It has been nineteen days since I’ve started the writing challenge. I’ve been able to successfully post once a day for the past eighteen so far!! However, I mind is completely shot as of this writing, so for today’s post, I’m gonna forego the rigors of thinking in favor of a couple old friends: Numbers and data.
The reason why I dove into ThePickyGamer’s one-post-a-day-for-sixty-days challenge, beyond just the fun and challenge of participating, was because of the potential for this to force myself to write shorter articles. In other words, a chance to attempt dealing with my biggest issue with myself as a writer, which is that when tackling anything not related to my recurring music posts, my output always got way too lengthy.
In the purest terms of the quality of that output, it’s perhaps not the biggest deal. However, it has always been a symptom of some pretty atrocious work habits on my part. For one, I think I tend to sometimes take on topics that are a massive handful to do justice. On a related note, I tend to only take on such topics from this sentiment that maybe there isn’t much worth in spelling out thoughts and feelings on things smaller in scale.
More commonly, however, I’m a just plain wordy guy in general! I don’t really have that “Be concise” setting built into my being; elaborating and over-elaborating on everything has kinda always been my thing for the longest time.
And all of those things, when added up, are utterly exhausting. Doing what I have done on TAY for the last year takes up a lot of energy. My recent output right before beginning the challenge seems like a good reflection of where my past habits have led.
Up to and not including today, I’ve done 18 posts for the challenge. Thus, how about looking at what the 18 posts from right before the start of the challenge were? This is what my output was:
- 3 Articles
- 2 Open Forum Posts
- 13 Loved Trax Posts
Open Forum posts were days where I put something up in place of the regularly-scheduled entry. Loved Trax posts are part of a weekly recurring series. What I am most interested in, in terms of these categories, are articles, i.e. more substantial posts about things in gaming or anime. And on that count, I had been doing utterly atrociously. Skating by on music posts really ought to not be the only thing I’m doing, in a more ideal world!
Since taking on the writing challenge, however, things have already improved immensely. I’ve been doubling the Loved Trax output to twice a week rather than the usual one, for the sake of keeping the load light enough, but that has still left the other 5 days where I’ve been actually posting what I’d consider to be articles! And it’s showed thus far:
- 13 Articles
- 5 Loved Trax Posts
Venturing to take on smaller topics—often consisting of a bunch of things I think about but that I usually wouldn’t deem worth committing to writing—and trying to cut myself off when the words overflow too much seems to have been working. That has mentally been much easier to keep up. The real difficulty now isn’t finding the energy to take on one single post; it’s maintaining a good enough level of energy and work ethic to commit to multiple, daily posts.
As for the stated goal of reducing word counts per article, i.e. not the Loved Trax posts? Well, I took some rough word counts on six articles from before taking on this challenge for comparisons’ sake, by copying and pasting each article’s text into Microsoft Word and seeing how many words it counted, and then did the same for the thirteen articles from the challenge so far. Here’s a visualization of how that looks:
You’ll need to click on the image to see it at full resolution, in order to get the best view. Things have been trending downward!
As for the what the pre-challenge article word counts are, more precisely:
- Injustice 2 Gear System - 1643 words
- Fighting Games and Online - 1495 words
- Dating Sims - 2086 words
- Monopoly App - 1469 words
- One Year with Nintendo Switch - 1686 words
- Fatal Bullet - 927 words
By the way, just to show how dire my article situation was, one of them--the Injustice 2 gear system article—was from before 2018. Meaning that I had only actually done five articles this year before taking on the challenge.
And the challenge in-progress word counts:
- CPAC Panels - 1697 words
- First Panel - 1230 words
- Username - 964 words
- Wetrix - 1000 words
- GoNNER Gripes - 1160 words
- Gun Gale Online - 736 words
- Star Wars - 922 words
- Spyro - 535 words
- Ubisoft - 795 words
- Super Smash Brothers Ultimate - 412 words
- Getting Rock Band 3 - 1200 words
- Jump Force - 505 words
- Switch Demos - 617 words
The total word counts, from those six pre-challenge articles spanning approximately the last five months versus the thirteen articles spanning the last eighteen days:
- Pre-Challenge - 9306 words total
- Challenge In-Progress - 11773 words total
I’ve committed more words over the last two and a half weeks than I did over the past several months, in other words. Christian Cashman’s advice proves to be sage: Work ethic fit for a marathon is key.
Finally, how about what my words-per-article, i.e. the mean, is? To wit, comparing the six pre-challenge articles against the thirteen challenge in-progress articles:
- Pre-Challenge - 1551 words per article
- Challenge In-Progress - 905.6 words per article
I additionally broke the challenge articles by week, where each full week has five articles (the missing two days consist of the two Loved Trax posts), and that looks like the following:
- Week 1 - 1210.2 words per article
- Week 2 - 680 words per article
- Week 3 (two articles still remaining) - 774 words per article
Even during the first week, when I was consistently keeping my posts on the wordier side, it still ended up being on the significantly less wordy side compared to what I had been putting out before the writing challenge. And ever since then, it looks like I’ve gotten myself into a pretty decent groove in terms of pacing, with the weekly mean word count so far staying under not only 1000, but 800 words. If I’m able to keep up that level of output, that would probably make me the happiest camper.
And through all of this, I’ve managed to keep up a good rotation of writing topics, while hopefully also executing most of them with enough of a semblance of quality. At least one article from this challenge, about where my username came from, is even one of my favorite pieces I’ve done as a whole.
In summary, close to a third of the way through the writing challenge I think I’ve got a good thing going on so far! Hopefully this may continue throughout the next forty-plus days.
And that I’ll be in enough of a good state of mind tomorrow to have something actually substantial to talk about.