Blog Love

Last summer I wrote a Technorati article titled “How I Learned to Stop Worrying about the Stats and Love the Blog”:

Is your love of blogging waning? Do you find yourself repeating old posts or not posting at all for days or even weeks? Do you check your blog stats compulsively, or flog yourself for not having more followers?

You may be allowing an obsession with blog stats to interfere with your love of blogging. Read More

Little did I know how much I would need to be conscious of my own advice!

Ever since February 16th, I’ve been watching the bar chart of my blog stats scoot its way to the left of the screen, until it looks like this:

chart of blog statsAs thrilling as it was to have a “Freshly Pressed” post last month (and it definitely was a nice adrenaline and confidence boost!), I must say that I will be glad to see those towering bars fall off the chart, so as to allow the more normal (for my blog, anyway) numbers that come afterward to puff up a bit and not be completely overshadowed into seeming insignificance. Psychologist Carlo Strenger writes in his new book, The Fear of Insignificance: Searching for Meaning in the Twenty-First Century, of how 21st century social media with its “ranking” that now occurs on a daily basis—for example, the number of Facebook friends we have, the number of Twitter followers, how many people “like” us—contributes to a sense of existential meaninglessness, even if we aren’t aware of its doing so. It’s amazing how quickly a hyper-focus on competition and numbers can eat away at passion.

In the end, the best part of that anomalous post from February 16th were the generous comments and excellent suggestions about learning to live with fewer interruptions and more focus. Thank you all for reminding me that blogging is, in the end, about community, whether the size of that community is a sitting room or a conference center. Here are just a few of those comments (with more to come over the next several weeks). This is really good stuff. Enjoy!

Multi-tasking as Adaptation

In this age of instant gratification, I think even our brains have somehow become accustomed to gaining “gratification” through trying to complete multiple tasks without focus. Seems counter intuitive (I’d sure think completion of one good task would trump many), but with the info overload to which we’re constantly exposed, I think this is our method of adaptation. ~ Mikalee Byerman

“No Email” Time

I think it’s been really important for me to set aside “no email” time to work on other things — even if I’m ON the computer during those times! ~ The Writing Runner

Making a List

I find myself at the computer out of inertia more than anything else. But like you I start at one thing and move on to another. I really have to have a list of things to do AND follow that list to really be productive. ~ notesfromrumbleycottage

Writing as a Discipline

I have been writing as a discipline since last April. Before that I was writing when I felt like it instead of daily and on a schedule. Last April I decided to attempt the National Poetry Month 30 poems in 30 days. This forced me to write every day. In November I attempted the Write a Novel in a Month challenge and ended up with a daily writing practice. I have found that the later hours work better for me. Good music and food available help me from getting distracted. A set time every day hasn’t worked yet because of my schedule. I do make sure that for at least an hour and sometimes up to three I sit down and work on something. Creating a workspace has helped as well. ~ nomadiknoize

The Year of Finishing

I also get easily distracted by the speed and myriad of directions that technology can take us in. Whilst reading your article, my cell phone was beeping to alert me to an incoming email, but I resisted the temptation to read it and carried on with the task in hand. The main way I overcome distraction is to use an old-fashioned diary and tick off each task by completing them one at a time. We’ve also designated 2011 as the year for finishing off everything we’ve started, since having too many things on the go at the same time is too stressful and far from productive. ~ City Smallholder

11 thoughts on “Blog Love

    • I hear you about not knowing about the stats! I didn’t at first, either. TMI, for sure.

      Thanks for the reminder of the Elizabeth Gilbert talk! It’s one of my favorites, and I’m due for a re-watching. 🙂

  1. Thank you for the kind inclusion. I know what you mean about being a stat watcher. It can be frustrating to have a really high number in there and wonderfully relaxing once it goes away, leaving you back to your regular ebb and flow of visitors.

    • I can very much relate to what you wrote about lists. While not a natural list-maker, I’m slowly becoming a convert over time.

  2. This was a much needed reminder – thank you! Lately I’ve found myself jumping from task to task and having trouble finishing even just one item on my to-do list each day.

    You might like this post from ZenHabits if you haven’t seen it already:Monk Mind: How to Increase Your Focus (http://zenhabits.net/focus/)

    Thanks for a great post!

  3. Lisa, I love this post and all the perspectives from your readers on the topic. While I think stats can provide a good indication of what kind of information readers find most useful in your blog, you (speaking to writers in general) shouldn’t be lead by trend alone. The most compelling blogs have focus and they succeed only because the blogger is so clearly well-aligned with their craft and are confident about the real value their blog holds among those who follow it.

    • Erin, thanks so much for the kind comment! I also know that, for me at least, it takes awhile to find my voice and focus in any project, blogs included. I love the community I’ve found online. 🙂

  4. Well, I try not to miss any of your posts! The stats leave me unsettled as referrer’s from who know where are hitting my site, I try not to get too excited. It is the comments and likes, seeing who is enjoying my writing and/or my topics that gives me the confidence to continue on that, whatever given topic. I worry that spreading myself across so many different subjects, I might lose readers while trying to please them. I’d love to know what you think about this.

    • Aligaeta, thanks so much! You always brighten my day.

      I really like the subjects you write about on your blog! They come together to give a sense of your personality. While I’m no expert on the matter, my feeling is that, especially in a blog’s first year, it takes awhile to find our groove, so it pays to explore and write about what we want to write about (and what we’d like to read ourselves) and see where it goes, without worrying too much about specializing. Your question is a good one, and I’d be curious to know what others think.

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