NaNoWriMo: Reaching 50,000

I hit 50k!

This was my first time doing NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, and I reached the 50,000 word goal in 24 days. Actually, I finished at 1:30 am today, so that would make it 23 days 1 hour and 30 minutes (I started precisely at midnight on Nov. 1).

Here is my word count per day:

Day Words Accumulated Word Count
1 4510 4510
2 1975 6485
3 3538 10023
4 1701 11724
5 1688 13412
6 2694 16106
7 1703 17809
8 1682 19491
9 1869 21360
10 2052 23412
11 2220 25632
12 2075 27707
13 1721 29428
14 1720 31148
15 1885 33033
16 1798 34831
17 5748 40579
18 1825 42404
19 1712 44116
20 2146 46262
21 1768 48030
22 136 48166
23 889 49055
24 1071 50126

As you can tell, the single most productive day was day 17, with over 5700 words. Second was day 1, with 4500.

On day 13 I was in NYC for the band trip, and only managed to squeeze out the 1700 words between hotel and bus (plus a couple of sentences at the Cornell Club).

I was reaching 1667+ words every day until day 22, when I had a rather intense math prelim due. Then I got writer’s block, as indicated in the last post. But fortunately I had only 2000 words left when that happened.

That incident does not always means schoolwork is a detriment to word count. In fact, it depends on what type of work it is. For example, on days 11 and 12, I wrote a 1700-word English essay and an 1800-word history essay respectively, yet that hardly subtracted from my word count. So math and literary creativity are, apparently, incompatible.*

*Actually, that is definitely false. I blame myself for being lazy that day.

Here are two graphs I made with the above data:

Daily word count:

Words by Day

And the running total:

What is next? Well, I reached 50k but haven’t completely finished the novel yet. There are just a few plot points left to resolve. That should be done in the next few days, maybe even on the bus to NYC.

After that I do plan to take a break from writing until December, when I plan to edit the novel. What I’ve written for NaNoWriMo is a first draft. And it isn’t pretty by any means. But that’s what Nano is supposed to be, an amazing experience, and I’ve definitely felt that.

2 final things:

First, I have a much more extensive table of data, which includes segments of time (start and end time), number of words written, and location. I’m not putting it up here now because it’s just too plain bulky. Someone did mention interest in analyzing this data; I’ll get it to ya right away. Readers, watch out, there may be another round of graphs. 🙂

Edit: For example, this:

Writing Sessions

I wrote the 50,000 words in precisely 101 writing sessions; they ranged from 5 minutes to 3 hours in length. The scatter plot above shows word count by duration of session.

Second, by tonight I’ll be in NYC!!!!!

Experiment #2: NaNoWriMo

If playing WoW for 20 days was Experiment #1, then writing a novel in 30 days will be Experiment #2. EDIT: And I actually finished early!

First off, I list some runner-up experiment/project ideas suggested by people in the audience like you:

  • Knitting (Larry)
  • Polyphasic Sleep (Richard)
  • Quant Fund (Yingnan)

Knitting doesn’t seem quite as jolly an idea, so that was stricken off the list. My sleep schedule is already messed up as it is, and I am trying to fix it, not make it worse, so that went off as well. Finally, I don’t understand nearly enough about math, economics, and finance to be be able to set up a quant fund, so that’s gone. Thanks for the ideas though!

The suggestion I chose was actually made a few months ago.


NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days. For mathematically-inclined persons, that is an average of 1667 words a day. For everyone else, well, just write and check your word count every once in a while. And since this project is open to anyone, I’m inviting all of you to give this novel idea a try as well. (Haha, get it?)

Right now, I still have no idea what I’ll be writing. The rules allow you to plan out as much of the novel as possible, as long as you don’t start writing the novel! You can write down the plot, the theme, the characters, just not the actual book. And it begins on November 1, lasting through November 30. So, we have one week left before it starts.

My only prior experience in novel-writing is an attempt I made this summer to write a science-fiction novel. I stopped at around 25% through the first draft, at just over 15,000 words. NaNoWriMo requires a totally new novel, so I am not going to be continuing this story.

One week left.

Happy novel planning!