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Congratulations, You Accidentally Wrote a Book Last Year

People wrote more than 40,000 words on average last year... in email

smithsonian.com

The lack of independently-moving fingers makes replying an arduous process. Photo: Carly & Art

Have you always wanted to be a writer? A wordsmith? A crafter of tales that enlighten and entertain? But, for some reason, you just can’t seem to find the time? Well, in a good news/bad news sort of way, new research by the makers of the Cue app says that you’re already producing about a novel’s-worth of material every year, rivaling the output of some of the most prodigious writers, says the CBC. The downside is that it’s all email.

According to the organization app Cue, which generates stats based on its user information, the average email user composed 41,368 words in 2012. …f you printed and bound all those pages, the result would be about the size of the 1954 classic .

But maybe writing is not your thing. Maybe you just want more time to sit down and read a book? Nope. You’ve got email.

The average number of email messages received last year was 5579 per person. The number sent out was a more modest 869. That’s about 6.42 messages sitting in the inbox for every one sent out.

… The average worker spends more than a quarter of their day answering and reading emails, according to a 2012 study by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company. That puts it second only to completing “role-specific tasks,” which takes up 39 per cent of a worker’s time.

That is, of course, assuming you actually read all of your messages. Maybe in this new year we can all resolve to make our emails a little shorter, and save some of those words for more fulfilling endeavors.

More from Smithsonian.com:
Uglier Campaign Fundraising Emails Make More Money
A Piece of Email History Comes to the American History Museum
Before Email, There Was V-mail
No One Knows When You’re Being Sarcastic in Emails

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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