Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Note to Readers Here and on

My good friend Siempre Solo beat me out for the #1 spot on He worked hard at it. Below is my note of congratulation.

You have maintained what looks like a feverish pace. I crunched the numbers, just like you do and figured that you would be in #1 place by the end of the week. By sheer determination you made it about 5 days before I thought you would, both in number of posts and number of comments.

I enjoyed being #1 for as long as I have. As a matter of self discipline, I force myself to write no less than two articles a day. Friday I wrote an article for my daughter's school, plus a brief piece on British libel law. I find that I have to keep the creative juices flowing with a schedule I am faithful to. More articles is bad for both my family life and the quality of my writing.

When I know what I want to write about and what to say, it all falls into place. There are days that shopping for a topic is the hardest part. It's like those days when you go to a bookstore and browse forever, waiting for a title to grab you. has done a lot for me. It provides me with 95% of my hits. I get around 25,000 hits a month on and about 2000 hits a month on and combined.

Audience visualisation is very helpful to me. There is great diversity in the audience. This is a powerful creative stimulant. I really benefit from reading and commenting on article s from people whose background and perspectives differ from mine.

I like to calculate ho many hits and comments I get per article. What I most like to write about is not what gets the most hits. My most popular article in terms of hits was about Zenni Optical, from whom I bought two pairs of glasses. I did the article for gratitude. I didn't earn a dime. I got over 20,000 hits on that one.

My article on the Manhattan declaration got over 120 comments. Gay rights activists were furious at me. That heated up the give and take.

The articles I like most are ones about obscure topics that might only get about 60 hits. I have written about "Bikini", which is a 60's Hungarian rock group and another about the survival of Coptic as a spoken language. Neither were runaway hits. My tastes and those of my audience don't always coincide. I hope that those who like my more popular articles will trust me enough to look at the more obscure ones. I find that if I craft my articles to get lots of hits and comments that my quality drops. I try to maintain a reckless indifference to popular tastes.In the short run, this may hurt my popularity, but it keeps the soul from leaving my posts.

On my own sites I have a sitemeter. I have gotten hits from all around the world. I wonder about the people in Hanoi and Riyadh who have clicked on my articles. I have gotten notes of appreciation from Pat Paulsen's widow and from someone who knew a member of the White Rose.The following comment on that post is one of my most treasured moments in blogging.

Dear Mr. Stettner,
Many years ago I worked with a physician whose German mother (also a physician who practiced in Chicago and was associated with the Waldorf School) had been a member of the White Rose while a student in Germany. This lady was sent away on an errand the day the Nazis came for the other students, and thus narrowly missed arrest and death. The story of the White Rose that she recounted was every bit as compelling as the one you provided.
Thank you for reminding us of the profound importance of fighting for a cause that may seem momentarily "lost".

My dream remains that of making a living from my writing. I do not have a college degree. It is an uphill battle. But my posts remain my on line resume. I am very grateful to and its readership for giving me the exposure that has kept this dream alive. Anywhere in the top ten is something I can show off on a job interview.

I am grateful not to be languishing in a job I hate as I strive towards my dreams. I do work in health care that is meaningful and rewarding. Out of respect for the privacy of my clients I maintain silence about that.

The name Rudi Stettner is a pen name. My family likes its privacy. If I choose to write about topics close to my heart or sensitive to family privacy, I am able to be more candid with a pen name. My neighbours and friends all know who Rudi Stettner and Magdeburger Joe are. Because Rudi Stettner is based on the name of a journalist uncle who was killed by the Nazis, I feel a sense of intimacy with it. The name gives me a creative push and a standard to live up to.

So congratulations Siempre, upon reaching #1. I hope it is a stepping stone to your dreams, as I believe my time at #1 has been for me. You have a background and perspectives that are worth sharing. You really do have "Something to say."

We are both participating in a sector of the media that is truly "grass roots". There is a vibrant chemistry to those who post frequently on sparring and competing with each other ideologically and in terms of ratings. Although I will always be shooting for #1,the biggest competition will be to make the me that I am into the me that I feel I could be. This is, I believe a struggle within each individual. Along with my best wishes for your success, I wish you success in that struggle as well. Sphere: Related Content

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