The goal doesn't have to be a big one. But it has to be something you can accomplish, something that drives you, shames you, makes you stretch.
When I'm drafting, I aim for the standard 1000 words a day. Some days, I write more and feel good. Some days, I write way more and feel great. Some days, I don't get there at all and beat myself up about it. That's what goals are there for.
But now I'm revising my manuscript (and when I say revising, I mean massively rewriting) and the word count goal just doesn't work. Most days, I cut a ton of words and write a whole bunch of new ones so I can't track my progress by looking at my word count on the bottom of my screen.
So I needed a new goal. I decided to make a list of the new scenes I need to write and the existing scenes that need heavy work. I figured I could set a goal of finishing "X of scenes a day".
My list is a whole page, front and back. FRONT AND BACK! I knew I had a long way to go, but seeing it in black and white has floored me. I am overwhelmed. I'm starting to wonder whether I was better off not knowing. And only time will show whether this new goal will drive me faster than no goal at all.
What about you? Do you always have a goal? Does it change as you move through the stages (drafting, revising). Do you work better with or without a goal?