A while back, one of my blog articles showed up on Reddit. Published about two months earlier, it had received some amused and generally positive comments, and a friend of mine who’d enjoyed it posted it to Reddit’s writing category.
In a week, my subscribers doubled.
Fast-forward two more months, and some of those readers are unsubscribing. I am slightly dismayed by this, but as one of my friends pointed out, perhaps these folks saw the one post, made some assumptions about the nature of my blog, and subscribed.
Fair enough. The post that got all the attention was a list of words and phrases I see in manuscripts over and over, with a bit of smart-aleck commentary. (And I’m well aware that my fave dictionary defines smart-aleck as “an obnoxiously conceited and self-assertive person with pretensions to smartness or cleverness.” I was just trying to be, you know, funny.) It was an editor-y post about a writing pitfall.
But not all my posts are editor-y articles about writing pitfalls. Or writing tips. There are plenty of people out there keeping blogs on advice for writers. There are those who specialize in grammar (Grammar Girl, for example), others written from an agent’s POV (Books & Such, say, or Chip MacGregor), those who offer writing prompts, general writing advice, techniques, tips, and on and on and on. I’ll say it again: there are a lot of people who are writing about writing.
And it would be so easy for me to just talk about work … but the thing is, I don’t want to be limited by that. I love books and the book biz; I love authors and the writing process; I enjoy languages and grammar and wordplay; I love to talk about all these things—even, sometimes, writing advice based on my experience as an editor.
That’s my purview. I realize I’ve never stated it right out loud, but now you know: Read. Play. Edit.
While all this subscribing (and unsubscribing) was playing out, I was planning the posts that would run while I was on a three-week vacation. I’d had this clever idea (famous last words) that all those vacation posts would have an Irish theme, since that’s where I’d be. Once I was on the other side of the pond, it was too late to change this plan—the posts were all written and scheduled; I had intermittent access to wi-fi—and I started getting those unsubscribe notices.
I tell myself I’m past the point at which I need a pat on the head and a “Good job!” to motivate me, but upon further consideration, I’m not sure that’s true. (Although the Irishman reminds me: I started with zero subscribers.) That subscriber number—as inaccurate as it is, since I know some people read it without ever subscribing—is the only measuring stick I have for approbation. I am thrilled to have subscribers and pained when I get those unsubscribe notices. No (wo)man is an island, and all that.
I’ve concluded the two things were unrelated. Regardless, I’m back from vacation and we shall now resume our regularly scheduled programming … about books and authors, words and language, writing and editing, and the publishing industry we all love so well. Three times a week, on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Thanks for stopping by—I’ll see you on Thursday. :)
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”