This is kind of a big deal: my 50th post in the 5th month since I started. I can’t think of a better thing to write about than ‘writing’ itself.
This whole thing has always been cathartic for me. I enjoy finding just the right words to express what I’m thinking and feeling and then emptying myself of them. What is not cathartic (and downright stressful) is attempting to publicly legitimize my thoughts as actually interesting. A pen-and-paper journal would have been much safer. I’ve always felt trapped by the opinions of others, so exposing my thoughts on the internet has not been an exercise in comfort, to say the least. I would still consider myself an intrinsically and categorically ‘guarded person’ in this regard.
Todd Henry points out that “It is human nature to default to the path of least resistance.” It’s not necessarily hard to type some words on a screen. It is hard to suffer the fear of misinterpretation which in turn spurs the need for disclaimers and increased verbiage. Ironic, isn’t it? I would write shorter posts but I just don’t have the time. I’m not saying all of this for pity or empathy. I’m actually trying to say that blogging has been good for me. If resistance is a hallmark of progress, then I must be growing.
It’s been good because I’ve encountered the styles and disciplines of others. I think of writers like Seth Godin, marketing guru and imminent blogger whose influence across so many flavors of business is astounding. His posts average around 175 words and he get’s about 500,000 page views a day. I think of Jonathan Martin, a modern-day Thomas Merton but with swag, who writes in the neighborhood of 1,000 words per post. He defies convention and creates loyal followers at the same time.
I just had a conversation with fellow blogger Sarah DeShields about how our vocations/professions can manifest themselves via blogs. They have all helped me to understand that my individuality is far more important than following some writing rules.
What has surprised me (even when it shouldn’t have) is the evolution of my need to accelerate my readership. I didn’t start out on this journey thinking of platform, SEO, RSS feeds, tagging keywords, short-links, monetization and so on. Is this the tyranny of perfectionism rearing its ugly head or just the inevitable fork in the road for all bloggers?
It’s funny how bloggers are like all creatives, keeping a shroud of secrecy around the unfinished work until a moment of unveiling. Then we expect instant fans. It’s like a writer before the book is published or a musician with an album coming out or a preacher who’s prepared a sermon. Is it the product that attracts us or the process? Yes. Do I write about what I do or who I am? Yes.
So to resist the secrecy and risk transparency, here are some of my stats so far: as of this writing my all time page views are 2,671, my busiest month was November with 509 views and my busiest day was November 9th, when I posted ‘sweet [baby] coen james‘ with exactly 100 views that day. Contributing to the busyness of that post was the addition of pictures which each added to the total views. My most popular post is ‘my wife + the gift of mercy = leadership‘ with 130 views. Fittingly, it’s my most poignant post to date.
I have a running joke with my boss Tracey Rouse, who just started her own blog (fantastic by the way). The joke essentially revolves around us tossing out our page views and how she’s pretty much stomped my numbers without even trying. Next to guys like Seth Godin and Michael Hyatt, we’re small potatoes but that’s not the point. The point is to keep writing because it’s a good thing. If you’ve read this far and there’s an itch of creativity within you, please stop waiting any further and start scratching.