The Editor is amazed at quite how quickly time flies. Is it really three years?
One most inclement evening in February 2014 two of my principals convened in the snug of a South London hostelry. The webpages of Driven to Write went ‘live’ that day, meaning the public were free to peruse its content. Sean and Eóin had already stocked the site with pieces written over several previous weeks. Now it could be seen. Think of it like opening a new restaurant. Would customers come? Would they want what was on offer? Had the toilets been cleaned?
As Sean and Eóin toasted the moment, they had no real idea what it would amount to, but did suspect that there existed other motoring enthusiasts who also felt increasingly ill-served by traditional media that seemed to communicate ever-more in shorter articles of ever-increasing vapidity.
- Listicles: The Ten Reasons To Buy A 911!
- Exclamation Points!! Why You Need Them!!!!
- Hyperbole: “How the new M3 rewrites the rulebook!!”
Throughout their exploratory discussions, the founders appeared to have been kidnapped by a half-formed phrase repeated in the manner of a Puccini (or Lloyd-Webber) chorus: the impenetrable ‘if we build it, they will come’.
Well, despite my own scepticism (based on seven decades of freelance work, for which I have invoiced) their faith appears to be justified. Three years on from that dark and stormy evening in Streatham, a more detailed picture has emerged as to the manner of edifice that has been created. From a slow start over the early months, readership has grown steadily and, in 2016, the number of visitors doubled over the previous year. If we were a provincial art gallery we would be overjoyed with such traffic. And if we had charged just 1p a view, I could have paid off my wine merchant.
What also heartens, especially in view of the tendency towards a degree of parochialism presently noticeable in DTW’s de facto home country, are the many lands from which our readership originate. Driven to Write has readers 36 hours a day: from midnight in New Zealand to midnight on the Western coast of North America. You never sleep. It seems that we don’t either.
In terms of popularity you, the readers, are as hard to predict as is our choice of daily subject matter. The top ranked article of 2016, by some margin, was Richard’s retrospective piece on the Peugeot 406 (I was reluctant to run it, frankly) and it also appears that our readership is particularly fascinated by the Citroën Cactus, the Lancia Thesis, the next (!) Opel Senator, as well as by the 1991 Fiat Tipo and the names of Hyundai’s colour range (all articles I also resisted vehemently as trivial or irrelevant). If nothing else, this suggests a readership with reasonably arcane automotive tastes, which I suppose shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise at this point.
But while we might slap each other’s editorial backs for the steady increase in readership – not very straightforward given our respective geographical locations – we owe any success that we have to you, our highly literate, informed and engaged readers. Thank you for responding so positively to what Driven to Write is offering, whether commenting or, in some cases, contributing full articles. And for those of you who just view us without commenting, thank you for doing so and we hope that, one day, we might hear from you.