The 15,000 journal writing challenge can be great journal writing challenge, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Good writing fist requires that you build your writing fluency. And becoming a fluent writer requires that you write a lot on a daily basis. If you struggle to write, this challenge will help you break that barrier.
  2. The more you write, the more you explore your thoughts and ideas. You dig deeper into yourself, and you can discover more. This is why writing is actually a tool for learning. The more writing you do, the more you learn about what you know and don’t know.

The benefits of free writing in your journal is that you’re not writing for an audience. You’re writing for yourself, and to build writing fluency. Your goal with free writing is not quality, but the quantity of words. So as you write, try not to fixate on spelling and grammar, but just focus on getting words out. What you write might not even coherent, and that’s okay too. You might change topics as you write, and that’s okay. Again, the goal is meet the challenge of producing the words.

Read on to learn about tools and suggestions for meeting the NaJoWriMo journal writing challenge.

Writing Tools

To meet this challenge, you probably should use a digital journal or word processor, such as Day One, Evernote, or even Microsoft Word, each of which includes a word count feature for each journal entry, note, or document.

word count feature in Day One

Word count feature in Day One.

Another option I highly suggest is using is site called It’s specifically designed for private free writing and for meeting a daily writing goal. With this site, you don’t have to clutter up your regular journal with free writing. You simply write to the challenge, and the site automatically archives your writing, and then provides you all sorts of statistical data about the progress you’re making.


Google Docs

Google Docs also provides word count feature (Tools > Word Count), which means you could set up a folder in Google Docs and keep all your free writing entries in that folder for the month of NaJoWriMo.

Or you might consider writing all your entries in one document, so that Google Docs can give you a total count for the entire month of NaJoWriMo. You simply type the date of each entry (which can also contribute to your word count). That way, you don’t have to track the word count for each entry. Your goal is reach the word total at the end of the month.

Handwriting 500 Words

If you want to meet your goal by writing by hand, you can determine your word count by writing a journal entry in your chosen notebook (or selecting an entry you previously wrote) and then count the number of words in the first three lines (not sentences) of your writing. Then count the numbers of lines of writing on the page. Multiply the number of words by the number of lines, and that should give you idea of how many words you write for a page. You probably will determine that filling up one sheet of lined paper averages about 500 words, but it depends on the size of your handwriting.

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By the Numbers

The goal of the NaJoWriMo word challenge is to write at least 15000 words in your journal for the entire month. That means, your goal is to write on average 500 words per day. So some days you might write more than 500 words and some days you might write less.

Or you could choose to challenge yourself to write at least 500 words per day, which means you don’t stop free writing until the number is met. provides live feedback on your word count as you type.

Typically you should be able to free write 500 words in about 15 minutes, if your typing speed is good. If you’re handwriting, it may take longer.

If you decide to use the cumulative approach, here’s a list of the maximum number of words you should have written for each day in order to meet the word goal by the end of the month.

Day 1: 500

Day 2: 1000

Day 3: 1500

Day 4: 2000

Day 5: 2500

Day 6: 3000

Day 7: 3500

Day 8: 4000

Day 9: 4500

Day 10: 5000

Day 11: 5500

Day 12: 6000

Day 13: 6500

Day 14: 7000

Day 15: 7500

Day 16: 8000

Day 17: 8500

Day 18: 9000

Day 19: 9,500

Day 20: 10,000

Day 21: 10,500

Day 22: 11,000

Day 23: 11,500

Day 24: 12,000

Day 25: 12,500

Day 26: 13,000

Day 27: 13,500

Day 28: 14,000

Day 29: 14,500

Day 30 15,000

Good luck in meeting the NaJoWriMo word challenge. Let me know how it’s working out for you.

National Journal Writing Month