600,000 words

The Before Breakfast podcast launched in March of 2019, and I’ve produced a new episode every weekday since then. I tend to batch produce these, writing/editing and recording five or more at a time, and always working a bit ahead. That means there are episodes ready to go on, say, Christmas Day, or a day on which I gave birth.

In any case, the scripts are all 500-1000 words, with most of them hovering toward the lower end of that range. I wrote the first handful separately, but I’ve kept one word file of Before Breakfast episodes for all the fully edited scripts from then on. The running word count on that file recently crossed 600,000 words.

This is an interesting number. It is roughly the number of words in War and Peace. It is not quite as long as the King James Bible (which clocks in at a bit under 800,000 words) but it is a lot of words nonetheless.

One of the items on my current List of 100 Dreams is to write an epic novel. On some level this is a daunting goal. But I have apparently recorded something equivalent in length over the last three years. It’s just that instead of a sweeping multi-generational character saga, it comes in the form of bite-sized productivity advice.

There are lots of ways to view this realization, but one positive approach is to realize that if I do want to write that epic novel, I could use a similar method. Just write 500-600 words every weekday for three years. Or for two years (I don’t need to actually hit 600,000 words!). Producing scripts has not been onerous. I can often write or edit 2-3 during my 12-year-old’s 1-hour fencing class. Fiction is harder, for sure. The organizational work will be a lot more intense. But the process is still all habit, execution, and patience. Just like anything else. Time passes. Words add up. The question is what they add up to.

(In case anyone is wondering, blog posts also add up. WordPress says I’ve published 2750 posts over the years. If each clocked in at 300 words on average, and my guess is the average is higher, that’s over 800,000 words right there…)


9 thoughts on “600,000 words

  1. It is incredible how words add up.

    In exactly one year of blogging (usually 5x/week), I had a word count of 247,791 words. Which, for comparison (though I’m in no way comparing my non-fiction blogging with the craft required to produce these fictional epics!):
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone = 77,325
    Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix = 257,154
    The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe = 38,421
    The Fellowship of the Ring = 187,790

    So…slightly less than the longest Harry Potter book, but about 6.5 The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

      1. Thanks, Laura! As you know, your TBT project was a major kick in the butt for me to just “do it already.” After wanting to blog for a decade I realized it was silly to not move forward. Even if I fall off the blogging bandwagon eventually, I’ll forever be grateful for the motivation your work provided toward actualizing a dream!

  2. And I think I listened to all those episodes!
    After reading your first novel, I would be really glad to be able to read another work of fiction by you.

    1. @Maggie – thank you for listening! And reading. I’ll do my best to get something written!

  3. And I think I’ve read every blog post since 2010 after reading your interview on Gretchen Rubin’s blog and discovering 168 Hours. You only had 2 kids then and still lived in NYC. I feel like I’ve watched your family grow up.

    1. @Linda- oh wow! Thank you for reading all those words. Yep, the family has changed since then. We are a big kid home in some ways, though the 2-year-old is keeping us all in the trenches of toddler life!

  4. I have been recently found the Before Breakfast podcast and habe been enjoying it every morning while I prepare my coffe and toast. Did anything happen yesterday? No episode shows up for Wednesday.

    1. @Laura – I just saw that! I created an episode so I’m not sure where it went in the great publishing internet world. I’ve sent a note to iHeartMedia to try to find it…

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