Getting the most out of the Project Target tool

I have this thing. It’s called a deadline. No, I don’t have a publisher waiting eagerly for something from me (oh, how I wish!), but I strongly believe in setting goals and achieving them (and, if not, trying not to fall too far from the mark). The great news is that Scrivener has an awesome tool to help me figure out how many words I need to write a day on my five day a week schedule in order to meet my target of 80,000 words.

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Don’t you love that pristine 21,000? I actually have about 3,000 words that I haven’t transferred from my Alphasmart (your WHAT? you might ask. Don’t worry, I’ll do a post about them one day). But I don’t want to spoil the number! Anyway, I digress. Notice how it shows my deadline (the day before I leave for the Los Angeles SCBWI Conference, no less), and that I need 1,685 words a day. This is with four days a week. I actually write more around five days a week, but I put it at four to account for mental health days and the short vacation we’re going on in June.

So how can you make this possible for yourself? It’s so easy, really!

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Project –> Show Project Targets

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This is what you’ll see if it’s a blank project. If you have already written words you’ll see numbers (without colors) on the top/Manuscript Target bar. If you’ve written that day you’ll see numbers on your Session Target bar. You can click on either of the right zeros to add targets.

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Thanks to my trusty friend, Bacon Ipsum, we have some real MEATY writing here (hyuck hyuck). The bars will go from green to red the closer you get to completing your targets. So now you know how to read the tool and get it started. Now let’s start working on our countdown! Click Options.

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This is what it looks like before you make any changes. You’ll want to leave the top two options alone for now. If you’re interested in the reasons why, leave me a comment and I can do a post about that.

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So, what is your deadline? If you don’t have one yet, just plug one in. Make sure that you get the year correct. It’s always at 4/12/2011 for me (what about for you guys? Is that just the application setup?). Check ‘Deadline’. I always allow for negatives (that means that if you delete something it deletes from your daily word count — but you don’t need to do that). I also set it to automatically calculate from the draft deadline. Then you click on the days that you write.

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Our bacon-y story only requires 918 words a day! I think I want to be on that schedule…

I hope this was helpful!

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