I first created an Excel spreadsheet and listed all my nearly finished stories with their word counts and let the auto-sum feature add them all up.
This showed well over 70,000, words at the time, but as I kept adding more, I wanted more information, so I copied and pasted all the ready stories in a single Word document.
This not only shows about 80,000 words total at this point, but it’s also more than 150 full sized 8.5 by 11 pages.
I guess that is not much compared to other works, or to what experienced authors have done, but it seems like a lot to me, especially since I am not yet completely finished. I suspect that I have completed most of the stories, but that some good ones still remain to be found and written.
This process of putting g all the stories together has also helped me in the organization of the stories. I found two instances where I had one story for one man and a second story for his brother(s), but discovered that they worked better when combined together. This meant I have fewer stories/chapters, but about the same number of words, and a more sensible arrangement.
On one of these, I even found a genealogical mistake in one because two people in the distant family had the exact same name and I had used the wrong one as a Civil War soldier. It was actually the younger man who served, and this process let me see and correct that. Fortune was on my side for sure.
I still have no idea how long this will be when I do finish it, but to think it will be beyond the 80, 000 word count still strikes me as pretty cool as does the continued progress.