What’s in a word count?

I’m not normally one to really get caught up on word counts or anything, but a couple of months ago I discovered a nifty, little plugin for WordPress that will count and summarize by month everything in the database for you, and I guess I just couldn’t help but spend the next hour or so installing it on each of my sites to tally up how much writing I actually do each year!

Simply put, I do A LOT of writing each year.

Looking back at 2011 exclusively, I published about 213,000 words – almost 122,000 of them were for this blog that you’re reading right now, another 38,000 were 12 months worth of The Humor Column; believe it or not, I pumped a whopping 17,000 words into that goofy, seasonal pumpkin blog of mine; and the remaining 36,000 were for various other projects near and far, some of which I’m still scrambling to fully wrap up and officially launch here in 2012.

Now to say that I was a bit taken aback by those results would indicate that I was just about floored when I looked back at my full archives and found that over the last 13 years, I’ve written just shy of 1.2 million words here on the Internet … and that’s not even counting all of the freelance work that I did for the newspaper up in Michigan, which I’m sure at an estimated 500 articles over the course of 3 years would easily push me up over the 1.5 million word mark! 😯

I guess it’s just kind of crazy to look back over such a history, one where I was really only just getting started, and still see such an impressive mountain of stuff left behind as a result … it reassures me that apparently I have been pretty busy all this time after all! It’s also exciting to think that as big as my count was for 2011, I’ve actually got even bigger plans to beat that one here in 2012 … and considering that my 2011 numbers were almost 25% higher than 2010 (which was 50% higher than 2009), it helps to prove to myself that I actually do have the momentum to take this where I’m trying to go if I really keep my nose down and get the work done.

And mind you, I’m certainly not saying that I’d even consider word count to be a bragging point for most of the things that I do. It’s neat to me from a blogging standpoint because I traditionally view this site as more of a journal/brainstorming arena/place to just write about whatever, so purely for the type of blogging that I enjoy, more IS better because it’s a direct representation of how much random writing I put into it each year. For something like my humor column, though, that has a regular schedule and more or less I found also maintains a pretty consistent word count, I guess it’s interesting to see those numbers included in my grand total for the year from a writing is writing angle, however just because I wrote 40,000 words instead of 35,000 doesn’t necessarily mean that it was better work in that regard.

Anywho, just wanted to ramble a little after tallying up the numbers because I still can’t believe the numbers on the page! To help quantify, my first printed humor book was 210 pages long, which is a little over 30,000 words … meaning that essentially I wrote enough to fill 7 more books of that size in the last 12 months!

On second thought – that makes me feel even more guilty for not actually getting out my second humor collection last year… 😳

To make up for it, though – just between you and me because we’re buds like that – 250,000+ words in 2012, and I promise to finally get that new book out!


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