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.
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.
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?
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?
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.