Understanding numbers

When I was 16 or 17 years old sat in sociology class i remember my tutor saying ‘There are lies, damn lies and statistics’.

I felt like I understood it at the time but my understanding has definitely grown over time with experience.

The thing with numbers is we associate them with mathematics, facts and truth.

But statistics is something else entirely. Numbers can be skewed and manipulated to prove or represent anything.

If you’re collecting data in the hope’s of proving a particular point, chances are you’ll find a way.

And so when it comes to numbers we have to remember that they aren’t always representing facts.

500 and something

It started with 1 then 50, 100, 300 and now 500.

A few weeks ago, I reached 500 followers on this blog.

I consider it an achievement because 500 is quite a lot of people. At the beginning of the year I wrote down that I wanted to grow this site and reach 500 followers, as well as a certain number of monthly views.

Yet, at the same time I’m aware that the numbers are not the most important thing. It matters to me more that you gain something from what I share

That’s something that won’t show up in my WordPress stats but it happens because I know how much of an impact words can have on someone.

I like what I share here, I’m passionate about it and I’ll continue to do it regardless of the numbers.

But at the same time, it’s nice to reach a milestone, so here’s to the next 500!

When the numbers get you down

I try not to look at the stats very often because I never want to be too attached to the numbers.

Of course it feels great when the numbers are high, when you’re getting lots of likes, comments and new followers. But when the numbers drop and you’re not seeing as many likes or views than you were getting for previous months, it can be disheartening.

One of the only ways to avoid this is to stop focusing on the numbers. Don’t allow the numbers to get you down.

Sometimes it can feel like you’re trying really hard and dedicating time but the numbers don’t reflect that. But, I feel like so often we forget or overlook one of the most important things when it comes to creating something and putting it out.

You have control over how and what you create, then putting it out for consumption. Its the customers, viewers or readers that are in control of the numbers, consuming your work and choosing to pass it on. You might be able to encourage it but ultimately it’s out of your control.

Putting it out there

Your job is to create and then put it out there.

It might not get the amount of views you want or it could be loved by millions, that is not something you have any control over.

It’s not your job to try and convince people that your work is good. In fact, you need to learn to be okay with the fact that some people won’t like it.

Focus on creating your work for the people that want it. That might only be a few to begin with but those people are important.

Commitment to the writing practise

My favourite thing about this blog is that I’m driven by my commitment to writing more than anything else.

If I write something that gets 1 view, I’m just glad that I committed to writing something another day.

If I write something that gets 102 views, I’m glad that a bigger number of people got to read my words. That is a bonus on top of me committing to sharing something for another day.

When I started this daily writing practice it was not only because I wanted to challenge myself and wholeheartedly commit to something new.

I’m committed to doing the work as a priority, anything that comes along with it is secondary. That mindset makes posting daily 101 times easier because I’m not focused on getting my numbers up or having the most likes, comments or views.

300 and counting

Last week, I noticed I was getting close to 300 followers, a few days ago I reached 300 followers and now I have surpassed it.

I don’t allow myself to pay too much attention to the number of followers I have on this blog. Followers doesn not equate to views, likes or comments and overall watching the numbers go up (and and in some cases down) has little benefit.

However, it’s nice to know that there are over 300 people who came across my site and thought it was worth following.

But what makes it even better is that because there are no pictures, I know that you are simply here for the words.

The best thing I’ve ever written

When you’re sharing your words online everyday there is very little pressure for what you post to be the best thing you’ve ever written.

If todays words aren’t particularly good, I know that I can always write something better tomorrow or the day after.

Sometimes what I consider to be my some of my best work doesn’t gain the numbers that I think it will or should. Other times, the stuff I’m pretty indifferent about ends up becoming the most popular.

I’ve written posts that I thought were my best at the time only to look back months later and realise it could have been so much better.

And so the idea of my best work is pretty flexible. If in 20 months of daily blogging, this post was the best thing I’d ever written, I have no doubt that I’d change my mind a few months later.

Reminding myself of all this makes blogging every day so much easier.

Don’t check the stats

It’s easy to fall into thinking that having access to and analysing the numbers will improve your work.

But sometimes it just makes you miserable.

When you sacrifice what you want to do with what will make the numbers go up you’re less likely to be satisfied with the work you produce.

If you focus on producing work that will make the numbers go up but instead they go down, you’ll be even less satisfied.

Sometimes the numbers are helpful when they give you information about what is or isn’t working.

But other times, they’re not worth checking at all.

Giving the people what they want

A few days ago, I wrote a post that did well numbers wise and I knew it would.

It was the kind of thing that people like to read whilst also being useful.

I don’t advocate for writing for people as you’ll never find your own voice or style that way. But in my previous post I managed to find the overlap between what I like to write and what you like to read.

That bit is the sweet spot because that way you’re not sacrificing your creativity or your chance to explore.

300 and something

Time flies when you’re daily blogging.

I’ve written over 300 posts for this site and I’ve manged to not run out of ideas.

If you’d have asked me 300 days ago what I’d be writing about towards the end of 2019 I’d have said ‘I’m not sure’. But something I’ve realised is that each blog post is simply the expansion of a thought and humans have tens of thousands of thoughts a day so I’ll never need to worry about running out of ideas.

And I find that the more I experience, grow and explore the more my perspective shifts and I’m able to expand on things I wrote previously or write them with a more developed mindset.

I also find that because I write each day I’m not so focused on the stats. However, what I do notice is familiar usernames that regularly read my posts and that is something I truly appreciate.