Counting Words – the Easy Way


National Novel Writing Month” is now half over. How are you doing? You should have 25,000 words written if you are going have the required 50,000 by the end of the month.

Impossible, you say? A novel starts a word at a time, building one upon the other. A fellow writer stated, “A word upon a word upon a word equals power.” Words transform into an idea and that idea develops into a story. The story becomes a novel, and that work of fiction can inspire, and bring enjoyment or vital information to the reader.

Little by Little

You have to write roughly 1660 words a day to make the 50,000 mark by the end of thirty days. That is one or two chapters, or about three or four typewritten single-spaced pages. If you choose to take weekends off, then you must write around 2300 words a day. Breaking it down, maybe it doesn’t seem so hard? If you start now – in the middle of the month, double that amount. According to NaNoWriMo, writing the first draft is not about quality but about quantity. The time for left-brain activities such as editing comes later.

In order to join the NaNoWriMo team, you are asked to create an account and record your words for each day. You can earn badges and certificates along the way to keep you inspired. If you meet your goal by midnight, November 30th, you are considered a “winner.”

Counting Words

Does counting words seem daunting? Remember the days of counting words with a manual typewriter? Oh, the pain. For example, if you wanted to center a heading, you had to count the number of characters and spaces used, subtract that number from the number of spaces in the line, divide this number by two, and then use the space bar to manually move the carriage to the proper position. Thank goodness for computers that count your words for you.

The Easy Way to Track Your Words

  • MS Word 2013: Go to the REVIEW tab, and click the Word Count icon.
  • Word Online (free through OneDrive) is the same as above.
  • Pages/MAC: Click in the toolbar, then choose Show Word Count.
  • Google Docs: *(Online) Go to TOOLS/Word Count

Did you know you can also “VOICE TYPE” with Google Docs? And it’s FREE!

How long should a book be?

According to Writers Digest, aim for at least 70,000 words. Eighty to ninety thousand is a good range for the adult novel or memoir, and any genre, except sci-fi and fantasy.

  • Picture Books – 1,000 (32 pages is the standard)
  • Middle Grade Fiction – 20,000 -35,000
  • Horror – 80,000-100,000
  • Romance – 85,000-100,000
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy – 100,000-180,000
  • Young Adult Fiction – There’s a lot of room for variation. 45,000-100,000. Fantasy tends to be on the higher end of the word count spectrum. In the Harry Potter series, word count ranges from 77K to 257K.

Please note that these are only averages and there are exceptions to every rule.


Love’s Amazing Grace Nominated

READERS CHOICEI spoke to a man on Veterans’ Day who was a pilot during World War II. He told me he landed on the U.S.S. Yorktown and knew of its demise. It was one of the ships to sink during the Battle of Midway–the decisive turning point of WWII. History records two unnamed men left aboard. Love’s Amazing Grace gives these men a name and a story you won’t forget.  Available at (Read for free if you have Kindle unlimited).  Nominated for the 2017 Readers Choice Awards! 

Will you leave a review or vote?  Thank you!