I recommend A Goal Setting Exercise on Tim Northburg's HubPages. Tim is a member of Northern Colorado Writers and recently completed his first fantasy novel: Maddox Finnegan and the Relics of Merlin.