Nanowrimo. What’s a realistic time commitment?

To get to 50,000 words in 30 days, you have to produce an average of 1,667 words every day. No question, NaNoWriMo requires a time commitment! The question is, how much?

I know about how fast I write for the day job, but for that I edit as I go — which is a NaNoWriMo No-No.

So I decided to get a quick reality check — I posted a question on the NaNoWriMo forums to ask veterans how much time they typically need to keep pace with that 1,667/day output rate.

Click the link to read peoples’ answers, but here’s my takeaway:

  • Most people should figure to set aside about 2 hours a day writing time. But note the caveats below!
  • There’s a huge variation in word production speed! Some of the fastest can churn out 2,000 words/hour. The slowest do 500/hour or less. It might be a good idea to run a “test” on your own writing speed before Nov. 1 so you know about how fast you can write.
  • People don’t always write at the same speed. Sometimes the words flow quickly. Other times they don’t. Don’t be surprised if your writing speed is slower at times–and you might want to set aside some extra chunks of time to “catch up” afterward if you hit a slow period.

One last thing: writing time is only one piece of the time commitment. You may also need some planning/thinking-about-the-novel time. I know I write much faster when I have a map in my head of where I’m going . . .

Personally, I’m going to get up early the entire month of November in order to make sure I have extra time I’ll need to keep pace. After all, who needs sleep? ;-)


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One Response to Nanowrimo. What’s a realistic time commitment?

  1. Tirzah says:

    Download Write or Die.

    It forces you to write quickly and not edit.

    It’s free.
    On a good night you can pop out 1667 easily…but those nights will get scarce toward the end. You need to give yourself two hours at least each day minimum. Try to write extra on the weekends or good nights so those days you feel like crap or have family issues—you’ll have a cushion.


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