March 26, 2008

Word Count

Each year members of the ASTW have to tally their work and demonstrate that they really are travel writers.

This year's magic numbers are 36,000 words, 32 articles and 185 photographs. That excludes a handful of articles that ran in different markets or the syndicated outlets. It's a little more than I did last year, but still a long way behind the big guns of Australian travel. 50,000 is a good baseline and 100,000 is not uncommon.

Which all makes me wonder what the fuss is about with these honours students who only have to write up 15-20,000 words for a thesis? Every year I'd watch another batch of eager young science students torture themselves for months over what seems like a modest word count.

Admittedly it's easier to get inspired to write another few thousand lines about Antarctic penguin spotting than the second-messenger response of isolated adrenal cells.

But spare a thought for the travel writers this year who not only published their 50,000 words but who also wrote a book. Hats off to those guys and gals - never assume travel writers don't work hard!

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