DEV Community

loading...

Dev.to Writing: 52 Weeks!

Nathan Kallman
Husband; Father; Software Engineer; Gamer; Tinkerer; Writing about code on DEV.
・3 min read

This post marks the 52nd week of publishing at least once per week. I'd like to look back on what I've learned from these weeks.

#1 No One Cares

Starting off positive! ...but I do want to acknowledge the reality. Especially for anyone reading this thinking of jumping into writing articles. No one will care. That is not a bad thing (how many articles do you like and comment on?). Everyone already has a pretty full slate of things to care about. And that is OK.

But a few may take an interest. That is fantastic! Most will not; do not be too down because of it; that is the natural way of the world.

In the attention economy of the 21st century, most attention has already been dominated (and priced out by the likes of Google and Facebook). There is precious little attention left for an individual writing articles. The only way to get much attention is to either already be popular or pay through the nose.

But any amount of sustained organic attention gained here, no matter how small, is literal platinum-plated unobtainium. No one can get that stuff. Congratulations on the mining expedition! It may be hard to sell (ethically); but is worth its weight in gold.

#2 Writing Takes a Lot of Time

This one makes the last point bite so much harder! I care so much about so many of my posts that still sit there like this:

0 reactions; 0 comments; less than 25 views

Writing can eat an hour the way a snake eats an egg. And the writing makes up just a small portion of the process. Often research needs to be done and then some sort of coding; making diagrams or finding pictures; documenting things; outlining how to present the information; and once it is written it will need to be proofread and corrections made. (And my best proofreading usually happens on a day different than when I wrote the article).

I have quite a few articles I would like to write, but simply can't because I don't have the time to write them while also doing the necessary research and work to build the thing I want to write about.

#3 The Days are Long, The Years are Short

I almost missed this 52-week milestone! Every day can feel so long; and when I get a chance to look back I wonder where they all went. Start today; tomorrow will never come; yesterday has already gone; so start today as soon as the thought strikes your mind.

If your attention is like mine; it is already overspent. It has been overspent for a long, long time. If you want to start something new, that will mean not doing something else. That might be scrolling social media; that might be extra sleep; that might be nights with friends. I cannot tell you what to choose; you must make your own decisions. But please choose. Do not let the world choose for you.

#4 A Rising Tide Lifts All Posts

I was especially reminded of this phenomenon with my post last week.

A particularly popular article (yes, that is one of my "particularly popular" ones) will have a "splash" effect onto other articles I have written as people newly acquainted to my work look through my past works they have missed.

I always love checking in to see the trail of a single person starting with the article I posted yesterday, working their way through more, then more, until they finally follow me (they've fallen for my trap!).

All that to say: I believe it is better to have 100 articles with 10 likes than 10 articles with 100. There's so much more space for new readers to get hooked on. So much less expectation on the next article. And more opportunity to write posts like this and link to all your other posts...

What was I saying? Write. Write a lot if you want a few of your words to do well. The best parts will make the mediocre parts look better.

Discussion (8)

Collapse
csgeek profile image
csgeek

Honestly one of my main motivation for blogging/writing has been my own need to persist documentation. I just spent three days trying you figure out X. I want you write this down so I don't waste another three days next time I need to look this up again.

If others can benefit from my shared knowledge all the better.

Collapse
kallmanation profile image
Nathan Kallman Author

If you were wondering what my stats are since the last of these look back articles

61 posts; 44669 views; 562 reactions; 328 followers; as of April 5th, 2021

Collapse
rahxuls profile image
Rahul

How did you make this dev.to analytics?

Collapse
kallmanation profile image
Nathan Kallman Author
Thread Thread
rahxuls profile image
Rahul

Thanks For Sharing.

Collapse
xinnks profile image
James Sinkala

Beautifully laid out. Congrats on the milestone, I'm on my way towards that too which, well, should be around November, yah, almost a decade from now πŸ€”.

Reflecting on your 2nd point, especially that little image, I had a few of those in the beginning which were eliminated by the phenomenon you talk about on the 4th point. That makes me think that your theory is legit.

Thankfully I detoxed from the readers/followers/likes drug some years back, otherwise I would have given up here early days. I took me some courage to start writting, and thinking about it the way @csgeek lays it out is what made me reach this far, otherwise I might have rellapsed to those old habits.

I was "fortunate" to hit a nerve on types of articles that bring in a loads of readers, I tried writting something around the same topic on the following week to test that little finding and I got my confirmation.
I could have written articles around that topic if all I cared about were views and would have probably raked in plenty of views week in week out or at least for a few more weeks. But that would have defeated the whole reason I started writting in the first place, and would eventually have led me back to "those old habbits".

I care about those articles with few readers too, if 1,2 or any number of people below that 25 figure found what I wrote to be useful and it helped them somehow, that means my goal has been achieved. On top of that it remains as documentation and refference for me forever.

I'm not against going after/taking note of views by any stretch, I know they are useful in some cases as I've been lucky enough to guest write for some platforms and it happens that most times articles which generate more views are more favoured in those instances, just that those low stats shouldn't discourage us from writing because I'm sure someone somewhere someday will find value in that piece of hard work.

Dev.to to me represents a platform that has never kept an emphasis on those dopamine pumping stimulating features and I hope it remains that way. A couple of recent features got me uneasy but I hope all will be good.

And lastly, thank you for this interesting article.

Collapse
technoglot profile image
Amelia Vieira Rosado 🐣✨

No One Cares

Allow me to state my terms...I DO care! 😁 No, but seriously, most people don't really give a damn. I haven't been here long and I have already noticed a few things:

  • tags matter (some are much more popular and densely populated than others)
  • people love/hate listicles (it is a popular format for all the "busy" folks out there)
  • Getting views is easy. Getting comments....near impossible. People just don't engage much. That is what bothers me the most. If I had to choose a metric by which to measure a post's success, it would be comments. (I think only one of my posts meets that standard, by the way πŸ˜‚)

At the end of the day, I blog because I like it. And I do it for myself first and foremost 😊 Everything else is a nice by-product.

P.S. I garnered around 120+ followers so far, but only...let's see, 5 of them always read and comment on my posts. Not all heroes wear capes 🀣

Collapse
ruannawrites profile image
Ruanna

Lol, this is so true. I love it. Congrats on this milestone!