I need, like, a sunlight lamp or some shit like that; I spent all day staring at walls and sleeping, basically, and that’s not healthy. I’m basically only posting this so that I can stop worrying about whether I’ve posted anything today.
Don’t worry, this will be brief, because there’s not a whole damn lot to talk about: I sold exactly 114 books in 2019, 91 of which were in person and a whopping 23 on Amazon. I had no new releases of any kind this year. I intended to spend most of the summer broadening the places where my books were available (I went off KDP forever ago, so I’ve been Amazon-exclusive with no real benefits for it since then) and working on a new novel (I have three in various stages of not-finished) but the Ongoing Medical Calamity derailed the fuck out of that. I’ve written some microfictions and maybe a couple of short stories this year over at Patreon and that’s it. I went to … three cons, I think? Four? Kokomo-Con, InConjunction, ConGlomeration, and Hall of Heroes con. So four. I know I canceled at least two because of the Calamity, and right now I’m only scheduled for one in 2020– Indy Popcon, which was one of the two I cancelled last summer.
I said this yesterday, and let me repeat it: there is no risk– none– of the blog going anywhere, because it’s too important to my ongoing mental health even before you get to the part where I like writing here. But for the first time in several years I’m thinking about deliberately hitting pause on calling myself an independent author for a while. I’ve mostly been ignoring my books on here except for the occasional Station Identification post on the weekends and the static links on the right; I may as well put them back on KDP if I’m not going to do the legwork necessary to have them available all over the place. I don’t write a lot of fiction any longer because with everything going on in my life I haven’t had the mental space for it, and I require an enormous amount of headspace to be able to write fiction. Nonfiction? Blog posts? Dead easy. But I don’t like writing fiction, and I never have– what I like is having written fiction, which is an amazing high that unfortunately requires me to spend hours pulling teeth first. I think about writing fiction all day, every day, I just don’t actually do it.
It might be time to put it away for a bit and not think about it at all. I’ll either get my mojo back, which would be good, or I won’t, which really won’t be any different from now except for the guilt. My family’s health situation isn’t getting better anytime soon– there is no silver lining to this cloud and no light at the end of the tunnel, and that’s not depression talking, it’s unfortunate and inevitable fact– so the only thing to do is decide what to do about it. I can make a serious effort to reprioritize my fiction, which means finding some other things to put away, or I can put it away. I just need to decide which one I’m going to do.
The short version of this entire post: basically everything is down slightly from last year, but not shockingly so; I’m still getting far more eyeballs on this site than actually makes any sense to me at all, so I can’t really complain about it, because Jesus, people are actually paying attention to my nonsense?
Yeah, turns out they are.
Posting frequency was up from last year, which was up from the year before it, but engagement is continuing to drop. I’d like to find a way to drive more comments, definitely, and more likes would always be nice, but I’m not sure what the best way to do that is. I keep hearing that blogs are dead; needless to say, this one ain’t going anywhere; while I’d like to more engagement, I’m not gonna shut up or anything if my numbers keep falling.
Geography’s always fun. This is 2019 specifically:
And this is the entire life of the blog:
Basically at this point I only have a few types of countries left: totalitarian dictatorships (North Korea), a few tiny islands, and places where there is either very little infrastructure or very few people or both. I keep hoping to get a hit from Svalbard Island and so far it hasn’t happened yet. That little hole in Europe is still Kosovo; I refuse to believe I have never had traffic from Kosovo in six years and am blaming something wonky about the way WordPress handles geography.
The overall top 10 posts are the same ones they always are, basically; I’m at the point where my “back catalogue,” so to speak, is definitely driving most of the site’s traffic. This is an image, and isn’t clickable:
The Snowpiercer post just refuses to die, although it did have one (1) day this year where it got zero hits, which very well might be the first time that has ever happened. Supposedly the TV show is launching soon, so this will never, ever end. I feel bad about the weird popularity of that Tana French post, too; it’s literally the only thing she ever wrote that I didn’t like and I reviewed a bunch of her other books, so it sort of feels unfair to me. I love you, Tana! I swear!
Top 10 posts written in 2019, and these are clickable if you like:
Most of those make some sense, I suppose; the “dress for success” post is a bit inexplicable but the rest of them are either all hashtagged, of inherent interest to a substantial group of other people, promoted by outside sources (the two book reviews were both posts where publicists sent me the book) or, well, kind of important (the last post).
How did your blog do last year? (If you don’t have one, start, dammit!)
Sometime in 2004, while I was in graduate school working on getting my teacher’s license, a friend at a party suggested that a bunch of us start blogs on a site called Xanga. I had jumped into blogging a couple of times at a couple of different places but didn’t have anything live at that particular time, so I agreed, starting a site called Monkey Knife Fight. Monkey Knife Fight ended up lasting much longer than any of the other blogs my friends were running; its high points were being the top Google search result in the world for the phrase “Duck cock” and my wedding, where I literally logged into my blog on a laptop at our reception and let anyone who wanted to post a comment or a little written piece. I’m still in touch with a number of people who I would never have met had it not been for that blog, and it’s arguable that I would not be married to my wife had it never existed as well.
That blog died in 2009; the final post was a wordless picture of a five-year birthday candle posted on the five-year anniversary of its opening. I still have all of the posts saved on my computer and a couple of different cloud-based backups; some of them were preserved in Searching for Malumba as well.
Fast forward four years, roughly, and one of those same friends announces that it is time for all of us to start blogging again. The first iteration of infinitefreetime—the name was a joke, as I not only had a toddler in the house but I believe I was working at least two jobs as well– was actually at Xanga, which quickly killed itself soon after I started it, forcing me to reopen this account at WordPress, which is where the blog currently lives, six years and some change later.
And, as of this post, 3000 posts.
And, as of about another hundred words from now, a million words.
Ain’t none of those other folks around any more, damn them. More people I know IRL should be blogging.
Fun fact: this blog actually started in June of 2013, but the WordPress account it uses has been around since 2008. I got a single pageview on whatever site was created that day and then nothing for five years after that. I did get a nice little ten-year email from them last year, though.
By the by, here’s that millionth word:
Because, well, obviously. Other than “fuck”, which seems a bit gauche, what else could it possibly be?
I first figured out that I was approaching a million words and 3000 posts, I dunno, a couple of months ago, and started trying to make them happen on the same exact post a couple of weeks ago. I have known what that millionth word was going to be for basically the entire time. I have a cat in my house who has been here for over two weeks and we’ve not named him yet. But hell if I don’t know immediately that if there is a chance for me to knowingly make pants the millionth word I write on my blog I’m sure as hell gonna do it.
I dunno. What the post was actually going to be has been in flux that entire time, including various plans for retrospectives or announcing new projects or maybe my 10 favorite posts from this site or a whole bunch of other things, but honestly I’m not feeling maudlin enough right now for any of that and the end of the year is coming soon anyway if I want to do retrospectives. So we’ll just use the post for this; to note that three thousandth post, and note that millionth word, and to note that it’s ridiculous how much of my life has been spent living on the Internet.
This is my 2996th post, and I am just over 1500 words away from writing my millionth word on this blog. I’ve been keeping track pretty carefully over the last several weeks because I want them both to happen on the same post.
…I, uh, probably ought to start figuring out what I’m doing with that post, shouldn’t I? 🙂
The cat remains unnamed; current frontrunners include Gordon, Hup, Tyrion, Hodor, and I just suggested Hercules. I don’t understand why this is so difficult.