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Word count bar

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The word count bar is the visual element of measuring a Wrimo's progress during National Novel Writing Month. It was introduced by Dan Sanderson in 2002 when the NaNoWriMo website moved to NaNoWriMo.org.

In past years, some Wrimos have suggested different colors for different word count goals or reaching different progress goals on the way to 50,000 words. None of these ideas were implemented, possibly because the blue, green, and purple bars are so ubiquitous to NaNoWriMo culture.

From 2002 to 2006, the maximum word count one could enter and have shown by the word count bar was 200,000 words. This limit was upped to 999,999 in 2007 until being reduced to 500,000 in 2010 and increased to 1,000,000 again in 2011. Raising the limit further has been discussed after some writers have managed to best the million.

The word count bar is one of the simplest and yet one of the most popular features of NaNoWriMo. Some of the Nano spinoffs have implemented this feature on their sites as well to emulate the Nano experience. There are also a number of websites that provide or have provided word count widgets that writers use outside of the official months for tallies; examples include TickerFactory, Writetopia, and the now-defunct zokutou.


After creating a new writing project, the word count bar features a blank gray bar. As a participant writes, a blue bar representing the words written grows in size as the word count is updated. Once the goal is reached (variable during Camp NaNoWriMo and 50,000 during NaNoWriMo), the bar turns purple. The validator was removed with the site redesign.


At site relaunch in October, the word count bar was at zero words for everyone and featured only a gray blank bar. In November when everyone began to write, a blue bar representing the words written grew in size as the word count was updated. Once 50,000 words was reached, the bar turned a solid green. It stayed green until validating, after which it turned a purple with WINNER! emblazoned across it. Nano Rebels may have chosen to leave their bars green instead of validating, and those who missed both the automatic validator and the period of time for manual verification may have had their bars remain green as well. The word count was frozen after the end of November, so Wrimos retained their current bar until the site relaunch in October. Past years could be updated at any time, allowing people to give themselves a winner status on their Novels page.

Script Frenzy

Script Frenzy had a similar mechanism that counts pages. The bar was orange while the page count is below 100 and turned red with WINNER! across it upon validation.