I’m in the process of starting a new writing project and I wanted to make the process of getting metrics easier so I rolled together this bash script:

#!/bin/bash
echo "Word Count:"
cat *.md | wc -w
echo "Page Count:"
cat *.md | wc -w | xargs -I{} expr {} / 250

If you’re looking to do this yourself then these commands all go into a single text file and a chmod +x command on the file makes it executable.

Here’s the output of this script:

./wordcount
Word Count:
    3827
Page Count:
15

The interesting tool here is expr which is a command line math tool. The 250 is a metric that I use for the number of words per printed page. I know in the modern era that a printed page is perhaps a bit of an anachronism but I find it very comforting to know that I wrote 15 pages today (which is what I actually turned out today).

What this does is:

  • take a collection of markdown files
  • count all the words in the collection of markdown files
  • count all the words in the markdown files and then feed that value into xargs which then feeds the value into expr and divides it by 250

Cross References:

Here are the places where I sourced some of these techniques: