I started writing Without Bullshit in March of 2015. I have posted every weekday since then. While this may be a sign of mental illness, it is certainly represents a degree of commitment. Thanks for taking this journey along with me. Today I look back a bit.
Without Bullshit (the blog) now includes 1,027 posts, totaling 944,000 words, and has received nearly 2.5 million views. By comparison, the books I have written total about 350,000 words and have sold about 200,000 copies; my published research reports totaled about 100,000 words; and my software manuals included about 250,000 words. The word count and views on the blog beat all of the rest of those put together. It is, basically, who I am right now.
In 2018 I published 261 posts averaging 1,000 words each (not including this one). I received 1,500 publishable comments. These posts broke down as follows (these categories overlap):
- Politics: 70.
- Media: 67.
- Corporate: 55.
- Truth and Influence: 34
- Books: 33
- Marketing: 20
While many of these posts are news-related and ephemeral, some are evergreen. I intend to use the posts on books as the basis for a book of book-writing tips, to be published in 2019.
Here are the top ten posts of 2018, with views from this year only.
A second Bitcoin blackmail scam, based on hacked passwords (39,283 views, published July 13). I never set out to be a bitcoin expert, but ranking on search drives traffic — quoting the entire bitcoin blackmail email caused this post to rank high on searches. I hope that the 128 comments on this post help potential blackmail victims to see that they are not alone.
My Bitcoin blackmail experience started with a well-written letter (27,187 views, published April 10). Many people got these letters. I was one of the only people to post one, because, like any good blogger, I turn my day-to-day experiences into fodder for reflection. This post ranks in the top 6 search results on “bitcoin blackmail letter” and generated 312 shares on Facebook and 146 comments. I’d like to believe that posting it is helping the authorities to end these extortion rackets. (The comments restored my faith in humanity — how we react to a letter like appears to be a universal shared experience.)
10 top writing tips and the psychology behind them (11,988 views, published 2015). This single post has accounted for 800,000 views since it was published. While it no longer ranks on Google, it remains popular.
“What’s really wrong with millennials?” asks Simon Sinek (7,218 views, published 2017). People really want to rag on millennials. The responses reveal a big divide in the world between millennials defending themselves and older commenters who want to call them all self-indulgent and entitled (which is not at all what Sinek is saying). I enjoyed the commenter with bad grammar who accused me of being an entitled millennial myself.
Uline put politics in its catalog. Should I still buy boxes from them? (6,826 views, published 2017). In this polarized world, people are wondering what they should believe about Uline and its conservative — and vocal — founders. Among the 48 who commented on this post, conservatives defended Uline’s free speech rights, while liberals pilloried me for failing to boycott a company whose views I disagreed with. Stuck in the middle with you, I guess.
Deathly euphemisms: “rest in peace” and “thoughts and prayers”(4,437 views, published 2016). This gets a flood of traffic every time there’s a mass shooting or somebody famous dies. Sigh. I still hate hypocrisy.
Revisiting my Donald Trump predictions (3,708 views, published July 2). Most people don’t reflect on their own past predictions. I do. I got a bunch right and a bunch wrong. You liked that I owned that.
Why there is so much bullshit: an analysis (3,072 views, published 2015). Apparently there’s an ongoing appetite for clear thinking about bullshit.
Adulting 101: 10 things they really should teach teenagers at school — and 3 we could do with less of (2,825 views, published January 9). Having teenage children makes you think.
How we really should teach writing (2,789 views, published 2015). How we teach writing sucks. A lot of you agree — but not all of you are ready to give up studying Jane Austen for more focused writing practice.
I’m not changing
This blog doesn’t get quite as much traffic as it once did. But I also don’t get so many people telling me to “stick to writing advice.”
I will continue to hold the powerful and stupid responsible for the idiotic way they communicate. I will keep picking apart their communications and showing you where and how they fall short. Except when they do well — there, I’ll continue to highlight what they do right.
I will continue to narrate my own insights where I think you’ll find them useful.
I will continue to serve authors — you’ll see a lot more content about them in 2019.
And I’ll keep being grateful to readers like you.
Thanks for listening. You’re the best.