Word count

Lately, I hate my job. I would much rather be writing.

But I often wonder if it would be worth it, financially, to be a freelance journalist? How many dead presidents could I collect just by writing?

Here’s a little shirt-sleeve math-&-Google to find out.

From last Thursday to today I’ve posted 8 times (not counting this post). Yes, I’m including “Sellwood #4” even though it was 8 days ago. If you think that’s fudging the numbers, so be it.

Those 8 posts are fairly short for me (except for “Sellwood #4”); their word count comes to 1439 (or so – word counts may seem straight-forward but there’s some wiggle room).

I found a page published by the Columbia University of Journalism, presumably for its students, that lists many local New York City area papers and what they pay for articles. It looks as though a “standard” per-word pay rate is 10-20¢ per word.

That would give me (assuming every word I wrote got published) between $143.90 to $287.80 for one week’s work.

If I assume that editors slash my brilliant writing in half, that would still leave me with 719.5 words published, for a week’s pay of $71.95 to $143.90.

If I just wrote as much as I did last week every week, and it all got published, and I got the most generous pay rate, I would have an annual salary of… $14965.60, or $1247.13 per month.

Hmmm. I’d have to have a day job. Or write more.

I can write more… For instance, if you take my Vegas week posts (Day 0.5, Day 1.5, Day 2.5, Day 3.5, Home – updates later, and Day 4.5), those add up to 4828 words. At 10¢ per word that comes to $482.80 for one week’s work, not including the freakin’ driving and eating and sight-seeing and Vegas-wandering and brothel-touring I also got to do that week. That wouldn’t be bad… But even if I did that every week, that would give me an annual gross of let’s see… carry the one… $25105.60.

I’d still need a day job. Damn.