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What Makes a Post Freshly Press-able: Don’t Touch Me

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured on Freshly Pressed. On The Daily Post, we take a close look…

Every day, a handful of WordPress.com bloggers are featured on Freshly Pressed. On The Daily Post, we take a close look at posts that have been Freshly Pressed, focusing on why we were drawn to them and what they can teach us about great blogging. We hope this series provides tips and tools to make your blog the best it can be.

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It’s been said that there are only two story plots in the whole world: somebody comes to town, and somebody leaves town. Don’t Touch Me by Delusia is an intimately personal take on the former. When a woman’s lover returns after a long absence, her feelings for him teeter between familiarity and uncertainty. Here’s why we liked this post:

It was tightly edited

There are, I believe, two diametrically opposed elements that narrate our desire to keep coming back to each other.

One is our not even remotely knowing each other.

And the other is knowing each other so completely.

Delusia’s prose is sparing. A glance at her one-sentence paragraphs shows that she never uses a word she doesn’t believe is absolutely necessary. She’s mastered the art of pacing, a literary element that determines the speed of a story. Since she uses short sentences to drive the action, the story moves quickly. Notice also that Delusia uses active voice to accelerate the story, rather than the harder-to-comprehend passive voice, which can slow your writing down.

Strong editing also figures in this piece’s narrow focus. In under 500 words, there are only two scenes, and four characters, only two of whom have speaking roles. By editing out everything else, we’re left with only what we need to understand the story.

The author’s imagery familiarizes us with her subject

He sleeps with his hands balled up in angry fists. He claims that he spent our years apart in the arms of whores. He’s abrasive and ill-tempered almost all of the time.

Although she never tells us his name, Delusia makes sure we get to know the protagonist’s partner very well through telling details. Instead of saying, “He was imposing,” she notes that he makes the restaurant hostess nervous. Instead of saying, “He was an angry man,” she instead describes the way he sleeps with his fists clenched.

In other words, she’s showing, not telling. By harnessing sensory language and description, Delusia shows us the character, which is more powerful than having the narrator tell us about him.

We leave the post with an epiphany 

This is a perfect example of our intimacy. A joke that makes no sense whatsoever, played on the unsuspecting, simply so that we can be pulled closer in each other’s orbit.

While descriptive, this piece isn’t just a character sketch. Delusia makes sure we leave with something, a nugget of clarity that tells us why this odd couple’s relationship endures. We exit the post with an observation about their relationship that can be applied universally, leaving us to ponder our own modes of communciation and how they unite us with our loved ones. 

While working on your next post, think about how the reader might feel at the end of it. Is there a takeaway? Is there some way your personal experience might resonate with others? When you’ve discovered that, you’ve discovered the centerpiece of your post.

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

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  1. Thanks for the tips. I was wondering what it takes to get Freshly Pressed, after reading the last Weekly Challenge.

  2. At this point I cannot be freshly pressed because I still am not willing to part with needed info or with getting real about my opinions. Fear of failure or success or that pesky manic-depression!

    1. “to be or not to be fresh” lee pressed. I don’t that is really the question. However, it does sort of provide some answer (at least for me). I write to write better and maybe, one day I will write better still. Maybe I will be transported to a distant time and place where I can continue to write until I am silly. Wait…I am already silly.

  3. most blogs I read have never been freshly pressed… I in fact steer clear of freshly pressed now… I perceive it as mostly being a popularity contest… no offense, but freshly pressed tends to overlook the best and brightest…

    1. To clarify, Freshly Pressed posts are editors’ picks, and aren’t based on popularity/statistics. There are a handful of us and lots of you, so we’re bound to miss some great posts! That being the case, we welcome recommendations for blogs to check out. (Or course, it also means that not everyone will love every post that’s picked! All part of the beautiful diversity of the blogosphere.)

      1. thank you Mr Chancellor. To better illustrate my point about content. I myself have invented a new form of Structured Poetry… How many new forms of Structured Poetry have been invented in the last 100 years… and that is not press worthy… to say it is not a popularity contest is a lie… the editors choose what they believe will be popular…or what is popular among their little clique… like in school teachers have their pets it is the same on wordpress… I don’t post pictures because I don’t produce pictures…but the editors of freshly pressed prefer the eye candy they even advise you use pictures to make your articles more press-able… I produce poetry… why on earth would I want someone’s art work on my page competing with my words for my readers attention… Michelle’s comments that there are a handful of editors and so many bloggers… while true is just an excuse for overlooking the blogs that don’t fit into their scheme. I am not bitter… I just don’t see the merit in freshly pressed. with all the alga rhythms in use now wordpress doesn’t employ one to search key words and phrases and what not that might help them navigate the site they created…maybe it would be better if a computer program picked the posts for Freshly Pressed and remove the human fallibility factor….

  4. I agree 100% with TJTHERIEN’s comment. None of the blogs I follow or read have ever been featured. No offense meant here either. I do believe that it becomes somewhat of a popularity contest and a lot of the best blogs are missed because of this.

  5. I sometimes have wondered what it takes to be freshly pressed. When I read some of the blogs, I find I don’t even like them and so I am puzzled, and have to agree with Tjtherien. I’m just going to write and not worry about whether or not I get “Freshly Pressed.”

    1. That’s the best advice of all! We hope you’re all writing for yourselves, and not for Freshly Pressed; we offer posts like this to highlight blogging pointers that (we hope!) can make anyone’s blog better.

    1. I agree, It cannot be a popularity contest. I was freshly pressed after one week of blogging. I entered on of the challenges and mine was chosen to be featured and I am grateful, I had no idea at the time about “How to” get freshly pressed.

  6. Wow, I can feel the humanness in that poem. I am very impressed. Being FP isn’t everything, but given the chance I like to expand my writing community though. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. I secretly hope to be freshly pressed someday, but have no expectations. I write for fun, family, and friends. I assume that people who like my blog will read it and those who don’t won’t. This was a useful post, though, and thank you…I edit constantly and always appreciate tips on how to write better posts!

  8. Tight editing and no extraneous words is pretty hard to argue with. I do find the focus on words and not images to be addressing only half of what is possible in blogging. Kat

  9. I like this post because it describes a particular style of blogging; bringing the reader a thesis for prep work and descriptive story telling. Great Blog!

  10. Thank you for your ideas and using Delusia’s post as an example of what you consider FP-worthy. Mine is a niche blog, but still I write for myself, still hoping to reach people in a similar situation.

  11. I’ve been blogging for a year. I’ve learned a lot and still have plenty to learn. I must admit I’ve wanted to be freshly pressed to gain more readers and comments. Why? I have no idea because when I write, I write from my heart, not to please anyone. I have a message for people that I am led to get out. I know I’m not the literary giant with perfect sentence structure but my readers get my message.

    1. I write for the same reason as you, much like the art I create the words are a compulsion, something that comes from within that I just need to express. It is also a way for me to document the wonderful memories that come along with the creation of my images. I write for myself, and have been lucky to meet some wonderful people and make new friends along the way.

  12. I remember reading this article and thinking just how vividly I could picture the characters and their connection. The descriptions were so detailed and yet so simple.

  13. ~ Wow, you’ve hit the nail on the head with this! :) I esp. like this line: While working on your next post, think about how the reader might feel at the end of it. Thanks for the tips, Lauren! :) – Bliss, The Lurker’s List

  14. The only thing I require “freshly pressed” is my slacks, my shirt is permanent press. I would however, like some readers every once in a while. Where can I go to get promoted as an “opinionated old fart, with an attitude?”

    Actually, freshly pressed is cool. If you haven’t taken the time to read some of the writers there, you should as there is some pretty good stuff and some cool writing styles.

    1. Thank you. I appreciate every criticism and comment. I think one can up lose ends by seeing things from all perspectives, all angles.

  15. Oh my goodness that Delusia post is brilliant. Freshly Pressed is always good for a gander and being introduced to other bloggers beyond what is pressed through commenters etc. You don’t have to love it, but its a pool of inspiration if you want it or even if you don’t then you can blog about why not. I don’t see it as a popularity contest at all. Just editor picks that are shared daily, me likey.

  16. Good to know. I already struggle with whether or not I should “slice and dice” my posts verses “being true to me”. How about other bloggers out there? We live in a sound-byte world. How do you attract readers when time is at a premium?

  17. It’s funny, most of the blogs I read have been Freshly Pressed. Although I feel such a sense of joy for their good fortune (as I happen to love them which is why I read them regularly in the first place), I often find myself a little jealous. I know, I know. I’m 38 and grade school is a thing of the past but, it’s like never being chosen for student of the month. I do agree that some of the posts chosen aren’t what I would consider particularly moving, however different folks are moved by different things. I respect that. I believe it’s why I have readers and why someone who shows you how to make a cheese souffle has writers and why someone who reviews the latest tech gadgets has writers. It’s a crazy, mixed up, bag of awesome here at WordPress and I love it. I love hate it sometimes because I bare my soul and challenge myself but, for me, that’s what it’s all about :).

      1. Again… great bias toward sports blogs. Funny how the NFL community has been outrageously supportive with nearly 10 former players either reblogging it, bringing me in on radio shows, etc. To catch most of fresh pressed with some of the gibberish I’ve seen, I don’t even think of Fresh Pressed anymore until I saw the article.

  18. I was Freshly Pressed once, and it was such a thrill. To be picked from among the thousands of blog posts was one of the highlights of my blogging career.

  19. It might be that you answered this question before: will only blogs on WordPress.com be freshly pressed? What do I have to do in addition as a self-hosted blog to get in your focal point? Thank you.

  20. Reblogged this on The Web Design 35S Chalkboard and commented:
    The Daily Post decided the post in the article was Freshly Press-able because:
    It was tightly edited – nothing extra.
    The author used imagery to show her ideas, not just tell them.
    They left the post with an epiphany that left them thinking.

  21. Great suggestions! Tight editing. SHOW the reader with descriptive words instead of telling. Use active voice. Leave the reader with something. Got it! Just a suggestion for a Daily Post to help us writers. Maybe take a post that is promising, but not quite good enough. Make some changes – passive voice to active, etc. With the writer’s permission, of course. That could be very educational. Oh, and the name: Freshly Pressed. I always thought you were talking about ironing. How about “Hot Off the WordPress presses” or something like that? Maybe a contest for a better name?

  22. I’ve only just now realized what ‘freshly pressed’ means! I’ve got a question now (which doubtless should be under ‘widgets’). i’d really like to be a able to put a ‘translation widget’ on my blog, so that more non-English speakers could read it. (Blogger.com does one.). I looked at my blog statistics today and, in particular, I looked at viewing countries. BY FAR THE MOST VIEWS come from the US, UK, Australia and Canada. And virtually none, for instance, from Russia or east European countries. It would be excellent, I feel, if WordPress could be more-countries inclusive and less apparently ethnocentric!
    Thanks
    Evangeline