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.

Who are my readers?

I recently listened to an episode of Akimbo where a listener asked Seth about who he thought his audience was. Seth’s answer was pretty wonderful.

It got me thinking about my own audience, my readers, people like you.

For me it’s never been about appealing to a particular demographic, age, race, social class, etc. I’ve always wanted to create a space where you can come as you are. I like to think if it as us sitting in a circle and me telling a story.

My readers are people with a curiosity for life, people who notice things, people like you and people like me.

Around 6 or 7 years ago I thought that I needed to be ‘inspirational’ and needed to be someone that others would put on a pedestal. I thought that was the way that it should be.

In aspiring to that, I then found myself getting distracted by the idea of not being good enough especially when the numbers weren’t high enough.

These days I just focus on the writing.

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.

2 things your blog might be missing

So, I’ve recently been reflecting on how I can make this site better. The things that came up were adding categories and adding a search bar.

Categories give the reader a good idea of what they can can expect. Catergories also give the blogger structure as if you have to ensure what you write fits within your chosen areas. I think what stopped me creating categories was my worry that the structure may be limiting.

Also, even though there are clear recurring themes in my blog posts they might not be able to be fit into 3-5 catergories and having more than that might look messy.

But despite all that I’m now realising that there are benefits to having structure.

Having a search bar is simple and gives the reader the option to specify what they’re looking for and that could in turn help me to improve my site.

So, expect to see these 2 changes on the blog soon. Use this as a reminder to do a little audit of your own site and figure out if there’s something missing.

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.

Your audience might not be on Instagram

When it comes to putting your work out there it’s really important to consider your audience.

I think these days because Instagram is such a popular social media platform, we automatically think that our audience will be on there. We think it’s the only way to find people that are interested in our work.

I think that the issue we sometimes end up having is that we can’t think of any other possible way that we can put our work out or connect with new people. It’s Instagram or nothing.

However, I think it’s valuable to seek out other ways because sometimes the truth is your audience might not be on Instagram.

Doing it wrong

If I aksed someone for advice on how to make this site better, I have a pretty good idea of what they would say.

The first thing is that I should use pictures to accompany my posts as a way to draw in readers.

The second is that I should promote my content on social media to put my stuff out there to a wider audience, not just fellow WordPress users.

To some the way I have chosen to run this site might mean that I am doing it wrong but in the 18 months since I started, I’m really pleased with what I have created.

The goal for me is to never reach the most amount of people or have the biggest audience. Those things won’t make me a better a writer or make me more committed to posting everyday.

When it comes to using pictures, if I have to post an image to get someone to read just over 100 words (the length of most of my posts) then that’s not the kind of reader I want. When it comes to social media although I have an Instagram account for this site my main focus will always be the daily blog posts and right now the extra effort it would take to promote on Instagram isn’t worth it.

And so sometimes you have to realise that what might be right for others is wrong for you and what is wrong for others might be exactly what you need to be doing.

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.

Being a vulnerable writer

It turns out I’ve been hiding.

I’ve been hiding from the kind of writing that challenges me. I used to think that that meant being more personal and baring my soul.

But I was wrong.

I think there is beauty in being able to write something that not only moves the reader but also the writer.

Not the painful, tortured writer but instead the kind of writing with feeling behind it instead of just words.

It’s hard to find the time to push myself with what I share on The Daily Gemm in-between everything I have going on (and everything I distract myself with). And sometimes I allow myself to be bare minimum because I know I can get away with it.

But I read something beautiful this morning and it moved me. It made me remember just what I love about writing. It got me thinking about how I used to write and how I haven’t pushed myself to explore my writing enough.

I don’t even remember the last time I just sat and wrote without thinking about what I would do with it once it was finished.

I haven’t written a poem in months.

I daydreamed about writing these personal essays about my life yet I rarely write more than a couple hundred words at a time and never get round to even planning the essays.

I’ve been hiding and I didn’t even know it.