Stats and a Moment of Reflection

I check out The Daily Post quite regularly. Not as frequently as its eponymous name suggests I probably should, but often enough. Finding sources of inspiration for writing topics and discussion can come from anywhere and I try not to limit myself to anything in particular.

Perhaps it’s a bit of perfectionism, perhaps it’s anxiety, perhaps it’s a lack of confidence, but I’ve written 12 different drafts from Daily Post prompts that have never come to fruition. In those cases, I find that I don’t have a seemingly interesting enough post, a unique enough perspective or take on a particular topic, or am unhappy with the end result and the drafts are subsequently remanded to writing purgatory…forever locked in the prison of my mind, occasionally being tweaked in the hope that they can be released in the future. But in all likelihood, they probably will never see the light of a screen day.

writing

I go off course and get lost occasionally. Sometimes I think I need Google Maps to help me figure out where I’m going with a topic.

As I read the latest Daily Post suggestion for a topic, I found it resonated with me in quite a remarkable way.

Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them

Oddly enough, back when frigid mid-January Chicago temperatures were keeping people isolated in their homes, a variation of this question popped up in my mind. I looked back at posts that were well-received and had significantly higher unique viewers, likes, and comments compared to posts that didn’t quite make it to that same level. Honestly, it wasn’t too difficult of a task since I didn’t have many published posts at the time. Hooray for simplicity?

I found, just as I have this evening, that humorous takes on life/important life lessons had the most viewers and feedback. Posts such as The Poke and the Pinkeye, Finding Appreciation in the Bitter Cold of Winter, and Serenity When? have been the most successful. From what I can understand, and correct me if I’m wrong, this is something that more people can relate to in their own lives; and something they can possibly take a lesson away from. It probably helps that these posts are story-like in their nature and I can inject more comedy into them.

IMG_2796

Side note: Yay for shameless self-plugs! 😉

Coming in second was random/weird news; Cold Beer Constitutionality, It’s the Most Nostalgic Time of the Year, and The Challenge(r) and Why We Should Bother lead that category. (American) football-related subjects such as Always Seek Improvement, bring up the rear.

I put a great deal of effort in finding an interesting or unique topic to discuss, in making a coherent outline, and in writing/editing/rewriting every single post. I want to write enjoyable reads for as many people as I can while not being limited to one particular subject. And as I grappled with this topic feedback conundrum, I wondered, do I focus only on personal tales and eschew football and random news posts?

owl

Whaaaaaa????

So, I hemmed and hawed. I debated the pros and cons, and counter-debated those points. I felt like a clock…running, but going nowhere. And then, bam, like a Hank Aaron bat to the face, it hit me.

Oh man. There’s a lesson here, isn’t there?

Yep

I realized that over the course of a only a short time, my primary focus was starting to shift to what may or may not be “popular” and what topics might help me continue to gain views. But having that thought process was not helpful and added unnecessary noise to something that is fun. This counter-productive mechanism was causing me to second guess ideas and drafts, and even scrap many of them. Shame on me.

No, the most beneficial option is to put your energy into what is enjoyable (writing, in this case), accept that some things will be more well-received than others (regardless of the subject), and let the chips fall where they may.

After all, you can’t please all the people all the time.

so i got that goin for me

Speaking of which, many thanks to every single person that takes time to read my writing and for all the feedback given.

 

 

The Stat Connection
Audie Murphy picture: https://pixabay.com/en/audie-murphy-war-hero-actor-396924/
Owl picture: https://pixabay.com/en/owl-surprised-bird-predator-1123181/
Caddyshack meme: https://imgflip.com/i/ywkme
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8 thoughts on “Stats and a Moment of Reflection

  1. Your post made me think of the similarity with my painting. Last year I did a whole series of pieces of a frosty winter morning here that were so different and interesting for me. I think they are quite beautiful but none have sold yet. I think people like to hang a certain golden California type landscape more than anything else. There a certain scenes that always sell fast. So do I stop painting what is different and inspiring to me and go for what I know will sell? I come to the same conclusion as you. You have to do what you love and be true to yourself.

    That said I LOVE all the personal funny stories you write!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That must be quite a challenge for you, especially considering the sheer amount of time and effort that goes into simply creating a single painting. And on the one hand, I can see how some people might be partial to a certain type over others, but with how good your paintings are (and the wide variety you offer), it also surprises me. I think you win the creative topic dilemma.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read this post this morning right after it popped up in my Reader, but I’ve been sick and resting all day, so I’m just now getting around to leaving a comment.

    On a semi-witty note, kudos to you for figuring out how to navigate the interpret the stats page on WordPress! I’m still very unclear on Insights versus Stats (ironic, perhaps, since I’m a “real” statistician by occupation). I have only figured out how to look at viewing/commenting stats for posts for a given time period, like the past day, or the past month, etc.

    On a more serious note, everything you said really resonated with me. Maybe it should not be surprising, but for many (if not all) of us creators, what is popular and what we have a deep passion for don’t always intersect. I’ve had the same debate with myself after seeing certain topics I post on go virtually unnoticed (in my blog’s case, the fashion posts). I’ve felt a bit dejected, which I inevitably feel silly for feeling, but seeing unusually low readership on certain topics does always make me question if I should keep doing them.

    But, like you say, we as writers and bloggers and painters are doing this ultimately for our own fulfillment. Which is not to say, I think, that it’s fine just to ignore the tastes of our targeted audiences altogether — I do think that engaging with readers is so crucial to blogging. But at the end of the day, I blog for myself, and I will blog about girly things and geeky things, even if not all of those things are popular among my readers.

    Thank you again so much for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow, great comment. Thank you.

      There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. lol. There are a lot of stats to be gleaned from WordPress…but not as many as I’d like. But maybe that’s in my own best interest to keep me from plugging everything into spreadsheets and analyzing things for hours on end.

      And you’re right, you can’t ignore reader preferences or finding a way to engage readers. I think it’s just a balance to be found and it can be tough to find the sweet spot of creating things that are near and dear to you and creating things more for other people’s enjoyment…and at the same time not getting discouraged when the former doesn’t quite have the reception that you may want.

      Like

  3. As a teacher of mine said, ‘Statistics are like a bikini – what they show is interesting but they’re just a way to cover up the important stuff!’
    Great, reflective post. And thanks for the follow! 🙂

    Like

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