300

How many blog posts is a lot? L. Stevens over at Everyday Strange does a daily quote. And poems, and a weekly calendar, and micro-fiction. I’ve been following her for years. She must have over a thousand posts. Same with Jo Hawk the Writer, she sometimes posts three times a day, how many times has she hit publish? I once asked Bill Pearse, wielder of the Pink Light Sabre to point me to his best piece. “Jeff, I don’t know, I must have over a thousand posts!”

A thousand posts. That’s a lot. How about three hundred? As Yoda would say “Hrrrmmm, not so many.” This is my three hundredth post on the Other Stuff. Yes, I’ve written more: I wrote the blog Undercrust for two years before this one. And I wrote some essays that only wound up in my book. And eleven posts for my anonymous site where I get to write about anything and everything. And a couple of stories too provocative to publish anywhere. So more than three hundred, but on this blog alone, the Other Stuff, today I passed a milestone.

It took me over four years to hit three hundred posts. I’ve gone through heavy spells, posting four times per week, and light spells with twenty-day gaps in between. I’ve written some poetry, some fiction, some satire, but the other ninety-eight percent is creative nonfiction. I like telling true tales. I believe anything can be interesting if you can only find the right words.

Looking through my Insights page the other day—and this is when I caught-on to the fact that I was abutting three hundred posts—I took a trip into my past, assessing and accessing blogposts. WordPress helpfully listed my posts from most viewed to least viewed. It’s right there in blue and white. I noticed that lots of mediocre stuff has gotten tons of traffic, and some pretty good writing has been almost ignored. I want to highlight a few of my posts notable for blog traffic out of sync with the importance of the story.

Twenty months ago, I wrote World Blogger—a stupid (but fun) post about my inability to attract a single reader from Greenland. The failure caused a lot of white space on my blogging map, and that left me feeling insecure. But who knows what’s going to strike a chord with readers? World Blogger got sixty-one likes and hundreds of views. And despite using the country’s name as a tag, I still haven’t scored a hit from Greenland.

In the waning days of Undercrust, I published A Girl and a Band. Part book review, part tribute to the band Sonic Youth, part analysis of an early relationship that crashed and burned more violently than most, I published this story and nobody read it. About five people regularly read Undercrust, which was my primary motivation for switching from Blogger to WordPress. A year later I republished A Girl and a Band on WordPress. And still, nobody read it. Or even clicked on it. I’m not going to call it my best piece ever, but I was really proud of it when I wrote it, and I feel let down that only fifteen people ever even clicked the link.

What’s a Bit? sits at the bottom of my list, just above A Girl and a Band. Publishing this story broke up a month-long bout of writers’ block and it was the start of a series of three humor pieces that I think are really good (at least for me). These three stories kicked life into my blogging habit when it needed it most. In some other multiverse, this is when I quit blogging altogether and took up golf. Also read Dead Man in the Surf and Ring Dings.

My all-time high score is a blog post called Follow. I wrote it in response to a classist and probably racist post I had just read. Follow is fine, it’s OK, but nowhere near my best writing or storytelling. But it was randomly picked up by WordPress Discover, and it spent weeks going viral. When the dust settled, I had three-thousand page-views, a thousand likes and almost four hundred comments. I jumped from two hundred to twelve hundred followers in two weeks. My blog lost its intimate feel, I suffered from impostor syndrome, and I suddenly felt too much pressure to perform. Those followers still show up in my numbers, but I doubt any of them read any more. I hope nothing like that ever happens again.

Thank you for joining me on this stroll with my ghost of blogging past. When I look back on these three hundred posts, I burst with pride. Blogging has been one of the richest, most enjoyable, and anxiety producing experiences of my life. I believe those of us who blog are artists producing art for the sake of art. It’s simultaneously the most selfless and selfish hobby I can imagine. I hope four years from today, I’m writing a post about number six hundred.

40 thoughts on “300

  1. From 200 to how many followers in two weeks?! That would’ve freaked me out too, I’d feel good at first but scared. I already feel paranoid with 500 followers 😁, maybe I’m just too much of a worrier. I agree that most bloggers write out of love of creating, I love that about this platform. What happened to your son with the Yoda app is funny (sorry to be insensitive?). My son’s 3rd grade teacher last year was unnecessarily worried that he used a Momo image as an avatar (he didn’t), I guess they’re trained to watch out for signs of suicidal thoughts but their reaction causes such drama. I find it ironic that my blog is called Seoul Sister and I write about Korean culture but I have hardly any followers from Korea 😊, I wonder what the popular blog topics are in Greenland?

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    • That attention was rough. At first I was excited about it and then I had an ugly sinking feeling. My next few posts were really stressful for me, but then all the readers began dropping away and I’ve settled out at a nice sustainable level. Replying to hundreds of comments was a chore. Much happier with six or eight commenters. I feel like I actually know the people.

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  2. Hey thanks for the shout out Jeff! Happy we connected here…you’re one of just a few who’ve delivered the social part of social media for me, so thanks. And I think I know your area code too. 717?

    Liked by 1 person

    • At this point, I assume I’m in it for the long haul. Writing my thoughts is crucial for me, and blogging has been mostly a good experience and it’s an important part of my life. I don’t really see that changing, but who knows.

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  3. Congrats on 300!🎉 I haven’t gotten there yet. My blog is small and manageable and completely random. Perfect.

    I remember Greenland. Cant believe how long ago that was. I had fun with the others.
    It’s always surprising which posts get the most interest.

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  4. Jeff, congratulations on hitting a huge milestone! Completing 300 posts is an awesome accomplishment.

    I normally ignore my stats, but your comments made me curious. I started my adventure in November 2016, writing for seven months, and publishing 144 times. Life intruded, and I abandoned my blog for a year. I rebooted June 2018 and have been writing and posting daily. For the last 19 months, I hit the publish button on1390 posts. That is 2.4 posts per day.

    Love the Yoda quote. It was an unfortunate phrase to translate. I hope he can chalk it up to lessons learned.

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  5. Congrats, Jeff. That’s an accomplishment. It took me over 5 years to manage 39 posts on my retirement blog. My 2020 goal is to post more regularly on my autism blog. I recently read something from one of my writer’s organizations that Google search engines don’t take blogs seriously until they have 40 posts. I need one more on my retirement blog. I’m always curious what makes something go viral. I read your Follow blog. I thought it expressed the real sentiments that we feel as bloggers. Maybe I’ll reblog it for my 40th post and see what happens. LOL.

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    • Really, I think it’s gotten way more attention than I think it’s worth. When they told me it was going on Discover, it was all I could do to not right back and suggest an alternative post. SEO definitely sees my blog as something to suggest. I have one post about an out of production as seen on tv product from the seventies. I get 2 – 3 hits on that every single day from people trying to buy one. I always wonder what the people who land on my blog think. “What the Hell is THIS??!!!

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      • So funny. One of the bad things about the internet is the number of times I hit on links and wonder how current they are. I can guess that some of your follows were because you were so close to a goal and people wanted to help. I can also guess that some were to be funny, since the post was about not following randomly. I can’t imagine opening my stats and seeing those numbers.

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  6. Of course, I had to check. I haven’t a hit from Greenland either. I had to look at a world map to realize that Bolivia, Iran, Afghanistan, Norway and a lot of areas in Africa are blanks too. Goals. Great job on your 300. I didn’t think I posted a whole lot either, but I guess I do – I am 419 in almost 4 years. I’ll check out your posts here. I know the feeling when some of my favorite pieces don’t resonate the way I hoped they would while others resonate more than I thought they would. Good to get them aired again.

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  7. Congratulations on three hundred posts! You asked me the other day which of my (only 20 or so) posts best represents me and I didn’t respond because, well, I dunno??? So much of the earlier work never got read, and somewhat discouraged I didn’t persist, channeling my efforts into the in-person- rather -than- virtual world by beginning a writers’ group. I’m trying again now that my in-person world is all about long form in my memoir class. Like you, I would immediately feel impostor syndrome were I to have something go viral, but one also wants not be shouting into the void! Off I go to read the posts you have highlighted here …

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      • We live in a universe where quantity is often mistaken for quality: — number of followers for credibility — word count for productivity– number of publications or posts or Instagram photos or tweets for having something worth communicating. I’m resisting that, but it’s seductive. And it can so easily become the measure of self worth if not merely a time suck in chasing it.

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  8. Congrats on 300 posts! I have to say this is one of the most enjoyable blogs I follow – at least one of the couple I view every time there’s a new post. 🙂 I can’t find my own post # stat in the phone app but curious to look it up on a pc soon now.

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  9. I read several of the links you included. I keep meaning to do something similar–review my favorite pieces with links so people can look back at me at my best. (Or least worst. Depending on how you view things.) I can see why ‘Follow’ was so easily consumed. It was very relatable, more so than the review of Sonic Youth–though that made me nostalgic for the days my husband, now deceased, played The Ramones and Sex Pistols until I wanted to throw something at him. He exposed me to a lot of bands I’d never heard of. I would not have half the compendium of artists in my play lists if not for his influence. And that’s what an outside voice brings. Something new. Something different. But it is also nice to find something that is comfortable, the fits when you first put it on. And reading your posts is like that. Also, I am now wondering how you got as many countries to explore your sight. I don’t think anyone outside of maybe one person in England has ever even seen my blog. I will try not to envy you your successes or your map. As you noted, the map is not representational of reality and success is not to be desired if it is based on something you are not proud of or actually reflects who you are. Heavy thoughts as I wrap up my Sunday evening. Waiting for the kid’s bedtime and hoping that I can find my rhythm to finish the chores necessary before bedtime. Less dawdling on WordPress would probably help. But thanks for the diversion.

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