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Couch to 5k Reads

My musings on the inky trail so far; my appreciation of Tossers; my thoughts and suggestions on the Stats page

By L.C. SchäferPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - October 2023
Couch to 5k Reads
Photo by Patti Black on Unsplash

My musings on the inky trail so far; my appreciation of Tossers; my thoughts and suggestions on the Stats page

About a month ago, I suddenly noticed my long-ignored read counter had ticked up over 3,000 reads. Gosh, I thought. That seems like a milestone and a half! I'd not long hauled myself out of a deep, dark hole known as "writer's block". I used this little number to keep me from sinking back into the pit. I allowed myself a little self-congratulatory jig.

A fortnight later, I spotted that sneaky little counter again, and blow me if it hadn't gone up another 1,000. How did that happen?

Here I am again, another two weeks later (say that in the voice from Spongebob, go on), astonished that I've shot past the 5k mark without noticing.

For context, I joined Vocal in 2020. That means I've got almost as many reads in the last couple of months as I did in the previous three-and-a-bit years. That's... well... that seems like a lot to me.

This isn't self-congratulatory this time. At least, not completely. Hardly at all, really. Scout's honour. I'm actually wondering if there's been some kind of mistake, because that's mental.

Admittedly, I've had a hiatus from Vocal... If I am honest, I've had more than one. I've had times where I knew I wasn't able to get the most out of it, and I cancelled (or paused) my subscription. I slacked off posting for months at a time. That's going to account for lower engagement to some extent.

I know some of it is that I've been managing to post more often, and more regularly. But I've had times in the past where I've managed that, and not seen a spike like this.

What are you doing, Vocal? (Don't stop!)

Some of it is down to you lovely people. A humbling number subscribe to me. Honestly, I think maybe you're all a bit mad. (I'm reliably informed that all the best people are.) I cannot thank you enough for your support. Not only do you toss ha'pennies in my hat every time you grace me with your eyeballs, but you also give me your time and your brain. You talk to me. You engage sincerely. You are encouraging. You offer constructive feedback. You have me believing, for just long enough, that I can do this thing, and I'm not a dickhead. You keep me going. That is worth all the ha'pennies in the world.

So, thank you, Tossers.

By Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

I know I am behind on returning reads at the moment. (big stuff happening here, don't ask. Good big, not bad big! But still, it's not leaving me with as much time as I'd like to read.) I WILL catch up again. Thank you for your patience in the meantime.

What am *I* doing, Vocal?

If there is something I'm doing that is making this difference, even in part... please feel free to tell me what it is! I'd love to know! Which segues me neatly to...

Here's my suggestion to Vocal:

On the one hand, I like that the stats page is quite simple. It's one reason it's been easy enough to mostly ignore it and concentrate on words, not numbers.

On the other hand... When you do notice it, when you do that double-take because the number is different than expected... it might be kind of interesting to be able to dig a little deeper. It might be nice to see last month as well as this month, or even last year. It'd be cool to see which stories are doing the legwork. What did I do? Could I do that again?

My questions to you:

I suspect most people just bimble along like I do, and only rarely look at their stats. It's the best way. We can get too caught up in it, otherwise. But when you do pop over there, what are you looking at? What little factoid could Vocal put there that that you'd like to see?

+ + + + + + + + + + + +

Thank you for reading! As always, please comment to make it easy for me to reciprocate.

More from me:

Writing about writing:





Meat, Walking (Dragon-y goodness)

Paper Dolls (one I have been sitting on for a long while!)

Chapter ?? (an excerpt from a longer thing)


About the Creator

L.C. Schäfer

Flexing the writing muscle.

Never so naked as I am on a page. Subscribe for "nudes".

I'm also on Twitter if you'd like to connect elsewhere.

I value feedback, and reciprocate reads and comments.

Also writing under the name S.E. Holz

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Comments (38)

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  • The Invisible Writer2 months ago

    I look at my stats mainly when I’m looking for a story I find it’s quicker than going to my published list. I do my best to reciprocate reads and I do a pretty good job of that, but there are so many great creators out there and I fall way short of reading all the amazing stories I wish I had time for.

  • Frankie Martinelli2 months ago

    I love how honest, and humorous your writing is! You are totally deserving of every milestone you hit! ❤️

  • Oluwadare Samuel2 months ago

    That's wonderful💯⚡️

  • Grz Colm2 months ago

    ‘Big things’ huh!? Cool! I liked this part, “wondering if there's been some kind of mistake, because that's mental.” 😆 That is phenomenal L.C - over 5k, but you do write a lot & a lot of different things too. 😊 I too would like to see stats from prior months and years!

  • Gerald Holmes2 months ago

    Congrats on the ,milestone and the Top Story. I've been here since early 2021 and have always wished that I could click on any given day on the stats graph and see exactly which stories were read that day!

  • Matthias Thomas 2 months ago

    Great post

  • Phil Flannery2 months ago

    Great achievement. I get busy away from Vocal a lot; family, work and other hobbies. When I got my Top Story earlier this year, I looked up my stats for the first time; I'd forgotten about them, I was surprised. Not your numbers but, for what I've contributed and my interaction, it was okay. Good luck with your future endeavours.

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    That is a wonderful achievement, L.C., and from what I’ve read of your writing, well deserved! Maybe you’re just finally getting the attention your writing deserves? Either way, congratulations!

  • Mackenzie Davis2 months ago

    Congratulations on two things: TS and your 5k milestone! What an amazing achievement, L.C.; it must feel amazing. I think your articles on writing are particularly successful. People like thinking in meta ways about their craft, and about progress on this platform (and beyond). So, I'd say, don't stop! It's inspirational, useful, and gives Vocal a good shout, haha. As to the questions...Well, I almost wish I had a less curious brain, because I check my states pretty often. However, I don't dwell on them, especially not reads. For me, it's a good way to see progress, but when you get hung up on it, that's when you start writing things that aren't honest to YOU. I wish the stats tracked reads more honestly; perhaps that's on the proverbial roadmap, I don’t know. And really, all I'd want to see (new) is WHO is subbed to me; Medium gives you a list, but Vocal buries it in notifications.

  • Brin J.2 months ago

    It's because you're so good at engaging with your readers😌

  • Cindy Calder2 months ago

    Congratulations on the Top Story I had a similar experience, mostly with one story I wrote two years ago. . All of a sudden it doubled nicely (though not as much as yours) in reads . I admit I am perplexed, too, but happy nonetheless.

  • Naveed2 months ago

    Wow, what a fantastic journey you've had with Vocal! Your 5k reads milestone is well-deserved.❤️Congratulations on achieving top story status!

  • Jazzy 2 months ago

    I feel like I just read your 3k reads and now I'm reading your 5k reads! Congrats this is super exciting! ❤️ I would love to have you on the podcast if you were so inclined!

  • Donna Fox (HKB)2 months ago

    L.C. I love this and this should be congratulatory!! 5k is a bog deal!!! A lot of us don’t have that, if I did I’d be shouting it from the roof tops!! So congratulations on that HUGE milestone, so happy for you and happy to be a supporter!! I love your suggestion to be able to check back to the last month. Or see a month by month sort of break down for each story too! That’s a good idea, I often wonder which stories of mine are still getting a few reads even when they might be “old”. I like to check my stats page every couple days, but what I’m looking for is numbers because I’m looking for some kind of rhyme of trend to help me find a bit more traction and success. Because I find it doesn’t seem to matter what if I read a lot of stories or if I publish a lot, my reads often stay stagnant unless I have a TS. So I’m looking for some kind of trend to see what will help me be more successful here. Anyways congratulations on Top Story and 5k, so proud of you and happy for you!! 💖

  • Donna Renee2 months ago

    Congrats on the milestone!! The stats page could definitely use some more specifics 🤷🏼‍♀️. Idk what I would actually use them for in practice though haha

  • Celia in Underland2 months ago

    Congratulations on your reads and your top story 🤍

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Congrats on 5k and on the TS. Your numbers soar because your writing is always worth the read. Keep it up.

  • Amazing and Congratulations on your Achieving and Top Story🎉♥️✌️💯

  • Paul Stewart2 months ago

    Congrats again on this, now because it's Top Story!

  • Adam 2 months ago

    so powerful!

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Congratulations! Personally when I see your name come up, I have confidence it's worth a look, you are consistent in quality, and perhaps that build momentum. For myself, the stats page isn't something I've delved into. When I commented when someone reached this same milestone a week (ish) back, I found I was at 777 reads, which seemed an auspicious number in the moment, but a day later I promptly lost heart with the whole platform and process, and largely buggered off for the week. This was less writers block, more writers self contempt in the face of wider life, but also was fuelled by the sensation that I'm commodified here, as anywhere where I'm a customer. There's an opacity to the platform that leaves me sceptical of both my successes and failures. I contemplated writing about it, but then...I didn't bother.

  • Heyyyy congratulations on hitting 5k! I did read the 2 weeks later with the Spongebob voice and I'm glad that the big things happening is something good. As for the stats page, I usually look at: 1. Number of reads on my most read piece 2. Total reads 3. Number of subscribers 4. Number of reads in my latest piece As for what I'd like to see: 1. Individual stats of every piece we've published 2. List of our subscribers 3. That's all I can think for now, lol

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Woohoo!!! Another milestone!!! I wonder too about the stats. For example, the stories read listed under total reads for a given day might be nice. Fabulous story & congratulations!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Of course we're mad, L.C. We're mad about your writing, lol! Congrats on 5k!

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