It isn't the total, that means nothing, it is content. It is like a Pastry cook saying “I must use sixteen pounds of flour today” rather than “I must make some really good pastries today”.
“ I love to read like I love to write.
Rev. Fred Denial
11

True. But without a goal, how will you know you’ve written enough to mine the deeper depths of your mind and know you’ve done enough to strike gold?

The number is meaningless, you’re right. That’s why the number doesn’t really matter. What matters is putting in the work to get to the words that you actually can use.

It’s nothing like the pastry chef example. The pastry chef has a recipe to make his pastries. There is no recipe to make good writing, just like there is no recipe to read good books. That too can only come with “reading more,” however you want to define that. Still, the pastry chef has to define how to become better at his profession, and he might choose a specific metric to gauge his progress towards that. “Making better pastries” isn’t specific or actionable enough for many people — that’s where the number comes into play as it challenges you to grow.

I think we’re disagreeing on one simple concept, that the only reason you would set a goal is to “motivate yourself” to do the work. That has nothing to do with it. The motivation, as Zig Ziglar says, only comes when or after you’ve done the work. Not before. The purpose of the goal is to nudge you towards putting the work in. Nothing more. Doesn’t mean it can’t be pleasurable at the same time.

I don’t motivate myself to write. I set daily goals to write because it helps me track my progress and ensure that I make writing a habit and not something I only do for pleasure. It also makes sure I actually take the time to write. You set goals to get better times, I set goals to be a better writer. I don’t see the difference.

Like the author, I’m a writer and I read more to be a better writer. Reading is not a hobby. It’s not a chore. It’s something I must do to get better. In that sense it’s not just for pleasure, and although it is pleasurable to me, it can feel like work.

And of course you get smarter by reading more. Whoever said otherwise?

It all depends on what you want to get out of reading. If it’s for pleasure, just reading more is fine. If it’s as a form of study, then it’s important to go a little deeper.

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