My Word Count Theory

I wrote 5,300 words yesterday.  FIVE THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED WORDS.  IN ONE DAY.  In case you were wondering, that’s a lot of words.  It put my total word count added to my current fantasy novel/series/project/thing to upwards of ten thousand words in the last week.

According to my Word Count Theory, I’m surprised I can speak right now.

If you’ve been with us a while, you know I have a theory for most every occasion.  Some of these are more well-thought-out than others (like the basis for the beloved Introvert Equation), but most are still lacking cohesion (like my theory on why most people tend to fit the characteristics of their star sign, which I’m sure I’ll go into at some point when I can  make it make more sense).  But no matter what, if I’ve spent more than ten minutes thinking about a particular thing, I have probably formed an accompanying theory of some kind or another.

My Word Count Theory is that generally non-talkative folks like myself are allotted a certain number of words per day.  These words may be used in conversation, professional interaction, writing, social media, texting, etc.  If there is a surplus of words, I end up talking to myself to use them up.  If I use too many, I will be especially quiet until my word allotment has balanced out again.  I have yet to determine the exact number of words I am allotted, but that’s mostly because it sounds like entirely too much work.  So for the purposes of this blog entry, I just Googled “How many words does a person use in a day?”  The first search result offers conflicting information from several studies/books, but it looks like women top out at 20-24K words per day, and men at 7-10K.  Since I am my female introverted yet authorial self, I’ll grant myself about 15K, but only if at least half of those are spent in written form.

That sounds like a lot of words.  But when you think about it from a writing perspective, I don’t see how it could possibly be enough.  When I write, I usually think through the words first, then write them down, then read them, then rearrange and edit them to better express what I’m trying to say.  So that uses each written word like three or four times.  At least.

So if I spent more than ten thousand of my words last week on my book that would amount to about thirty or forty thousand in actuality.  That’s not counting my other written communication last week: the time I spent on the internet, the 1,000-ish word post I wrote last week, and the 1,300 on the dance company newsletter and lots of emails back and forth to get it finished.  Then if you figure in a busy week at work with a lot more conversation than usual, a follow-up appointment with my ENT (surgery scheduled November 13th!) and my more-chatty-because-I’m-in-my-comfort-zone state at dance classes/rehearsals…Jesus Christ on a Cracker, that’s a lot of words!

This overabundant use of my word allotment led to an interesting result:  I just didn’t have any words left to speak.  This was fine Friday afternoon because I was house-elfing for Ren, so after my ENT appointment the only life-forms I encountered were her dogs.  But Saturday night was a good friend’s birthday party.  I spent the bulk of the time listening and people watching while occasionally chatting with Ren’s husband, my introvert-in-arms at most social functions.  One of my friends asked me toward the end of the night if I was okay.  I nodded, and he said, “Well, you’ve been really quiet tonight—like more so than usual.”  It left me thinking.  I wasn’t feeling particularly shy or antisocial.  The bar was really loud and crowded which makes it harder for me to engage, so that might have had something to do with it.  But I really just couldn’t think of much to say.

And after yesterday’s write-a-thon, I came to work, said a brief hello to my officemate, and haven’t said much of anything to anyone else.  I got another query as to the okay-ness of my state of being, with the remark of “You’re just really quiet this morning.”

I swear I’m alright, I’m just running low on words.  I feel like I should save some for later, but my muse will not be ignored right now.  Word count be damned, I’ve got a story to tell!

And now I’ve wasted about seven hundred and fifty words (times three since it’s written) telling you that I’m running out of words…‘cause I’m brilliant like that.

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