Menu

What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: How I Deal With Things

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

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?”

On The Daily Post, we’ll take a close look at one post and why we thought it was Press-worthy to provide insight into the process and give you tips and tools to make your blog the best it can be.

_______________________________________________

Anyway, Miss Anna, that’s our teacher, she got really angry when she heard the firework sounds. Popping noises, that’s how I heard other people talk about it. Popping sounds. So when she heard them, she got angry. And she told us all to be very quiet, but she didn’t yell it, like she sometimes does. I don’t know why, but we all did.

All kinds of creators use WordPress.com to showcase their work — artists, photographers, cooks, poets, musicians. We’re home to plenty of fiction writers as well, as a quick look through the Fiction or Flash Fiction topics will tell you, and we try to make sure they’re represented on Freshly Pressed, too.

We found Ignorant’s short story “How I Deal With Things” while reading through the excellent commentary y’all are publishing on last month’s Newtown shooting. Her decision to describe the experience through the eyes of a child, perfectly punctuated with a stark photo of an empty classroom, hit us viscerally. We featured the story on Freshly Pressed, hoping it would provide a different kind of space for people to process their reactions — and judging by the hundreds of Likes and comments, we were right. Here’s what drew us in:

It was timely.

“How I Deal With Things” hooked into a story that was already on everyone’s minds (and given the scope of the tragedy, not just in the US). Along with providing an angle that traditional news and analysis doesn’t, it opened the door for people who don’t ordinarily turn to the blogosphere for fiction by giving them a story for which they already had context.

It highlighted a different perspective.

How many of us thought, “My god, what if that had been my child/nephew/little sister? What would I do?” when we heard the news? But how many of us stopped to think about the lived experience of the children who survived — the fear and confusion, the lasting scars, but also the understanding and insight? This story jolted us to a stop, made us consider a different perspective, and brought home the enduring nature of tragedies like this one.

It captured a child’s voice.

“How I Deal With Things” wouldn’t have worked as a piece of fiction if the narrator’s voice hadn’t felt real. From the run-on sentences to the (seemingly) non-sequitur asides to the description of gunshots as “fireworks,” we felt like we were reading a child’s account and not a piece of fiction — mission accomplished.

What did you think of “How I Deal With Things”? Will you start looking for more fiction on your travels through the Reader?

Show Comments

34 Comments

Comments are closed.

Close Comments

Comments

  1. Hi, I just wanted to know do you look for specific tags when deciding what to press or do you literally read through thousands of blogs to find one that is good enough? I have always wondered how it works. Thanks.

    Like

    1. We browse the Reader to find great posts, just like you do. There are several editors on the lookout, and we all scan different topics depending on what’s going on in the world, what topics have/have not been featured recently, what we’re interested in, and what we think the community will dig. There’s no specific tag that brings a post to our attention.

      Like

  2. From a ‘child’s perspective’ seems appropriate considering we see so many angles and perspectives through the adults involved in these tragedies, when reported. However, children are what they learn at home, and their perspective on things (tragedies or not) can mirror, or reflect what they view through the eyes of a parent or adult who has the greatest influence in their life. Some children may handle the crisis better, or view it differently than another child.

    Like

  3. how do we know if we have been freshly pressed? other than going back through all of the categories. do you let us know or do we get lucky and someone points it out

    Like

    1. I agree, it did nothing for me either. The lay out with long unbroken paragraphs switched me off too. But, there again, I rarely like freshly pressed posts either. However, two of the blogs I read have been FP’ed so that is a good result. I don’t know which posts they got it for though, just saw the sticker came up on their blogs.

      And while I’m not American, I did write about Newtown, because in the UK we have had mass shootings, and so has Australia (where I once lived). Both countries changed their gun laws, and that was the aspect I found interesting.

      Like

    2. I didn’t read the piece — and most likely won’t — but it was interesting to understand how posts get picked for Freshly Pressed. I don’t often like the articles in Freshly Pressed. Considering that I write mostly about technology and photography I doubt any of my articles will end up being “pressed”.

      Like

    3. That is true! I don’t agree with most of what Fresh Pressed likes either. I guess that’s when we have to remember why we write – whether it’s just for the love of the craft, or to write to other’s standards and to win their approval. I know why I write – and it’s not to mould myself to someone else’s opinion of what’s good writing :)

      Like

      1. Agree. It never matters if my work is pressed; however, when I go to Freshly Pressed, I expect something exceptional. I am disapointed often enough that I don’t look there much these days.

        Like

  4. I am a bit conflicted about trying to “tailor” a post to fit the Freshly Pressed mold. Sure, the notice by other bloggers is what many clamor to see, but what if it changes our voice? I mean, woundn’t it mean more to be Freshly Pressed while using the tools you have developed your entire writing life?

    Like

      1. lensaddiction, don’t be so sure! We feature all kinds of blogs, including photoblogs, and we don’t think a post has to be controversial to be interesting and worth sharing.

        Like

      2. I got a similar reply to my original post, but my point remains the same, that the majority of posts that get held up and used as examples for FP *are* controversial in some way or another.

        Like

    1. You should never tailor a post to fit Freshly Pressed — your blog should have your voice. We offer this analysis not to suggest that you should follow the featured blogger’s suit, but simply to highlight the things that stand out to us, and hopefully to inspire.

      Like

      1. I mean no offense, I just know how sometimes the lure of readers can be an incentive to try to chase the “high”. We need to guard our individuality and write what comes from inside. Let those who are curious find us and follow if they so choose. Don’t get me wrong, I do read Freshly Pressed, because even if you select all the topics you like in Reader you can never see everyone’s posts. FP gives another layer to the experience.

        Like

      2. I appreciate the variety of topics you publish under FP. That is exactly why I go there to read others’ blogs. They encourage me to think outside my own style of writing or topics that I am naturally drawn towards.

        Like

    2. **@Joe Owens I totally agree. I can’t see writing to “fit” any mold except my own free-flow..Honestly, the blog pages I’m drawn to here ARE the ones that I feel are written with sincerity as well as depth. Pretty much the same things I’m drawn to offline..I do sometimes browse through the freshly pressed blogs to see if there is anything of interest..But that is because I’m an avid reader not someone trying to mimic them so I’ll get FP’ed. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Stay UPlifted ya’ll :)

      Like

      1. I am sure my small diatribe was frowned upon by the establishment, but Ilikely was voicing a concern held by many. It seems a little elitist in that “if you fit our mold” we will promote you across our site. Sure I would like 1,000 views for a post, but I want it on merit, not because of interference from the system.

        Like

  5. I’ve read things and learned and thought about things I never would have in my pre-blogging days. I’ve appreciated the highlighted blogs on Freshly Pressed and check in daily. Thanks for that feature!

    Like

  6. I am always fascinated by your choices, subjective they may be (well, subjectivity is a privilege), but I subscribe in the way you justify your choices. I agree too that one should never tailor a post to fit Freshly Pressed. FP Editors have to be dynamic also in their choices, otherwise, what boring choices could there be if they present us with one and the same story features all throughout. Bottomline is, there is always the biggest human interest in freshly pressed posts.

    We just have to write down our thoughts very well on significant topics and highlight the things that stand out in the story.

    Congratulations to the lucky pick.

    Like