Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Some Numbers about some Words

A recent correspondent intrigued me in a comment left about my January enthusiasm for blogging. Ric F asked if I had any idea how many words I had typed over the last nine and a bit years. Did I know?

Pffff. Did I know? Of course I didn't! But it would be easy to find out. As it happens, and being the slightly obsessive sort, about two or three times a year I save down a few months of blog posts into a word document. I am a 'just in case' kind of person, as Mrs L will through gritted teeth confirm. Google probably has it covered, but you never know - if they make Mr Putin angry enough.....

So it was pretty straightforward to quickly save the most recent couple of months down, and then open all of the 20 or so files and tot it up. Any excuse for a good spreadsheet. And if you have a spreadsheet you can come up with some statistics. Words not birds. 

Across 1,552 posts (not 1,564 as I thought, there are 12 which I started and never published), I have typed 957,000 words. That's getting close to a million! A million! That is just ridiculous. In a standard portrait orientation word document they take up over six thousand pages. There are admittedly *a lot* of photographs which sometimes take an entire page, but nonetheless. Imagine the book?! There are some handy comparisons....The Lord of The Rings is a lightweight 455,125 words, although is perhaps a bit more popular. And sticking with popular, if not quite as readable, apparently the Bible has 783,137 words. Jesus wept! I've demolished that too! I'll call the Gideons in the morning. Only Harry Potter is currently standing in my way with 1,084,170 words, but I estimate that I'll have overtaken Ms Rowling by about October next year. My sales figures are not quite as good unfortunately.

Anyway here are the figures in glorious tabular form. I can only apologise for the amount of time people must collectively have wasted, which leads me neatly to a final stat. If the average reading speed is 130 words per minute, then the answer to my previous question is 4.75 million minutes, which can alternatively be expressed as 79 thousand hours or three and a half thousand days. Nine years. Nine man years have been consumed. Frittered. The gross assumption is of course that people read every word, which can't possibly be true as I would expect that many visitors give up or fall asleep. Or just look at the photos. Still, my contribution to dawdling and procrastination is pleasingly meaningful.

year pages words posts avg
2018 116          14,255 24         594
2017 687          87,763 133         660
2016 651        102,371 131         781
2015 750          61,689 98         629
2014 773          90,840 123         739
2013 871        118,034 198         596
2012 745        133,381 203         657
2011 575        107,958 202         534
2010 715        145,730 267         546
2009 560          95,059 173         549
6,443        957,080        1,552         617


  1. Fantastic post, just the sort of thing that grabs me! But, to deflate your hopes of world word-count domination, I'm currently reading Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series. According to Wikipedia, which must never be questioned - obviously, his Wheel of Time has considerably over four million words. So you have a bit of a way to go. Happily, there's a whole bunch of us keen for the remaining 3 and a bit million words. Well, what you waiting for, you think we've nothing better to do with our time? :)

    1. How dare this Jordan chap write so much!

    2. I wholeheartedly agree! Luckily, he died before finishing the series. True story, go Google... That'll learn 'im.

  2. Great post. Close to the million words Jono, excellent! but how long did it take to type those words, I imagine you're pretty deft with the keyboard? and note, you do have a day job. Some extrapolation over the wasted hours not birding and blogging might be in order. I'll await the results. That Jordan chap may yet be outed as a mere dilettante by comparison. Anyway, where's his bird pictures?

    1. Oh God I have no idea. I can type pretty quickly - a version of touch typing that uses four fingers and two thumbs only, but as for how long I've spent bashing out posts, editing photos, writing trip reports, lists etc, it must be days and days. Tends to be at times when I wouldn't be birding mind you, not always but frequently. If we say 20-30 minutes for a regular post, longer if it is a trip report or has a lot of photos. We're talking weeks I expect, but not the nine years you lot have burned!!