10 dumb writing facts for aspiring writers

  1. If you put a 100 monkeys in a room with typewriters, the chances of one of them completing a copy of a Shakespeare play in its lifetime would be 1 in 6 million billion.
  2. If you took all the books that had ever been written, tore out their pages and placed these pages end to end, they would stretch to the moon and back 13.6 times.
  3. If you took all the books that had been read by more than a 100 people and did the same thing, then it would only just stretch into the upper atmosphere of our own planet.
  4. 37% of newly bought books spend 6 months on the shelf before they are actually read. 49% of these never actually get read.
  5. Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco has been unofficially named as the most unreadable book on the planet, closely followed by Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.
  6. You are statistically more likely to be injured by a falling toad than write the year’s number one bestseller. Whilst there is normally only one winner in the bestseller list, in 2010 17 people were injured by toads that “just fell out of the sky” following violent storms, including one fatality (figure from the NATSUSA).
  7. 18% of budding writers admit that they write because there is something lacking in their lives. 23% say that they write for money. Only 4% admit that they write because they don’t have any friends.
  8. Writers who write their books directly onto a PC/laptop, write their novels on average 36% quicker than writers who write the old fashioned pen and ink way and then transcribe onto a PC/laptop. However, writers who begin with pen and ink are 13% more likely to finish and publish their work than someone who writes directly onto a PC/laptop.
  9. Most grammar experts believe that the apostrophe will disappear from writing some time before the end of the next decade simply because of the evolution of language.
  10. 62% of writers will buy a boat of some description within 10 years of becoming successful. Of these boats, 84% will sink within the first 5 years.

Have you got a favourite writing statistic? If so, then add yours in the comments section below.

13 thoughts on “10 dumb writing facts for aspiring writers

  1. There was no punctuation until the 15th century.

  2. That’s probably why they had so many wars…

  3. The odds are one in one that a writer is insane.

  4. The one about 49% of new books ever getting read is both shocking and believable.I can think of at least a few purchases that I’ve opened a few times then gone “maybe something more light-hearted first”. They all went to Oxfam.

  5. Fun list! But… Maths / pedantry alert… Re: Number six, for a fair comparison – you’d need to establish how many authors of books in 2010 were hit on the head by a toad, else the comparison is meaningless. Anyone (who leaves the house) can be hit by a toad – but only people who bother to write a book have a chance to write the bestseller.Also sceptical about #3 sorry…

  6. That’s probably because I made it all up, but then statistics are the ultimate lies anyway…

  7. Prior to writing Twilight, Stephenie Meyer had never read a vampire book … Shocking.

  8. 97.3% of all statistics are made up.

  9. Slightly off topic, and a few months late, but you DID use the pic: Jack Webb is the man. Rest in peace, Jack.

  10. Loved this list. I just found it and will add to it even if I am a little late. A pencil can write around 45,000 words before it runs out.

  11. I loved both Foucault’s Pendulum and A Brief History of Time. That doesn’t bode well for what other people are going to think of my own books.

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