On Quantities of Words

I use a lot of words.

At least, that’s what I’m told.

See, I’m not conscious of the number of words I use. Or rather, the number of words I write. Because they’re just words.

Which is probably why I’m not a poet. I lack the… precision of a poet.

And anyway. Poetry doesn’t interest me a whole lot. 🙂

But what brings this observation about? That I use a lot of words?

A friend e-mailed me last night. I’d not talked to her recently, and she was touching base, just seeing how things were.

It wasn’t a long e-mail. Maybe two hundred words.

I dashed off a reply. About forty minutes work; I was listening to an all-covers version of Sgt Pepper, and when I hit “A Day in the Life” I knew I had to draw things to a close.

I measure my writing time by the length of CDs. If the CD is coming to an end, then I need to wrap things up. It’s why I can’t write to “shuffle” — I know the order the tracks go in, and depending on the track, I know how close I am to the end.

Writing as a sprint. And who cares about hurdles? 🙂

My reply — which isn’t finished, actually, as I said I would write more on one subject in particular — ran two thousand words.

That’s not a particularly fast pace, by the way. That’s fifty words a minute. I can type faster than that. Like in the 120 wpm range.

Produce clean text to requirements on a timely basis. That’s a good rule to live by.

Not really my point here, though.

I’ve heard it said that the brain works at 75 words a minute. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I sometimes think that my brain doesn’t work with what are exactly words. And quantifying the unquantifiable isn’t something I’m inclined to do.

So I wrote this e-mail. And I wrote it quickly. And I didn’t even think about it. Just the clatter of keys, and there it was.

And it used a lot of words.

I sometimes think that people don’t know quite how to respond to me. Because I do use a lot of words. I think things through, and sometimes my thought process is completely transparent as I work through my thoughts. I castigated someone on a bulletin board last week, and his response was that his faux pas didn’t require an essay in reply. But of course it did. I had an argument to make, and I wanted to make it.

Which takes words.

There’s half a million words here, across seventeen hundred posts. And I’m not even trying.

Half a million words.

That is a lot of words. 😆

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *