The first 268628 Words


In the last 711 days, I’ve written 268628 words. The quota is a minimum of 106 words a day. It started in December 2019. Despite gaps, the writing activity is one of the few anchors to my routine. I never expected to create such a word pile. Little of that output is for public consumption. Hence the post count is a clear sign of blog death.

Total word count since I started

The writing that happens is either personal or work-related. Both are irrelevant to the public view. The activity is a form of “writing as thinking” or Think Write. The process of typing out thoughts has become a powerful tool. It clarifies thoughts and helps me see things I’ve missed. In addition, there’s a calming aspect to it. Letting off steam, in personal words, helps wipe off the dampness from unproductive emotions, which is enlightening.

In that sense, the writing has returned to the roots of blogging – a log – a record. In this case, it’s a pile of plain text files in MarkDown. A Unix script to track the word count. A single Google Sheet visualises the data. It’s a nerdy exercise that gives a sense of “progress”. However, none of it constitutes a “body of work”. It doesn’t build up to a larger outcome, such as a book.

Count of days of writing
Count of days when writing happened
Monthly word counts by year.
Monthly word count by year

Aside from a few posts, there is no public audience for all the typing. That’s fine. I never had any intention of trying to convince anyone of anything. Posts that come across as “analytical” is a verbalisation of the voices in my head. All consequences of my public writing are unintended – because I never expect anyone to waste their time reading them.

It’s fine. The writing that’s getting abandoned is the blog. After 15 years of it, it’s doing a slow fade to silence. The irony is that it’s happening at a time when my daily writing practice is at its highest – in terms of would count and days spent writing.

Another is the sense of futility I see in public writing. The absurdities Sri Lankan society is willing to put up feel futile to verbalise. Generation after generation, we vote for looters who rob us in the traditions of the East India Company. Then we are shocked that it happened. So we vote for the same thieves again.

The realisation is ancient. I’ve been avoiding it for at least a decade. A thick layer of supposed witty cynicism helped insulate me from being sad. It fuelled posts even other people found amusing. However, that layer started to crumble even before the pandemic.

I am sinking into the same sentiments that strangled my father. It fuelled the despair that led him to call the place he loved “a godforsaken country“. At least I don’t have a net of friends giving me first-hand knowledge of the rot. But, as I’ve said, I’m glad he’s not around to see his prophecies come true. It would have killed a miserable death.

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2 thoughts on “The first 268628 Words

  1. There are benefits to posting on a blog that, according to you, no one reads.

    Writing for yourself is very therapeutic but you still may need to let off some steam, shout something out in to the world.

    I doubt very much you will move on to Twitter, etc. So I hope you keep posting irregularly.

    Liked by 1 person

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