Set yourself goals you know you can finish, but also massacre them some days.

On some days, making your daily 500 will be tough, but you’ll do it. String together a few of those 500 days, and soon you’ll be doing 600, 1200, and 2000 word days. Killing a 500 word day does far more for your sanity than struggling to constantly make 5000 word days. Spread your goal out. Let your words breathe.

“Write to the next milestone” is what has been working for me. It’s less about a number, and more about crossing a line. Scrivener counts two ways: once you set a total goal and a deadline, the program automatically calculates what you need to write each day to meet both. I have a third count because I write in sections of a thousand words. So each day, I want to finish a section, write the daily quota, and also see the total tick over to the next big number.

All of these tallies spur me on. If, at the end of my writing day, I see I’m less than 200 words from the next section, I’ll write it. Some nights, that’ll put me less than 100 words from the next big number. So why not write that, too? Each goal line I cross, brings the next one that much closer.