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Of A Year of Being Freshly Pressed

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A year ago on this day, I woke up to find hundreds of email updates on my phone, suggesting that while I was sleeping, my humble, little blog was being read by a LOT of people. I hadn’t considered that side of the situation, when I had been emailed by the higher-ups of WordPress a few days ago. I was just excited that the post of their choice – Of Of’s – would be up on the Freshly Pressed section, and I would be proud to see it, as I have had the opportunity to when I have been published a few times in newspapers and magazines. It never really occurred to me that hundreds of people will come around here, on blogging homeground, and be interested in some of the other fare on offer. I didn’t know that only few of them would stay, but stay for a surprisingly long time, even a year. So, before anything else, I’d just like to say – Thank You.

Let me step back and be a cold, hard analyst for a few moments now. Before being featured on Freshly Pressed, I didn’t really know what it entailed. I knew it was a sort of editor’s pick section, often picking posts on contemporary issues though other, more universal topics were also involved. It was only after getting featured and reading up on it did I realise it is a big deal to a lot of prolific bloggers. I use the word “prolific” vaguely to suggest bloggers who are interested in putting out original content, at least, weekly. A few bloggers have been featured more than once; many worthy of such attention never have. I don’t think even prolificity is a requirement to be “chosen”, because I have read Freshly Pressed posts by bloggers who often have a relatively high-profile professional life, and may write, very infrequently, about some aspect of it, which the editors consider to be readable material for the masses.

Whether you are a “big” or “small” blogger, and I was a very, very small one and still am, the only thing you can do about being featured is to have original, insightful content. You can’t really write like other bloggers who have been featured because it is what you have to offer uniquely, and as a whole, that will further your possibilities of being considered. Of course, this is only my assumption after blogging for almost a year and a half. I don’t know anything, as I often tell you.

I haven’t done much since being featured. I haven’t even bought my domain or made my blog more “attractive”. Most of all, I still don’t publicize on other social media. I have the automated publicize function for my twitter account, but people rarely visit that, including myself. I still do what I used to do when I began blogging with an appetite – write.

My featured post was a quirky little thing, a humorous, self-loathing take on the ‘Of‘ that is a preposition that, sort of, gets used here a lot. If I had the choice, I would have chosen one from so many other posts that deal with deep, serious things. I still feel, from time to time, that a certain post deserves more attention. Do I think it is Freshly Pressed worthy? I cannot say. I’ve never been featured again, but I am grateful for the purpose it served. It took a very small blog and brought it a regular readership. That is worth more to me than a post that gets especial attention.

There are so many things I want to do for this blog. I already have a rough manuscript for a book based on it, that I hope to publish before the year ends. I’ve been meaning to make a podcast on Shakespeare that would work on familiarizing people with reading Shakespeare in his own words. There are other, hazier goals, which mainly centre around two things – I want to use my personal resources more, no matter how much I maybe deficient in external ones. And, I want to use this platform to help people more, promote people with their various talents, as well as make it a place for people to find helpful resources for some of their various stresses. I don’t want to be too professional whilst doing either, because I really do not want to betray any sense of authority in all of it. Yes, this blog is of opinions, mainly mine, but my ideal for it is to be a place where people are encouraged to simply think about everyday things that affect them, without the various inhibiting factors that come in the way. I find that to be, generally, the best use of my time and my life.

Have you ever been featured on Freshly Pressed? If you haven’t been, is it important to you?

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

25 thoughts on “Of A Year of Being Freshly Pressed

  1. I used to be think I wanted to be Freshly Pressed. Now I just want to write better posts and if it should happen so be it. The closest I came was one post that had over 500 views on a single day (but very few comments). Last weeks post on the other hand has had about half those views in the week since it was published but I think has the most comments for anything I have written previously. I think I like that much better. It is also meaningful to me for the type of blog that I write that the artists I write about have a response of some sorts to it. Sometimes the best I get is a re-tweet or a half-hearted thanks, but sometimes I get genuine responses and admiration for what I have done. And that to me is much more valuable than seeing a massive spike and then a return to normal on views. I absolutely love that you foster other bloggers on here and have guest spots like the recent one from SourgirlOhio. More than anything though I like how you do this on your terms, including writing a post about it essentially! If I were to be featured I would probably be beaming, I won’t lie. But if it does not happen either I am not going to lament.

    1. Thank you! I’ve never written anything else that is “viral” other than my featured post. There are a few posts I have that are top search results, but that is mainly because they are very niche. Therefore, my stats have always been dismal, and I sort of like it that way. I don’t really want my blog to “blow up”. I don’t think I’d be able to handle it too well. I really make it a point to respond to comments, or any engagement I get from my readers. I feel I would lose the ability to do that well enough if there was too much attention. I know that sounds like a bit of a “humblebrag”, but I’m just being realistic.

      1. No I entirely get your point. Everything I have written about has been niche and surprisingly the more niche, the better my views are sometimes, along with a stroke of luck in getting the artist to share my post and maybe even comment on it themselves. My “viral” post was about an Irish band called Altan, who come from the county in Ireland my mom grew up in. So I think the whole Irish contingent really latched on to that one! It was amazing seeing those numbers grow every time I refreshed the page.Were that to blow up like you say and become a regular thing I don’t think I would handle it very well…unless I was generating money from it! I respond to every comment, except for the occasional cryptic comment that I don’t know what to do with that is inevitable online I suppose. But I agree that were I not able to have interaction and engagement with readers like you, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it as much

      2. I think getting money would make it worse. It would be a greater responsibility and “passion” wouldn’t be so much part of the mix then. Some bloggers have “donate” buttons, especially if they write on mental illness and want to support charities with that money. I don’t want to do that myself, because, for now, I believe in “free”, more public domain kind of help. I’ve been thinking about whether I should release my blog-book for free. It would ensure greater readership, but I’ve decided to go for making it “affordable” instead. Voracious readers are more likely to give new writers a shot, and that is more likely to happen if the books are cheaper. Free downloads are a wonderful thing, but not everyone is interested in going through the thousands of books they downloaded for free. Therefore, my take on this is, provide the thing, the “commodity”, which even free blogs are, but to people who really are interested in them. That maintains quality better.

      3. Oh I agree. My comment on the money is thinking about sites like Humans Of New York. The content is free, but it has exploded and thereby given its creator the ability to publish books of the same name, though it is still based on him walking the streets and talking to people like he has from the start. Were I able to do something like that, or at least use my blog as a springboard to doing something for work that I enjoyed it would be better. I think making your blog-book affordable is the best way to go for exactly the reasons you mention. Dump a bunch of free stuff on your kindle or computer, you lose track of it. Purchase it, and it becomes something more substantial. I think you are right on track with that decision.

      4. It would certainly help to raise some money writing about music! Yes, it is wonderful that crowdsourcing, in its various forms, makes it possible for funding such ventures. I thoroughly believe there is no magic formula to getting your blog somewhere. It all depends on finding like-minded people and providing something they may find of interest. Even something as basic as tagging can help you do that. The thing is, you have to ensure that the content matches up to the attention you seek. Some bloggers, especially youtubers, sort of let go and get complacent when they get “big”. It’s definitely an understandable idea if you decrease the output as you have to focus on other things. But, the standard of content should be the same.

      5. Now that I have been at this for two years I completely agree about there being no magic formula. Blogs that have really exploded are based on a certain amount of luck, as well as the tried and tested tagging, social media and word of mouth that we already tend to do. As well as the content matching up. Like you, my blog has evolved. Early on I had some ideas for possibly expanding this into something ‘bigger’ with ideas like doing a podcast or a mixed media art show. Though I have not given up on it necessarily, I know it is going to be a hard fought battle and I’m not entirely sure I want to do it to sacrifice that content. Now because I have a pretty steady following, I would prefer just doing what I have been doing, and the thought of having to sacrifice to make that happen does not appeal to me.

      6. I agree with all the criteria you list, but monetization/sponsorship, and getting to the level of having PR representation is what being a “big” blogger/vlogger means now. Without sponsors, it is rare to get consistent viewership. People don’t really “disclose” it, but that’s the way it is.

      7. And I could just see that kind of PR representation telling me to pick someone commercial to write about. You should write about Nicki Minaj or Taylor Swift. Thank you, no!!!

      8. Ha ha! To be honest, I don’t see them being interested in both yours and my type of content. Not in the next 5 or 10 years at least. That’s where a lot of PR people fail. When they make it so OBVIOUS. There are some who really do it very well. I’ve come across so many doing great work in mental health, and I wish I could be doing something like that myself. But, all sensitivity goes out of the window when anything “entertaining” is involved. It’s like they don’t even want to try. I personally wouldn’t mind writing about Minaj or Swift. I am open-minded about things like these, but I would very much mind if they tell me what I should write, and shouldn’t write. You can so easily see the lack of authenticity, especially in people who actually have talent and views of their own. I think that is the core problem in media culture – many of those who promote entertainment culture think the public aren’t bright enough to sort the fact from the fiction.

      9. Regardless of this conversation we are having that last sentence just summed up my views better than I could ever hope to. You are right it is the worst in the entertainment field. A band I respect enormously who have been plugging away for well over 30 years and are actually getting better ( I like their newer records way more than the older ones) said something interesting a few years ago. They have never approached having a hit, and they get very little notice in the mainstream press. They were on Jools Holland 2 or 3 years ago, and that may have been their first widely watched national spotlight. They said they don’t want a hit…but they wouldn’t mind something entering the charts, just to raise the profile a little bit. And I completely understand their point. 30 years as a group writing and performing their own material on their own terms with scores of fans who follow them passionately. Whereas the PR people think that the only means for success is to ‘get the big hit’ and seem to move on to the next thing pretty quickly when they realize trends have changed. Outside of the music though I have seen great work from other fields of blogging and I certainly applaud anyone writing about important issues like mental health and science.

      10. I have a slight problem with that. I don’t think all big hits are PR stunts, or even a more humbler product of exposure/opportunity. Some music on the charts just have that classic, and in the classical sense of the word, “awesome”, feel to them. “Bohemian Rhapsody” would have been a success even if it was a one-hit wonder by a no-name band. I think a better test for, let’s say, “quality” in pop music success is their longevity. If they have survived, if they still have fans or new listeners, then the music is worthy, even if there are people who never liked them. I understand it is important to recognise and appreciate obscure artists, and positively uncool to sympathise with the fall from success of popular ones, but even if we take this artform seriously, we have to remember it is a popular artform, and that works in ways that aren’t just commercial. You know why I feel this way about it, but I do hope you don’t get offended by my take on this.

      11. No, no offense taken, you raise good points. As I think I have said before I don’t loathe pop music, just more the way it is presented often times. I fully recognize why the songs are successful and the reason why is because they are good! At least until they become unavoidable 10 times a day and overplayed. Longevity in pop music is indeed a thing, and as each year goes by with Madonna still going strong, to use perhaps the most obvious example, my hat goes off to her. She has survived thousands of trends and wannabes and here she is, 30 plus years since she started. I genuinely admire her success.

      12. You make a very good point with how the current thing, or even for classic rock radio programmes, is promoted. People can always change the channel or station, or close tab or whatever. I genuinely have heard only one Miley Cyrus song, and I am a “young” person who should be better educated than that. Even though I actually liked the song “Wrecking Ball”, the phenomenon around her immediately made me wary of trying to know more. I didn’t mind that as a teenager. Every millionth time that a Beyonce video was played was fine by me. And that age group is really why “heavy rotation” is such a prevalent thing, despite there always being so many acts.

      13. I actually loved Britney Spears’ Toxic when it came out which was a total shocker for me to admit..still is lol. But I think you are right. Steering this back to your original post though and away from music, have you entertained thoughts of what might happen if your blog-book actually becomes ‘a hit’? Not beyond the realm of possibilities. Just like what you say about Freshly Pressed, what would your reaction be?

      14. It scares me, because it is quite personal. I don’t see it happening though. My Freshly Pressed reaction is actually modest compared to most Freshly Pressed posts, because the subject was neither profound nor universal. My main worry with the book, other than it being any good, is that I don’t want to be defined by the subject matter. Once you write about anxiety and depression (though there is a lot of variety in the book) people always see you through that lens. They think everything else you write or do is based on your pain, and what should help you cope with it, compounds it further. I really don’t want to be pigeonholed. I am very passionate about talking about it, not just in my own context, because I am very passionate about doing something about it. I hope that some of my writing is capable of being relatable to people who either read celebrity biographies or self-help books on the subject. The book isn’t “literary” per se, but then neither is my blog. I look at these writings as just conversations. Nothing artier than that.
        That’s why it’s taking so long to release it. The writing is done, the long list of essays are selected, but I am not sure of the tone to finally shortlist what makes the cut. And I have a ton of other things to do, so I haven’t had time for thinking about it. Let’s see what happens.

      15. That makes sense, and I didn’t ask to put more stress on you in assembling all of the elements you wish it to be. What you say makes complete sense about being pigeonholed, and I think even more so on those particular topics. It isn’t great advice but what I would say is, take a deep breath because it probably will happen some of the time that you get those sorts of reactions. But relish the times when it does not, and let that passion come out. That passion is why I leap at the chance to read your posts when I see it pop up on my email. You are one of the most passionate bloggers I have come across and I have no doubt because you think about these things so much that it will relate to everyone who has even the slightest interest in the topics. It will be great and saying this with zero added pressure on you, I can’t wait to see the moment you say you are done and can share it. And by the way, you may as well put me down for a copy now, whenever it comes out!

      16. Ha ha, thank you once again for the support! The passion is in large part supplied by pop music, or maybe it is the other way around. The old High Fidelity question – Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or am I miserable because I listen to pop music?

        With that, I must bid adieu. I really need to go sleep. Good night! And thanks again!

  2. I really appreciate you writing about your Freshly Pressed experience and where you are a year later. I remember when it happened to me feeling overwhelmed and thrilled by my increase in views, comments, reblogs and followers, feeling pressured to deliver to all these new folk, and then being disappointed when only a few stuck around. I realize now that is just the way it goes and like you am very appreciative of the ones who have chosen to stay and be a part of my community. Sounds like you are very clear on what you are here to do and grounded in your work. That said, congrats on being FPed!

    1. Thank you! I think I did read your FP post, probably when Broadblogs reblogged it.

      I went through the same cycle, so I guess it’s a common phenomenon! I had a hard time getting a regular readership for the five months that I had been blogging before that, so I did feel relieved to finally have one. But, I also expected that sort of attention to continue, or even grow now that my blog was “something”. So, it was disappointing, and it still is a struggle to some extent. You have to accept and work with what you have, don’t you?

    1. It is nice, isn’t it? For me, it made the whole experience rewarding and serious. Like what I had been doing for the past few months was worthwhile. I didn’t have any plans or serious goals about it, so it was nice to get appreciated.
      Thank you for reading!

  3. I have to admit that I don’t read the Freshly Pressed articles. I’ve had a fun run as a blogger finding good blogs to follow my own way. I know I’ve followed this blog for over a year and if I had to guess, I probably found you through a tag. I think Freshly Pressed is a great way to showcase bloggers that show promise, though there are many, many blogs out there that just don’t fit the format of a Freshly Pressed post.

    You have a great blog and seem to be able to maintain without heavy social media use, though I do occasionally tweet your posts because it’s a good way to find new followers and I am happy to share your content. I hope your Nano is going well! And I’m glad you’re still posting, I can’t seem to come up with anything to post, my head is stuck in Nano World!

    1. Thank you so much, Sourgirl! I am amazed and very grateful at the handful of readers I have got, like you, who’ve stuck with me for over a year. I would have gotten bored of myself if I was someone else!

      As for NaNo, I am thinking about it more in terms of a weekly thing. My story is of the meandering variety, and so I don’t have to worry too much about the plot. I have given myself full permission to write trash, so I hope that will make 50k easier to achieve! I can do that, and then see if there is anything worthwhile in what I wrote afterwards. That’s my “strategy” anyway.

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