Thursday, June 30, 2016

State of the Blog: Year Three

    "Sooner or later, it just becomes your life," sings Bruce Springsteen.
    Not to compare this blog to prison, which is what the song "Hard Time" is about.
    Though both do have certain daily routines. Jail has head counts and mealtimes and cell inspections; the blog has click counts and post times and reader comments.
    With the end of the blog's third full year today—1095 consecutive days—it's now a bona fide ingrained daily part of my life, and maybe yours too. But just a part, a small part for you, and a larger-yet-still-not-all-that-big part for me. More of a regular duty, like flossing, only I don't floss with equal diligence.
     Enough throat-clearing. To the all-important stats. Year One brought 385,679 hits. Year Two, 499,423. This year ... drumroll please ... 577,617, as of Wednesday morning, or 48,134 a month, for an increase over the previous year of about 13.5 percent.
    Thirteen point five percent.
    Not the sort of skyrocketing leap the internet is famous for.
    Roughly half the increase of Year Two.
    I'm not going to smear ash on my head and squat at the virtual city gates in mourning over my rate of readership increase slowing. I shouldn't care at all, and I suppose I really don't, not much, since I'm soldiering onward anyway. It gets more readers a month than "Moby-Dick" got in its first 30 years of publication, not to compare the two.
    The news is generally goodish. June, and seven of the past 12 months, scored above 50,000 hits, which I decided is some kind of threshold of significance. Last August topped out at a record, 59,998. Nobody seemed to miss the 2016 poster, so not doing one was a good call. Though I do have an idea for a swell 2017 poster, so I might create one anyway, just for the fun of it. There was a flash of real media recognition: every goddamn day was the only news organization to cover the arrival speech of the Sun-Times new publisher, Bruce Sagan, and Crain's Chicago Business used a photograph of mine, crediting the blog, so that was fun. 
     Still, the value of the blog seems greatest to myself. When I reached into the buzz saw of gun nuttery earlier this month, I could carefully explain what happened right here, without worrying about getting the thing into the newspaper. The process was medicinal, and helped me squeegee the right wing spittle off my body.
     The blog made a little money, thank you Marc Schulman and Eli's Cheesecake, which for the third years ran advertisements at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The ads led to at least one order, I am certain, because I ordered a cheesecake and sent it to Tate—or, more accurately, his kid, at his request—as thanks for his scrupulous volunteer copyediting of the blog. Which reminds me, I should write a post on the idea of Gratitude Sweets...
      Another day. At moments when there is not a lot to say I've been trying not to say a lot. So in closing out Year Three, thank you for reading, and for commenting, and for caring about this almost as much as I do. This blog strikes me as significant, and while that must be an error on my part, driven by the vanity and myopia that inspires so much error, it is my error, and I am sticking with it. Everyone else clings to their folly, why should I be any different?


  1. Ahhhhh. Thanks for the post. Have to leave for a thankless job at 6 AM. I need some intelligence to brighten my morning.
    Soldier on. And thanks for everygoddamnday

  2. Neil, I read Every Goddamn Day every goddamn day, and it's marvelous, a cup of coffee with a smart friend. The only posts I don't read are the Where IS This? photos -- not a Chicagoan here -- but I always at least glance at them. I've been blogging since 2001, not every goddamn day but five goddamn days a week, and my hat is off. Don't ever stop.

  3. For some reason my Google account didn't sign my name above, so let me correct it: This is Nancy Nall Derringer, your Facebook friend.

    1. Thanks Nancy. Coming from as sharp a writer are yourself, that's high praise (though I don't know how you read all those Mitch Albom columns. It would kill me).

  4. So if I tune in 2 or 3 times per week and read multiple blog entries each time, you are being cheated out of clicks that you so richly deserve. I will change my ways immediately!

  5. Only one beef about "Everygoddamnday:" it got me hooked on Anthony Trollope -- I'm currently reading about his adventures in South Africa -- and not only do I bore everyone with allusions to bits of wisdom he doles out from time to time, but I can't even address the common woes of daily life without dredging up some parallel from one of his novels, short stories or travel books. Even his dissertation on Cicero comes to mind when thinking of the Madigan/Rauner standoff, tenuous though the relationship may be. So, thanks for that and thanks for the cheesecake -- and I bought a couple myself to send to Seattle, so I'm betting that their ads here have paid off for Eli's -- and thanks for 3 years of daily delights.


    1. Thanks for making me look more professional than I actually am, John.

  6. Mazel tov and Godspeed, Neil.

    Bitter Scribe

  7. Another fan here, as you know. But I have to tell you that the thing that resonated with me first, and remains so powerful, is the very notion of "every goddamn day." That discipline impresses and inspires me.

  8. You are appreciated more than you know. I'm not as intelligent as many of your followers, but I enjoy learning much from your prose.

  9. I echo the above comments. When it's late at night and I'm trying to make sense of the craziness of the day about to expire, I know I can count on something to revitalize me the next morning.

    I can easily visualize "State of the Blog: Year Twenty" :))


  10. and are my daily doses of the best writing on the web. If only I could write as well as you Neil, I know what I would call my blog:

  11. I just became aware of your blog in January of this year, when you posted an email I sent you in response to your article, "Tasers Won't Help, So What Will?" I really enjoy the blog and read it "every goddamn day"! Keep blogging, Neil!



  12. Congrats and thanks for providing us a sane format to gather information and opinions.
    The writing is excellent!

  13. Am as addicted to your blog (and column) as I am to flossing--they must be "done" every goddamn day. But I much prefer the blog!!

  14. I contend that your growth in traffic is even more impressive than the numbers suggest. It's increasingly difficult to get people to visit blogs regularly because their social media feeds and timelines are their main source of diversion and links; I've been told by quite a few people that their news feeds serve the function for them than surfing the blogs used to serve. And Facebook has made everyone a blogger, of sorts, giving sites like this more and more competition every (goddamn) day. So my press fedora is doffed just that much higher at this report. Blog on.


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