How Many Words 2017

By Shamus Posted Sunday Feb 11, 2018

Filed under: Random 47 comments

Last spring I decided to measure my overall output on this site. Now that we’ve wrapped up 2017 I thought I’d update the charts and see how things went last year.

As a reminder of how this works: WordPress doesn’t have a wordcount feature. So to get the number of words I write in a year I get a character count and divide by 6.6, which I determined to be my average word length. These charts only include my material, and not any of my distinguished guests. These charts are based on calendar years, not financial years or anything crazy like that. Read the original post if you want all the details.

Anyway, let’s get to the charts…


Words per year.
Words per year.

Technically, I wrote a lot more words in 2017 than I did in 2016. The problem is, they don’t show up on this chart. I wrote a 130k word book that will hopefully come out sometime this year. It’s still in the editing process. I realize that doesn’t actually do anything for those of you that just come here looking for blog posts, but I’m still happy with my 2017 output.

Posts per year.
Posts per year.

This dramatic drop in posts is due to the fact that Spoiler Warning left the site last April. I’m no longer writing little 300 word essays three times a week to go under the video posts. Instead, that time is going into more of my long-form stuff, which I assume is what most people are here for.

Also, I’m no longer posting weekly show notes to go with the Diecast. That show went on hiatus when I split with the other creators. The rest of the team went on to make the Spodcast.

The good news is that I might be starting up the Diecast again. A friend and I have been batting the idea around. I don’t have a date planned or anything. We’ll see where it goes.

UPDATE: Have questions for the show? Email me: diecast -at-

At any rate, that’s about four fewer posts a week. I don’t imagine that’s going to change anytime soon. I’m focusing on long-form stuff these days, which means three posts a week is going to continue to be the norm. From this we can predict that 2018 will end up with just over 150 posts. (Again, I’m ignoring the contributions of the other writers. I’m not saying they’re not important, I’m just being careful to not take credit for their hard work. If they post and I don’t, I still see it as a personal failure, even if you still got something good to read.)

Post length by year.
Post length by year.

And here we see the average length (in words) of posts. That spike in 2017 is because I’m no longer pulling the average down with short Spoiler Warning and Diecast posts. For the record, my usual target for an article is between 1,500 and 2,500 words. However, I do short, silly posts on Sunday (for example: The one you’re reading right now) and those are usually under 500 words.

Anyway. That’s what I managed to accomplish in 2017. Onward.


From The Archives:

47 thoughts on “How Many Words 2017

  1. MichaelGC says:

    That’s good news – I was thinking a few weeks ago that I missed hearing your sardonic wit and trenchant observations. In particular, for example, about industry news and new releases and suchlike. You tend not to address such things too often in your written work (for good and entirely understandable reasons).

    And it’s not that I don’t appreciate what you do write about, o’ course! – I’m just, you know, greedy.

    1. Christopher says:

      Yeah, I’m starved for some Shamus voice again. Spodcast and Spoiler Warning have been good, I’m backing them and everything. But you can’t shuffle the cast around that way and get the same thing, and I definitely miss your commentary on both.

      1. evileeyore says:

        “Also, I’m no longer posting weekly show notes to go with the Diecast. That show went on hiatus when I split with the other creators.”

        Kind of a shame the Diecast had to go as well. Hopefully you’ve remained friends with all them (I know Ruts is still hanging around and you occasionally speak well of Campster).

        (Yes, I didn’t really pay much attention when the split occurred, I was working crazy hours and basically said to myself “Oh well, the stuff I don’t really watch/listen to is going away? Not really concerned…”)

    2. Echo Tango says:

      +1 for audio-Shamus. Not because I necessarily need audio[1], but because I’m assuming it’s cheaper for him to produce. Some rough notes + minimal editing of conversation -> probably cheaper than a well-ritten essay?

      [1] I actually sort of dislike conversations, because I have more difficulty with verbal communication than written.

    3. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, it would be good to hear your voice again Shamus. I’ve got this dream where you and Tarn Adams do a procedural generation podcast for the ages!

      If you do start the Diecast up, let us know when we should start sending in our mailbag questions. You’ll want a back-log to feel guilty about ignoring. :p

      1. Shamus says:

        Oh yeah. The diecast -at- email exists again.

  2. Droid says:

    Yay, audio!Shamus will be back!

  3. Abnaxis says:

    I realize this is just a quick “well ain’t that something” sort of post, but you could write a spider that could give you a more accurate count in an afternoon (didn’t you have an issue with it counting html characters or some-such?). I did one once for my wife’s masters thesis* and it only took a couple hours.

    * Counting occurrences of certain words from online FOSS groups depending on whether they characterized themselves as “open source software” advocates or “free software” advocates.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I had to spend 10 minutes re-learning the difference between ‘free’ and ‘open source’ software. I’ve come to the conclusion that although I am actually a ‘free’ software supporter, I really dislike how verbose Mr. Stallman is in his writing. (The place that had an actual, separated definition, was StackExchange. :)

      1. Abnaxis says:

        “free” as in “free speech,” not “free beer.”

        That’s, like, eight words, though Stallman can DEFINITELY ramble…

        The research paper was kind of neat. Bunch of stuff about social movements and whatnot

        1. Echo Tango says:

          That only defines “free”, though, and only enough for the underlying philosophy, not how it applies to licenses. The main difference between free and open source is that free (almost always) implies open source, but open source could be used for non-free purposes. It’s nearly (but not strictly) a superset thing. :)

  4. KingJosh says:

    I’d like the Diecast to come back!

  5. Your computer has wordcount feature says:

    WC(1) User Commands WC(1)

    wc – print newline, word, and byte counts for each file

    wc [OPTION]… [FILE]…
    wc [OPTION]… –files0-from=F

    Print newline, word, and byte counts for each FILE, and a total line if
    more than one FILE is specified. A word is a non-zero-length sequence
    of characters delimited by white space.

    1. Mike says:

      To do this, Shamus would need to either output every post to a individual files or pipe the sql query output to wc per post. Either way is more of a pain than just getting aggregate statistics direct from the database. Then he still needs to process the raw output data to be usable in his reports, etc.
      Of course defining a wordcount function in sql is possible, but also slow and time consuming.
      Using the average word length is close enough and doesn’t make more work than necessary.

      If one put the same effort into getting more statistics, it would be more interesting.
      Other interesting statistics could be “number of images per post” or “views / comments as a ratio”, as well as “comments / word-count as a ratio”.
      I’d also be interested in posts per category per year.

  6. Simplex says:

    Hi Shamus,

    Can you reveal anything about the book? Or is it too early for that, or you already did but I missed it?

    1. Shamus says:

      Cyberpunk. Fictional near-future world. A dash of noir-ish flavor.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        So, “cyberpunk”, then. :P

      2. Steve C says:

        That reminds me, is a post about Altered Carbon in the works?

        1. MichaelG says:

          I’ve watched the first four episodes and no longer care. Should I stick with it? Does it change at all, or is it just more of the same?

          1. Kdansky says:

            I liked the book a lot. It’s very gritty and violent, as all of Morgan’s books are, with a hefty dose of cynicism towards capitalism.

          2. Shamus says:

            Same here too. I got to the end of Ep1 and realized I didn’t care what happened to this character or this world.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              And now,lets see how you turn that comment into a 2500 words post.

            2. stratigo says:

              That is the problem watching a dystopia where the main character fought and lost already.

              That said, he does get less… uh… nihilistic I suppose.

            3. Redrock says:

              Makes me wonder if I would’ve stuck with the show if I wasn’t a fan of the book already.

          3. Hal says:

            The wife and I only watched two episodes, but we’ve both concluded that, however interesting the premises, the show is quite a bit too vulgar for our tastes.

            1. MichaelG says:

              Then you missed the extended torture session in Ep 4. That was enough for me.

      3. Mephane says:

        Shut up any take my money already. :)

  7. Joshua says:

    Here for the writing, never cared much for most of the videos.

    1. Mistwraithe says:

      Ditto. I’ve said it before but figure I should reiterate that I have yet to change my mind…

  8. BenD says:

    Came for the writing but I did like Shamus having other opinions to bounce against his own; the discussion format lent depth to topics while the people lent variety of tone. If not video or audio, some kind of collaborative written exploration or criticism would be interesting to read. I have no idea if it would be practical to create.

    (Side note: uh oh, now the Spodcast’s name has been immortalized!)

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The only one who was against the name was Josh anyway,and no one listens to him.

      1. Baron Tanks says:

        Discounting Chris in the corner over there lying in fetal position rocking back and forth holding his hands over his ears crying “That’s not what it’s called, that’s not what it’s called, that’s not what it’s called.”

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Personally,Id love to see a new comic now and again.After all,its dmotr that got me here.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      You, me and a bunch of other people. I bet it still gets Shamus an occasional new reader as I’ve seen specific pages linked to every now and then around the net. I think Darths and Droids may still reference it as well?

      1. pdk1359 says:

        My entree was DM of the Rings as well; additionally I know that a couple other campaign comics reference DMotR occasionally, especially when their comment sections start talking about the different campaign comics available; I’m also fairly sure that both Friendship is Dragons and One Piece: Grand Line 3 point 5 both have featured the comic authors’ mentioning DMotR as well as Darths & Droids at one point or another

    2. WWWebb says:

      Which reminds me … if a picture is worth a thousand words (and based on what Shamus has said, they might be more than that), I wonder if you could adjust the earlier years to account for the comics. I don’t think his output really went up 50% in 2015. He just stopped spending a third of his time on graphics.

  10. CrushU says:

    Damn. This made me sad as I remembered that I don’t have weekly gaming news updates anymore. Or occasional side-quests into programming minutiae. RIP Diecast.

    I have, and always will, follow Shamus’ material. I found this place via Free Radical, and with DMotR, I knew I was going to pay attention to literally everything this guy put out.

    Interesting to look back on the year’s production, eh?

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I too, miss the side-tracking into graphical programming nonsense. It was a unique combination, from Shamus, Chris, and Josh, that allowed talk about programming, without getting completely incomprehensible. I wish more universities would teach students to stay grounded in reality. Many new programmers completely forget, that software only exists to do something in the real world, and that the jargon and acronyms need to serve some purpose. (Can you tell I’ve been doing interviews recently…?) ^^;

  11. Robbert Ambrose B. Stopple says:

    Speaking of books, Shamus, do you still intent on releasing your Mass Effect trilogy analysis in novel format?

  12. As a supporter of this blog and long-time fan of your writing, it would be really nice if you got a woman as a guest writer once in a while, or did some other type of collaboration with a woman.

    I know that Mumbles was involved in the past, but overall this blog is super-duper dude-centric. The writers, Youtube personalities and influential figures that you discuss on this blog are almost always male.

    That’s kind of a bummer, you know?

    1. Droid says:

      I highly doubt Shamus would discriminate based on gender, it’s just that video games in general, a lot of video game stories, YouTube channels and most other stuff Shamus writes about is populated mostly by males. Not exclusively, but enough to be noticeable.

      Inviting a guest writer not due to (personal) interest in a specific topic, but due to their gender is imho just a disservice both to the writer and their intended audience. After all, for the part of the audience that is interested in what they were writing, without the obvious help of a big established blog, a simple mention, a nudge in the right direction, would be enough, no matter their gender, and for the others, it’s just more “posts from Twenty-Sided that I’m not interested in”, effectively turning something that would be interesting for one part of the audience and inoffensive for the rest into spam for the latter group.

      In short, what’s wrong with specialization?

      1. Shamus says:

        For the record: I actually do put a premium on “different” voices. (That is, not like mine.) Someone who is much older. Someone from a different culture. Someone who is not a dude. It’s one of the reasons I was first drawn to Campster: “Hey, here is someone who likes to really think about games but has different views than mine!” I’m wary of getting too deep in any particular rut.

        But most of the people I meet in this gig are either A) people my age+gender+race+background or B) Too famous for me to seriously approach. I’m always on the lookout for new voices, but they all fall into the same group I do. Bob Case. Joseph Anderson. Raycevick. Campster. George Wiedman. Mark Brown. Rutskarn.

        Are western adult straight white dudes the only people who are into nitpicky over-thinking? Or ar social media algorithms balkanizing us so I don’t see those other creators? I don’t know. If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them, but I can’t make women creators appear.

        And if you are a woman trying to work up the nerve to jump into game analysis: DO IT. As far as I can tell there’s a demand that’s not being met.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ask SoldierHawke.She is already a fan of yours,so that gives you a big “in”.The only downside is that she dares to have a life,so is sometimes unavailable for stuff.

        2. WWWebb says:

          Or Pushing Up Roses, or a large portion of the former Escapist contributors that are only “too famous” in Shamus’ head because he’s a fan.

          1. GM says:

            She really likes Sierra game especially King Quests.

        3. Shamus says:


          Matthewmatosis was the name you were trying to think of for three straight minutes when writing this comment. I can’t believe you forgot that one.

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