On Being Freshly Pressed


It seems that the obligatory thing to do after being Freshly Pressed is to write a post about being Freshly Pressed.  This would be that.  Here.  Of now.

I could add, subtract, and determine the number of added followers, but it would seem boastful to write that I climbed from 800-something to 1,200-something in about five days, so I’ll keep that to myself.  I also don’t want to bore you, so it would be equally dull to write that the number of views was somewhere around 2,700 during that same stretch, so I shouldn’t include that either.  Instead, I’ll focus on something else:  me.

Fourteen months ago, I wrote a post called Top 10 Reasons I Will Never Be Freshly Pressed.  It was one of my most popular posts, and although some readers interpreted it as bitter, it was really intended to be funny.  What some people missed was that the “facts” used in the post were fictional, such as when I said that 103% of all Freshly Pressed posts have a “humor” tag, but I’ll never be Pressed because I’m just not funny.  It might be quite obvious to you, but most people did not see the humorous and obviously impossible “fact”:  of course I’m funny.  Even though I was certain I should have been FP’d by then, I was very wrong.  A great but slightly unstable friend even contacted the FP people and attempted to lobby for me, but it wasn’t until I was actually Pressed that I realized I was wrong.  I had no business being Pressed, but when it finally happened, it was exactly the right time with exactly the right post.

After 25-ish years of teaching writing, I stopped in order to actually write.  Not blog (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but write, as in books and short stories.  A little more than a year ago I did exactly that, sort of, but instead of really writing, I started using WordPress more as a social network than a writing platform.  Sure, it can be both, but both was not what I needed.  I needed to write, just like I had imagined myself doing when I was no longer teaching.

Then one day I got a great slap in the face from a blogger friend named Broadsides.  She basically said, “If you want to be a writer, then shut up and write.”  And I did.  I got back to what I wanted to write – novels.  I stopped posting rants and puke humor and instead posted chapters for some lovely people to critique.  They helped me turn a mediocre 55,000-word story into a much better 76,000-word novel that I am currently pitching to agents.  Between chapters, I’m doing what I used to do – teaching writing.

Well, maybe “teaching” is not accurate.  When I was teaching before, it was to middle school kids who were working on research papers, poetry, and short stories.  Now, I’m trying to pass along what I have been learning about the writing process.  I’m sharing what I have been gaining about what was imparted unto me – shut up and write.  Stay off that social-network-that-shall-not-be-named and write.  Keep in touch and surround myself with other writers who are in the same supermarket with a similar shopping list.

I had reinvented myself, and that’s why I started posting a series under the title of Writing 2.0.  I started thinking, “Hey, after 25 years of teaching, I really do know a few things about writing.  I should tell others about it.”  That turned into Writing 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, and then the Freshly Pressed 2.3.  So why was that Freshly Pressed?  Probably because I stopped thinking about just myself and started thinking about what I knew and what I could share with others.  And sharing something worthwhile is pretty much what FP is all about.  So thanks to the new followers, the giant pile of comments (I hope I answered them all), and the confirmation that I am now making more of a contribution to the writing community. 

Thanks very much to all of you who showed up over the past week, and thanks to Michelle and others in the FP booth at your local supermarket.  Try the salmon.  It’s amazing.  Catfish, not so sure.

CD’s available in the lobby.  Two shows Saturday.

57 thoughts on “On Being Freshly Pressed

  1. Your recent series of Writing 2.0 + have been helpful to read. It makes a difference when focus is lost to have a few travelers light the way. Congrats on your Freshly Pressed post… you’ve earned every word. 🙂

  2. haha, well done on getting freshly pressed; your ’10 Reasons’ post was one of the first I ever read on WordPress; I can’t remember whether I commented or not but I certainly found it funny; an excellent example of how 72% of statistics are made up on the spot.

  3. Congrats again. Wow, the numbers are impressive! Oh, admit that you want someone to say that. Ha ha. I’m just glad you got pressed with a post that you feel good about being pressed. That’s not always the case with people. Good for you and for sharing your expertise.

    • I was just going to say exactly that Amy! A lot of people say that while they were pleased to get Freshly Pressed, they can’t understand why it was with a post that they certainly didn’t consider to be one of their best.

      Anyway, congratulations Sir! I didn’t know you had been FPd till I saw this post. What you’re doing is clearly working for you in many ways.

      • thanks very much for the kind words. that’s interesting that some people stumbled upon that post but without realizing it was FP. very extra cool. thanks for reading and contributing.

    • yes, that was the first question that becca asked, “was it a good post?” and of course she meant a good post in my opinion. at first i thought “not really,” but then i understood why it was good. and thanks again.

  4. hey I like catfish! Congrats. I haven’t been around much lately, but I have reasons. And since you didn’t boast, I’ll say again. congrats

  5. I should be showering for work by now but alas – stopped by your post because after I read the post you were pressed about, I began following you. So this morning, in my live feed, I see the very post I read and it was circled in red but initially it went by so fast that I had to rescroll to find it – and smiled that you were FP’d!!! How awesome!
    The very reason I started following you had nothing to do with any of your previous posts – it was that one and your 2.0 Writing. As a lifelong writer – dabbler of “the genre’s”, I’ve reached the age where the annoying comments of, “Just Write,” “I’d like to see you published before I die,” and “you’re wasting your talent,” came to a head.
    In an attempt to take myself seriously – the ink is fresh and words are flowing! I am so happy to read of other’s success! It keeps me hopeful!

    • the ink is fresh and the words are flowing. that’s where it all starts. where it ends depends on when we give up. so don’t give up. thanks very much for the kind words and for reading and contributing.

  6. I enjoyed your Writing 2. etc. series very much; in fact I mentioned you yesterday on my own post as having inspired me.
    I have to say as one of your 400 new followers that I’m glad you were Freshly Pressed. I look forward to upcoming posts from you. I don’t know if I commented that day or not. I usually don’t, knowing that a blogger Freshly Pressed is an inundated blogger.
    Good luck with your novel! Hope you find an agent soon! 🙂

  7. If only we knew the reasons behind being chosen for your writing…such as how they select manuscripts, top blogs, poetry, best-sellers… we would then have the answers. It’s cool that these things remain mysterious. Something has to. I could see you have a way with words. Good luck. 🙂

  8. You’ve been making a contribution for quite some time, RIch. I enjoy the hell out of your writing! Congrats and keep it up!

  9. When “I stopped thinking about just myself and started thinking about what I knew and what I could share with others” is exactly when I received The Email. I’m glad to see you survived the experience, and came out a humbled WordPress-er keeping his stats to himself.

      • Nah. No explanation necessary. It was a well-done paragraph (I won’t expand your head anymore by complimenting more than that paragraph, though it’s all well-done). We could all learn a thing or two about writing from reading your writing.
        Plus, I’ve been FP’ed twice, so I know a thing or two about how the experience can humble a writer.

      • thanks miss. it’s funny how it can both boost and humble you at the same time. i guess we’ll just have to both keep up the good work.

  10. Ok – I’m in. Great post. Following. Also writing (and spending way too much time on my blog) ::grin::

    This came at EXACTLY the right time – but I have to say I had no idea you were FP – simply that somebody else I follow was following you. I rarely find WPress and I like the same things. Nice to find an exception.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    (blogs: ADDandSoMuchMore, ADDerWorld & ethosconsultancynz – dot com)
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  11. I love your modesty in the second paragraph 😉 And you probably saved me from becoming a blogger as apposed to the novelist I want to be. So thanks

    • yeah, modesty is not one of my better qualities. but helping – i’m always ready to give that a go. thanks very much for reading and being saved. happy almost friday.

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