Menu

What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured in Freshly Pressed. And every day, many more wonder, “What do…

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured in Freshly Pressed. And every day, many more wonder, “What do I have to do to get Freshly Pressed?”

Well, it’s time to reveal what the folks who push the launch button are thinking. Each week, we’ll take a close look at one post and why we thought it was Press-worthy. We hope we can provide insight into the process and give you tips and tools to make your blog the best it can be.
____________________________________________

Many Freshly Pressed picks make us laugh, introduce us to new ideas, or provoke conversations. After all, one reason for having Freshly Pressed at all is to inspire everyone to blog more, so we’re drawn to posts that will stimulate discussion.

Sometimes, though, a post slices through the din of the blogosphere on the strength of raw emotion. When we run across those posts, we share them for three reasons:

  1. There is power in the words used to so bluntly describe a painful experience.
  2. We know that the WordPress.com community will respond with support.
  3. Sharing the post might help some else facing a similar situation feel less alone.

That’s why we recently featured There Is a Light That Never Goes Out, from new blog Charlie’s Other Angel. Two things about this post forced us to stop in our tracks:

The opening line made us sit up and take notice.

It’s not often that you click over to a blog and are confronted with:

My ex-husband died tonight.

There was no cute story gently introducing the topic, no collage of family photos, no loving words about the deceased; just four simple words landing on our screens with a thud. “My ex-husband died tonight.”

Those words tell us what the post will be about in more ways than one. Yes, it will be a post about a serious loss. And it will be straightforward and unforgiving. There will be no scrim softening the line between the experience and the post—this blogger is going to lay things bare. This will not be an easy post to read, and if this topic is a trigger for you, now might be a good time to leave.

She pulled no punches.

True to her opening line, she was honest about her ex-husband, their relationship, and herself.

Because, over the 22 years I’ve known my ex, it hasn’t been easy.  It was often fun.  I laughed and cried and laughed some more.  I got cancer.  I attended a lot of Al-anon meetings.  I wished his death on at least one major occasion, and luckily God knew me better than that weakness of character and said No…

I am so sad.  And not just for our boys — though most especially for our boys.  Sad at what might have been for this sweet man.  Sad that he hadn’t been able to kick the demons.  Sad that it took his final month to bring us all back together, so close.

This is not a storybook memorial to a prince charming. It’s a real-life look at the flexibility and resilience of the ties that bind family members, even those from whom we think we’re unfettered. Ultimately, it’s the story of a woman who was able to knot off one of those ties in a way that brought her peace, and the redemption of a man ultimately bested by his addiction.

Blogging can be a scary activity when we’re publishing something lighthearted; there are always elements of fear and uncertainty when we release our words into the wild. To write so openly and eloquently about such a deeply personal experience takes another level of bravery, one that we’re moved to acknowledge.

Charlie’s Other Angel is off to an incredible start with this post—will you stick around to read more?

Show Comments

78 Comments

Comments are closed.

Close Comments

Comments

  1. Yep. That is a devastating opening line. I came to THIS story because someone tipped me off that I had been Freshly Pressed yesterday. Having no idea what that meant, I checked my site this AM to see that I had well over 500 views yesterday. Not sure why THAT had happened, I found this story about exactly that process conveniently at the top of the charts.

    So thank you, and both congratulations and my condolences to Charlies Other Angel.

  2. Please read my HELP article and offer me some way to talk to WordPress and fix my publishing problem. I love writing for WordPress, it is therapeutic and refreshing. I have been chosen for freshly pressed-a great honor. But I can do nothing when I cannot get the PUBLISH button (Green on my screen) to allow me to publish. Once in a great while, I get through by publishing without tags, titles, etc and then going back and editing my article. Even this is not working well now, especially on photographs. Please help me find out what has happened to my WordPress site!

    1. We definitely want to get your publishing again as soon as possible! I’ve sent you an email to get things going; please respond directly to that, and we’ll figure out what the problem is.

  3. I read that post and was very moved on many levels. Well deserving of FP and yes, I will stick around as well!!! Great post today!!

  4. Very emotional intro here! I can’t wait to check it out. It arouses strong feelings of emotion. I already feel like giving encouragement to someone I know nothing about. Thanks for selecting this piece. I’m off to see for myself!

    1. Judging by the archives on your page, you’ve been up since about March. Just hang in there! I’ve heard it said that it takes about a year to gain a really good readership. Here’s a few quick tips for a attention on your blogs-

      1. Good writing (a given, and the glance I saw on yours looked good. I’ll check back in later. )
      2. Approachability (an invite to comment, interacting with your current readers, replying to their comments, etc)
      3. Reaching out (interacting with the community, commenting on other blogs, checking out the blogs of your followers…)

      These are just a few tips. It takes a while to get it all down, so don’t worry! My blog itself is fairly new, but I’ve been working in the online content business for a few years, so I know how the business goes. It takes a while to get established! :)

    1. Just keep doing what you’re doing here–be an active part of the community. Engaging with others will always be the best way to move them to engage with you.

  5. i am so glad i found this on freshly pressed. i cried more than once. i can relate to the loss. i can relate to living with the struggle of alcoholism and the ongoing grieving process it brings with it.

    it’s truly inspiring to see someone be so honest with their emotions.

  6. My blog was a guest blog about a charity that has been only going for 3 months and is already international. The charity is set up to help people who have gone through Domestic Violence. I believe this should be shouted from the roof top.

  7. Good to know how to be Freshly Press-able, im thinking of a few stories i could use to make my post more enticing and make an impact. Thanks for the insights i may try to get a post Freshly press able

  8. I read this blog the other day and was equally moved by it. Some amazing writing and a wise choice on your part. A good example of what good writing is and what I aspire to accomplish with my own blog. xo

  9. Some of us wonder why we’ve never been Freshly Pressed a lot. We’ve even been tempted to beg. But then again, it’s important to be reminded that others sometimes deserve the honor more than we do, and Charlie’s Other Angel was most deserving of the Freshly Pressed honor.

  10. A very poignant and heart-wrenching post. My ex and I have known each other since grade school We were there for 34 years through which we lost a son toward the end. The pain of that loss colored every other thing and was a dark reminder every time we looked into each other’s eyes. At the end of the day, there wasn’t enough to keep us together. I will follow her blog and thank you for sharing her with us.

  11. I read that post because I saw it on freshly pressed and am looking forward to more posts from the writer. I always enjoy the variety of blog’s featured, it’s good to read things I wouldn’t necessarily seek out and read myself. I have been introduced to some great blog’s this way.

  12. I usually dip into the freshly pressed blogs to see what our community is up to and I did read and like ‘there is a light that never goes out.’. I don’t have an ‘ex’ but I can relate. That’s the thing about other people’s articles. Somewhere, on the other side of the world, somebody is saying the very thing you’ve always said, or saying something that gives you pause for thought. I say our community because when I began blogging, I was ‘a stranger in a strange land’. Now I am beginning to recognise some of the people who reply to the various articles I read. I sometimes visit them. When I began blogging I analysed to death the why of freshly pressed, now I just dip in and enjoy. (This doesn’t mean I don’t want to be fp one day.)

  13. I can say personally, I often shy away from talking about personal topics on my blog. I know part of healing is sharing, and I’m glad this woman found a place to do that. Watching someone destroy themselves, and knowing that you have to step away, isn’t easy.

  14. This is pretty cool. It’s not easy to write from the heart, to put your emotions into words. But when you find someone that can do that… well, I’d stick around. :) Well done.

  15. “Light That Never Goes Out” is an exceptional post. And your explanation of why it stands out is right on, Michelle. Nothing beats clear, crisp writing from the heart.

    Will I read more of this blog? Good question. One good post does not make a good blog, but the writer is off to a great start.

  16. Thanks for the great tips – as a recent new blogger I am still finding my way around, but loving every blogging minute! I wholeheartedly agree with the comment “write because you love it – not to get Freshly Pressed.

    1. well done. i imagine this post will definitely get you freshly pressed. i know that if i was in control and read this i would bump it to the top of the pile. the whole genre of “amazing shit” feels like one that has yet to be tapped and to know that someone out there has been doing it for 285 without notice…well, i am heading straight to the shed and getting my pitchfork and flaming torch and if someone can just point me towards the FP headquarters a statement WILL be made…

  17. This one was a good choice – well written, told a poignant story. Many people could identify with this. I felt myself reliving my own mother’s death and how I felt writing about it, although the circumstances of her death were not the same, I felt as if I was back at the bedside watching my father die after a tragic accident, something I’ve never been able to write about.

    Although this was a wonderful post, which I actually missed when it was FP’d, I doubt I’ll take on following another blog.

  18. Interesting post on what makes a piece press-able. In the end, I still think it’s all subjective though. Many seem to fawn over certain writing which I’d find utterly boring. Similarly, some of the stories I read are intriguing but others feel differently.

    I do agree with blogging about some new idea to generate discussion, though. Perhaps if I wrote out all that happens in my mind (before my own censoring), people would be intrigued by what I write. Who knows? Juggling between what you truly want to say and what you end up saying given that you know you’re somehow writing for an audience, is not easy. We all want to be heard, but when we write for an audience, somehow, our own unique voices are muffled, so what people read is not a true reflection of the writer but an alternate persona the writer has impressed upon others just so his or her work will be read.

    So, what does all this suggest? That I’m in a moment of deep, deep thought lol.

    1. Part of the beauty of blogging is that you don’t have to persuade an editor that your words are publishable. You get to decide what’s worth putting out there, so there’s less of a need to tamp down your personality. And that’s what people are going to respond to, anyway, so you may as well go for it! Artifice can still come through on a screen.

      1. Ha! I was just going to say that. Anyone who’s written for a news organization knows that an editor is your worst nightmare. (But a good editor often keeps sloppy writers from making fools of themselves.) You quickly learn not take the editing personally. It comes with the territory. A writer, like an actor, needs to be able to respect the audience, even suffer for the audience, but still speak and act as fearlessly as if no one’s watching.

  19. I Love the witty title, There is a light that never goes out. Why I love it? Because it’s true. Sometimes the light just waits for the perfect time to gloriously shine until you do something about it. Everything that we do creates the perfect atmosphere to share our own successes, problems, and all human emotions but sometimes it is us who fears to be brought out in the light due to our own fears. Thank you for this post. The title led me to you. :)

  20. Agreed, great post, very moving and real. I really appreciate your frankness about how scary it is to blog. I thought it was just me being insecure! You just never know how people will regard what you say. Thanks :)

  21. Sometimes, albeit rarely, life is simply black and white and things need to be said as such. Just laid out as they are. A touching post indeed.