a writer's blog

Word Count

collateral tales

collateral tales

How many words can I write in one month? Comparing creative and academic writing, the numbers happen to be quite different.

For my dissertation, I wrote around 146,000 words in six months, alongside my usual daytime (or rather nighttime) routine, regular work, and other stuff; moderate to extensive run-time editing included. Which amounts to almost 25,000 words per month for six months in a row, that’s not too shabby. That was followed by three months of editing and later three months of rewritings and reeditings after feedback from my thesis advisor. In condensed MLA style (line spacing 1.5 instead of double-spaced, block quotations single-spaced), that came down to 440 script pages.1

For the first novel I wrote, I managed to hack away 108,000 words in 6 weeks, with a good deal of run-time editing, alongside my then-usual routines which included visiting my then-girlfriend in Berlin over the weekend and stuff. I just kept writing, maniacally, whenever I could spare a minute. In this case, with fiction, my writing speed was 77,000+ in 30 days, which is again not too shabby, and substantially faster than my academic writing. I fired off a first volley of outlines and excerpts, and edited the stuff for another two months. In regular manuscript style (double-spaced etc.), that came down to 410 script pages.

NaNoWriMo is, what, 50,000 words in 30 days? Bring it on!

1 Of course, everything was already set and ready-to-use in terms of sources read (around 40,000 pages literature & literary criticism over the course of three and a half years); citation corpus (around 4,000 script pages of scanned quotations, OCR’ed and fully documented); chapter and subchapter structure with headings and titles; and some vague ideas about how I might fill them with text. 

If you have something valuable to add or some interesting point to discuss, I’ll be looking forward to meeting you at Mastodon!

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3 Responses


  1. „Dieses Buch ist zu lang.“ | between drafts
  2. between drafts | Personal Edition — 4. Januar 2009
  3. between drafts | Personal Edition — 18. Januar 2009