A star is born
Investigating the success. Part 2 | 737

Investigating the success. Part 1 | 738

[ 5 min read ]

Diary of an artist, Tuesday, March 12, 2019

#738 (countdown)

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Copy of Adulthood smooth& tasty.

Woke up 3:45 am

A week ago I wrote about that new spike I witnessed on Quora. In the four days prior to my writing about it one of my answers on Quora went viral (I guess it’s the third time this answer got viral — the third spike of popularity).

It’s the twelfth day now and I can see the wave is subsiding. So far in this spike the answer has been viewed 90K times, upvoted (liked) by more than 700 and shared by some 35 people on their profiles. Some 30 new comments appeared under this answer and some 100 people followed me.

Right now it is very close to half a million views and it surpassed 3.3K upvotes. It’s my second most popular answer as far as number of views are concerned (the most popular one is approaching 1M views), and it’s my most popular answer as far as number of upvotes are concerned (the most popular one reached 3.3K upvotes and soon after it reached that number there weren’t many new upvotes — it’s around 3.3K and right now it doesn’t look like it will be 3.4K or more soon). The answer I’m talking about (which had this spike recently) already reached 3.3K upvotes and there are dozen new upvotes each day so I guess it will be 3.4K soon (it’s very likely that it will happen in this spike).

This got me thinking about success. No doubt both answers I’m talking about here are pretty successful (in the conventional way — are very popular, people shared them a lot, people said nice things to me in their comments about these answers and my writing in general, etc. — a few said bad things but that’s kinda obvious, what I write or say will never resonate with all people).

Had it been on YouTube the views could translate to some income (maybe even I could call it decent — in my current situation I could definitely call it decent). Plus the audience on YouTube is way bigger so the numbers could be even more impressive there.

What is interesting, I think, is that they’re not my favorite answers and I think I have better ones (better answers, better blog posts). But that’s just my opinion and what happens on Quora proves that what I think about my own writing doesn’t matter in the popularity contest. It’s totally irrelevant. I can say whatever I want and I still won’t be able to change that. I don’t get to decide what gets viral. It happens regardless of my preference. Thus I can’t predict which piece will be a hit and which won’t.

When I see a spike I get a kick out of it, no doubt. I cannot help feeling good about all those people reading what I wrote, upvoting it, sharing it on their profiles, commenting on it and complimenting me. It feels nice. Even if there is one person for every 100 who hates me and believes I’m an asshole and should be silenced it still feels nice.

I don’t understand it but I like it. I don’t understand how it happens. Why this answer or blog post and not the other? Why not the one I liked the most, and of which I was the proudest recently? Why not the one I consider most profound? Why not the one I consider most artistic? I don’t get it.

Maybe that’s just the way things are? Maybe there is nothing else to it, nothing else to understand? Maybe accepting it as a simple fact of life and being a human being among other human beings is enough? Accepting that I’m not in control, that I don’t get to decide, that what I think doesn’t matter at all (as far as the popularity of my writing is concerned). Maybe it equals understanding it? Maybe it is understanding it?

Reading (since my last diary entry):

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (20 min, on scribd app).

Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is by Friedrich Nietzsche (20 min, on scribd app).

Audiobooks (since my last diary entry):

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (20 min, on scribd app). Second reading.

YouTube videos and movies (since my last diary entry):

Mad Max: Fury Road (on HBO Go) Finished it.

Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks (on HBO Go) Finished it.

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling. Part 1 (on HBO Go) Finished it.

Music for this writing session: Coffee Table Jazz (playlist on spotify)