A few weeks ago, I got this comment:
I hope you don’t mind me asking but I am wondering how you will know if your blog is successful or not – what you will base your success on – high stats? – lots of feedback? – just telling from the search engines that you helped somebody in pain? – all of the above?
This was in response (I presume) to the statement in the “About: The Blog” section. On that page, when I first started this blog, I wrote about my previous lack of “success” at blogging. I don’t know what I meant by that precisely. Two things, though, are probably in the ballpark. First, I had never blogged consistently. Second, I don’t think many people read my rarely updated blog(s). Part of what I knew I had to do, if I were to start blogging, was to be consistent. I had not, however, thought it through very specifically — about how I would measure “success.” The question above got me thinking about how I define success with this blog (or, really, with anything).
Honestly, stats have often been how I have measured success. If I get 22 hits in a day (the November low) I tend to feel like my blog is less successful than a day when I get 113 (the November high). Of course, either way, these numbers are low compared to thousands of other blogs, including those I read regularly. Since starting on July 27, I’ve averaged about 70 hits a day, which is better than I would have expected when I wrote that first post. If I had known on July 27 that the Almanac would have gotten 8300+ hits in the first four months, I would have been thrilled. But sitting here, even while I type this, I can’t help but feel disappointed — because I know that many other blogs get 100 or 1000 times that much traffic.
The point is this: numbers are fleeting, elusive, and never satisfying. Someone will always have more; and I know that if my daily traffic was more like 700 a day, it would not satisfy me.
Also, I’ve actually (believe it or not) gotten to where my blog traffic matters a lot less than it used to. Some stuff from this past month, part of which I’ve blogged about, and some of which I can’t blog about, has put stuff like blog numbers into a better perspective. Basically, I’ve been entrenched in worry (see my Running Scared posts) — and the worry is always attached to what I most care about, like my wife, my health, my ministry (or whatever else I most treasure at a particular moment). This whole worry thing has made me see the feebleness of my faith. When stuff like that is going on, 75 hits don’t matter much more or less than 25 or 25000.
Still, though, this blog is important to me, and I have thought a lot recently about how I should define its success. I think the answer is similar to the answer for anything (and ministry in particular): faithfulness.
My desire with Almanac of Captivity is to be faithful to what I have committed to, and to what I think God wants from me. That means being better at following through when I say I’m going to write about something, being consistent and thoughtful, and basically writing — because this blog gives me an ability to use whatever gifts God has blessed me with, and to practice what I say I want to do.
This whole “faithfulness” thing is, I think, a profound lesson for all things. What measures my success on this blog must be what measure my success as a preacher or even a barista — am I being faithful and honoring to my Lord in heaven? Still, I’m a jacked up, sin-indwelt man, and, so, having the goal of being faithful to my Master as my measuring rod will not always sit in the primary spot in my mind. But that’s my goal — to be and to remain faithful, and to know that God gets his glory when I am faithful to whatever he has called me to do.