How I Set Up My Writing Goals in Scrivener

One of my favorite aspects of NaNoWriMo in my pre-Scrivener days was its ability to calculate how many words you needed to write a day to complete your NaNo goal. This was something I’d calculated by hand before, so to find a program that did the math for me? Awesome.

You can imagine, then, my joy upon discovering that the very same auto-calculate feature is on Scrivener for Mac. Except it’s a tad bit better, because you can customize it to your needs.

Unfortunately part of this feature is a Mac-only feature (Windows users can do everything up to step two). But my hope is this will someday change and I’d guess that when it does, the process will be pretty similar.

Setting Writing Goals

For my friends with Scrivener! Here’s how to set up your very own writing goal within the program:

Go to Project > Show Project Targets.
Select the word goal (highlighted in blue) and type in your word count goal for your manuscript.
Go to“Options…
Select your deadline.
Check “Automatically calculate from draft deadline.”
If you won’t be writing every day of the week, choose what days of the week you plan to write on.
If you want to write on the day of your deadline, make sure that’s checked off.
Click OK.

And that’s it! Now every time you write, you can check how many words you need to keep to your goal by looking at “Show Project Targets” (which is under the Project menu, in case you forgot). And at midnight, it recalculates every day (assuming you did step 5) to keep you on target.

I especially love the auto-calculation, because when you miss a day, it adjusts for you so you can easily see what you need to do to make it up over time. And on the other side, when you write more than you need to, it’s pretty gratifying to see the number of words you need to meet your goal slowly decrease over time.

This article was originally posted on Ava Jae’s blog, Writability.