Thursday, June 24, 2010

Statistics and The Pile

Enough pen pals have been asking that I bit the bullet and counted the letters in my needs response pile. The tally today, before receiving Thursday mail, is as follows:
98 letters
25 postcards

So there we have it. It seems insurmountable, but it's not about the tally, it's about the letter-writing experience.

That being said, a lot of pen pals and blog readers say they like my outgoing stats, and so far no one has offered any negative feedback about them. Some of my fellow mail bloggers also post incoming stats. What do you think? Should I do that? I have felt hesitant to do so because I don't want to be bragging about the amount of mail I receive - it is really quite a lot - but some folks are curious, and it might hold off those that start saying "why haven't you written me back yet??" two weeks after they sent their letter or postcard. (I have averaged my stats, unscientifically, and the mean average turnaround time for a response to a new letter or postcard - meaning someone who has never written me before - is about 3 months.)

Feedback welcome and requested!


  1. Seeing how many letters you need to respond to gives me feelings of anxiety. I don't want to be subjected to those stats. ; ) I do love to see the outgoing ones!

  2. wow! well you have another letter from me on its way, but now I totally understand the response time. Incoming stats would be kinda interesting, I don't think it would be bragging. I'll probably start my own stats count in July :)

  3. I like the stats and I don't think it's bragging. You just don't have that tone about you.

  4. I honestly think this is a great idea. And in my opinion, it's not bragging about how much mail you do get. Hopefully it will only INSPIRE other people who read your blog to send OUT more mail so they can, in return, RECEIVE more mail. :) I know that your blog inspires me every time you write or upload something to produce more mail.

  5. well I believe that would be your private business and not anyone elses and who says that there is a time line to write someone back ? that makes me a tad bit angry that some people see a time line . I see a wonderful letter no matter how long it takes a soul to write back .

  6. Thanks for your feedback, folks! Felicity, I agree about the anxiety-inducing-ness of it. I think I will read any more comments that come in, but my idea now that I'm toying with is listing incoming stats each month the same way I list outgoing, but NOT including a total pile tally. I just don't want to keep re-counting the pile! If I list the incoming for a month (and I already track it, I would just start listing it) and like it or dislike it, I'll go from there.

    Alexandra, thanks so much for your reassurances. I'm glad I don't have the bragging tone! :-)

  7. Holy cow, I understand it's a labor of love, but that's not only time-consuming, but expensive, too. I'm curious, what percentage is domestic/international?

  8. O'Neal - I haven't tracked domestic/international! I would estimate that total volume is 30-40 percent international, but some of that figure is Canada (cheaper postage). More of my postcards are international due to Postcrossing, I suppose... Very interesting thought. Keep in mind that I have a very big stock of postage from my grandfather's stamp collection, though, so I'm certainly not buying it all!

  9. If you want to, go for it; since this is a letter-writing blog, no one's going to take it as bragging if you note down statistics. Plus, it's apparently something that a bunch of your readers want to see :)

  10. Wow! That is a lot of fun mail.
    That's ace!
    I think it's helpful to find out how much mail you receive because I had no idea. Until now.
    I don't take the info. as bragging. I think it's helpful for some of us to know if you even receive any mail.
    I think it's great to hear some good news these days.
    And I think it's fun to hear about it.

  11. Definitely not bragging, to be honest the curious side of me likes to see what other letter writes receive and send out. I think its a good idea to do a monthly tally.

  12. wow. Just wow.

    It's so cool that you take the time to write each of those people back!

    I had no idea you had a bigger than normal "needs response" pile. I had thought that maybe I might have said something that had bothered you, is all! That takes a load off!

    I'm just going to be glad to hear from you, whenever you can get to it!

    Liz B / Ontario Canada

  13. Post the incoming would be fun to see!