On Being Freshly Pressed

Some days I sit down to write my daily blog post and I think about all the people around the world who are going to read it. I think about them laughing (preferably at the bits that are supposed to be funny) or nodding their head in agreement. I think about the people who will read the post and disagree with me — possibly vehemently — and I wonder whether they will leave an angry comment or simply click away from my blog and never return. I think about people being so moved by my words that they share my post and encourage their friends to read it via Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or good old fashioned email. And then I wonder if this time, today, will be the day when I’m Freshly Pressed.

And on those days, I stare at the computer screen for minutes that seem like hours, and nothing happens. Well, that’s not true. Nothing happens on the screen, but plenty happens behind the scenes. My heart pounds, my stomach swirls, a sense of anxiety wars with a feeling of excitement. My fingers tingle. My legs get heavy. And my brain completely fails to deliver any words at all, wise or otherwise.

That doesn’t happen most days.

Most days, I know exactly what I’m going to write about because I’ve been pondering the topic for hours or days or even weeks. I’ve planned the post in my head so many times, writing it feels almost like an anticlimax. I’m not writing for the millions of people in the world, I’m writing for me and the few people I expect will read it.

When I hit that Publish button, I can confidently state that my husband will read my post. I’m reasonably sure that at least one of my parents will do likewise, and my sister probably will as well. Other than that, perhaps some of my friends on Facebook or the people I’ve connected with online will drop on by and have a read. If I’m lucky, some of them will click the ‘Like’ button. If I’m even luckier, I’ll get a comment or two.

And, you know what? Even one comment on a post makes me feel like a success.

So imagine how I felt when I suddenly had 50 of them.

Last week, my post Authors Behaving Badly: The Seedy Underbelly of Reviewing was Freshly Pressed by WordPress. The nice, smooth waters of The Happy Logophile were churned up into a maelstrom of page views and comments and brand new visitors, most of whom seemed to actually like what I had to say.

I felt honoured and excited and overwhelmed and terrified and exuberant and anxious and about a million other emotions that don’t even have names in the english language. At first, I sat at my computer watching the pretty little traffic counter graph move higher and higher. Then I started reading the comments people were leaving. And they were really, truly amazing. I had all manner of people reading and sharing their thoughts: readers, writers, unpublished authors, indie authors, traditionally published authors, and my Dad.

More than anything, I wanted to reply to each and every one of them. But… how?

Well, I did it. (Although you may have noticed that I skipped writing a post last Thursday.) I wrapped myself in happy feelings as I read comments and engaged readers in conversations and posed questions and shared my thoughts. And every time that little orange speech bubble lit up to tell me there was a new comment… I had a quiet like anxiety attack. But in a good way. Honest.

By this week, things had calmed down again. Everything was smooth sailing.

And then last night, just as I was about to go to bed, I noticed a comment on my blog. I clicked on the happy little icon to read it. It was a pingback. From something calling itself ‘Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for August 2012‘.

Huh. What’s that? I thought. I clicked on the link. And then my good friend Stephanie tweeted me to congratulate me on being one of the Editors’ Picks and the madness began all over again.

I’m not going to lie. It’s been a thrill. An amazing ride. And, judging by the 12 new notifications that have come through while I’ve been writing this post, it’s not over yet. But I don’t want to wait any longer. I want to pause, take a deep breath, and say thank you.

Thank you to the WordPress.com Freshly Pressed Editors for choosing to honour me and my post not just once, but twice.

Thank you to every person who clicked through and read what I had to say.

Thank you to the 160+ people who hit the Like button.

Thank you to the 120+ people who took the time and effort to share their thoughts, opinions, andstories. (If I haven’t replied to your comment yet, please be assured that I will! Apparently children don’t care if you’ve been Freshly Pressed, they still want to eat.)

Thank you to the 100+ people who read my post, poked around a bit, and decided to subscribe to my blog. I hope you like it here.

And a very special thank you to all those people who have read, commented, liked, subscribed, and generally supported me on my blogging journey for all or some of the last 16 months. You guys are the best.

Have  you ever been Freshly Pressed? Would you like to be? What’s the most awesomely overwhelming experience you’ve ever had?


Filed under Opinion, Random Stuff

38 responses to “On Being Freshly Pressed

  1. looseleafbri

    I have not been freshly pressed…yet. I have 3 followers and a handful of likes spread out over my posts. I actually got one comment the other day. I would love to be freshly pressed and I hope to. But I was realizing this is the time I will look back on and say “remember when…” so am enjoying the small victories right now.

    • I still remember the first time I had someone I didn’t know ‘Like’ one of my posts. I was so excited, I could barely stop leaping around the room. It was an amazing feeling. And a few days after that, the first person subscribed to my blog. (Ah, Laura… You forever have a place in my heart.) My best advice to you is to seek out other blogs that you enjoy, and leave comments there. Engage people in conversations. Write interesting posts on your own blog, and ask questions to encourage people to reply. And, most of all, relax and have fun. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Once things have settled down a bit, I’ll come by for a visit. 🙂

  2. wow! wow!!!! wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yay!!!!!!! you deserve it all’ jo!

  3. changeforbetterme

    congrats! The post and your writing deserve the extra pressing. It was a great article. I’ve never been freshly pressed. But I don’t think about it much. I write for me. If it happens great! If not, then I’m happy that my readers enjoy what I write.

    • That’s exactly the right way to think about it. And, you know what? It’s so much more exciting when it comes completely out of the blue!

      And thanks for the congratulations. 🙂

  4. Congrats. I am one of those people who became your follower after the FP. I’d read yours because I’d also read the original NYT article on “good” reviewers for hire before that. I’m struck by the beginning of your post though because my blog which was FP a few weeks ago resonates with the start of this post! It’s called “My Blog Audience.” Congrats also on being picked by the editors. I think they’re doing a great job considering the number of posts they have to sift from.

    • Thank you, and welcome! I hope you like it here. 🙂 I must have missed your FP post, but once things settle down, I’m going to come around and check it out. It sounds like I’d enjoy it.

      I think the editors do a fabulous job. And they didn’t even have to pay me to say that! 😉

  5. also, to answer your question….I was FP! I was so thrilled! It is still the most popular post of all time in the right margin of my blog….the bowling story. I think it made me believe I could write things people truly appreciated. I was so thankful! A post followed called Freshly Depressed. haha! My stats plummeted in a couple of days but I made a few meaningful connections that still endure!

    • It is thrilling, isn’t it? 🙂 I love that it made you realise you could write about things that other people relate to. I love your blog (as you know), and related to it from the very first post I read. But I also understand what you mean by ‘Freshly Depressed’. It would be lovely to hold on to these stats forever, but all good things must come to an end. 🙂

  6. Splendid! It’s always nice to see a good writer, especially on that blogs regularly and well, get some well-deserved attention! I had a surprise of a similar bent (though not as awesome) when someone was nice enough to rob a bank a couple weeks ago wearing a photo-realistic mask designed by someone I’d interviewed (then sent them a thank you note).

    Enjoy some well-deserved time basking in the limelight!

    • Hahahaha. You made me actually, physically laugh out loud. I love that your claim to fame is related to crime. Perhaps you need to write about it in noir form. 🙂

      And thank you — I am loving all this basking. 🙂

  7. Greg

    Enjoy!! I’ve been Freshly Pressed, twice. Both times caught me completely by surprise and both were great, great experiences.

    So congratuations!! And I am one of the people who subscribed to your blog this week. Unlike you, I have a tendency to fall in and out of love with blogging, a malady I am diligently working to overcome.

    On a final note, great blog! I am enjoying reading your posts.

    • Hi Greg. Thanks so much, and welcome! It’s great to have you here!

      Oh, I understand the feeling. I actually took a three month blogging hiatus earlier this year (although I did let people know before I went away), and it was really invigorating to get away from the world wide interwebz for a little while. I think taking structured breaks when you’re feeling burned out is the way to go. Otherwise you either blog inconsistently, or churn out posts that you’re not happy with. (At least, that’s how it is for me.)

      Thanks again for visiting and subscribing. I hope to see you around a lot more. 🙂

  8. Wow. I can imagine the feeling! I had read your freshly pressed post but didn’t have the time to comment. So am talking this time out, all the way from the comfort of my small cozy dark room (power out) in Nigeria to say you are doing a really great job. I was really touched by that particular article on writers paying to get their works reviewed. Am a writer,but an aspiring novelist. I never really gave much thoughts to the issue until I read about it here. Now I am caught in a dilema. Whenever my first book is ready, should I pay to get it reviewed? Would that be ‘unethical’? Is this also a matter of morality? Or since ‘everyone’ is doing it, why can’t / shouldn’t I do same? …… Your post left more questions to be answered. It’s been a while a post questioned the person in me.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Harold. Your comment just filled me with a great, big sense of accomplishment. So seriously, thank you.

      The act of self-reflection is so important, but it’s a skill that seems to have been lost in our fast-paced, entertainment-fuelled world. I’m very pleased to have inspired you to take the time to think about your own ethics on this question. Because in the end, the person you have to be able to look in the eye every morning is yourself.

  9. Your post was not only timely and discussed an interesting publishing story last month, but it was written well and generated a healthy, intelligent discussion. I was glad to promote it to Freshly Pressed.

    Thanks for sharing this experience with others!


  10. Congratulations! I discovered your blog the last time you were Freshly Pressed, and am so happy to hear that others have been lucky enough to do so as well!

  11. Congratulations, very well deserved. Your blog is always an utter joy to read even for this emotionally defended englishman. I’m sure there will be many more of these accolades in your future.

    I have yet to be honoured myself, but I’m honestly not sure I could cope. I’m checking my phone for emails every two minutes after posting anything (even though i know it often takes a few hours to wangle through the various search engines etc.) so heaven knows how I would deal with a lot of attention.

    • Thanks so much, Jim. I really appreciate it. Even when the congratulations come from an emotionally defended englishman! 😉

      You should have seen me staring at the computer screen, refreshing ever minute to see what was going on! I’m not sure how well I dealt with it!

  12. Jo, as I read your blog this morning, I felt like I was part of it because of the nice blog conversation that we had as a result of my reading your blog. That was the first time that I had read any of the editors’ picks, and I only had time for a few. I’m glad I chose yours. I am making so many new friends this way. I never thought that my writing would be read by so many people. I am fairly new, and almost to 4,000 hits – 91 to go. You just never know. What I love is that once you have published different people click on different stories, so I am getting clicks on stories I wrote four months ago, and my new friends are reading stories as I write them. It is a THRILL! Thanks for being so responsive. Until people respond blogging is just like reading something inanimate. But once you start corresponding blogging comes alive. Enjoy your FAME, and continue to grow in your blogging experiences. 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so glad you feel like you’re a part of it — connecting with interesting people is one of the things I love most about blogging. (Even more than the apparent fame!) I love having people read my words, and share their experiences and their thoughts. It’s just a great buzz. Good luck with your blogging as well. I’m looking forward to having the time to check out the blogs of all my new friends. 🙂

  13. Hi! I am really new to this splendid world of blogging and am living every moment of it. Your positive vibes and joyous words are really contagious! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂 Look forward to reading your next post!

  14. Graciously said! I blog just for me, but I do like it when I get a like or comment. I an not blogging to get Freshly Pressed, but if I do, I will remember all the gracious comments you have stated here in this blog. I am not following your blog. Come for a visit anytime, I would appreciate it! Great job! Congratulations!!! 😉

  15. Um. You’re welcome. (giggle, giggle) Congratulations!

  16. Well, I already said Congrats on this, I think. But whether or not I did: congrats.

  17. Hi Jo – how exciting to read your blog! It gives me hope, as a brand new blogger. I’ve just left a long & happy career as an environmental lobbyist and landed at Johns Hopkins working on a Masters in Nonfiction. I am having a blast, and now that I’ve gotten a few things published, I decided it was time to start a blog, so this is all new and overwhelming to me. I can imagine how excited you must have been. Congrats! One day I hope to be dancing around the room, too. Blessings. Visit me sometime – writing with spirit.

    • Hi Melanie, thanks so much for reading and commenting. And congratulations on your new career. I’m sure you’ll find blogging to be a blast — I love it. I can hardly remember how I managed to cope without an open forum to discuss my thoughts on a daily basis. 🙂

      I’ll be sure to drop by!

  18. I feel like I cheated with my blog when I read about the excitement of receiving likes and follows for the first time. This is because I got freshly pressed with my first proper post.
    I kind of feel like I missed out on that feeling because it’s exactly the kind of excitement I love.
    That being said, the excitement of getting freshly pressed when I was so new to blogging was amazing and without the followers it brought to me I probably would have given up on it ages ago.

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