The dick move

For the past couple of days, my blog traffic was lower than usual. I don’t really care all that much about raw reader numbers, but the App I write with displays them, so I can’t help but notice.

The drop was over fifty percent, which is hard not to notice.

I immediately started looking for explanations. Of course the first thing I blame is my own writing. I haven’t been exactly happy about my own writing lately. I was writing prompts a lot lately, and although some of them were enjoyable to write, the posts didn’t give me the kind of satisfaction my older writing used to give me.

Why did I write prompts?

It’s not that I had nothing to say. I have plenty to say. Perhaps I have more to say than ever. There’s a lot going on in my life, both at personal and professional level. Life is pretty darn exciting. I have plenty of things to write about.

The prompts were clearly an excuse. Heck, I knew that from the day I started writing them.

An excuse for what?

Ever since I got into some real-world trouble with certain people I described in a not friendly but also not too bad way, I have felt inhibited to write freely, to say what I think.

It almost felt like if there was a spotlight on my blog.

And not in a good way.

And so I was writing stupid prompts about fucking lists of fruits, and what’s your favorite god-damned color and whatever.

These shallow posts gave me very little satisfaction.

But the more I pondered the situation I found myself in, the more I realize that the spotlight effect is pretty real.

I teach hundreds of university students every year. I have dozens of colleagues and collaborators. I have my own team. I have my friends. I have my family. I do not necessarily share my blog with any of them specifically, but I don’t exactly hide them either. It’s easy to find me.

And for a long time I was pretty okay with that.

I don’t have many extremely bad things to say about my colleagues, my team, my students, or my family.

But then again, could what I write in any other way reflect poorly on me? Low self-esteem and imposter syndrome tell me yes, of course. It makes you look like an idiot. A weirdo! And you’re not really a writer anyway!

(How does my blogging reflect on me? Is it bad? Should I write under an alias? Just let me know if it does reflect poorly on me. I would appreciate the honesty.)

Anyway: these thoughts lately have taken over my blogging mindset.

And this is why I’ve been writing stupid shallow posts, about nothing. Practicing the churning out of words, but losing touch with the content. Completely. Me and the blog were no longer one…

Okay, now this was a bit of a detour, but it matters as context, because a couple of days ago I stopped writing these prompts, and instead wrote again about things that were on my mind. Nothing all that deep. Yet? Baby steps.

And exactly at that time, where I figured I’d do the risky thing. That’s when my viewer numbers crashed…

Not exactly a great start… Not too good for confidence.

So yes, my imposter mind told me I was a bloody failure, and nobody was interested in my writing. That my own words were even worse than those shallow words guided by prompts.


Luckily, I found out that the new WordPress/Jetpack App situation no longer shares posts to social media. For that, I need to upgrade my already paid subscription to an even more expensive subscription. And that, I believe, is a dick move…

So although it’s probably also me, it may partly be on WordPress.

But on a positive note: I now do get to decide myself whether I want to share each Post on social media. Perhaps it is a good filter to avoid collisions in the future.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

16 thoughts on “The dick move

  1. I haven’t been reading your posts because I’ve been crazy busy! 😀 But you got me hooked earlier and I’m not going away. I write under an alias (spoiler alert: Snow isn’t my real name!) and it frees me up a lot. I’m looking for writing jobs – I kind of have one already but I need a better one – and I use my blog as my writing portfolio, so I have to keep it upbeat. I tell myself it’s good therapy to focus on the good, but sometimes I wonder if I could get away with starting a blog where I just RANT about work things non-stop!!! Anonymously, of course! 😃
    As for social media, I don’t share my posts there, all my followers are from the WordPress Reader feed. So if that feed suddenly disappeared, I’d have no new readers, I guess! A bit scary. My point is, a) you could blog anonymously, if you wanted and b) you don’t really need social media to get readers. This probably doesn’t help but anyway! Ciao!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wait. Your name isn’t Snow?

      But in all seriousness. Thank you. It means a lot, and I appreciate your engagement (and your blog too by the way!).

      One of the reasons I doubt is also about career trajectories. I’m entering a phase in life where people will be looking at CVs, and will be judging my online presence.

      This process is one that I have many feelings about, but I’ve been advised not to share things too openly. I’ve also heard and read that people judge everything. This is why I wonder: is my blog – not necessarily an ecologist place – reflecting poorly on me in my quest for a permanent academic position. I just don’t know. Given that I managed to piss off people in the past, I’m now just very afraid to rub anyone the wrong way… 😫

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 🙂 First of all, Robin. You are in no way obligated to go along with those daily prompts; you can do your own thing.

    To make it easier on yourself, focus on the reason why you got into blogging and create content along those lines.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Renard. I switched off the prompt function. I turned into a lazy blogger. Not good. No fun 😊.

      I write for many reasons, and particularly as a form of personal expression. It can be journaling. It can be simple stuff about things I like. And it can also be hard rants. My main concern is that this type of writing, though appreciated by bloggers, will be frowned upon or judged badly by people around me in the real world. That’s a downside of using a personal name to blog under.

      Perhaps I’m making things bigger than they are. My mind is like that sometimes…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lol how interesting that I just thought the exact same thing yesterday. Must be the season of dropping stats, huh? Maybe it’s part and parcel of blogging to question our journey every once in a while. Thanks for your candour!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It may be that. Or the story that Twitter and WordPress broke up. Yes, it is part of any trajectory where you have to put yourself out there. By definition you make yourself vulnerable by the exposure. Cheers, Stu!


  4. I admire anyone who can utilize those prompts but they don’t work for me. I take all stats from WP with a grain of salt. One month they told me I had no comments while I had hundreds. As for nom de plumes, I write under one but tell people in real life what it is. It’s amazing how quickly people forget that I even write a blog at all! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Ally. It’s interesting, to some people my blog is the single topic that they keep bringing up. Usually not in a bad way, I have to say! Always with good intentions. Yes. The stats are odd. I don’t understand the Reddit, WhatsApp, etc. shares. I’m pretty sure these are downright made up…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m seriously doubting the reliability of the stats section these days! I think many reads are not counted… Also: sometimes social media traffic is a bit erratic. More so than I would expect. Sometimes Tweets claim clicks on links, but they never arrived on my blog.

      It doesn’t really matter.

      That’s what’s so nice about comments. They’re the only real indicator that people have actually read!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True about the comments. Also if someone has to go to your site to read your post rather than in the Reader, that has an impact too. I’m actually going to explore that side of things more in my next Newbie post

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I generally can see why my stats change but they do seem to yo-yo. But im enjoying blogging, so thats what I’ll focus on … and chatting through the comments. Now I need to find time to write

        Liked by 1 person

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