As some of you may know, for a few weeks in March and April I took some time off from checking my web stats. As I wrote two weeks into it, it made me realize that for too long I have been deriving my identity and self worth on numbers that I just can’t control.
As I neared the end of my fast from looking at my stats, I felt this new feeling of creative freedom. Some of my best writing came out during that period. A lot of this had to do with my perspective when writing. Rather than asking myself “how can I write something that will boost my traffic?” I asked “what can I write that my friends would enjoy reading?” I tried to think of what other writers I respect would like to read. I focused on faces much more than on a set of graphs and pie charts.
More importantly though, this freedom helped me realize that this is my blog. This is not your blog. This is not the next google searcher’s blog. This isn’t my RSS reader’s blog. I began to ask “Why do I spend so much time focusing on making them like my blog?”
It was during this time that I changed the header of my blog. As those who visit the site can see, it now reads “This is Pat Dryburgh.” This is who I am; this is what I love, what I hate, what inspires me, what challenges me, the questions I am asking myself and the answers I’m discovering. I could go and scour the internet again to fill another “Top 10 Best Websites with a Green Background and Sans Serif Type” post, but that’s not me.
As strange as it sounds, this isn’t my brand. I don’t have a strategy here. I will save that process for more important things. This is just me, plain and simple. Sometimes raw, sometimes dry, sometimes ugly. I don’t write this to scare you away. Hopefully more people can start to lower the walls a bit and realize that there is freedom in openness.
Some people have been interested in how my stats increased while I was focused solely on writing. While I was happy to tell them, I am personally more excited about the personal growth I went through as part of the process.
If you’re feeling weighed down with pressure to keep up your image, to impress your audience, to grow your stats, then put the numbers away. Maybe turn off your comments. Let it be you and your blog. Let your blog be you.