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.