On writing

Into a fourth year

Last Sunday this Blog celebrated its third birthday. Or rather, it didn’t. As on most Sundays in recent months I didn’t draft, review or finalize anything on the day in question. Although I’m generally okay with dates and anniversaries I think of 4 December as the date this Blog was created, but it was two days earlier, 2 December 2015. Every now and then I review how many posts and words there are in The Compartments and that’s what this piece is about.

This is the 609th blog post to be published here. In addition, there are around 30 items tucked away in the menus at the top of your screen. The total word count is just over 444,000 words (411,000 in the posts, 30,000 in the menu items). The last time I reviewed the progress of this site was here, on 21 January, when the word count had just passed 300,000. So, one way or another, a further 143,000 words have been added in under 11 months. Many of these words are in lists, several of them containing questions and answers from the ITV quiz show “Tenable” and several more listing songs and artists that were “Stuck at 2” (records that didn’t quite make it to the top of the UK singles chart). The “Tenable” and “Stuck at 2” lists from the last three months contain over 35,000 words. As far as I know these sets of data are not available anywhere else on the web. They have also taken at least as long to put together as it would have taken me to write the same number of words on the topics that I originally set out to write about, such as Memories, Language and Notes from West London.

My time at university (a 3-year History degree) took two years and eight months from start to finish. My written output (all handwritten, with the same ink pen) would have been around 100,000 words. Theoretically my assignments totalled around 60 essays (under 1,500 words on average), and one longer piece on a “special subject” (5,000 words or so, on Thomas More). Not all of those essays were completed, and even adding in everything written in the end-of-year exams I would estimate my university word count to be significantly less than a quarter of the total contained in The Compartments. Such are my thoughts while flicking between the final of this year’s UK Snooker Championship (Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-5 up, needing just one more frame to win the title) and the season finale of “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here” (I’ve just switched over from the sight of rats crawling all over Harry Redknapp, lying in a tank of water). As yet we don’t know whether John Barrowman, Harry Redknapp or Emily Atack will be crowned King or Queen of the Jungle. But we will by the time you read this piece.



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