Playing it by the Numbers

I spent 8 months learning to blog. I needed 10. There were 3 blogs I studied most intently, but some 50 passed before my eyes.

Current wisdom suggested 30 finished pieces before I launched. I had 48 ideas and partial sketches of 10, but 0 finished. The shortest piece came together in 30 minutes. The longest took many hours, over days. The longest piece is no more than 400 words. The shortest is 93. The number of pieces I’ve walked away from until I can figure out what’s wrong is 3.

I have viewers in 66 countries, including most of Europe, Southeast Asia, China, India, South Africa and Australia. The most views I’ve received in a single day is 450. The most in a weekend was 655. The least views were a pitiful 1. The most popular topic had some sex appeal, though 2 readers linked the subject of that post closer to the idea of “enchantment,” which I liked better. The blog has run 4 months, twice a week, 32 posts, and with 259 comments and several discussions generated.

Along the way I’ve picked up 2 nice champions and some pleasant fans. Total page views are 1,752. A surprising 3 times I was drawn into online conversations I never thought I’d have, 2 of which I’ve written about. Along the way, many things happen in real life and you read 0 about it here. This is a blog for writers, not a diary, though real life is certainly a feature.

Every 2 months or so, I evaluate my data and will seek the casual but purposeful counsel of 5 generous people in this process. 3 come from business and the café will be involved. 1 will be at her kitchen table, and 1 will be at mine. In 2 more months, I’m at the 6-month line, half-way to a year. I’ll look at the big questions then: fulfillment, satisfaction, and value.

A writer can learn a lot by his numbers, even if loosely gathered. People who favor words don’t always see this, but it’s a handy tool in the toolbox—nothing greater than this, but nothing less, either, and so easy to do.

Photo credits: graph by Gabriella Fabri, sxc; calculator by Stefan Gustafsson, sxc