What I'm Doing Here
The subject of Vocal milestones came up in a comments conversation with my friend across the pond, Paul Stewart a few days ago. In that discussion, we both mentioned that we had one "right around the corner." Neither of us gave anything away at the time, but I'm going to put mine out there today, and I'm late in doing so.
When we had that conversation, I was a mere 50 reads away from 5,000 in my Vocal stats. I promptly forgot about it. Finally thinking about it again today, I took a look. At some point, it overshot the mark by 125 reads. So, I'm there. But, I'm not here to brag. I'm here to say thanks, after a little explanation.
The Underlying Story
Now, if you look at my profile it shows that I've been a member of Vocal since November of 2021. Given that, 5K reads doesn't seem like a lot. What my profile doesn't show is that, after joining, I wrote 6 stories and took a year-plus sabbatical from the platform. I was cranking out content for clients and frankly, Vocal wasn't the rich experience it is now.
My reads have reached that number in the past 7 months, which is how long I've been "back." What's more, there are only 102 total stories responsible for that. With those facts in mind, I feel pretty good about it. More importantly, I feel thankful for all of the other creators and readers that made it happen.
Why This Isn't About Me
I've been a writer since I learned the alphabet, and I've been making a living at it for a couple of decades. I've never published a book. I've had a few dozen articles published in various magazines. Mostly, I've been creating online content for people's businesses, websites, products, and writing a lot of tutorials for photography. All in the interest of making a few bucks for me and a lot more for clients.
Writing on Vocal has allowed me to stretch my creative wings, and I only recently wrote my first piece of pure fiction here. I haven't been doing that anywhere else - yet. Most of my creative work has been poetry and nonfiction based on personal experience.
I'm not setting any records for challenge wins, or Top Stories, or anything else and I'm fine with that. I've got something much more important, in my opinion: loyal readers and creators that I call friends who encourage me to keep writing. I have friends willing to let me know about that typo or grammatical error, or suggest something that might improve a story. I have people that subscribed, because they actually want to know when I publish something new.
All of that, to me, is pure gold.
You're the Reason I'm Still Here
To be honest, these past 7 months of writing on Vocal again haven't always been a picnic. Without going into unnecessary detail, I've been tempted to leave again on a few occasions. The simple fact is, though, for all of its problems, this is the only writers' community that has all of you, and that's not something I want to give up.
So, thanks to you, I've stuck around and made it to this little milestone. Thanks to you, I've had the chance to see that count go over 5K. And every one of those reads is a gift I'm determined to repay and pay forward. That's not much of a challenge, because I enjoy reading yours at least as much as writing mine.
So in this, I'm taking the opportunity to give credit where credit's definitely due, and offer my sincere thanks for reading, commenting, sharing and encouraging. My writing "career" is finally becoming something much more than a 12-hour-a-day grind and I'm actually having fun. Hopefully, real-world publishing is on the near horizon, because I can actually see it as a possibility.
Here's to the next milestone, and I hope to help you achieve yours!