Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: Every Word Counts

When National Novel Writing Month begins, hundreds of writers have their sights set upon a lofty goal of writing 50,000 words. All those glorious zeroes sparkle like stars and many writers are sure that they can do this.

*record player scratches to a stop*

Pffffft. Uh, no. πŸ˜‚


Week 1 – Saving Your Work

Week 2 – Your Writing Time

Week 3 – Go with the Flow

Week 4 – That Perfect Word

Why You Should Take Your Writing Goals One Word at a Time | Ever had trouble because your writing goals feel so big and lofty? Just hone in on the smaller part: one word at a time. #writing #tips #advice #writer #author #story #book #novel #word #words #time #goals

Today’s Goal:

  • Set up a different mind frame for your word count goals
  • Set new goals
  • Start writing!

50,000 words are a lot of words. In fact, I actually started one day early on NaNoWriMo because I didn’t think I would even be able to finish!

But here’s a new thought: what is that 50,000-word goal made up of?

If you said “words”, then you’re right! (duh, Julia)

That huge number of 50,000 is actually made up of just a bunch of singular words. 50,000, to be exact. Way to go, Captain Obvious. When you think of it that way, you realize that each word actually is super important to get you to that goal.

As my title hints, every word counts. You notice this the most when you’re getting close to the end of your goal. You clack away excitedly, glancing at your word count every five seconds to check how many words you’ve done since those five seconds ago.

Something I’ve noticed is that it’s hard to see the smaller, bite-sized pieces to the puzzle when you’re looking at the big picture. That sparkly 50,000 with all those zeroes? Yeah, that one feels pretty darn impossible to do. (also, that’s how I feel whenever I think of getting through high school. So there’s that too. πŸ˜‚)


Breathe, my friend. Let’s take a step back and look at some smaller goals.

When you’re doing NaNoWriMo in November, you know that you have 30 days to complete your goal. That’s an average of 1,667 words per day. Or you can make great life choices like me and do 16,000 words in the last week. Which can sometimes still feel like a big number, I know. And I totally agree. That’s why for the majority of the month, I only did 1,000 a day or less.

If every word counts, then every smaller goal to lead up to the big sparkly goal counts as well. Aim for the smaller goals, and they’ll slowly lead you to your big goal.

Of course, this post, while centered around NaNoWriMo (since I learned these lessons from doing it) we also want to be able to take it and use it during 11 other months of the year when we don’t have to write 50,000 words.

When those months come along, it’s up to you to choose what your goal is. I am not going to talk about goal setting in writing today, because that is literally enough information for an entirely different post. (someday πŸ˜‰) As you work toward those goals, make sure to remember that every word you write counts toward that big goal. You can’t reach that 50,000 without starting with 1. It’s just 50,000 smaller words.

Now it’s your turn!

Set a writing goal for this month, and start working toward it. Every word counts toward your end goal, and every word is a word in your story. You’ve got this. πŸ˜‰

Do you set writing goals?

How do you like to work at your word count?


Photo by Bogomil Mihaylov on Unsplash

8 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo: Every Word Counts

  1. Nice post! So many times I’ll look at my WIP as a whole and get way overwhelmed about how much there is. But taking it “one step at a time” – or one “word” at a time as you put it, definitely makes it seem less daunting and more possible. πŸ˜‰


    1. Thanks! I totally agree; this one time (last August) I hadn’t even reached the midpoint in a WIP of mine when I was at, like 40k, and it was really stressing me out. But when I was equipped with this mindset this time around (different WIP though) I managed to finish my novel at just over 100k πŸ˜ƒ (this is not bragging πŸ˜› Just showing that this really works πŸ˜‚ I hate bragging, so I hope that didn’t sound like it)


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