Under (Over) Achieving

The end of the year — and start of a new one, for that matter — is an excuse to look back and take stock, as the conventional wisdom goes. That was surely the thinking behind the work email that went out just before Christmas with statistics for how well the site had performed, what was the most successful story in terms of hits, and so on. As someone who is both a wonk and fascinatingly insecure about whether or not I’m earning my keep, the email was at once fascinating and terrifying, but one thing in particular caught my eye: the fact that I was the writer who’d posted the most stories that year, with close to 750 at time of writing. (By the time the year ended, I was almost certainly above that number.)

What caught my attention was, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, that the number felt low. 750 stories? But there are something like 260 workdays in the year! That means that I was only doing, what, 3 stories a day? That didn’t feel right…! What was I doing with the rest of my time?!? (Note: my math might be off in the number of workdays and the number of stories per day even if the workdays estimate was correct; I’m a writer, not a mathematician, dammit.)

The funny thing is, I know there’s a lot of work that wouldn’t have been tracked in that estimate: the stories as yet unpublished, the edits I do to other people’s stories, the rewrites and updates to other stories — that latter being a significant part of my week, but the stories go uncredited to me even if they’ve been rebuilt, Ship of Theseus style, so that none of the credited author’s work remains and it’s all mine by this point. None of that will show up in the official estimate, because my name isn’t officially attached. I know, objectively and intellectually, that the 750 figure if probably underestimating the actual number by 200 if not more. And yet, I still found myself feeling unexpectedly lazy.

(Wait, if I add on the… 120 pieces or so I created for here, does that make me feel less lazy? I can’t tell.)

I’d say that I want to do more in 2024, but that feels as if I’m signing up to return to being a workaholic, and there are better things for me to do than that, in almost every respect. And yet. Only 750? I know I can do better.

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