San Francisco, California

Good Writing and Analytics Don’t Mix

If you want to be a good writer then you can’t worry about the numbers. The stats, the dashboards, the faves, likes, hearts and yes, even the claps, they all lead to madness and, worst of all in my opinion, bad writing.

To become a good writer you need to get comfortable without third party scripts on your website, by looking away from the statistics, and returning to your keyboard. This is certainly much easier to say than do in my experience as it’s tough to ignore the data when everything feels so much more scientific and insightful with them in hand. But the data is a damn lie I tell you, it’s the writer’s equivalent of a pacifier.

Sure, having a vague sense of the traffic of your website is fine and dandy yet when you’re looking at one post and comparing that to the likes and faves of another then I think that’s where things get troublesome. For example, having a sense of roughly how many readers a month check your website is great, yet trying to figure out precisely why this one post on this one topic did better than another just isn’t healthy for us as writers. We shouldn’t let those sorts of analytics encourage us to change the way we write and we should reclassify analytics like this as being rather dangerous.

Side note: this has me wishing for a dial on Twitter where we could switch off all the likes and retweets and mentions for a moment and breathe fresh air once again. I reckon Twitter would become a better place, a quiet place, for good writing to bloom once again.

Either way, to become good writers we have to think about structure, composition, kindness, sentences, clauses, arguments dressed with punctuation. But instead of trusting the data from surveillance state web advertising companies we must ignore them all and return first and foremost to trusting our keyboards. And I promise you this: the best writing you do will never be found in the data.