by Emily Ramser
November is here, and in the writing world, it has practically become synonymous with the phrase “National Novel Writing Month,” or as some call it “NaNoWriMo.”
The movement of NaNoWriMo is exactly what it sounds like; it is a movement that is dedicated to writing novels of at least 50,000 words during the month of November.
If you were wondering just what 50,000 words really translates to, look at your favorite novels. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is only 36,363 words. The Outsiders is only 48, 523 words, and The Great Gatsby has a thousand less at 47,094 words. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut does not even quite reach that 50,000 mark, rounding in at 49,459 words.1
NaNoWriMo’s big goal of 50,000 words at the end of the month, breaks down to participants writing about 1,700 words a day every day for thirty days. In reference, that is about what a college student writes for a regular academic paper. Imagine writing a typical college paper every day. It equals out to a lot of writing and coming up with numerous new ideas to write about.
The amount of work involved does not turn people away from taking on the challenge. Last year 325,142 writers participated in the movement via the official NaNoWriMo website. Out of that number, 58,917 writers hit the 50,000 word goal. That totals out to 2,945,850,000.2 This word count does not include the words written by those who did not meet the NaNoWriMo goal.
For reference, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is 587,287 words.
It is likely that even more people will participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo. With 12,500 followers on Instagram, 127,000 followers on Twitter, and almost 200,000 likes on Facebook it seems like there are quite a few people prepared to start writing.
The real question for 2015 is—will NaNoWriMo participants top last year’s word count, and will you participate? Tell us about your experiences with NaNoWriMo in the comments below!
1Novel word counts acquired from commonplacebook.com.
2NaNoWriMo statistics reported from their press kit here.
Emily Ramser is an undergraduate studying English, Creative Writing, and Religion at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing, and is expected to graduate in May of 2017. Some of her inspirations include Thornton Wilder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bhanu Kapil, Andrea Gibson, Gabriel Gudding, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Gail Simone, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Check out her black out poetry collection I Forgot How to Write When They Diagnosed Me. You can find more of her work at her blog.