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Word count is the most important part of the NaNoWriMo experience and the bar by which Nanoers measure their progress. Because the primary goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel of at least 50,000 words, participants must write at least 1,667 words per day in order to reach this goal. In Camp Nanowrimo and other months with 31 days, it is 1,613 words per day.
Word count is the only measure of "success" on Nanowrimo; quality is irrelevant. There is a forum dedicated to tips and tricks on reaching higher word counts, as well as another forum dedicated to celebrating word counts. There are often multiple tools focused around word count, such as calendars and word count widgets. While some may measure wordcount by the day (which is tracked by the stats page), some may set hourly goals or smaller goals during word wars. Wrimos may also set challenges such as "Double your wordcount weekend" or use alternate daily goals such as "The Reward System" which starts at a higher daily goal and gets progressively lower until it ends at a daily goal of 1.
Throughout the month of November, Wrimos update their unofficial Word Count by entering the amount of words they have written in to the box at the top right corner of the page, or by using the word count validator on the "Edit Novel Info" page of their profile. This box can be seen no matter where you are on the website. A Wrimo's word count is displayed in their word count bar, which shows up above their username when they post on the forums and in their profile.
The maximum word count one could enter has changed over the years. From 2002 to 2006 the maximum word count one could enter was 200,000 words. This limit was upped to 999,999 in 2007 until being reduced to 500,000 in 2010. Wrimos may still write more words than the word counter can handle, and a few overachievers do.