My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Saturday, July 13, 2013


It's a curious sensation watching something you've done go viral.  I keep feeling outside of myself, like I'm watching me watch the numbers.

It's nine o'clock in the morning and I have 7,200 hits on my blog.  It the time it took me to take a shower, I got more hits than my best day ever prior to writing Changing the Creepy Guy Narrative.  At the rate I'm going "Creepy Guy" will surpass my all time best article (20 Ways to Sabotage Yourself as a Writer) by about ten thirty [ETA: it was more like 10:08].  "20 Ways" is an article that has been pulling in a healthy trickle from Stumbleupon for just under a year.  I seriously thought I was never going to write anything ever that did that well.  At the rate I'm going, in about four hours I will surpass my best month ever with just today's traffic--just today's.  If this keeps up at its current pace, at about this time tomorrow, the page views of the last week will be roughly on par with the page views of the rest of this blog...since I started it...in February...of 2012.

See these tiny little bumps on the left?  Those are the "really good" spikes  of my normal traffic patterns.
You can see yesterday where I thought "holy crap that's a lot of hits!"
And then there's today....
In the time it took me to write the last paragraph that number has gone up to 8,300 (or up by 1,100 views).  To put this into perspective, prior to yesterday, about once every month or two, I would break 1000 and do the Snoopy dance.

Also, I am not a slow typist.

I'm not saying any of these things to brag.  The writerly exhibitionist in me, vaguely prideful at having written something so successful, was shrinking fast in the rear-view mirror yesterday about two hours after I posted it.  That was replaced with the shocked face of someone who has just been told their own mother drowned in asparagus pudding.

This morning what I feel is more akin gnawing sense of doubt and unease.

Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.  I feel like I'm dealing with a situation that's way over my pay grade.  Obviously I'm a blogger and I want to be read by lots of people but 24 hours ago (well, maybe twenty EIGHT hours ago) I was just doing my thing and getting excited about having a month of 15,000 visitors instead of 14,700.  Everything was kind of ramping up in a natural progression.  Then suddenly I felt like the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Part of the reason is just that this is not a normal article, and I sort of feel like the rest of this dog and pony show will seem a little discordant.  I'm getting followers on Twitter, Facebook, and G+ and thinking "you know the next article isn't going to be anything like this one." I very much stretched the connective tissue of a personal experience to be "about writing" by using the motif about narratives.  I count myself as a feminist, but Writing About Writing is not a feminist blog or an anti-sexism blog or even a blanket social justice blog.  It's about writing.  Except for a quazi creative non-fiction piece I did right after the SCOTUS ruling on DOMA called Waking From Nightmares.  Some of my fiction explores social issues but the blog itself is usually mostly a snarky mix of craft, process, and review articles and some guest bloggers who have just......epic amounts of issues.  I'm not going to change what I'm doing here, and I'm happy if the exposure brings me a few new readers, but I'm still a little aware that later on today when I make my last call for nominations on the fantasy novel poll or get risque as I answer grammar questions that some people are going to be thinking "What in the fresh hell is this fucking shit?"

It sort of sucks knowing that nothing I possibly write for probably years--short of how I went back in time and actually kung fu fought Nazis--will hold a candle to today's success, and it's a little nervous making to consider how many more people than before will be watching with horror as I do let Leela Bruce blog or write an entire Mailbox about threesomes to annoy an evangelical Christian.

Part of the reason I'm anxious is (as one of my commenters on that article and long-time friend pointed out) that I feel a little embarrassed by all this attention because I didn't think of what I did as particularly commendable.  I thought it was an epic snark and that at best I just happened to be using my powers of sarcasm for good.  The fact that he almost got violent was not really in my mind when I decided to be a smart ass.  I was glad to change that narrative, don't get me wrong, but I hope some day I can live in a world where the story of folks helping out a woman like that is considered common decency and basic humanity, and not something particularly worthy of praise.

Part of the reason is just overwhelming logistics.  I try to get back to everyone that comments but at this point that post is at sixty comments and I'm getting about ten an hour, so unless I wanted to just reply all day, I am simply overwhelmed.  I'll try to get to everyone eventually, but if it takes me a few days, or until after this post dies down, I'm sorry.  I could probably do it if I wrote nothing but replies all day, but I actually wouldn't want to do that.

And part of the reason is just because now so many damned people know that I'm not very good about remembering to put the commas in the right place.


  1. Oh, maybe if you promote your poll a lot, the new readers will stick around long enough to vote in it! :) I hope. I like your "best" book polls.

  2. Actually, while the baiting the great white douche write-up is awesome in a lot of ways, I'm adding you to my feed primarily because of sentences like this:
    "That was replaced with the shocked face of someone who has just been told their own mother drowned in asparagus pudding."

    Come for the snark! Stay for the more and different snark!

    (It's kind of like how I found Jim C. Hines because of his utterly ridiculous attempts to match the poses of SF/F heroines on book covers, but I stayed because I really like his books and wanted to keep up to date on his projects.)

    So congrats. And remember to breathe.

    1. The breathing part....right. That seems like it might be important.

      Thank you!

  3. ^ This guy. You remind me of the Harry Dresden Wizard-Detective character from Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files. I didn't just join because of the story, I joined because of the snark, site-wide. I love it!

    I also joined because who doesn't dream of becoming a writer? you've actually taken the journey.

    Derp away Chris. I'm going to keep reading.

    1. I recently ran a poll here where Harry Dresden got third or fourth place as best SciFi/Fantasy series, thus introducing it to me for the first time, and I have to say that is some pretty high praise. Thank you!

  4. Something I wrote today, when sharing your blog post (sorry, just adding to the viral-ness there) was

    "while we're at it, that dude rocks so HARD. (But this should be the rule, not the exception. Thankfully, with MY friends, it is always the rule.)"

    So I do hear you on the it should just be common decency thing. Doesn't stop me saying a HUGE thank you to you though. :)

  5. My take on this is if you think you've done something to generate the huge interest, you're doing it wrong. See John Scalzi's Bacon Cat (on whatever) as an example. Sometimes the good guy wins the lottery. Enjoy it.

    I came for the same article, but stayed for the writing. Also because I ride the bus in L.A. and see this story play out all the time.

  6. I'm one of the throng now following, although I'm no writer (this becomes obvious). What you did was phenomenal. I read every comment on Metafilter to see what was happening and while some of it was appalling, in many cases people got it. Really got it. For those who didn't, well, they will be on to the next argument given a few minutes. For those who did, I suspect it will stick.

    By the way, I want to say my own thank you. I was her. I was her many times over, as I was scared and it showed and that's like catnip to creepy guys. I found myself in situations that ranged from annoying to terrifying. Nobody did for me what you did for her. And the fact that you made a conscious effort not to speak to or engage the girl after helping her out was beyond considerate. A truly decent human being doing a truly decent thing and writing about it in a way that was moving, inspiring and even funny - of course I wanted to read more. And I'm well aware that it will be different, but I'm with Cris all the way here. I do love a good snark.

  7. While I was very impressed with the event you described in "Creepy Guy," I think the thing that's going to keep me coming back is the fact that you introduced me to the term "douchecanoe." OUTSTANDING.

  8. I concur with the previous commenters. Come for the post stay for the snarky and the writing. Did you mention writing? No? Weird. Anyways, I too added to the viral (yeah. sorry about that). Also, don’t worry about the commas, half the time they’re not even necessary (as you well know).

  9. I'm with the rest - I arrived because of heroics, stayed because of the writing. I'm posting here because, while I loved the plot of the post in question, I also loved how you applied the concept of narrative to that event. Because it is a tired, sad, trite narrative that we all know and that has been done to death. The person (creeper) usually writing that narrative is your average, talentless hack who can't do any better and brings us all down with his drivel. How fun to have a fresh voice arrive and change the narrative, improve the story, re-position the genre of misogyny and abuse and make it into something fresher and more fulfilling. Well done.

  10. I found your blog via the "Changing the Creepy Guy Narrative" and frankly, I am really enjoying all your stuff. Creepy Guy was great, as a woman, absolutely love what you did but I'm truly enjoying everything else so much, I don't give a rat's patootie where you put your commas.