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Word Count Data for the Rough Draft of My First Novel

I finished the rough draft of my first novel recently, and I thought it would be educational to both myself and other writers if I shared the data I gathered during the process, and what I learned along the way.

1,000 words a day

The one thing that helped me get started—and helped me follow through with—writing this book was the realization that writing a book was a simple equation. Effort over time equals words.

Yes, it’s that simple.

I realized that if I wrote 1,000 words a day, after 30 days I’d have a novel (or a novella, if you want to split hairs.)

From there, it was simple math. I expected my story to be 30,000 – 50,000 words, so it would take me 30-50 days of work.

That took the fear out of it. It made the prospect of writing the story—not just the story, but the novel—much less daunting. Not that I expected it to be easy (and it certainly hasn’t been), but it suddenly seemed achievable.

Keeping track of my word count

To make sure I kept the one-thousand-words-a-day promise to myself, I decided before I began that I would keep track.

Here’s how it works:

It takes me about 2-3 hours of focused effort to write 1,000 words (sometimes less, often more). At the end of each writing session, I write the date and word count in my notebook, with occasional notes (you can see some of the notes below). Some days, I put in multiple sessions of varying lengths. I might write 237 words in the morning and 744 in the afternoon. Not ideal, but they still add up the same.

At the end of the process, I had a bunch of data. Here’s a graph of my progress (click to enlarge):


Word Count for TWO MOONS (Rough Draft)

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