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. πŸ™‚

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? πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜†

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