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What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: The Lost Shift Dress in My Closet’s Abyss

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured in Freshly Pressed. Each week, we take a close look at…

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured in Freshly Pressed. Each week, we take a close look at one post and why we thought it was Press-worthy.
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This week, let’s zoom in on a post called “The Lost Shift Dress in My Closet’s Abyss” from Lady T’s blog, Breaking the Contract. Lady T has struggled with a shopping problem for over a decade, and she wants to cut down on her unnecessary spending. She started Breaking the Contract to document this journey.

In addition to its intriguing title, I’ve chosen the post for several reasons:

We immediately enter a scene

Cheater!!” Mr. ET shouted, as I emerged into the living room.

Photo courtesy of Cheri Lucas

Photo courtesy of Cheri Lucas

The best piece of advice I received from a screenwriting professor? “Enter a scene late and exit the scene early.” Lady T’s opening reminds me of my teacher’s words, and I love how it reads like the first line of a chapter in a novel — she drops me right in the middle of something. In the dialogue between her and Mr. ET, we learn a lot about her, and the conversation sets up the rest of the post, which discusses her shopping habit, our culture’s tendency to consume, and the paradox of choice.

While it may not always be appropriate for your topic, crafting a scene adds a dimension to your writing — you can use a scene (and dialogue) to organically introduce an idea and breathe life into your post. (Remember when your elementary teacher asked you to “show, don’t tell?” Here, Lady T uses this opening scene to reveal more about her.)

She strengthens a personal story with relevant research

Lady T writes about her shift dress and other belongings in her closet, and then seamlessly transitions into a discussion about choice — and the psychology behind it:

When the closet was full, I was left with no choice, always choosing among the first few items on the rack. Everything else was out of sight. According to research, the same order effect influences whom you vote for at the ballot box. Studies found that in one out of every 10 elections, the first name on the ballot will win just because it’s first. They also calculated that being in the middle of the list lowers your chance of winning. Ouch! Another reason my elephant dress wasn’t a first pick.

Photo courtesy of Cheri Lucas

Photo courtesy of Cheri Lucas

It can be challenging to shift between a personal or narrative mode and a more journalistic one supported by research, but Lady T does this successfully. She also links to outside sources to back her facts up, yet doesn’t go overboard — for example, the research and ideas about order effect and the abundance of choice complement her own story and illustrate her thought process to understand her behavior.

Note, however, that cited research may not always be appropriate in your posts. But if you decide to sprinkle in research, be sure it’s relevant and grounds your discussion. It’s also evident that Lady T is passionate about what she reads, and it makes for a cohesive, interesting post.

The post is representative of her blog — and contributes to the larger conversation she’s created

I also chose this post because it’s a piece within a puzzle — a part of her journey and yet another opportunity to further her understanding of her shopping behavior, which is the blog’s focus. Of course, every post you write on your own blog doesn’t have to align thematically with or contribute to your overarching narrative. But in Lady T’s case, it certainly adds to the overall conversation she has with her readers, and that’s a nice extra for a single post to have.

What did you think of this Freshly Pressed pick? Will you follow Breaking the Contract? Share your thoughts in the comments.

30 Comments

  1. Impulsiveness on almost anything we like seems to be always there whenever we have the means. And Lady T’s steadfastness at taming her shopping behavior is one story she wrote and presenting it to the readers is another story – the better and more beautiful story.

  2. Thanks for offering such an elaborate insight into different aspects of a blog post that from your perspective make is appealing. I always try to narrate my story about being an immigrant and travelers from a perspective that is more universal, relatable and informative.

    My question is – there must be thousands of new entries daily, tons of them I bet are worthy of interest. How do search and find the truly good ones?

    1. We search topic pages in the Reader each day, and I follow lots of blogs to keep my eye on them, too. You’re absolutely right — there are so, so many posts published each day!

  3. I aspire to, one day, be Freshly Pressed. I am unconventional, though. I don’t usually follow the “ought-to’s” and “should’s” of writing. I write what I write. When I write for school or work, it’s very formal: no contractions, no slang. My blog? It’s written how I think, complete with interrupting my own thoughts with tangents, silly phrases, name-calling, and contractions galore. Overall, I fancy myself a pretty good writer, even if I am my biggest– and only- fan.

    1. If the “shoulds” and the “ought-tos” are plural, you have made them look possessive by inserting the appostrophe before the s. Even good writers sometimes make new grammar rules, apparently. Better to look up rules rather than to post “iffies.”

      1. @Mariam Pineno: Good writers — heck, all writers — make mistakes. I have issues with that pesky apostrophe, too. But that’s why we’re all here, isn’t it? To be around a community of creators that help us improve, each and every day.

      2. II write from my studies of Theology and Biblical Studies degree, the King James Version only. I don’t know if anyone can edit my books or writings. The Church has also been divisive about the Bible. That is why there are so many denominations. And now, you can choose the Bible you prefer, and what it says that you agree with.

  4. I like the ideas of opening with a scene, sprinkling in relative research, and contributing to the ongoing, overarching narrative/ conversation with readers. Essentially, readers tune in to be entertained and informed. Solid writing is a starting point, but these tips are valuable. I’ll work them into my next post. Thanks!

  5. Question: How do you configure the settings to make it so that when subscribers receive an email about the post, they only get the first few sentences in their inbox, and have to click on the “read more of this post” link in order to see the entire entry?

  6. Thank you, Cheri for choosing my piece!! I am overwhelmed and humbled to have been selected to be freshly pressed. I wanted to add that having someone proof read is extremely important, for my process at least. Mr. ET. patiently and graciously proof reads all my entries and then I read them out loud a few more times, to catch any typos, weird sentence structures or points that are simply unclear.

    Thank you again and I do hope to continue to be of interest while also entertaining :)

  7. I would like to read why you choose one post over another contrasting many. What genre you prefer and outright reject. I enjoyed your analyses of this post explaining why you chose it. Do your choices fill intrinsic need to be met? Is this, without discounting the post, your choice because it is a human interest story?

    1. If you look back at the posts we’ve highlighted in our Freshly Press-able series, you’ll see a mix: from this post on curbing one’s shopping behavior, to a clever piece on online storytelling, to the process of blogging, to food and photo essay posts, to education, to humorous and lighter stuff.

      We love wit. We’ll consider something on spirituality, or something more abstract, certainly. We just may not have stumbled upon it just yet!

  8. This was great to read about Lady T’s post as I already follow her and had already read this post and loved it too! Congrats to Lady T for being freshly pressed and to her on her journey…

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