Friday, August 25, 2006

The Mathematics of Writing

No coffee yet, no music either, even though it is relatively late. New item to add to the morning roll call: 1013 words. Not a great day, but respectable and includes the physics of compatibility and coefficient of thermal expansion.

So how many words are there in one of these pretty project books? The editor has given me an estimate of 400-500 words per page. The basics section is to be about 54 pages with another 84 pages of projects and 6 of miscellany. And there are at lease 20 pages that only have a photo on them. So I figure I have between 49,600 and 62,000 words to write. There are 67 days until the manuscript is due at the publisher. That means I have to write between 740 and 925 words or an average of 833 words a day. I average just shy of 600 words per post here. (At least that's what Word counted on the ten that were on the main page yesterday. I love word count!)

Though the juxtaposition of those two numbers (833 and 600) should comfort me, I am realistic enough to know that I'm writing about apples and oranges. What takes no more than an hour to do here took me the best part of the day to do on the book yesterday. Here what I write is true because I say it is. In the book I am writing about external truths which are agreed-upon by the other members of the kilnforming glass community and I write with the sense that they are all looking over my shoulder ready to pounce and rip me to shreds if I get something wrong. Takes me back to writing my Master's thesis, and boy was that a painful experience. Painful enough I never wrote my dissertation.

Ok, enough fear. Today I need to write a lot more than 833 words as I will not get to write much this weekend. So it's time to short myself here and get on to coffee and there.


Bill Paley said...

If you spent as much time writing as you do calculating, you'd be done by now...


Brenda Griffith said...

If I just wrote I would end up with a big gnarly useless document. Better to have a plan and a schedule and stick to them.