Writing Statistics

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Poetry Statistics


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This page has a few measures, generally updated quarterly.

Over the last few years, how much have you written?

Quality over quantity of course, but quantity is countable.

I think I'm finally getting through my head that it is a good thing that number of poems drafted diverges from number of poems completed. This reflects how I'm discerning what's worth pursuing, and reflects the process of continuing to write to keep the skills in tune and exploring to see what comes. Here are the numbers of that moving target, "completed" poems:

The 18-Year Continuous Data Set

...as of  Sept 26, 2010

Poems Drafted Month by Month:

...as of  Sept 26, 2010

Poem Processing

Here are stats broken down into stages visually. 

The fine print

Public readings include open mic, but does not include workshops such as VWG or Poetry-W.

Submissions rate does not include workshops, nor non-poetry such as flash fiction, articles, editorials or to anyone's blog including my own.

I'm tempted to tag it with time markers of when I took on new poetry projects, such as poem a day challenges, or went to inspiring events to demonstrate the effect (but maybe we'll just not, and say we did).

It misses many axes and aspects from creation of draft to public sharing to publication. For instance, the chart doesn't reflect editing time or number of drafts. <shrug> Every data set has its loopholes; all the better for getting a handle on them. I'm in a quandry over how to chart the submission acceptances when some submissions are a couple poems, some chapbook length, some full manuscript. How do I weigh those?
I have a habit of counting. (Had you noticed?) I have looked at a lot of ways to count "poem product". I had been writing poetry for about a decade when I started counting poems written in 1993. (Before this I tracked the rate at which I wrote hundreds of aphorisms between 1988 and 1990.) I had, between January 1, 1993 and Dec 31, 2004 completed over 750 poems. That is slightly less than the number I started in 2008 (at 761 poem first drafts).

Since either points in time I've submitted for publication a piddlingly small number but (blush) at least in '08 I sent out nearly 2 dozen submissions and read at open mic or by invitation over a dozen times. That's progress. A dozen left my hands for journals and contests and some got published in 07.
I have workshopped or shared quite a number of them with friends. I blogged a few over the last few years at Pesbo. I put out a chapbook in 07 "There are Better Ways to Go Than by Aspartame" and started on 3 book-length manuscripts, one of which I even mailed away. And got back. I'm resolving to juggle more out there. In March 08, above/ground press published Oath in the Boathouse a chapbook A more organized list of publications is here.

What do I mean by poem when I say "poem"? As far as these numbers go, a senryu or several-pager get counted as statistically equal poems if they both satisfied me as "finished" to the top of the form as I could do at that point in time. (After all to refine a haiku to minimalism can take at least as long as a long form. Futzing is forever.) It gets more complex as poems to a greater degree than ever can be torn back to a single phrase or expand out by pages, merge and split. And how do I count members of a series? Or I may have phrases jangling around in my head, and each line may come but take months. When did it start-start?

If you haven't already, I invite you to look around at my PageHalfFull Chapbook. It's a few years old but I like some of it still.


i.e. Finally Asked the Questions (of Myself).

1) What were You Initially Trying to Accomplish with the Statistics?

I aimed:

  • to dust flour over the ghost to see the footprints of the wind.

  • to pepper the tail of the muse and make it stay or track it back to its nest where I could go to it at my leisure.

  • to figure out in absolute terms the mechanisms of when and why I write -- to see a pattern I can harness.

It could have worked, right? Unfortunately, for my purposes, numbers are bound by perspective no less than photos and knowledge  and those seasonal trends I first saw were just cloud cats. Production ended up admittedly boiling down to choice -- taking the time to write, or not .

<Sigh> So much for my get-rich-scheme -- selling Muse inducing sun-lamp through ads in the back of poetry magazines.

2) And Its Purpose Now?

    • To accurately ratio "initial drafts: completed poems: submitted poems: publicly read: published"
    • Why? To give objective reality checks to time's passage and to act as a whip at my flanks.
    • Why? Because I want to write more and push myself to polish and complete
    • Why? Because the better I write,  the more skills I get in observing and the more exercise I get for my brain thus the more health for my brain.
    • That all? No, also, the better I can think, the better I can perceive and therefore the better I can communicate.
    • So? The better I communicate, ultimately, the more I can offer myself and others as a bridge to living better through more peaceful and thorough understanding of our world.
    • Why online? To amuse and inform whoever may come across this site.
    • And? Because I can find it online.
    • As opposed to? I only have a few hundred pages online, compared to tens of thousands files on my computers.

If you want to email me, send to pagehalffull@yahoo. com

Make Yourself a Great Day

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