28 January 2010

This Humble Pie is Very....Tasty??

I recently wrote a blog post that I was very proud of.

It succinctly outlined and introduced certain ideas that have been forming and reforming in my mind for some time now, and it was nice to put the ideas out there for all to read and comment upon.

I got some hits that day, and was fairly pleased with the numbers.

Then, later in the morning, my cousin posted a link to my blog on his facebook account, with a small blurb saying how he thought it was a good blog post.

I was super stoked, excited, and instantly began to think that I had gone viral and would, at the end of the day, be right up there with The Huffington Post in terms of popularity.
Funny how quickly we can start to build ourselves up in our own mind, isn't it?

As the day went on, I continued to check my blog visitor stats, and each time I checked them, they told me the same story:  This was it!

This is the beginning of my big break!  Ever-growing internet popularity, followed by speaking gigs, and then a book deal, the sky was the limit!

Finally I wouldn't have to wake up so early to go to work!

Finally I could work from home!

Finally I could get paid to sit at the computer and write all day, and read my favorite books all the time, and hang out in coffee shops every week!

At the end of the day, I had logged a record number of unique visitors to my blog.  Granted, it wasn't a large number, but it was still a record for me.

The next day, I started checking my stats early, and was absolutely amazed to see the trend continuing!

By the end of that day, I had broken the record of the previous day!  It was only a matter of time before the visitors would start commenting, and dialoging and building the online community that I would love to host.

The third day began the same way, and I was absolutely blown away, so much so that I began to pressure myself.  I spent a good portion of the day rewriting some posts in my head to make them snappier and more attractive to the new readers I had accumulated.

After all, I wanted this blog to be worth their time, so they would feel like they hadn't wasted whatever time they had spent reading my blog.  I set up a posting schedule, imagined another series of posts I could do, jotted down a half-dozen ideas that could turn into posts, and generally felt that I was being pretty creative.

All the while thinking in the back of my mind that this was not the intention behind this blog.  From the start, I never intended this blog to be anything more than my thoughts on life and God.

Would I try to write well, improving my craft through practice?  Yes.

Would I continually work to make my blog an enjoyable experience?  Of course!

Would I make my blog the best-looking blog I can make it?  Absolutely.

But I never wanted to force myself to turn my blog into a commodity, an income, just another thing I have to do, for whatever reason.

But if a series of events let me to that end, then, well, that's validation for all the hard work and creative energy that went into this project, right?

I don't want my desire for a popular blog to consume me, but if my blog does get popular, I won't really mind, right?  I can do that, can't I?  I can have it both ways?  Have a popular blog and be a writer, but not work towards that goal?

Sure, kid.  I have an ocean front beach lot you can have real cheap too.  It's near Tempe.

About the same time I was salivating at the thought of my new life as a popular writer, I made some changes to my blog.

Also at about that same time, the computer I use at work erased the browsing history, along with the temporary folder and all cache and cookies.

So not long after I finished rewriting some older posts in my head and updating and imagining my life as a witty writer, I realized that the increase in my visitor stats was due to my blocking cookie being erased.

I don't want to artificially inflate the numbers I see on my blog stats, so I have a cookie installed that blocks my personal visits from being counted.  That little piece of code was deleted, and my blog was counting all of my visits, as I wrote and rewrote and tweaked and retweaked little things about my blog.  I was boosting my own numbers, all the while imagining that I had begun to get famous.

It was all me.

The big numbers.

The record-breaking number of visitors.

The beginning of my dream life as a writer.

It was all in my head.

Not only was I responsible for the sharp increase in traffic because I erased the blocking cookie, but more importantly, I was responsible for believing that I was getting famous.

Double whammy.

And, I think, a well deserved slice of humble pie.  It's very yummy.  I would compare it to pecan pie, just not nearly as sugary.

And to you, gentle reader, a request:  If I ever start thinking I'm all that and a bag of chips, call me out!

Because a delusional, full-of-himself wingnut is not a healthy, God-fearing wingnut.


jj

2 comments:

CeridianMN said...

I can relate to this on some levels. I use Google analytics for my site and every now and then I'll find after I make a post and drop it out on my Facebook feed that I'll watch for new and unique visitors. I caught myself last time looking a couple days later and thinking I should re-post a note about it! I had some of the same thoughts, my blog is not for profit or pride, but for musing and sharing. I write for me first, and anyone else that likes it is a bonus. That way I do not have to keep a schedule (although I want to) and I can just post whatever, whenever. Of course, I don't have quite as good of a writing style as you yet so it's easier for me to realize. :)

The Wingnut said...

Ceridian,

Thanks for the compliment!

I think every blogger that imagines him or herself as a writer goes through this. We start to believe that we are worthwhile because of what we write, and what people think of what we write.

I use statcounter, and I can get pretty obsessive about it too. Sometimes I'll check my stats three or four times a day.

I have to constantly remind myself that it's not about me, or my blog, or my imaginary book deal!

jj