I started writing Universal Service as a creative outlet and also as a way of putting order to my own thoughts. Never did I imagine I would have had 163,151 visitors, but that’s not really the whole story – 151,317 of those visitors have read the post Scottish Independence in 5 Points. Yes, I’m a one hit wonder and here are some things I’ve learned….
Numbers take over.
I found myself constantly refreshing my stats button, it becomes obsessive. 217 people have read my blog while I was in the shower, wow! “Mum, guess how many people read my blog while you made me that cup of tea?” Incidentally, the best way to answer that question is with a ridiculously high number. Or boasting to the guys at my work how many people in Nepal had read my blog (6). I found I could think of little else. Frankly I became boring (or more boring.)
Other people are different
When I use a phrase, I immediately assume that everyone has heard of it. “Shock Jock” for example, was used in relation to a talk radio disc jockey. I thought it was common knowledge, but using it got me accused of being racist and also of being English.
One person wrote a big long lecture to me about why Scotland couldn’t have solar power and I was wrong to suggest it. (I hadn’t!) H went on about latitude, flower growth and even mentioned the colour of my skin.
I also learned that I don’t handle critism well and find I start to bicker with people in my comment section, I need to work on this. I probably mean stop this.
I feel like Tom Hanks’ Mum
I’m sure Tom Hanks’ Mum is equally proud of all her children, but nobody else seems all that bothered about the other kids. This is the way with the rest of my blogs, only 40 people read my superman piece. I remember writing that in my head on the way back from the cinema and loving what I’d come up with. I still do. Or posing my John Wayne CD’s for fun photographs to accompany a blog about The Duke. I really get a kick out of people being directed to my blog after searching Jamie Oliver Chicken Nachos. I often wonder what they think if they stay to read it. That’s happened 12 times. I feel a bit like “My daughter is a writer and my other son has a PHD.” “That’s smashing Mrs Hanks but has Tom ever taken you to the Oscars? He lost so much weight for Castaway were you worried about Tom? Is Tom good to his Mum?”
Stop chasing it.
After getting my one hit, I tried again with 2 more attempts on the same topic (Scottish Independence.) Neither of them set the heather on fire and I genuinely looked up the word HUBRIS to see if it was appropriate (it was.) I think rather than writing and then just throwing it into the world, I started to target an audience and frankly I’m not good enough or prolific enough for that. So I’m just going back to writing what I want and not worrying about the numbers. I can gaurantee that 2 people at least will read to the end of every piece; my mum and my wife (and only because the latter helps with proof reading and punctuation.) But I’m cool with that.
If you liked this have a look at https://www.facebook.com/universalserviceblog for more of the same.