Monday Quote: How do I measure success?

Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”
Susan B. Anthony

I admit it. Deep inside of me lives a numbers girl – one who wants to chart, measure and order everything. I’m convinced that if I could just assign each thing in life a place value, I could organize it. Judging by the chaos in my life, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t opt to become a mathematician.

But social media milestones are the same to me. I can become obsessed with the numbers. How many page views? Did anyone retweet? Have I posted 5 times each week? Any new Facebook comments? How close am I to my book reading goal? Has my Klout score changed?

This blog, which I began in March as a personal writing exercise, has taken on a milestone life of its own. Early on, my dear friend Patti cautioned me not to get wrapped up in WordPress stats. (Like standardized tests, they are only one measure of reach I guess.) But I’m like a junkie – checking page views and search terms, wondering when my number of followers will hit triple digits. Is it true that early week posts have more life than those posted on Fridays?

I understand how crazy this is. My blog is not commercial. I don’t have any sort of life changing mission (unless you count inspiring someone to pick up a book.) This isn’t my job.

I need to write. I like to share. It should not matter if that sharing happens with one person or one hundred. My friend Molly wrote on her blog that she writes for everyone and no one in particular. I love that idea. I just need to accept it and live by it.

And I am inspired by Susan B. Anthony. Alena’s life cannot be measured by followers or views or comments. I must measure my life, my sense of success, by “the stray dogs that amble in.” If a book moves me, I will write about it. If I have a good story to tell, I will tell it. I will choose quotes that reflect or inspire my life.

And, this week at least, I will avoid chasing milestones. I’m going stats-free for a week. Then I will see if I feel and more or less fulfilled as a blogger.

Wish me luck.

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13 thoughts on “Monday Quote: How do I measure success?

  1. I absolutely relate, Alena! It’s so hard to not get caught up in the stats. Believe me, a new Twitter follower or blog subscriber pretty much makes me swoon. Remembering that, first and foremost, we write for us, keeps us on track and more importantly, helps us to grow in the right way and for the right reasons. Loads of good wishes coming your way!

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  2. Isn’t there a quote about how “all statistics lie?” That’s what I try to think about when my wordpress stats are down…. 🙂

    Of course, I get a little confused about how a “view” of my blog is counted. Do the people who read it on email count? How about those clicking from Twitter? I have to confess I’m a gal who mostly reads blogs from my phone, pointed to a site via email or Twitter. What can I say… I’m competing for actual computer time with 4 other people in the house. It makes it much harder to leave comments, but it’s far easier to keep up with people’s posts.

    For the record, I really enjoy your blog. Happy stats-free week!

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  3. Alena, we must share the same train of thought. I too, intended to ignore the stats in the beginning, but I soon got all wrapped up in them. Now, I am pretending they do not exist since last week. To be honest, I feel a lot freer like I’m just writing for me again. No pressure, no worries. I think I really like stat free blogging!

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  4. As a new blogger, years ago, I was obsessed over stats. I kept checking daily, going nuts when the numrs went down. But eventually that obsess I realized I wasn’t writing e but me. So why obsess over stats. Now I’m fore checking numbers. If people like it, it is. Bonus but no visits doesn’t mean anything. As long as I enjoy writing the post, that is all matters.

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    • I appreciate the comment, typos and all. I got your gist anyway. I feel like blogging is still releatively new for me so I’m feeling my way through. But, yes, I write for myself and that’s what I need to remember.

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  5. Checking stats is what I should give up for Lent, although I probably shouldn’t wait until then. It is gratifying to know that someone, anyone, is reading something I write, but I do know that’s not the reason I write. I am so pleased to be in your company. I’ll be anxious to hear how the week goes.

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