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.