I was writing steadily on Dare I Read. Then I stopped. This seems to be my style. Regular, steady writing. Then a pause. Not always planned. I never know how long the pause will last but it rarely drags on. I don’t get that scare, that feeling I’m never going to write again.
This week I added a stats service to LoveSettlement. It’s all the way at the bottom of the page. Open to anybody who wants to click. When I first looked at the stats I was startled to see my average reader spending 3 1/2 minutes on the site. It didn’t take long to figure out that my average reader was me. I will open the blog and leave it up while I’m writing a new post or searching the web, so the stats show a “visitor” hanging around for a half hour. Average that across a few visitors who somehow manage to stop in for 0.00 seconds and you get a … you get what I saw.
I’ve had three visitors over the last three days (yup, one a day) who have actually stayed long enough to read something. The visitor today was reading posts from 2004, having followed a Google search result to the blog. Yesterday’s visitor had followed a Technorati search. Neither read beyond the post the search led them to. The third visitor got here, I think, via a bookmark, so is probably somebody I know. (Hi!)
A few years ago I set up my poetry site (also called LoveSettlement). I added a counter (how many years has it taken to turn to 7400?) and a free webstats service. I was involved with an online poetry workshop and whenever I posted a new poem or commented on someone else’s I would include a link to my site then would rush to check my stats. Look! I would exult. Readers!
The stats service got buggy at just about the right time. When it failed to load I would feel anxious, frustrated. When at last I removed it I felt more relief than expected. It felt so good, in fact, that I began to hate stats. Nobody reads poetry, right? How could one expect a big readership at a poetry site, especially one by a poet who has never published a book (not counting chapbooks!), never taught a class, has let his push to get his work into magazines (& ezines) subside to an occasional gentle poke in a random direction?
I chose not to pay Homestead to allow me to update my poetry site. So it sits there, still mostly useful. A few of the links are dead, but it’s not quite a graveyard yet. I’m not much interested in the mechanics of making websites. I could do a great deal more to promote myself and my work. Thing is, the writing energizes me, the marketing wearies me.
When asked, “Are you writing?” I answer, “I am always writing.” The Dare I Read project is one that will hit periods where I resist it – it’s a memory project, not just a booklog – but after a rest I know it will come back. I write poems, but rarely post them online. I keep an offline diary, too. There’s a manuscript that started up last fall; it has topped 40 thousand words. It might be close to done. I’m giving it a new read. A novel? A memoir? Something like that.