NaNoWriMo Final Word Count: 982,495,939 Words

Posted on December 2, 2006

NaNoWriMoThe New York Times reports that the busy NaNoWriMo authors wrote a total of 982,495,939 words in November. The Times also says that quality suffers because of the focus on word count and that 80% of NaNoWriMo participants do not complete the goal of a 50,000 word novel.
During National Novel Writing Month, quantity is everything, and quality is merely optional. As a result, participants are defined by, goaded by and obsessed by their word counts. Anyone who reaches at least 50,000 words is deemed a winner. Shortly after the clock struck midnight on Thursday, the results for this year were in: nearly 13,000 of the writers reported making it to the finish.

Each year exhausted and triumphant writers insert their novels into the word-count verifier - the words are encrypted in case anyone might want to steal that brilliant mess - on the official Web site, nanowrimo.org. It is done on the honor system, which means that someone could theoretically submit "The Great Gatsby" (about the right length).

Winners receive an online certificate, and "win or lose, you rock for even trying," the site says. Even the nonfinishers are invited to the "Thank God It's Over" parties, and they can have their words included in the collective final word count, which was 982,495,939 this year.

The impressive word count is also posted on the NaNoWriMo website. NaNoWriMo has also posted a page with advice on what to do with that novel now that it is finished. Part of the advice is that NaNoWriMo becomes NaNoReWriMo.
Ah, rewriting. It hurts so bad, but it helps so much. If your book was born in November, it's going to take many, many months (if not years) of revision before it's ready for the bookstore shelves. That's the bad news. The good news is that novel rewriting is just as exciting and satisfying as novel writing (if not more so!).
Editing and rewriting is something you absolutely must do if you have cranked out an entire novel in just thirty days. You can find more about NaNoWriMo here in our fiction section so you can be ready to crank out a novel next November.


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