Resisting the stats page

Separating my self-worth from my stats

Here’s what happens: I post an article here on my Being Human Medium publication. I share it on Twitter and Facebook. Then I sit back calmly, don’t care how many people read it, and quietly get on with my life, enjoying being a writer free from anxieties about my ‘influence’ or ‘reach’.

Okay, okay, here’s what really happens: I post an article here on my Medium publication. I share it on Twitter and Facebook. Then I lean forward and start manically refreshing my stats page. A few minutes go by and then I check again. And I keep checking. Time after time after time.

How many people clicked through to read it? How many read right to the end? How many recommended it to others? How many responded to it?

Then there’s social media links too. How many people liked the tweet about my article? How many people liked the post on Facebook?

On the one hand, this is perfectly natural. If we put something out there, we want to know its impact. On the other, though, it can easily become a measure of our self-worth. Why did so few people read this? Did nobody like it? What did I do wrong? Am I a shit writer?

It’s taken far too long to reach this point but, after years of being a writer who check their stats far too often, I’ve decided to fundamentally shift how I engage with my website stats.

Instead of checking them numerous times a day each time I post something, I’m going to check them just once a week.

This is my first week and, so far, I’ve managed to resist clicking on my stats page. And – drum roll – it feels pretty good!

(I know it’s only Wednesday, but believe me: it’s worth celebrating!)

The anxiety related to how well a post is received hasn’t disappeared, but it has changed. There’s a very different feeling to knowing I’ll get to see at the end of the week how each piece was received rather than anxiously waiting non-stop as each post goes out.

I know that stats have a role to play. And I want my writing to have a healthy and growing audience, but I feel like my writing is more likely to improve if I’m less affected by the statistical impact of any given post.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is a little too over-active in the stat-checking department. How do you keep your relationship with your stats healthy?

The blank page

Losing my creative mojo