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What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able? The Body Pacifist

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

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

Here on The Daily Post, we take a close look at posts that have been Freshly Pressed and explore why they were Press-worthy. We hope this series provides insight into the process and offers tips and tools to make your blog the best it can be.

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Recently, we promoted “The Recovery Slinky: Coping with Weight Gain” to Freshly Pressed. We were struck by the way Allison at The Body Pacifist wrote about her experience with weight gain after anorexia. Here’s why we liked the post:

We appreciate the writer’s honesty and attitude

As readers, we’re often attracted to writers to whom we relate, as well as those with whom we sympathize. We appreciate Allison’s tone throughout this piece — she is frank and admits she doesn’t have all the answers:

The point is, this all has to do with physical recovery. Mental recovery, as I’m learning, takes a lot more elbow grease, and is infinitely harder to pin down.

We like how her post, ultimately, is an open dialogue she has both with herself and us; she asks a lot of questions, which encourages her readers to join the conversation: How do I maintain this new healthy weight? I think I’ve forgotten how to “maintain” like a normal person. We appreciate her attitude and willingness to work through this process, and to learn as she goes.

A bit later, she writes:

I think it’s going to take this fear and pain to arrive at the place I so desperately want to be.

Her musings and questions really drive the post — one of the strengths is, in fact, her uncertainty — and honesty surrounding it.

An appropriate metaphor unifies the piece

The blogger at The Body Pacifist compares her weight gain to a Slinky making its way down a staircase:

Weight gain, for me at least, is like taking a Slinky and putting it at the top of the stairs. All it needs was a little push, a little push that felt more like leaping out of an airplane without a parachute and hoping everything would work out all right. After the first push, the Slinky begins walking down step after step on its own, getting closer and closer to that goal weight at the bottom. Thing is, though, my recovery Slinky decided it would be a good idea to turn the corner, pass the landing, and start heading down the second flight.

SlinkyMetaphors don’t work in all of our posts — they may seem contrived if not chosen carefully. I don’t think of a metaphor after I write something — this type of comparison should emerge naturally, as I think about an idea or am in the midst of creation. Here, the Slinky imagery is natural and fitting: the writer takes this floppy toy from childhood and compares its awkward movement down a staircase to her weight gain process.

She even circles back to the Slinky as she closes out her post:

And I’ll keep working until I get there, one flop of the Slinky down the staircase at a time.

Her conclusion plays on the imagery that’s already planted in our minds, and this final thought unifies the entire post.

(If you’d like to refer to another example of a post that successfully uses a metaphor, check out this Freshly Pressed post on education that we featured last fall.)

Her use of repetition was especially effective

Our favorite writers are masters of the craft — some of them play with words and the arrangement of words to create a desired effect. Allison uses repetition to emphasize her points in a creative way. In the second paragraph, she starts a number of sentences in a row with “I couldn’t,” which adds a nice rhythm:

I couldn’t give blood. I couldn’t go out in public without a sweater, since the least amount of air conditioning left me freezing. I couldn’t experience one of the most basic signs of womanhood: my menstrual cycle.

This repetition of “I couldn’t” emphasizes how her weight has affected her life. She uses repetition again in the second-to-last paragraph, this time reusing the phrase “that place” — that place where she so desperately wants to be:

That place where I can go out to eat with my friends and family and never worry about the calories in the meal or what other people are thinking of what I eat. That place where I exercise because it makes me feel strong and powerful, not out of fear or guilt. That place where I am me, and my eating disorder is closed in the pages of a journal that I will never open again, not even for the nostalgia.

When writing your own posts, think about the main ideas you want to share with your readers — the themes you’re interested in, the images you want to create in their minds. Look at your post draft: are there opportunities to experiment with the arrangements of words in your sentences?

Type short sentences. Type long sentences. Type sentences and read the words aloud as you go. See if you can create a rhythm to make your post sing.

Did you enjoy this Freshly Pressed post for different reasons? Let us know in the comments.

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    1. I think blogging and being part of a larger community on the web — whether it’s WordPress.com or Tumblr or Twitter, etc. — is about creating content, but there’s more to it, and your question is a good one. We try to offer tools and tips to go that extra step — to get our work out there and connect with others. We revamped our Learn site to offer more detailed advice on this at “Get Connected.”

      Engaging with others who share and pique your interests is one of the main things I think about when writing on my own blog — ultimately, that’s the “audience” I want to notice my ideas, and that’s the group that adds real, organic value.

      1. I am relatively new at blogging and primarily use it as a reminder to write… ironically, I don’t get to it very often, but I started my blog to get candid feedback from other writers… not to get freshly pressed. I think its like you said, blogging is about making connections with a community of people who share similar interests. When you join the conversation for the sake of joining it, your writing will get noticed…. I say this after being freshly pressed, which was simply a bonus to the opportunities I had to read and write within a community.

    1. Hey @Midlifemusingsblog — we have an editorial team that selects posts for Freshly Pressed, which we find in the WordPress.com Reader — in our “Blogs I Follow” feeds, various topics pages, custom topics we’ve created, etc. Other Automatticians also contribute from time to time.

      1. Hi Cheri,

        I apologize in advance for taking your post in a direction which you may not have intended.

        I’m just wondering if my blog is out of place here at WordPress because my main priority is to feature my own short documentaries. My visual content varies since I do profiles of people with various passions for doing some thing.

        It would be very nice to be able locate other blogs that post documentary videos. There isn’t a category in the reader for that. I’ve used the tag “short doc” and nobody else has used that, so there is no way anyone will find mine.

        Aside: it’s disappointing to work extremely hard on “content” and then have nobody see it. I am working very hard to visit other blogs in order to share mine, but I feel that WordPress could help by providing more direct access.

        If that isn’t a priority, please let me know.

        Respectfully submitted,

        kristinshermanolnes.com

      2. Hi Kristin — there’s a documentary topic page (in fact, you can search for any topic that’s not listed in the popular topics cloud by entering it in the field at the top right of the Topics page). But you’re right — there’s not as much original video content, created by WP.com users, as there is other content.

        I’d say you can experiment a bit more with topics — you may find stuff under multimedia. Video often brings up embedded videos from YouTube, I’m afraid. Your videos have an educational angle, so connecting not simply with other video bloggers but rather those who appreciate learning and tutorials via video and multimedia storytelling would also be interesting to try.

        …it’s disappointing to work extremely hard on “content” and then have nobody see it.

        We try to offer other tools and tips to go that extra step — to get work out there and connect with others. We revamped our Learn site to offer more detailed advice on this at “Get Connected.” Using other tools like Publicize to get your stuff out on social media networks is a boost, too.

      3. Thank you so much Cheri for your feedback. I like your tips. It really put it all into perspective when you shared that there are up to a million WordPress blogs. That’s incredible! I don’t know how WP staff keeps up with all this on top of the personal things I bet you all do.

        I have to say that the job you all due to provide advice and community is well done. I have been at Blogger for three years and the services provided for free at WordPress are exceptional (mean that).

  1. The Body Pacifist pinned down the when and why and how of workout nag.

    Nope I don’t have an answer for her wondering how to get to that place of grace.

    But now, I have the question!

    A question wroth it’s weight in perspective.

  2. We really enjoy the Freshly Pressed selections and found this article to be helpful. We are new to blogging and embarking on a round the world adventure so tips like this are very helpful as is a service like Freshly Pressed. We’re learning that sometimes blogging can be a lonely process without much feedback for all the heart that’s poured into it and other times it’s amazing that our mere words and photos can touch people all around the world! We will keep following and learning.

    1. We are too! (a world charity tandem tricycle ride!!) – we join you in the ‘new to blogging’ and the ‘world trip’ :-) maybe we can morally support each other in the absence of fresh eyes (and freshly pressed) for our blurbs?!

  3. Those suffering from eating disorders seldom get the empathy they need and deserve (especially from themselves). This is a fantastic window into the mind of a person struggling with and conquering this illness. Anorexia seems to elicit so much attention but so little compassion. Thank you The Body Pacifist and WordPress for sharing this story.

  4. Thank you for this post. I just recently ‘returned’ to WordPress with my blog, Gathering Flavors, and just started following the Daily Post. I like seeing a post that comes from the heart, as did this post by the Body Pacifist. And I liked your thoughtful analysis of it….but my favorite bit of advice came at the very end: ‘create a rhythm to make your post sing’. This could be my new mantra!

  5. I am enjoying reading these posts about writing Press-worthy content–because I have been curious how it all works. But after 2.5 hopeful years of writing on WordPress, I have decided to let the Freshly Press dream go….actually I let it go when I ended my first blog (steppingmywaytobliss.wordpress.com) and started my current one. I think it is great that WordPress has this feature for their writers and I have seen it really boost the ratings and readership of many worthy blogs. Yet, it’s an unlikely accolade in my future. So, I “press” on with my writing and focus on the joy of writing and, hopefully, pleasing my readers in the process.

    1. Hi @VintageFrenchChic — thanks for the note.

      So, I “press” on with my writing and focus on the joy of writing and, hopefully, pleasing my readers in the process.

      This. Exactly this. It’s along the lines of what I commented above (to @Teepee) — that the most important thing, I think, is focusing on the joy of writing (and what *you* want to write) and naturally building a readership this way.

      It’s worth noting that there are a million posts published each day on WP.com, and just a handful of us scouring the Reader for content to feature on Freshly Pressed. We’re trying to read as much as we can each day.

    1. Thanks for sharing — as I’d noted in my comment above, there are so many posts published each day (a million+). And so, as with other sites/networks out there publishing original user content, it’s nice to have a space like Freshly Pressed that highlights well-written, interesting, resonant, timely, and standout work from our users on the topics-du-jour and topics that matter to you.

      That said, Freshly Pressed isn’t a competition (although some bloggers approach it this way). We’re hoping these “What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able?” posts are resources to help improve one’s craft — they may be helpful to some, but not all, depending on what you write/create on your own blog.

      1. I do agree freshly pressed is not a competition but it does motivate me to want to have my post up there. Thank you for the tips.

      2. Wow. A million posts. EVERY SINGLE DAY. That would take a million people to read one, every day, or 1,000 people to read 1,000 posts each day. Something tells me that somewhere along the way some posts are not read by the powers that be.

        Could it be?

  6. I really enjoy the freshly pressed picks. Chances are I will never make it. I am a storyteller not perfect writer. I struggle with grammar and sentence composure from a serious head injury when I was attacked and stabbed. Yesterday I posted about a good story and poor grammar yesterday. Thanks freshly pressed for always picking such great post’s.

  7. I’ve been blogging for a year and a half and for me, it is no longer about getting noticed (stats) or being freshly pressed. It is about building community and sharing experiences. I love WordPress and it’s options/format and I love the bloggers. I have met the most amazing people and I can’t wait to meet more! That’s what it’s all about for me.

  8. I love the idea of freshly pressed posts especially when they have something meaningful to add (in an educational kinda way, such as the post mentioned above) to the readers. It is so unique to be able to read other people’s experiences from how they’ve lived it themselves.
    Though I agree with what you mention above -about how becoming freshly pressable is not a competition- I know many people see it that way. And hey, one can dream!

  9. I would love to eventually be fp’d like i am sure just about EVERYBODY does, but i am really looking for what i seem to get… and that is people who find and read my posts really like them and they often comment. I love being able to open up a dialogue with people that have an interest in the post topic i had written. I do find this one thing funny though… of all of the thought provoking and deeply personal posts i have written, the one post that is almost 2/3 of my total views (and we are talking like over 40,000 as of last year) is this one stupid raunchy post on the difference between a camel toe and a moose knuckle!! WTF?! It totally cracks me up and one day i will share all of the insane search terms that led people to the post. Those are as funny as the statistics OR the post itself! Thanks WP!! Writing for my blog here is the main thing that is the anchor in my life. It has proved to be so valuable to my state of mind like you could not believe. My therapist thanks you immensely!!

  10. I basically see freshly pressed as a popularity contest I read a lot of blogs and a lot of good content gets lost in obscurity…I know I personally won’t do anything that doesn’t represent me or my blog…which is dedicated to the written word hence no pretty pics to decorate my page or attract your eye

  11. Who actually “freshly presses” your blog? Is it the WordPress team or a group of bloggers? There’s a freshly pressed option under the sharing option and I’ve always wondered what that is. Can anyone shed some light on this?

    1. There’s a freshly pressed option under the sharing option and I’ve always wondered what that is.

      Hmm — just to clarify, could you either link to a screenshot of what you’re seeing or describe exactly where you see this? Thanks!

      1. Sorry it’s actually called “press this”. I don’t know how to link to a screen shot….but if you look on one of my blog posts under share this you’ll see the press this option. Or if you want just let me know how to link to a screen shot.

  12. Interesting…When I first started blogging, it was all about stats. I am not sure that I even enjoyed the actual writing. Now I am so caught up that I really don’t care if I have one like or a dozen. It’s now all about sharing what’s on my mind and interacting with other wordpressers.

    I don’t want to discredit anyone but sometimes a few of the blogs that are freshly pressed are lacking in substance. Maybe it’s just my taste…

  13. I would focusing on writing quality content first and foremost. People will read it and in turn people will share it. Daily press will see it, if not, don’t give up, keep writing!

  14. It is indeed a good feeling to have your post be part of Freshly pressed.. But I believe blogging is more about writing/sharing and connecting with your fellow bloggers. If you write something that is good, and from the heart which reaches across to touch the readers.. You’ve done good.. Good work can’t be kept down, people will share it anyway..

    Besides, with sooo many blog here, I don’t think it would be realistic to think that even many of the really good blogs would be under freshly pressed..

    Cheers to the team :D

  15. Very interesting! I have never been able to keep my own interest up in a blog for long though this time I am intending to. I will definitely think about my own writing of posts in a different way after this.

  16. Don’t get me wrong — I would love to be Freshly Pressed–but I do not and will not write with that purpose in mind ever. I do enjoy reading those that are FP’d though, and have found many excellent bloggers that way.

    1. Yes, we promote poetry to Freshly Pressed. A few recent examples:

      https://anshu2koolman.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/lets-talk-dear-friend/

      https://thetinheademporium.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/the-astrophysics-of-a-bicycle-salesman/

      https://namingconstellations.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/slow-rhapsody/

      We recently announced National Poetry Writing Month on en.blog.wordpress.com and will be compiling some favorites from the #napowrimo tag at the end of the month: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/napowrimo/

  17. I don’t know why I write, I just do. It is somewhat of an obsession. I have a full-time job, own a business, have several part-time jobs, and a family. Still, I get ornery if I don’t get some words on a page on a given day. This doesn’t happen every day, but more than half of them.

    I love WordPress. It allows me to get my verbiage down, even if it is only read by a handful of patrons who I nearly bribe to gander a glance.

    I, too, would love to be on freshly pressed, but I don’t see that as being realistic until after I get published. Getting published won’t be realistic until I finish one of my writing projects. Finishing one of my writing projects isn’t likely until I quit my day job, my night job, and all those in-between jobs, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Mine began as a journal decades ago, and has become dozens of hand-written scrawls.

    And the beat goes on…

    http://arthuriandaily.wordpress.com/category/writing/

  18. Glad to know that you don’t have to pay something to be Freshly Pressed.. haha.. that’s what matters I guess.. well, back to the writing board…

  19. I love all the practical writing advice Freshly Pressed contributes to my writing. Here I especially liked your point that what makes writing powerful is how honestly the writer communicates. Uncertainty, fear, and failure are not experiences that are comfortable to explore, yet when I see someone write openly about these experiences, I am drawn to read more.
    Thank you for the encouragement to search deeper through writing. I’m enjoying this aspect of blogging the most.

  20. Daily Post posts are always interesting, thanks Cheri and WordPress team :-) but it’s such a luck of the draw with so many posts a day as to whether you’ll get noticed and ‘pressed’.
    I don’t think about that when I write – love the connection I’ve built up with some other bloggers and look forward to their reactions…

    One question I do have though is what happened to ‘Readers Choice’ , do you know Cheri?

  21. Being fairly new to “wordpress” and blogging in general, your tips and comments on the “Slinky post” are very helpful. My main reason for creating a “blog” is to share what I do with others and entice them to want more!

    Ultimately my goal is to generate enough interest for other viewers to reach out to me, learn more about what I do and how to be part of my team.

    If you have any input or other suggestions like this one that will help get more viewers to my blog, I would greatly appreciate your input!!

    Thank you!
    Linda (moonstarwellness)

    Be safe….. stay healthy…