Writing Isn’t Just a Numbers Game

As writers, we can get caught up in the statistics. Be that on Medium or our blog, we are constantly looking for ways to get as many views and reads and likes on our work. We want to feel like we aren’t shouting into the blogging void.

It’s natural to want some sort of reward from the hard work we’ve put in. Sometimes it’s a necessity if your income is solely based on writing. Others want some recognition that their efforts aren’t futile. Very rarely can someone completely detach and not feel good when a person notices their work.

It’s okay to want all of these things, but it can be frustrating to not see traction. Especially when the world shames you for having that desire. I’ll be honest, I want to make money off writing. I want to make a living off it one day. I want to be a full time writer. All of those things are great, but don’t always show promise when I look at the numbers.

Writing isn’t just a numbers game. There are more ways that our work lives on, even if it’s not visible in our statistics. And these matter just as much, because as writers our number one purpose should be to provide value — information, entertainment, or something else. Sometimes that value doesn’t look like a statistic.

These are the quiet ways our writing lives longer in the world than we think.

A read

More than just a view of our work, even if there isn’t any action (a like, clap, or link click). While this can be a number, it goes beyond that. It tells you that your writing held someone’s interest. It tells you that they were willing to give you two, three, five, or more minutes of their time to your work. And because time is our most precious resource, this means something. Look back at your work and see how your writing held their interest. Use this as a learning tool to write similar pieces.

A thought

Even if it’s just a view, someone saw your work as something they’d be willing to give their time to. They thought at some level they would learn something, get new ideas, or more. Even a view means they gave you a thought, or it sparked something inside them to which they craved more. That thought can transform into some amazing things that go beyond the numbers.

A change

Your work can inspire change, depending on your topic. This is where the value piece is critical. As a writer, you don’t see things beyond the numbers (unless someone specifically reaches out to you). You can’t see how a post, article, or story changes someone beyond those statistics. In the end, this is what our real purpose as writers should be. We are giving our souls into our writing in the hopes that we can change just one person. Sometimes we can never know.

A follow

While it can be a number, a follow can come from anywhere. Maybe the person is interested in your work but doesn’t have the time to commit to reading it just yet. Maybe a friend suggested they keep an eye on your work. Maybe they are just trying to scam follow as many people possible in the hopes their own work will get noticed. Either way, that follow turns into more. They may never open any of your work, but they see it every time they open the website. It plants an idea in their head, and we all know that all it takes is one good title to get people to start reading.

A name

This is my favorite. Because even if your article is just a little side ad on a page, it has your name attached to it. Nothing has to be done, but the moment their eyes cross your name, it’s in their head and they might not even know it. Nothing has to be done, but deep down, it’s stored in their subconscious. Later on, when they come across another article of yours, they might not recognize it, but something will pull them in. And the more you write, the more chances they come across your name, and the more chances they have to click on it. We all prefer to follow people who write prolifically because even if it’s not great at first, it’s clear they’re working on it.

Value doesn’t reveal itself in a number. It’s not about our statistics but rather in the quiet ways our work lives longer. We might not see it, and if that’s frustrating to you, you’re probably in the wrong business. The little ways might not make a world of difference, but they do make some impact. And you never know when you’re going to present work that changes someone drastically.

I write about and coach passion, productivity, and writing. It’s my way of trying to give value back in the world. If you want a little inspiration or a big life change, sign up for a free introductory coaching session. You can also get discounts and great resources with my newsletter.

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