All this NaNo discussing has me thinking about writing goals. I haven't usually gone for specific short term goals, like 1000 words/day or whatever. When I've tried that, it usually hasn't gone well. I end up overly obsessed with the word count (or whatever) and the writing itself suffers. I do, however set a goal of working on my writing every day, and on that I'm pretty consistent. I wonder sometimes, though, if it's just a lazy reaction to the more specific goals. I'm not a glacial-paced writer--in the past 2 1/2 years I've fully revised two novel manuscripts, written a new one and am over halfway through the first revision (should be done by the end of the year), and I've written dozens of stories and poems. But I'm not anywhere near as prolific as some writers either. When I'm in full creating mode, my output varies from probably 500 to 4,000 or more words per day. And I'm revising 2-3 chapters per week lately, sometimes on top of other writing or revising.
I do believe firmly in being a disciplined writer, so at times I think such a specific word count goal might benefit me.
At the moment some writers on one forum have a weekly accountability group where we post a goal for the week ahead and report if we've reached it. I've been doing that for a few months now. At times it's been good, spurring me to stop wasting time and get to work. Other times, I'm afraid it's tempted me to skimp on the work (especially since of late my goal always involves revising a certain number of chapters or short stories), so that I rush through it. That's when a goal becomes a negative thing for me.
Long-term goals are good, though I keep them fluid, and apart from the goal I've had each of the past two years of having a professional sale (only a little over a month left for that...I think I have three stories out at the moment to qualifying places), I try to keep them tied only to what's under my control. So goals that inspire discipline, that's what I want, not goals that draw too much attention to themselves as goals, looming, shadowy monsters waiting for me to trip up...