30-Day Round-Up

We made it. Thirty days. This is it, folks. Last one for probably about a year while I recover from this marathon. So let’s round it all up, shall we?

What I Wrote About:

30 Day Challenge Chart


I don’t know why it won’t post that as a larger image, but if you click on it you can see what each color represents. Two things are clear from the data:

  • I like to philosophize and confess. Combine the green and purple slices and you’ve got a picture of just how much I like it. There’s a great deal of overlap between my philosophical and my confessional essays. I had a hard time deciding which to put where, and almost counted them as a single category. Then decided that would be way too big a slice, and divided them up.
  • I don’t really do advice.That’s the little bitty light blue sliver. Occasionally, on request, I offer tips, but mostly I think people are smart enough to figure things out, so I prefer to tell stories and let people draw their own conclusions.

Since the philosophical/confessional topics are so large, I decided to break them down further. If the numbers don’t add up, that’s because I was more fluid in interpretation on these, sometimes including the same entry in more than one category, and in some cases leaving entries out altogether if they didn’t fit in with anything else.

What I philosophized about:

30 Day Challenge Philosophical Chart


Again, click to actually read the chart. WordPress, y u no display full size?

It was also interesting to see how readers responded to each entry. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to discern any patterns, but perhaps you will.

Most Popular Entries of Past 30 Days (in reverse order):

5. “What, Exactly, My Book is About” Here’s where I published a brief synopsis of my book for the first time ever. It generated a fair amount of discussion and was a particularly fun one to post. 35 views.

4. “Those Are Pearls” This entry came with a trigger warning. It featured three real-life horror stories and some philosophizing (imagine that) about the importance of not looking away from the terrible things in life. 39 views.

3. Name My Book I’m delighted that this one hit the top five, and even more delighted that it received more on-blog comments than any entry before or since. It’s the one where I asked for help on the title of my book. I still don’t have a title, but I sure have a lot of great ideas for one. 50 views.

2. “No Black Woman, Indeed No Woman” This piece highlights the racism (and sexism) that is still shockingly prevalent in our society, and encourages women to speak up so their voices will be heard. It received 53 views.

And, the number one most popular entry, which broke this blog’s all-time record:

1. “If People Wanted You to Write Warmly About Them” This confessional-style essay about abuse and the importance of telling our uncomfortable stories took the highest honors, blowing out all previous viewing records for the blog (the previous record holder was Riding the Whale from November 19, 2013, at 152 views). How many of those viewers were former college classmates who wanted to know if the guy I dated when they knew me was really as bad as they thought? I suspect he was worse. 181 views.

Most Popular

Least Popular Entries (tied at 4 views each):

  • What Do Your Dreams Look Like These Days? What is it that makes one entry popular, while others go barely noticed? Sometimes the heavily read pieces get shared with new networks, and that always helps. But sometimes an entry I really like flies right under the radar, like this one, which compares my favorite homecoming story in all of literature, Penelope and Odysseus, with the task of a middle-aged writer trying to make sense of her dreams.
  • We Are Not Pretending. And sometimes the entries that fly under the radar deserve it. Like this one, which was basically a cop-out on a night when I really really really did not want to write. I think it’s about my book, but it’s not even memorable enough for *me* to remember. It did have an awesome list-picture-meme-thing in it though.
  • The Characters That I Am Not. And this is the one I’m saddest got so few views. It’s the one where I actually published snippets from my book ACTUAL SNIPPETS Y’ALL. I introduced three characters I love and nobody read them. Sad face.

Here is what I learned from the challenge:

  • Not much. I mean, what am I supposed to *do* with the above information?
  • I did get thirty extra hours of writing practice though, so there’s that.

I also hit some milestones:

  • Surpassed 100 posts on this blog.
  • Hit an all-time high (for this blog) on views on March 23

So, about that “not much” & the thirty hours. It’s true that an extra 30 hours practice never hurt no one (I write real good now). It’s just that, well, here’s a conservative estimate of the number of hours I have spent actively practicing the art of writing over the course of my life:

  • 5 hours per week every week of my childhood from the age of 7 to 18: 2,860 hours (I was the kid tucked into a corner writing every chance she could)
  • 10 hours per week every school week of college: 1,280 hours (English major…)
  • 2 hours per week every non-school week of college: 160 hours
  • 5 hours per week every week of grad school: 780 hours
  • 1 hour per week every week from end of grad school until I became a professional writer: 208 hours
  • 15 hours per week for the first 8 years of professional writing career: 6,240 hours
  • 25 hours per week for the past 5 years: 6,500 hours

Total: 18,028 Hours

According to Malcolm Gladwell, that qualifies me for mastery. Ha. I feel like I’m still swimming in the kiddie pool of everything there is to know, but the point is, thirty hours is tiny. But it’s still a difference, and I’m not sorry I did it.

In fact, I’m glad I did. I enjoyed it (mostly), it’s great to know I CAN do it because I really HAVE done it, it was fun to hit some milestones, and I’ve had a blast watching statistics after each entry. I think I’ve gained some new followers, and I know I’ve had some great discussions.

And maybe I learned a teensy bit about letting go.

And with that, I’m letting go. ‘Night y’all, sleep tight, see you in a few. Bless.