5 habits of highly motivated novelists [INFOGRAPHIC results from our NaNoWriMo experiment]

Last month, we ran an experiment with the help of over a hundred writers attempting National Novel Writer’s Month. We wanted to understand what it takes to tackle a challenge like NaNoWriMo and actually stick with it. So we asked writers to use RescueTime to track their time for the month of November. The writers were able to use RescueTime’s productivity tools to better understand their time, and we were able to take a look at the the broader data set and see if we could spot any patterns that would shine some light on how to stay motivated for a project like this. When it was all said and done, we recorded 3,097 hours of writing-related activities, which is pretty amazing. We’ve been analyzing the data for the past few days, and have been able to boil it down to a few of the more interesting observations.

Among other things, we found that:

  • Authors that logged the most writing time seemed to take regular dinner breaks
  • Basically no one wrote anything on Thanksgiving day
  • In addition to traditional word processing programs, many people used websites such as Write or Die to stay motivated with their writing

For more insights, click below to enlarge the infographic. If you’d like to use RescueTime to better understand your own productive habits, click here to sign up.

Lessons learned from RescueTime's NaNoWriMo 2012 experiment

Obviously, we couldn’t have done this study without the help of all the writers that were nice enough to participate. Thanks so much!

If you’d like to analyze your own time and see what kinds of interesting things you can find out about yourself, sign up for a RescueTime account today.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Want to learn more about spending your time well and doing more meaningful work? Get our latest blog posts in your inbox every week.

Robby Macdonell

CEO at RescueTime


  1. The night time can be the right time when you manage not to fall asleep. The worst case is when you have everything in your mind, but do not have enough power to transfer it from the volatile images in your mind to the permanent pictures of your text.

    Thank you for sharing. I believe small tips can make great contributions.

Comments are closed.