The Unhealthy Obsessions of a Writer

When I started blogging mid-2010, I was writing for myself.  Although I told all my family and friends about it and tried to make them read my drivel, I went on the assumption that nobody would bother, or might read it just to indulge me (or perhaps more appropriately, to stop me asking them if they have read it).

I figured blogging would help me improve my writing and give me a creative outlet as a way of de-stressing from a stressful office life.  But why didn’t anyone tell me I would develop an even more stressful obsession?  Why did nobody ever tell me I would become obsessed with checking my blog stats?!

Here’s an example of the latest stats for the month:

In 2011, I took on the WordPress challenge to publish a new post every week. I was able to meet the challenge most weeks, and sometimes I’d miss a week then follow up with two posts another week.  And each time I clicked the “Publish” button, I almost immediately go and check my dashboard for stats update, as if the numbers would shoot up the second the world knows I have published something.

On a similar note, since I started writing fanfiction, it has been a similar sad tale of staring at the stats page.  Actually, more accurately, I look forward to receiving review comments more than the stats.  It may be due to the fact that I spend weeks/months on a story that is 25,000+ words long, so it feels like someone, anyone, should appreciate my effort, right?

So what is the difference between looking at site/page stats compared to reading comments on something I publish? Well, numbers only tell you how many people hit the link when you send it.  There is no way to tell if they liked what they read (although the fanfiction stats tell a bigger story if you publish more than one chapter. If a reader doesn’t like your first chapter, they’re not likely to come back for the second chapter, hence stats for subsequent chapters are usually smaller than the first).

If you leave me a comment, then it gives me more information, feedback, on what you liked/disliked, about what I wrote, if you agreed/disagreed with a point I made.  In the case of my stories, which parts made you laugh/cry/bored.

Is that asking too much? Probably.  But I am greedy.  And needy.  And insecure.  And obsessed.

So if you would like to save me from calling my therapist (actually, I don’t have one – it’s just a figure of speech), then feel free to drop me a comment – but remember to be nice, because I don’t want to be obsessed and depressed, too.

And I’m not giving up on writing, even if nobody is reading.  So there. :-p

Thanks for reading 🙂

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7 thoughts on “The Unhealthy Obsessions of a Writer

  1. Neil Fein

    Valerie, you’re not alone in being a little obsessive about stats. Lyndon over at <a href="http://disseminatedthought.wordpress.com/2011/12/10/confessions-of-a-view-stats-junkie-i-am-a-tagging-gigolo/"The Dissemination of Thought has found that there’s a way to set up WP stats so you get a text on your cell every time you get a comment or a “like”. Seems dangerous to me, as it would turn me into even more of a stats junkle, so I’ve resisted setting it up, but it’s tempting.

    I have noticed that only one out of dozens (sometimes hundreds) of users will comment. I tend towards pieces that wrap everything up well in the end, and I try not to leave dangling questions in my posts. Perhaps that’s good writing, but it doesn’t encourage many comments. Maybe we need to a post asking people to do so! Registering with WordPress is kind of a pain in the ass, though, so that can’t help matters.

    Since writing this, have you found anything that elicits commenters from your readers?

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    1. Valerie Leung Post author

      Usually only my friends and family will leave comments and this applies to both my blog and my fanfiction site. I do have the WP app on both my iPod and my Blackberry so I do have a tendency to keep checking stats, especially right after I have published something new. I can’t help myself! Lol. I do also get email alerts whenever someone leaves me a comment and I do a little happy dance whenever my Blackberry buzzes with a new alert. Yes, I am a nerd!

      I often get people replying to me or commenting via Twitter instead of leaving comments on the actual post. I would have preferred they leave a comment here but at least when I get a tweet I know they are reading it. Most of my readers have found me through Twitter so that doesn’t surprise me though.

      There have been many times when I ask people for comments at the end of a post but nothing happens 😦 but then there are posts where I least expected people to leave comments and they did. If I work out the formula I will let you know 🙂

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