A Blogging Recalibration

4 Nov

My blogging anniversary came and went with little fanfare. I did not say anything about it, but I got one of those silver trophies from the WordPress folks. It is hard to believe that I have been blogging for all this time.

Through the years, I have learned a lot. I have learned that some people are interested in the mysteries of gas pumps, and other people want to know the deeper meanings of Smokey and the Bandit.

I have also learned that friends can be made through the Internet. There are people out the who I have come to know, respect and care about. Some of them have left the blogging community, but others are still typing away.

Many of you know that this blog started in a therapy session. My therapist felt that I needed to release some mental frustrations and suggested a diary of some sort. I felt that a diary would not properly release the tension because I would be the only one reading it. The internal noise needed to be released in a different way. Hence, this blog was born.

Those early days were full of caustic writing that was sarcastic and, at times, mean-spirited. In fact, my first comment was negative and came from someone who I knew. The blog was anonymous, and I have still not figured out how they found it.

Getting that comment was also surprising because hardly anyone read the blog. The first month saw an average of two readers a day. However, I kept writing because that was two readers more than there would be if I did not write.

At some point, I began to focus on the statistics. More readers found their way to this place. As the content grew, the readership grew. However, I wanted more and decided to publicize the blog on Twitter.

Honestly, that may have been a mistake. I had to delete some early posts because I did not want people in my real life to read them. Of course, it was impossible to get rid of everything that came pouring out of my mine, and some people close to me were hurt by the words they found.

Publicizing the blog also transformed my writing. A lot of the thoughts inside my mind had to stay there because not everyone needs to know what goes on in there. I decided to stay away from controversial subjects and go with more entertaining stuff. At least, topics that I think are entertaining.

Along the way, the blog kept growing. I was lucky enough to be Freshly Pressed. Although, I still do not understand how a post that included Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man caught the attention of those who decide what is worthy of being Freshly Pressed.

Getting Freshly Pressed created another goal. I wanted to reach the same numbers in another month that I got in the Freshly Pressed month, and that finally happened earlier this year.

I write all of that to write the following. Statistics have become more important than the writing. I have put bad posts out there just for the sake of publishing posts. This means that I have veered completely away from what this blog is supposed to be.

I started the blog to get words out of my head. In a lot of instances, those words were not nice. When I began to publicize the blog, the words changed, but the goal of the blog did not. I was still getting words out of my head. When statistics became the focus, I was typing words that were not really in my head. At least, they were not in there for long.Recalibration

As of today, I am going to recalibrate the blog. I am not going to publish posts just for the sake of numbers. I am going to write when something needs to be written. In other words, when something needs to come out of my mind. That means that I will not be writing as often, and the numbers will probably decrease. However, I hope the quality of the blog will improve.

22 Responses to “A Blogging Recalibration”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong November 4, 2015 at 03:00 #

    I’ve also been posting less. Weeding through stuff I published early on. I wish I could retract a lot of it, including the post for which I was Freshly Pressed. I’m not sure what that proves, but it must prove something.

    My numbers have plummeted and it bothers me a lot less than I thought it would.

    I think you’ll find that you enjoy it more with less pressure to “produce.” It is supposed to be fun. Turns out, the stats don’t really mean so much after all.

    • Rick November 4, 2015 at 03:31 #

      Blogging has been fun, but it also needs to relieve stress. Trying to keep numbers up is stressful.

  2. Bantering Ram November 4, 2015 at 03:14 #

    It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game. Glad you’re recalibrating – as you put it – your blog. I’m sure the quality of what we’ll be seeing here will ratchet up even further. Wish you the very best Rick , as always 🙂

    • Rick November 4, 2015 at 03:31 #

      Thanks. We only need to remember that numbers don’t mean that much.

      • Marilyn Armstrong November 4, 2015 at 03:38 #

        Right you are Rick. We don’t need no stinkin’ numbers!

  3. Andrew Petcher November 4, 2015 at 09:16 #

    Mine has been a similar journey Rick. Very quickly I had to go back to early posts and edit them in case they caused offence.
    I have been guilty of chasing numbers. Everything on here about the statistics fascinates me. I will carry on until I finally get Freshly Pressed!

    • Rick November 4, 2015 at 13:33 #

      I can’t believe you haven’t been Freshly Pressed. Everything you post is great.

      • Andrew Petcher November 4, 2015 at 13:53 #

        Thanks Rick. After 6 years I have almost completely given up. It isn’t a life changer. Just intriguing. Most people I follow or interact with have been at some point, sometimes twice. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so critical of WP in the forums, especially about the badly planned software updates!
        As I say, the whole issue of statistics fascinates me. It seems that being FP’d brings an immediate rush of page hits for just a few hours but these are not always sustained. What was your experience?
        What I am interested in is writing posts that keep getting hits long after publication but at the end of the day we are all completely dependent upon Google!

      • Rick November 4, 2015 at 18:03 #

        The Pressed post shot the stats upward for a few days, and I got a few followers. However, the numbers were not sustained. It took a couple of years to get the numbers to that level in a more natural way.

  4. spearfruit November 4, 2015 at 14:19 #

    I agree about the statistics, I review them and ask myself why did I have more views yesterday than the day before? Then I remind myself why I started blogging and I forget about the statistics – until the next day. 🙂 Thanks for a great post – look forward to the recalibrate of your blog.

    • Rick November 4, 2015 at 18:04 #

      I like studying numbers, and the stats give me a way to do that. However, I got too focused on them.

  5. Agatha Ann November 4, 2015 at 14:47 #

    On my old blog I used to be obsessed with the numbers. I, too, found that being freshly pressed made that obsession worse. While I am a little sad that starting over means I had lost many followers and, therefore, many numbers (as well as the freshly pressed status), it is refreshing to feel like I am getting back to what blogging was really about for me.

    • Marilyn Armstrong November 4, 2015 at 16:05 #

      My Freshly Pressed piece embarrasses me every time it pops up. Hard to understand what they use for standards … if they have standards.

      • Agatha Ann November 4, 2015 at 16:29 #

        It is so hard to understand! My fp post was published 4 weeks after I started my blog and it was a poem about abuse. I feel like there have been such a huge range of “quality” and ideas that are selected. Once I saw a fp post that was basically a repost of another person’s blog (and it was properly referenced too).

    • Rick November 4, 2015 at 18:05 #

      I thought about ditching this blog and starting another one, but I could not bring myself to do it.

      • Agatha Ann November 4, 2015 at 18:30 #

        It is definitely hard to do, and I wouldn’t have done it if my hand wasn’t forced…

  6. Lunar Euphoria November 4, 2015 at 20:46 #

    I always enjoy learning what makes bloggers tick. Thanks for sharing your origin story.

    I’ve been blogging here for enough years to be bewildered by the content of some of my earlier posts in a “why did I ever feel the need to do THAT publically” sort of way.

    • Marilyn Armstrong November 4, 2015 at 21:01 #

      I have always suspected the whole thing is more or less random. After the embarrassment of my least favorite post winning the “prize,” I’ve been grateful to not be selected again 🙂

    • Rick November 5, 2015 at 03:02 #

      I think a lot of us go through similar experiences.

  7. sittingpugs November 5, 2015 at 02:27 #

    I enjoy your writing and your thoughts very much. I’ve also learned quite a bit about culture and history — things which I probably wouldn’t have thought to google. ^O^ If you ever find the inspiration, or something just clicks, I’d love to read your take on jams vs. jellies vs. preserves (whether as memories or tangential musings).

    • Rick November 5, 2015 at 03:03 #

      I may be able to put some jelly stuff together.

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