I want to start by saying THANK YOU to everyone who commented on Monday’s post. Your support and encouragement and thoughts mean more to me than I can adequately express. While I’m sure I have my share of detractors, having a group of supporters makes it that much easier to deal with those who don’t like me. I’m not exactly the toughest chick around but I’m working on thickening my skin. Because if I’m going to write and publish a book, I’m going to need it. I mean, you’ve read some of those Amazon reviews, right? Holy hell, people are cruel. I need to be able to handle it. So maybe it truly was a blessing in disguise that she and I had that conversation.
It’s all about the silver linings, right?
I like to think so.
One topic that I didn’t touch on in Monday’s post was the fact that, throughout our conversation, she kept talking about different measures of blogging success–page rank, page views per month, email subscribers, Twitter followers, stuff like that. Things that definitely matter, especially when you’re like me and will be shopping a book to agents, but in the grand scheme of blogging, they’re just measurements. They’re not indicators of quality or community or even being interesting. They’re indicators that you know how to get people to like and follow and you’re good at drawing traffic.
But when you get those readers and followers, are they really, truly reading? Are they sticking around? Do they support you? Have you formed relationships?
Or do you treat them like a statistic? If you do, that’s okay. I’m
only judging you a little bit not judging you at all.
As for me, I don’t treat anyone like a statistic. Because that matters to me is forming relationships and connecting with people. I want what I write to mean something. I want readers to come away with feelings, even if that feeling is hatred mixed with contempt. The rest doesn’t matter. It’s not important to me to use SEO tricks and clickbait headlines (clearly. I mean, you’ve seen my post titles) vanity metrics to quantify my “popularity”. When I finish my book do I want people to buy and read it? Yes. Of course I do. I need justification for my global book tour. But I want people to read and buy the book because they like me. Because they like my writing. Not because I’ve bribed or tricked them (for the record, I’m not necessarily above bribing. Just ask my child).
And the reason I feel this way is because, after 3 years of blogging, I’ve finally defined and come to terms with what’s important to me. What matters to me. And I bring all of that to my personal definition of success. Which is not a word that has a universal definition (I mean, yes, it has a dictionary definition but the real life, practical definition is way more subjective than what Webster says. The dictionary. Not the guy from TV. Although that would be awesome, too).
There’s nothing wrong with the traditional definition of success. But when you look at it objectively, we all have different measures for success, with blogging and with everything else. Because what I think is successful for me might not spell success for you.
For instance, you might think success is losing 100 pounds. I might think success is losing a pants size. Both are fine. Both are successes.
You might think success is having 50000 newsletter subscribers. I might think success is having 100 newsletter subscribers. Both are fine. Both are successes.
You might think success is having the biggest, faniciest house on the block. I might think success is simply having my own apartment. Both are fine. Both are successes.
You might think success is having a multi-book deal through a traditional publishing house. I might think success is self-publishing my first and only book. Both are fine. Both are successes.
You might think success is having a million dollars in your savings account. I might think success is saving $15 per month. Both are fine. Both are successes.
You might think success is having a booked social calendar. I might think success is having one close friend I can count on. Both are fine. Both are successes.
What it all boils down to is this–perspective. Your successes and failures are based on your perception and definition of those words, and the history and goals you bring to the table that contributes to your definition of those words. And since we’re all different, we’re all going to bring different experiences which in turn leads to–you guessed it–different definitions. And to put your subjective definition on someone else isn’t fair.
So don’t do it.
I’ve tried 100 different ways to end this post on an uplifting, empowering note. But none of them seemed quite right. Instead, I’m ending with this quote. It sums up everything I’m trying to say.
It’s Wednesday so I’m linking up with Liz. No confessions this week but you should go read all the awesome ones that link up with Kathy.