Guest Post: Beau Barnett – Word Sprints, #WriteClub and Some Staggering Statistics

Word Sprints, #WriteClub and Some Staggering Statistics: Beau Barnett discusses the camaraderie of #WriteClub and some staggering stats.Hey everyone. Have you ever heard of #WriteClub? If you have, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen my number-filled tweets. I’m #StatsGuy. I keep the word count statistics for #WriteClub. If you want to know how many words the US managed to write during their 5th sprint on the night of August 16th, 2013… I can tell you (15,553 words, btw). Want to know how many words you wrote during #WriteClub in 2013? I can tell you.

Why in the world do I do this? To really answer this question, you have to know that there are two things I love basically more than anything else in this world. Sports… and stats. If you are like me, and also love sports and their associated statistics, you’ve heard of the Elias Sports Bureau. They are the official stats tracker of basically every single major sporting league in the United States, and they pretty regularly come up with some incredible (and slightly ridiculous) numbers. During the 2004 American League Championship Series, they came out with a statistic after Boston won game 4 that no team down 3-0 in a series had ever won game 5 after winning game 4 in extra innings after midnight. For some reason, after #WriteClub started in October 2012, I had this crazy idea that it would be kind of cool if #WriteClub had its own Elias. Silly me thought, “Why not me?” and #StatsGuy was born.

You could argue it’s a labor of love, and that I’m not getting anything whatsoever for sitting at my dining room table pretty much every Friday night and writing and inputting numbers into a spreadsheet. Truthfully, I’d tell you that I’ve gained a lot. The sheer number of friends I’ve made as a result of #WriteClub is staggering. The support and camaraderie from the 1100 people that have participated over the last year is incredible. Without it, I know that I would never have had multiple short stories published.

It’s also so amazing to see a writer finish a project of some sort during #WriteClub. Everyone rallies around them surrounding them with congratulations and love. Every week it seems there’s at least one person out there that mentions the sprints offered by #WriteClub enabled them to break through a block. It seems like whenever a new person joins in for a sprint or two, they are absolutely made to feel welcome and a part of the team. It IS truly a labor of love; I do it because I love it.

I’ll admit, it does sorta drive me nuts when someone reports that they “only” wrote X words for that sprint, though I completely understand it. If you show up for a few weeks and I start to recognize you, I get a pretty good idea of how many words you’re capable of writing, and I know (being able to write 1500+ at times myself) it’s disappointing when things are just off and you’re reporting word counts that are 20% of what you know you can do. Here’s what I have to say to that: WRITING IS HARD. IF IT WERE EASY, EVERYBODY WOULD DO IT.

So you just wrote 150 words when the last sprint you went off for 1200? That’s still 150 words closer to writing every writer’s favorite two: THE END. Also, that 150 may just be the most difficult 150 words in the entire project, that without, you can’t even write the 1200 you write in the next sprint. Most important thing about that 150 words you reported disappointedly? YOU DIDN’T GIVE UP. (Another thing I hate: THE STUPID FIGHT CLUB JOKE. GAHHHHHHHHHHHH.)

When I originally started keeping the stats a couple of weeks after #WriteClub started, I did so very haphazardly. I didn’t track individuals, I didn’t use a spreadsheet, I simply totaled up all the word counts reported and gave that number between sprints, then went back and totaled those at the end of the night. A couple of months later I started tracking things in a notebook, including individual totals.

I decided to start 2013 off by getting organized and tracking things in an Excel spreadsheet. We wrote 27,175 words that week. 3 weeks later we cracked 50,000 words for the first time, which we have never gone under again. February 8th the UK started having their own #WriteClub and I started tracking them as well. February 22nd the US cracked 100K the first time, then on March 22nd we wrote our 1,000,000th word worldwide. March 29th the US broke a million on their own, and #WriteClub was a force to be reckoned with.

I’m sure that @MeganWhitmer never dreamed that would happen — and now we’re nearing our 10,000,000th word. January 10th of this year, Australia started a branch of their own (since Friday night for those of us in the US is Saturday afternoon for them) and now we run sprints *almost* all day on Fridays.

As far as numbers go, here are a few interesting ones:

1144 people have reported at least one word count.

Worldwide:

1,000,000th word: March 22nd, 2013
2,000,000th word: May 10th, 2013
5,000,000th word: September 6th, 2013
9,000,000th word: January 10th, 2014 (during the Australia kickoff)
10,000,000th word: February 28th, 2014

Total words in 2013: 8,832,689 (this includes the 1.2M words written during the 2 day marathon to kick off NaNoWriMo)

Top single sprint: 38,612 (this was the final sprint of the NaNoMarathon)
Top single sprint during normal #WriteClub time: 30,149, November 1st, 2013
Top single sprint besides the marathon: 23,609

274 sprints cracked the 10,000 word barrier

US:

1,000,000th word: March 29th, 2013
2,000,000th word: June 7th, 2013
5,000,000th word: November 8th, 2013
6,000,000th word: January 10th, 2014

Total words in 2013: 5,812,604

UK:

250,000th word: April 19th, 2013
500,000th word: May 31st, 2013
1,000,000th word: August 2nd, 2013
2,000,000th word: November 29th, 2013

Total words in 2013: 2,155,152

Australia:
44,973 words (as of 1/24, when this post was written)

There were 864,933 words written during the #WriteClub marathon that were not during the normal Friday night times included in the worldwide total.

Have you participated in #WriteClub? If not, what are you waiting for!? Come add your words to the tallies!

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Beau Barnett

ABOUT BEAU BARNETT

Beau Barnett, better known as #WriteClub’s StatsGuy and the array of seasonal nicknames he goes by on Twitter, is a published author and sports enthusiast in Woodstock, Georgia. Unlike many writers, he not only loves numbers–he excels with them. You can find him posting on his blog, www.beaubarnett.wordpress.com, or logging numbers for this week’s #WriteClub on his Twitter.

 

 

Without further ado, here is your Story Shuffle writing prompt!

Character: A talking turtle who dresses up as a hare for the local forest races and has an unhealthy coffee addiction
Setting: The centre of a black hole
Era: 2046
Item of Interest:
A cracked mirror that forms a portal between dimensions

That should be fun to pull off. Have fun with it!

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3 thoughts on “Guest Post: Beau Barnett – Word Sprints, #WriteClub and Some Staggering Statistics

    • It’s the best, isn’t it? :D

      And yeah, Australia is doing great! Although I’m willing to bet, by the exponential growth so typical of WriteClub, the number is much bigger now. That’s a January statistic from when Beau wrote the post!

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