Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Word Count

For the first time ever, I kept records of how many words I wrote professionally this year. This is not counting blog materials, facebook writings, journal materials, or school related writing (unless it was for publication). I had hoped for at least 100,000 but I fell well short of that. The total came out to be right around 80,000. These 80,000 fall into three major categories: 1) those already published or scheduled for publication, at about 65,000, 2) those which mark progress on long-term projects that are probably a year or more at least away from competition but which I think likely to be published, at about 12,000, and 3) miscellaneous poetry and pieces of stories that may or may not ever be completed or published, at about 1400.

I also realized, however, that a simple word count does not constitute a very good measure of my writing productive for the year. For example, I had an older nonfiction project I worked on where I only added 558 total words. However, this also involved extensive editing on the material that was there, which meant cutting out lots of stuff that was there before. I worked pretty steadily on this project for a couple of months and also did lots of reading for it. The 558 added to my count scarcely touches how much work I put in on this project. There are several projects like this that I’m busy with.

So, all in all, I’m not totally unhappy with my productivity. Quite a bit better than last year I’m sure, even though I didn’t keep a word count in 2012. I don’t know whether I will keep up my counting next year. It seems like a relative waste of time for me since I have many small projects to keep word counts for. If it were just novels it would be a lot easier and less time consuming. It was an interesting experiment, though.
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26 comments:

Cloudia said...

OMG!

You fascinate me partly because your approach to writing is so thoughtful, almost scientific; Whereas I am more of a "systematic derangement of the senses" gal.

Thanks for sharing your tools and techniques so frankly. I know you have helped me to improve.

ALOHA to YOU & Lana, Charles
from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
=^..^= <3

sage said...

How do you keep up with the word count? I know that I write for work around 3000 words a week, times 48 weeks...

Brian Miller said...

its cool to be able to have markers though of progress...word count does show some productivity as long as its not your only measure...there is def much more to writing than writing...

Ty Johnston said...

Yeah, word count can be a misnomer. So many writers talk about high word count as if it's the only, or at least the main, important factor in being productive. When I'm in the middle of a novel, I might get out 2000 words one day and 5000 the next, but I don't tend to think of that as being overly productive because between novels I will go weeks or even months without output. But that doesn't mean I'm not working; it just means I'm not putting new words on a screen.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Very impressive, Charles. I think an annual or even a biannual word count is a good idea. It's seems like a good indicator of progress made in one's writing.

the walking man said...

Seems to me you added to your archives enough words to equal a full length novel. But I personally appreciate that you are such a diverse writer.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That sounds productive to me. That's probably just a little higher than my level of productivity.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Interesting experiment. Anything that helps is good. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Cloudia, I'm a list keeper from way back.

Sage, I keep a list of projects I'm working on. When I start one, I list it as zero count, then see what it is when it's done, or where it's at on word count when the year ends.

Brian, yes, and this was kind of an eye opener for that.

Ty, agreed. I may and often am doing a lot of thinking about stories and jotting down ideas that don't go into word count.

Prashant, I enjoyed doing it, though it seemed to be a bit more time consuming than I'd hoped with so many different projects going.

Mark, I'll have to check on how many words I blogged. My journal, which includes all my blog posts, is over 70,000 for the year and it's not quite over.

Alex, I had two periods where I didn't produce much this year because of family things. Other than that I was fairly regular.

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernard, it did provide some interesting data.

Angie said...

That's why I don't count editing -- keeping track of where I deleted two words and added three is just way too much work. :P

Good going, and good luck on hitting 100K in 2014!

Angie

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, for sure. I could hardly even make a decent estimate of it

Gina Gao said...

I've never thought of keeping a word count of my blog before.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Riot Kitty said...

That looks super productive to me! Good on you, Charles.

David Cranmer said...

I'm with you, Charles. I appreciate other writers talking word count but I've been working on a Cash Laramie novella for a couple of years. I add very little but edit and rearrange and that takes time. I do hit at least 1K a day but in terms of hours spent writing--considerably much more time is sent.

Charles Gramlich said...

Gina, I only get it because I copy all my blog posts to my journal.

Riot Kitty, I know how lazy I was, though. I could have been more productive.

David Cranmer, I think that when I'm working on a big project, like a novel, I tend to do about 1000 words a day too.

eric1313 said...

You also had a summer filled with video games and lounging where you knew you were being unusually unproductive, and you liked it. Somewhat. At least, that was what you shared with us. Nothing wrong with that at all, but you shouldn't be hard on yourself over it. Mitigating circumstance, you see?

Take a few years worth of measurements to get an average, definitely.

Snowbrush said...

Even without a broken back, I can scarcely bear sitting long enough to blog, so I envy you your ability to get so much writing done.

Charles Gramlich said...

eric1313, yes, for sure. A lot of that had to do with family health issues so I do cut myself some clack over that.

Snowbrush, I'm finding myself moving around from place from place to place to work so I can keep my legs from stiffening up too much

pattinase (abbott) said...

Because I rewrite so much more than I write, I would hate to see a total. But I did publish about 12 stories this year.

jodi said...

Charles-you are amazing. My brain just does not work that way. I have to measure success in personal contentment. Happy New Year to you and Miss Lana.

Snowbrush said...

You ever try doing like Cheney and standing to work?

G said...

That is an interesting experiment. 80,000 words is impressive! Merry Belated Christmas and Happy Early New Year!

- Greg

ivan said...

Well, there was a time when real writers counted words...

Dunno about my own authenticity, but I used to get paid ten cents a word, certainly by TOPIC, an Ontario provincial magazine.
Trick was to scan each line of your typescript, usually consisting of about eleven words, then go down all your pagest till you reach about 800 words--good for at leas $800 if you had any reputation at all. Hoo-hah!

Barbara Martin said...

I admit I haven't been prolific in my writing, in fact, not working much on my own manuscripts. Perhaps if I put my personal matters aside and get back to work.

Charles Gramlich said...

Patti, yeah, I do massive amount of rewriting. I actually like that aspect of writing best, I think.

Jodi, at least sometimes I am a numbers kind of guy.

Snowbrush, I do occasionally stand up and work on my laptop but I don't have a good standing desk taht is the right height

G., thanks man. Back at you.

Ivan, I remember getting paid by the word for short stories, from a penny to five pennies a word. Doesn't happen much these days.

Barbara, its not easy to do.