At the start of last month, I was exhausted and feeling like my creativity had run dry. We all go through patches like this, although the British stereotype is to face life with a stiff upper lip, I am Welsh...a Celt...and we are a passionate people who often wear our hearts on our sleeves.
Today, I started drafting a post about creating a content planner, and as part of my preparation I worked out a way to extract the word counts of my articles so I could analyse them in a spreadsheet. Since I don't use a database-driven CMS like Wordpress, this wasn't something I could do by simply installing a plugin.
For now, the how I did it isn't as important as the how much I've written. The numbers I've pulled out honestly surprised me.
In total I've written more than 125,000 words across 146 articles (147 if I count this one). I've written the vast majority since January 2017, when I drew my proverbial line in the sand and decided it was time to either put out as a writer, or shut up and give up. This year alone, I've written 40 thousand words and there's still three months left to go. Considering this is in addition to my books, and it's a side-hustle to my day job (not to mention my family commitments), I think it's an effort of which I can be proud.
Beyond mere word count, however, what I'm most encouraged by is the reaction I've received from my readers as my audience grows. I started reviewing apps out of the need to evaluate them for my own workflow, sharing them in the hope it might help others struggling to make a purchase, but I never expected much interest. Yet, somehow, they've resonated with you and the hundreds of people from around the world who visit my website every week.
Your articles have helped me move back to Scrivener from Ulysses for my novel work. I just cannot get through the mess I made of my novel without Scrivener. Thanks, Chris.— Hon J.M. McCoy (Ret) (@HonJMMcCoyRet) 8 September 2018
Just came across this post this week. Have been following your apps-using journey(s?) with interest. Thanks for the introspection and explanations; they’re very helpful in understanding my own inner “apps debate.” :-)— Bryce Wray (@BryceWrayTX) 8 September 2018
There's lots more I'd love to share, several even about my debut novella, The Weaver's Boy but alas I tweet too much and they've been swallowed by the vortex that is my Twitter history!
It's comments like these that give me the encouragement to continue writing about productivity apps and about my writing process itself. It's incredibly humbling that what I write can resonate with, not to mention, help, inform and entertain people around the world -- truly a testament less to myself but the incredible power we have as independent creators in our internet age.
Although I write in isolation in my tiny suburban house in Melbourne, I feel part of an incredibly supportive and grateful global community of readers and fellow writers. It's a privilege and honour being both a part of, and able to contribute what I may.
This post isn't about me blowing smoke up my arse or showing off. It's my 39th birthday this week, so maybe I'm getting sentimental. Maybe approaching the big 4-0 has made me more appreciative of what I have and more self-reflective in my outlook. Regardless, sometimes the best recipe to cure malaise is to take stock of what you've done and give yourself permission to be proud of your achievements.
Yet, I wouldn't have done it without you, my readers, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.