A Year in Review or How to Become a Writer, Maybe

On July 30th I celebrated the 1 year anniversary of my return to blogging. My goal was to increase readership from 2 to 4. According to my feedburner statistics page, I have 143 subscribers. Determining subscribers is not an exact science and I don't believe that number for a moment. If I had to guess I would say half that. Maybe 70 or 80 tops. feedburner

I published 49 posts (this one will make 50) and I have 47 unpublished drafts. Here are my top 5 most-viewed posts:

1. Me and My Freakish Uvula - 858 views 2. The Child Brothels of Svay Pak - 711 views 3. Inauguration Day, Expletives, and Racial Slurs - 517 views 4. Hiding My Shame - 430 views 5. That Day I Exorcised Demons. At Burger King. - 384 views

The first one brings in views via google searches from my fellow freakish uvula bearing brethren. The second and third bring in views from individuals who are googling for "child brothels" and "f*cking nigers" respectively. I hope the first lot take the time to listen to the IJM letter. I hope the second lot never realize they are very nearly functionally illiterate. Or I hope that they do, and it causes them a terrific amount of mental anguish on a routine basis.

Here are my top 5 personal favorite posts:

1. Rerun: God and Darwin and Me on One Knee - 53 views 2. A Question Twice The Size Of My Large Intestine - 173 views 3. An Unconscionable Addiction Part 4 - 183 views 4. Rape and Coffee - 103 views 5. Keeping Your Privates, Private - 127 views

I did a series of parenting tip videos that are consistently my lowest viewed posts. So I stopped doing them after episode #5. I can't see how they would be useful to my kids in the future, if they aren't useful to you in the present.

I have a grand total of 13,735 views. That's more than a bit nutty to me. Here is a break-down by month: MonthlyViews_2009

As expected, the more posts I write in a month, the more views I get. Also, controversial posts spark comments. And comments drive more page views because each person engaged in the conversation comes back a few times to see if anyone responded to them. On a high viewing day, a single person can represent many of the "page views" for the day in question. So if you want traffic on your blog here is what you do. Post a lot and occasionally say outlandish things. That's not my strategy because I don't have one. I say what I want to say when I want to say it, always considering that my daughters, and now my son, may one day read these words.

This blog has generated 584 legitimate comments and 2,573 spam comments. And while some of those are me showing appreciation to you, for your kind or insightful words, most are not me at all. When I started, I hoped that blogging publicly, as opposed to journaling privately, would generate conversations and that these conversations would help validate some of my views, fill in gaps in others, deconstruct others still, and help me grow as a person all around. Trust me when I say that I have not been disappointed in this area.

I don't know if this means I have a successful blog. I do know that I have benefitted from this transaction considerably. I've always been a reader and that hasn't changed. But now I feel myself becoming a writer. I've started to read books and blogs on writing. And sure, this may all be flights of passing fancy, but also, it may not.

About 4 years ago I revealed to my wife a growing desire to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. It was late at night, before bed. A fire had been unexpectedly lit within me and I explained it to her with an impressive, albeit false, nonchalance. When I was finished talking she looked at me with a contemplative-but-perplexed look and said, with less reservation than I would have preferred, "Aren't you supposed to have a marriage worth emulating before becoming one of those?" Now, my wife is not always right about everything, but she was right in this moment and today I am thankful for her frankness in a way that my wounded pride would not permit at the time.

I tell you this story because the other day I asked my wife if she thought I could be a successful writer. She cocked her head to one side, grinned mischievously, and replied, "We'll see."