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.
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.
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.
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.