Worry about what you write, not your stats

March 31, 2011

Jan O’Hara posts on Writer Unboxed about worrying about your stats.

In this web-a-day world there’s no shortage of stats to tell us how we’re doing, how popular we are (as popular as our last post? Please, God, no!). As a blogger, and a writer who can only get his Bad Self published online, there’s visitor stats, adsense stats, Amazon affiliate income stats, conversion rates etc etc.

As a website creator (not so much a programmer or designer) there are even more visitor stats, comments stats, incoming links, retweets, replies… The list is as long as you want.

O’Hara’s advice is succinct, and to the point (I like ‘to the point’ – see for example a post by Merlin Mann, which is my favourite ever: do what you feel is right. Do what you need to do. If the stats go in the ‘right’ direction, then that’s great. But if you need to stray from what-you-need-to-do just to get those figures you crave then, really, what’s the point?

This is how I try to work. Then, whatever the stats, I know:

  1. I write for me, and those who appreciate what I write for me
  2. I can stop worrying about how my last piece was received, and concentrate on how the next one is shaping up.

After all, what I write is the only thing I can affect. How it’s received is in the lap of the gods.