Mar 28

Could I have written 3 additional novels last year instead of tweeting?

This morning, I noticed that I sent my 19,000th tweet, which is honestly an absurd number when I think about it. Nineteen thousand tweets, in just over a year on Twitter? Seriously? What the hell have I been blabbering (and probably annoying people) about?

How much time have I spent “writing” on Twitter that perhaps could have been used more wisely? Let’s break it down (for my own rationalization, of course).

• I first became “active” on Twitter in January 2011; call it 14 months ago.

• According to the Oxford University Press, the average tweet is 14.98 words (call it 15).

• According to Publisher’s Weekly, the average (median, actually) length of a novel is around 65,000 words.

• I’ll estimate that 20% of my tweets are RTs, not original content.


19,000 tweets x 80% (original tweets) = 15,200 tweets

15,200 x 15 (average word count of tweet) = 228,000 words

228,000 / 65,000 (median novel length) = 3.5 novels

Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion* that I could have written three and a half additional novels in the 14 months I’ve been tweeting, by simply replacing tweets with sentences in a story.

I’ll never tweet again. Right after this one. Oh, and this one. And of course the kitteh one. And…


* OK, it’s not really a conclusion…just a bizarre comparison I thought of before my coffee hit.

About the author

Steve Umstead

Steve Umstead has been the owner of a Caribbean & Mexico travel company for the past ten+ years, but never forgot his lifelong dream of becoming an author. After a successful stab at National Novel Writing Month, he decided to pursue his dream more vigorously…but hasn’t given up the traveling.
Steve lives in scenic (tongue-in-cheek) New Jersey with his wife, two kids, and several bookshelves full of other authors’ science fiction novels. Gabriel’s Redemption was his debut novel, published in February of 2011.


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  1. Tim Barzyk

    You know you like it…
    Mark my words: someday, “The Best Tweets of All Time” series will be published, and you’ll be glad you spent all those hours expressing yourself in 140 characters or less.

    1. shayfabbro

      We should totally start on that book…right after I check my G+ and Twitter

      1. Tim Barzyk

        Ha! Yeah, polish ‘em up! There will be one on writing tweets, one on humor tweets, one on science tweets! It’ll be great. What else would be a good one?

    2. shayfabbro

      We could do snarky tweets also! :D I like the science ones, as long as we can add some Star Trek or perhaps Dr. Who in there somewhere…

      1. Tim Barzyk

        Snarky would definitely be a best seller!

  2. shayfabbro

    Psshhtt! I never tweet or FB or any of that…*sneaks off to check Twitter, FB, Pinterest, groups*. I am totally disciplined when it comes to writing. *types 3 messages to FB groups, checks gmail, sends 3 tweets, RTs 5 posts, pins totally geeky Dr. Who stuff*. You just gotta make yourself FOCUS on the book ya know? *googles Hunger Games and how to get Harry Potter on Kindle, notices a few more notifications on Twitter and chat message that pops up on FB*

    See? Just be more like me and you’ll go far! :D

    1. Jessica Marcarelli (@jmarcarelli)

      Your comment made me laugh so hard – this is the battle of an average day for me. ;)

      1. shayfabbro


  3. Jessica Marcarelli (@jmarcarelli)

    Oh my goodness. Can I say that I could have written this? Now I can’t stop counting my tweets….and FB posts…and blogs…and blog comments…and forum posts…gaaahhh!

    Visions of Other Worlds

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