Lessons Learned from My Blog: Consistency Beats Pizzazz

I was taking a minute to look over my blog statistics for the last while. (Surprised to see that my post about Denisa’s illicit House Elf use rocketed right up to the top tiers of my page views. Probably has something to do with the way I linked it on Facebook, making it seem like something bad was happening. People flock to bad news. Everybody loves a train wreck.)

It’s gratifying to see how many people read my blog. Still hardly up in the stratosphere, but after doing this for seven years (today is my 1,819th post!), I definitely don’t feel like I’m writing to a vacuum. I check in each day to see how the post the day before performed. Sometimes posts I think will be home runs are little more than a fizzle, and other times posts I think will be fizzles are home runs.

Them’s the breaks.

But looking at those statistics, three things jump out at me. The first is that many people use the internet–Facebook in particular–differently than I do. I rarely go to old posts on Facebook. And by “old,” I mean “anything posted before the day I’m looking at it.” I have my feed carefully weeded, so only the people I really want to see updates about appear in it. So if I don’t go to something the day it’s posted, chances are I’m never going to it.

My blog posts don’t work like that. Oh, the day I post something is the day it’ll make the biggest splash, but I’m surprised to see the residual effects–how a post can just keep on trucking for days after it goes up.

Which leads me to my second observation.

Flashy is great and all, but there’s a whole lot to be said for consistency. My post about a linguistic analysis of why Jar Jar Binks’ dialect is obnoxious is something that went up years ago. I wrote it for one of my intro to linguistics classes, and I posted it long after the fact, mainly because I thought it was interesting. This was long before hardly anyone read my blog. Long after the prequels were released. There’s really no reason for people to look at the post these days.

And yet week after week, it gets a few views. Not tons–one or two here, three there. But it’s every week. For years. And so while I might have written flashier posts–posts that caused more debate and discussion on Facebook, or posts that caught more people’s attention–Jar Jar is by far my most popular post. Ever.

We’re talking like five times the views of the next most popular post.

That’s somehow fitting to me, because it represents my whole approach to writing. I don’t write in huge chunks. I don’t shoot to get it all done in a weekend or a month. 1,000 words a day, day in, day out. It’s what I need to do to be able to get everything else done in my life. But that 1,000 words each day can really add up over time. Consistency beats pizzazz, for me.

Finally, when I went to actually review that article, I was really surprised by how short it is. When I wrote it as an undergrad, it took a long time to get it all on paper. In my head, it’s this big long article. In reality? I write bigger articles than that on an off day, easily. (Granted–not as well researched, but still.) Just a friendly reminder to myself that I write an awful lot, and that I’ve gotten much faster at writing than I used to be.

So there you have it. Some deep thoughts for this Friday. And now I’ll leave you. Three day weekend this week, because Columbus. I wonder if people will ever dedicate a holiday to me. I mean, I get lost on a regular basis. True, not so lost that I think I’m in Asia when I’m actually in North America, but I figure I’ve got a few decades left in me to perfect that skill. Either which way, I won’t be posting Monday–so I’ll see you Tuesday!

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