Word-Count Goal How-To

Every young writer gets to set a unique word-count goal for themselves, taking into account age, writing experience, schedule, and enthusiasm for the NaNoWriMo event. The goal should be difficult but still achievable.

We encourage young writers and educators to set initial goals and then adjust them throughout the first half of the month based on individual progress. Remember: a goal should be motivating—if it's too boring or too stressful, then it's probably not a good goal for you.

For instructions on how to set and edit a word-count goal, go to our Getting Starting page.

Method One: Try a writing test session

  1. Write at a normal pace for the same amount of time you plan on writing every day. If you’re writing at home, that might be several hours. If you’re only writing in class, that might be just twenty minutes. Don’t try to type super fast; go at a normal pace.

  2. When time is up, check your word count for that session. If you’re typing a chapter in the writing space on the YWP site, you can see your word count to the left.

  3. Multiply that word count by how many days you’re going to write in November. So, if you’re going to write at home every day, that might be 30 days. If you’re only writing in a classroom for several weeks, that might be just 10-15 days.

  4. Your test session's word count x Number of writing days = Your word-count goal! This could be anywhere from 500 words all the way up 50,000 words (or more!).

Method Two: Use a suggested goal, then adjust

The chart below shows some suggested goals based on grade and experience level. For instance, if I'm in 6th grade and don't have a lot of experience writing, I might set my initial word-count goal to 1,000. 

These are not requirements. It might be useful to use them as a guide as you get started, but you should absolutely adjust your goal during the month to something that works for you. 

Suggested Word-Count Goal Chart