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.
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.
Metaphors 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.