Some of my writing friends have already put up their yearly reports of word counts, most notably James Reasoner, who scribed more than a million words last year, and not for the first time. It will come as no surprise to those who know me that I did not do quite so well as that. In fact, one can calculate that I did about a tenth as well.
I reached 105,352 words of fiction and non-academic nonfiction. This is all material meant for publication and quite a bit of that has been published. I’ve never kept records before but I estimate that this is about the same, or maybe a little more, than my typical year. In addition, I recorded 62,422 words in my journal, which includes all my blog posts. This is down somewhat from my usual count. This is not meant for publication, although the blog posts are for public consumption.
Of course, there is also my academic work related writing. This includes committee reports, student and faculty recommendation letters, tests, formal university emails etc. I have no way of knowing how many words this entailed, overall, but the IRB Committee that I’m chair of forced me to generate at least 15,000 words. I know that I also wrote over 100 formal letters last year for researchers and student recommendations.
All in all, I feel it was a relatively productive year for fiction and creative nonfiction. It looks like I averaged about 300 words a day, which is often a goal I shoot for. Of course, the average doesn’t reveal my general pattern, which is to write much more in the summer months when I’m off. I averaged better than a 1000 words a day through much of the summer, and during the school year there were plenty of days I didn’t write any fiction or creative nonfiction at all.
I used to try and write a little bit of fiction even after twelve hour academic days but I think I’m past those times. It’s not like it’s going to change the world, even my world. I’m never going to be a prolific or high-production writer. There was a time when I wanted to be. But these days, I’m OK with where I am.