National Day on Writing – October 20, 2019

Sun Oct 20

Twenty-four hours. No excuses. What are you going to write? The National Council of Teachers of English has designated October 20 as the National Day on Writing. Don’t quite know where to begin? True, nothing’s quite as scary as staring at a blank page (or Word document), but you can do it. Start slow. One sentence at a time. Soon, you’ll have a poem, a journal, a story, the first chapter of a novel, or just a really poignant FB post. Go ahead. Unleash your creativity. Put it in writing.

National Day on Writing - History


First e-mail written

Ray Tomlinson, a computer engineer at MIT, sent an email to a computer sitting right next to him. He doesn't remember exactly what he wrote — something like "QWERTYUIOP." ​


The first typewriter

Rasmus Malling-Hansen invented the first commercially sold typewriter. Soon, typed correspondence became the standard for every type of writing except personal correspondence. Typing became an invaluable skill. ​

3000 BC

First written language

The Sumerians of the Akkadian empire developed a writing system based on pressing marks into wet clay using a stylus. Many of these clay tablets survived. ​

National Day on Writing Activities

  1. Keep track of all the writing you do

    Text message? Birthday card? Tweet? Keep track of them all, and find out how much you really write! Share your numbers with friends and see who writes most.

  2. Play some language games

    If not for our writing prowess, we couldn't participate in spelling bees, Scrabble, Scattergories, Taboo, Mad Libs, Hangman, and many others. Celebrate your word power with a round of your favorite word game.

  3. Write something outside your comfort zone

    Have you ever written lyrics to a song? A sonnet? A piece of flash fiction? A toast? Venture into an unfamiliar territory, writing-wise, and let those creative juices flow. You may surprise yourself.

5 Wild Word Facts

  1. The longest possible word

    That honor goes to "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis", which is a lung disease. ​

  2. ​A word that looks the same when turned upside down

    That would be "swims." ​

  3. A word that has all the vowels in alphabetical order​

    For this one you could choose between "facetious" and "abstemious". ​

  4. A word that doesn't mean anything​

    There are several "ghost words" that have appeared in dictionaries thanks to printing errors. The most popular one is "dord," which appeared in several dictionaries in the 20th century. ​

  5. A word that didn't exist yesterday​

    Grammarians estimate that a new word is added to the English language every two hours. ​

Why We Love National Day on Writing

  1. We write more than we think

    It's hard to add up how much a person actually writes, but one study showed that the average office worker writes the length of a novel every year — in emails alone! You're probably relying on your ability to write more than you ever considered.

  2. Too many people can't write

    One of the purposes of the National Day on Writing is to call attention to the fact that, with our workplaces more computerized than ever, writing is a truly valuable skill. Despite this, there are 32 million adults in the United States who can't write a simple email — and that number hasn't changed in ten years.

  3. Writing is crucial to identity

    Writing isn't just a way to communicate. By writing we tell stories about ourselves, express our emotions, and draw attention to causes that matter to us. It's hard to overestimate the power that a finely honed writer's craft can bring you.

National Day on Writing dates
2019October 20Sunday
2020October 20Tuesday
2021October 20Wednesday
2022October 20Thursday
2023October 20Friday