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.

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.

Reasons to stop checking the stats

Focus on doing things that are helpful and try not to get distracted by the seemingly significant things that are also known as stuff.

If 764 people read this post, I might come to the conclusion that I should write ‘Reasons to…’ posts more or that this length or writing style is the winning combo.

But in doing that I wouldn’t be giving myself the freedom to explore and develop as a writer. At the crux of it when you have a passion for something it will never just be about the numbers. It’ll always be more about the feeling, something you can’t measure.

When you’re in-flow and the words pour out with an almost trance like ease it might not be the most popular piece of work you’ve created but it took something for you to create it.

Even if you find a formulas that works you still have to innovate to some degree and after a while you might get bored because you’re no longer just being creative.

The use of a formula adds rigidity and constraints.

Checking the stats could also be done for reassurance that there’s at least one persons on planet earth reading what you’ve written and there’s nothing wrong with that because nobody puts stuff out there for it to go unread.

You might find a way to convince yourself that checking the stats will make you as better writer when the truth is writing will make you a better writer. The stats are just a distraction.