So many words

A guy I read in the Times started his column today by mentioning in passing that he’s had about 130,000 words published in his name so far in 2011, and I thought, wow, that’s enough for a novel, and he’s produced that many words mainly by writing two weekly columns! Which means… maybe I could write a novel? A quick bit of arithmetic showed that 130,000 words in a year comes to about 2,600 words a week, and surely with all the blogging I do, I must be already producing that sort of level of verbiage. The thing with every mammoth task is that if you break it into bits it looks a lot more doable, and if I think in terms of a reasonable amount of words per week then maybe, just maybe, I could…

But would I be up to doing this in addition to blogging? That’s the question. Because if it’s either/or, then I don’t think I’d be happy to ditch the blogs. I’m not even convinced that my novel is going to be worth it in the end.

Look at this guy I was talking about – he’s produced this number of words and they’ve been published in the form of weekly columns plus the odd interview here and there, and people have been reading this stuff and being entertained by it. I get a huge entertainment value from his column at the back of the magazine on Saturdays, and what if he decided to do the same amount of writing but do it in the form of a novel instead? I, and all the others who enjoy following the wild and not-so-wild adventures of Beta Male, would lose something of great value to us.

Not that I’m on Robert Crampton’s level in terms of readership, obviously, I’m not published in the Times and my number of readers probably uses up a few less digits than his. So the number of people who would miss my posts if I took a break from blogging would probably not be earth shattering. But still – there are people who read my stuff regularly and even miss it if I don’t write for a while. And then there’s me – I would miss it terribly.

No, I don’t think I can do either/or. And as it is, I don’t get round to writing all the posts I think of writing. I get ideas and jot down a thought or a phrase and… life interrupts. There’s a post I started writing a few days ago but it’s still in draft, still very unfinished.

So I don’t know if this novel writing thing is ever going to really happen for me.

But what I’m thinking is that maybe as a self-motivation exercise, I should start logging my word count – just keeping a record of how many words I’ve written, whether it’s on blogs or in creative writing or whatever. Hey, I can see a spreadsheet coming on… and maybe a pie chart? That could be fun!

7 thoughts on “So many words

  1. Wondering if there is already a tool out there – to count the number words we have written on our blogs?
    349 posts out, and 13 drafted. Some short, recently most are around 500 words. I wonder if I have already published a novel’s worth??


  2. didn’t charles dickens write several of his books a chapter at a time – published in magazines or newspapers or something like that? (i just finished Little Dorrit, by the way. i think that was a 2 year monthly process.)


    • could be – there definitely have been books published which started out as sequels in a newspaper or magazine. of course that requires an editor deciding that it’s worth publishing your stuff… but I could always post mine on my Writer’s Notebook site, as work in progress.


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