Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who do you think you are?

Do you get caught up in the numbers? Pageviews, shares, comments, awards, best-of lists?

Yes?

Congratulations **shakes hand**. You are perfectly normal.

When my blog started to gain momentum a couple of years ago I found myself checking my stats often and even setting goals. I wanted to get my Alexa rank under 500k, then 300k, etc etc. Every time I hit a goal I'd set a new one.

While it was fun to see the numbers go up, it also created a lot of anxiety. If a post got a 2k hits, then that became the new bar by which I measured myself. I could get 30 comments on a post and my first thought would be, “but my last one got 50 comments.” 

Etc, etc, cringe.

To some degree, my sense of self worth would go up and down with the numbers. When I found myself doing this, it bothered me. Quite a bit. This is not who I am, I thought! 

And it's not. I am not a competitive person. But I am a human person. And we humans just tend to do that.

All this number stuff is meaningful if you're trying to attract sponsors or advertisers. If you treat your blog as a business, you need to know your stats. So yes, it matters.

But it's not who you are.

Furthermore, numbers don't make your writing better or more engaging. They don't make you more confident (contrary to what we would all hope). Good numbers really don't make you feel better (for very long). And they don't make people like you or unlike you (for who you are).

Don't let other people define you. And don't define yourself by something artificial like numbers.You are not your success (or lack thereof).

When I took a break from blogging earlier this year it was freeing. To just walk away from it all. It's hard to care about numbers when there are none.

Not blogging reconnected me to why it was that I blogged. For the joy of writing (firstly) and the joy of engagement (secondly). It helped me to pull my energy in and focus it. It helped me to redefine my goals. So when I came back to it last month I was more grounded.

If you've been caught up in the numbers and need a reminder of who you really are, try this.

It's a writing exercise. I promise you that if you do it, it will make you feel better than checking your stats. 

Here's the prompt: Tell me who you are.

I mean, tell me who you really are.

Start your sentences with “I am...”. Write for ten minutes without stopping. Keep starting sentences with “I am...” until you decide to start them with something else. If you do it long enough you will get past the mundane and the labels and the falsehoods and you'll hit the good stuff. That's when it starts to get fun.

Don't judge what you write for being audacious or frightening or too big. It probably will be. Don't stop, don't edit, and try not to cringe. You can go back and do all that when you're done. Just write.

Want an example? Here's what I wrote.

I am the fire that burns in the night
I am heat and passion and gold light
I am the flame of a thousand voices crying out in pain,
consumed, transformed, resurrected.
I am the breath of god falling onto blank pages
I walk an unlit path, far from home
I walk alone
I walk with you
I am the fire burning through the long night,
I illumine the night
I stand steady in the midst of horror and darkness
I will consume your lies and your walls
I will burn through your barriers
until you stand naked in the midst of your own truth
Touch me if you dare.

See? Audacious.

Now show me yours.


2 comments:

  1. I am...in awe of you talent

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are a writer, no doubt about it.

    The thing about numbers is that they don't tell the story.

    x

    ReplyDelete

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