Unabashed Navel Gazing

The bad news: visits to Polytropos were down last month from the previous month, the first decline ever. The good news: direct bookmarks and external links were actually _up_ slightly; it was a drop in search engine traffic that accounted for the difference. But still, direct visits were up _slightly_ — Polytropos traffic has pretty much plateaued, and while it’s done so at a level far higher than I would have dreamed when I started, I’d like to keep the ol’ readership growing. And the way to do that is clear: write good stuff, more often.

But that’s the real trick, isn’t it?

Reading blogs, and writing one, have been tremendously humbling. In the old days it was possible, if you thought yourself a writer, to maintain a fanciful illusion — when you read a piece somewhere by a published writer, one that sucked so much that you knew for a stone cold fact that you could have done a better job yourself, it used to be possible to think that there were, just beneath the level of Actually Published Writers, a relatively small number of folks like yourself. Of course the truth is that number is vast, and includes many better writers than you, and people way smarter than you and with more interesting things to say. That truth is difficult to escape now that much more of that writing is out there for the whole world to see, in the form of blogs. And sure, you _could_ have done a better job than that one guy that sucked, but hey, get in line.

It’s humbling, but also liberating in a strange way. And it’s a reminder that attracting more readers won’t happen automatically because you’re just that cool, but will take time and hard work. It will mean writing essays of _substance_ — not, say, self-referential blogging-about-blogging tripe.

I’m on it. Starting first thing tomorrow.