5 Things I Have Learned About Myself and Writing: Day 283

FIVE THINGS I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF AND WRITING

1. I love to write.  I always knew I liked to write, but it has turned into an obsession.  In 283 days, I have never even considered not sitting down to write.  It does not matter how much time it takes for me to write each day, I work writing into my schedule.

2. I have a core following of people.  I love the likes and comments from such regulars as charliecountryboy, allaccesspass, and Becca3416.  (I have provided links to their pages as well– they, along with so many others, make me laugh and think regularly, feel free to check them out, too!)  In addition, so many other bloggers have found their way to my site and have come back regularly to visit– it offers me a sense of validation to have other writers read what I have to say.   I am also thankful for the friends and family who read every day.  It means the world to me that you like what I have to share.

3. I am humbled by the kindness of so many hits, likes, and comments.  As of today, WordPress says that I have reached almost 17,000 hits since I started.  Not bad.  Of course, I yearn for more hits, but I am a work in progress.  I do think it is a little underinflated (is that a word?)  I know that people have told me that they have Googled cherylhuffer.com and they have been able to read ten posts at a time.  When that happens, I only get credit for one hit to my home page.  In my mind, I am well over 20,000 hits!

4. I will not quit writing my blog when the “Year of Writing” comes to a close.  I am flattered that a few of my regulars have already expressed trepidation about a complete and utter shut down.  As much as my followers might feel withdraw, I think I would go into some kind of absurd state of imbecility– I think I would literally go crazy if I was unable to share the funny and heartfelt moments in life, and the observations that keep me sane.  I know I will not feel the pressure to write a blog post a day, but I plan on keeping it somewhat regular.  I would like to explore writing for publication.  Possibly pulling some of the stories I have shared into a memoir of sorts.

5. Lastly, I find it overly exciting that I have gotten hits from all over the world!

Just look at that map!  All of those people in all of those places!  About six months ago, when my blog got a little bit more popular, I would actually be upset if I only got hits from the United States.  I get hits parctically every day from somewhere in the world.  Nepal?  They read me!  Vietnam.  Yep, they like it, too!  They read my in the United Arab Emirate States, in Italy, Spain, and Belgium.  I even got a hit from a wee bit of a country called Saint Kitt and Nevis.  To be honest, I did not know that this was a real place in the world.  It sounds like something invented by Kurt Vonnegut.  But it’s not. I Googled it.  It is in the West Indies and has been an independent nation since 1983 {at which time I was rocking out to Flock of Seagulls, mind you} and it has over 51,000 citizens {about half the size of the suburb of Cleveland that I live in}.  I have had hits from 67 countries since February 25, 2012.  For whatever reason, it would not let me pull up summaries starting back to January 7th.

Saint Kitt and Nevis is that little speck of orange in the upper right hand corner. Thanks for the hit, you cute little small island!

I am a woman with a voice, and I plan on continuing to write.  If you are reading this blog today, thanks for stopping in and I hope you come back to visit!  If you are one of my regular visitors, thanks for your loyalty!  If you are my husband, can you wash my car?

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Day 115: Stats– You’re My Obsession.

I do not know if anyone is aware of this fact, but I have become obsessed with my readership.  WordPress has a page that tracks my statistics on a daily basis.  I check it at least a dozen times a day.  It not only tells me how many posts have been read, it tells me where people are from.  Usually, I am read by people in the United States, but I do get the occasional hit from Canada.   A few times, I have gotten a hit from somewhere completely random: Mexico, Great Britain, the Philippines, Mauritius  (Yeah, I had to consult a map for that one).   It’s intoxicating to think that some stranger in some other place in the world has read something I have written and has hopefully been moved in some way– moved to laugh, moved to reflect, moved to share a piece of who I am.

Thus, I am obsessed with my stats, and when my stats do not rise fast enough in a day, I panic.  Why aren’t people reading?  Are my posts becoming boring?  Mundane?  I’m not funny.  I need to be funnier. Maybe I have had too many serious posts in a row.  Damn it.  And the poetry people– they probably hate the narratives. 

On the other hand, when my stats are up and I get a “like” or a comment, I get totally excited!  Someone has read the post and liked it enough to give me a nod.  I like the validation.

Really, I need the validation, which brings me back to the fact that I am obsessed with my statistics.

I have been trying to gain more readers.  I have been perusing through WordPress’s suggestions, and they suggest I follow bloggers and then bloggers will follow me.  I have tried it and I have achieved some success on this front.  They also suggest I link my blog to Facebook and Twitter.  Well, I always post my blog on Facebook, and I think half of my readers are my friends.

Until Friday, I was not on Twitter.  I have always been kind of afraid of it.  Last week, however, everything changed.

I posted about author/comedian Dave Hill, my rockin’ Junior year prom date.  I thought, Dave has 4,494 Facebook followers, maybe he will share my link and some of his people will read it– read me!  I commented on his Facebook page to let him know the link was there.  He read it.  He liked it.  He said it was sweet.  He even thanked me for the accolades.  However, he did not share it.  Damn it!

After some lamentation, I thought about Dave.  The majority of his Facebook posts come from his tweets.  I have to imagine, I thought, if Dave has close to 5,000 Facebook friends, he probably has even more Twitter followers.  If I would have tweeted my post, he would have retweeted it for sure.  That’s what Tweeters do, or so I have been told.

Even though I felt too old, too set in my ways, too archaic to learn Twitter, my stat’s obsession got the best of me.  I spent my lunch period setting up a Twitter account.

Of course, I followed Dave first.  How right I was–  28, 828 followers!  The first thing I did was tweet a link to my blog.  I wrote this cheesy gooshing begging tweet: “Day 111 should be read by all #mrdavehill cherylhuffer.com”  I posted the tweet, and I felt giddy.  Oh yes, Dave will retweet my tweet and thousands of people will read me!  I went to class dreaming about my bar graph shooting through the roof.

At 3:05 the bell rang.  The school day was over.  I rushed to my phone to look at my WordPress Stat’s page.

Come on, load already.  Load!  Okay, here it comes.  Since the last time I checked I have gained… four hits.  Four hits.  Four hits?  FOUR HITS?!?!   Where’s the love?  Tweet and Retweet– Isn’t that what I was promised? 

Of course, the promise came from my active imagination.  My bemused excitement turned to deflation and absurdity.  My two-hour dream was shattered.

Nonetheless, I needed to see about making this Twitter thing work for me.  I was told that I needed to follow people in order to be followed.  So, I looked up everyone I know on Twitter and I am following them.  I then chose a couple of celebrities and a couple of publications.  I am officially following 37 people/magazines.  Yep, 37.  The average person follows over 2,000.  Who the hell are they following?  Who the hell do I follow? 

From my 37 follows I have gained 6 followers.  That’s right, six followers– I’ve got that going for me.   (I have to admit, I was a little excited about the third follower I gained.  My third follower is none other than Real Housewife of New Jersey Teresa Giudice.  I have to imagine she saw that I am a writer, and she felt a kismet connection to me.  Someday, when I am in New Jersey doing a book signing, I am going to look her up and tell her this story.  Maybe she will invite me over for some wine and gossip.)

After a weekend of obsession, infatuation, and delusion– I am even more preoccupied with my statistics.