These Grapes Are Sour…Or Not

I didn’t draw this, it from Ayem @deviantart.com

In the realm of fantasy football, it’s a given that if you win, you can consider yourself a strategic genius, with a better understanding of the nuances of the game than those chuckleheads at the water cooler.  If you lose, it’s simply because the entire structure of fantasy football is based on nothing more than dumb luck.

I’m beginning to think that I’m going to feel the same way about Freshly Pressed.  For those readers who are not particularly familiar with it, Freshly Pressed is sort of the front page of WordPress.  Having a piece posted there will give a huge number of readers a good look at you.  After a day or so, there’s a new crop, but for one Warhol-esque moment, you’re a star.  Some folks get their pieces posted there regularly, and others never seem to.  Without sounding bitter, though I know I will, I’ll admit that I’ve never had a post Freshly Pressed.

Supposedly, the posts featured on FP (as the blog savvy like to call it), are hand-picked by mystical blog editors at WordPress.  I don’t know if this is true.  If it is, I think this group of critics may have a communal weakness for pretty pictures and food.  A recent inventory of the 19 blogs featured on the first page of FP showed that roughly a third of them were non-writing intensive subjects.  Three of them were straight-up recipes for various desserts and cocktails.  One was a craft project with step by step instructions, one was the photography of the contributor.  Finally, one was an assortment of paintings and prints by famous and less famous artists from hundreds of years ago, all of a similar subject matter.

While any self-professed writer would scoff at the idea of competing with pages from cook books and craft projects, the idea of the last one really goes beyond absurd.  This blogger cut and pasted a bunch of other people’s artwork about a specific subject and posted it, with no text other than the title.  It wasn’t the blogger’s fault – people post blogs of far more inane subject matter which require even less effort or content.  The finger of blame must be pointed directly at the FP editors, assuming they actually exist.

Let’s compare and contrast shall we?

A writer has been struck by a notion.  He starts putting thoughts down on virtual paper, eventually forming his ideas into sentences and his sentences into paragraphs.  He forms his paragraphs into a logical sequence.  He finds a photo from the internet, cuts, pastes and inserts it into his post, with some sort of credit to the photographer.  Once finished, he re-reads and edits the post repeatedly trying to weed out typos and awkward sentences.  When he has finally decided the post is ready, he hits the “publish” button and hopes for the best.  Maybe this time, the FP gods will smile upon him.

Another person sits at his PC.  He figures out a topic he likes, let’s say it’s brides and grooms.  He then scans the internet, looking for paintings, lithographs and drawings of brides and grooms from the last four or five hundred years.  He cuts and pastes 25 or 30 of them into a post, gives credit to the artists and/or museum the drawings came from and hits “Publish”.  Other than those footnotes of credit and the 5 or 6 words of the title, he has not typed a word.  Though to be fair, he probably did type “brides and grooms” into Google Images at some point.

The writer doesn’t get Freshly Pressed on a blog site with the word “Word” in its name, and the web searcher who has clipped photos of other people’s art, is right there on the front page, smack in the middle of FP royalty.

So, as I continue to write and occasionally illustrate my posts with hopes for being Freshly Pressed someday, I’ll cling to my fantasy football logic that it’s merely dumb luck when someone gets FP’ed.  In the event that I actually do end up with a Freshly Pressed post, I’ll surely consider it to be due to my incredible talent and work ethic.  I just hope and pray my beautiful work of writing doesn’t pale in comparison to the cookie recipe next to it.

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77 thoughts on “These Grapes Are Sour…Or Not

    1. Clearly I’m a better author than I thought! Don’t worry about your love for me, my wife seldom reads my posts and almost never looks at the comments. Anyway, in time, you’ll become disillusioned with me…we’ll bicker…spend long nights in icy silence…we’ll wonder where the magic went…you’ll move on to another author, I’ll drink more…

      1. After making my *comment* I realized (always too late) what a mistake I’d made…loving you? actually not so much…but your mind, artistic ability, word-stock…can’t say hair…but you know…
        Anyway…my rubber boots are on and I’m headed to the barn to shovel the good stuff, think about pretty food pictures, the colour of your once hair…but never, never, ever about being Freshly Pressed….

        1. Wow! That romance lasted even less time than I had imagined….I guess I’ll start the drinking part of the prediction now…I’ll always have the shovelling to hold deep in my wounded heart…my eyes are welling up again!…maybe it’s allergies…yeah that’s it…allergies!

  1. Reading takes effort, something that is increasingly losing its value. Just think of blogging as an intermediate step in your writing career, a way of honing your skills, which are already above par. And know that there are some of us who find the picture, recipe, and crafting blogs incredibly boring.

  2. I bet they discriminate against the hair-follicle-challenged. That must be it! Maybe you better put a hat on your shiny pate. On second thought, don’t. We all love a rebel. 🙂

  3. It will come. I have powers to see the future. But when you do get freshly pressed, does that mean I get to have all your scotch because I was one of your biggest supporters?

    1. If so, you’re in good shape, as I’ve been anticipating a big scotch season (Brisk Eastern autumn and freezing winter)…then again, my newfound celebrity may be a cause for celebration, and we’re out of champagne…so….

  4. Photos are good, they love that. They want you to break up the writing a bit.
    I think it’s also tags. The tags are the key. You put up a few of the big popular tags, (family, humor, writing) add a photo or two and try to keep the post short, engaging and you have a chance at FP. It’s also timing–the WP editors (they do exist, I’ve seen their profiles and apparently there’s only a small number of them) have literally thousands of blogs to wade through each day, so I think it’s a bit of luck when they happen upon a certain one and if they really like it, you’re gold. Don’t give up, Dave.

    1. While there are some incredible writers on here who’ve been FP’ed, I’m pretty proud of the company I keep with many other great writers who haven’t been.

      It’s good that I’ve got so many talented colleagues who were never FP’ed, since I’ve likely pissed off the editors big time by now!

      1. Exactly. In some ways, I keep hoping I don’t find many more brilliant writers to follow – I cannot keep up as it is, and I spend entirely too much time reading, commenting and stalking my favorites. I am very proud of the talented folks I hang out with.

        If I only wrote for the stats, or the recognition, I would have likely given up long ago. I don’t obsess over any of it, but when I see some of the stuff that has been “Pressed” I am like “Really? This is the best of the best?” I know some mighty great ones, though, that have been FP’d and I’m never jealous (well, maybe just a tinch) when they get recognized. You know the ones I’m talking about, I’m sure.

      1. Definitely an existential question. If you stay indoors and keep blogging you will reduce your chances of being struck by lightning which (possibly) increasing your chances of being on the front page!

        1. For no particular reason, I’m reminded of the comment golfer and wise-ass Lee Trevino made when asked how to stay safe in a thunderstorm. He said to hold a 1 iron over your head, because even God can’t hit a 1 iron.

          1. LOL the same thought had occurred to me. Plus I heard that Trevino was struck by lightning once and said that the moral of the story is that if god wants to play through you should let him. Plus I’m remembering the John Candy movie The Great Outdoors where one character has been struck by lightning 66 times and has developed a speech impediment!

  5. Your stuff is all awesome. However, WordPress really likes pictures of cheesecake and things that are short and sweet. Also try to use 5-10 tags per post. The more you use, the more times you show up in the reader, including both humor and humour. Not kidding, sadly.

    I really think you will be fresh-pressed. It just takes time to catch someone’s eye out of millions of blog posts. Also, they just went from a ten post format to a nineteen post format so your odds just improved. In the meantime, you’ll probably want to delete this particular post. Sorry, but true. (It’s really best to gripe about those delicious pictures of cheesecake and hand-knit mittens on someone else’s blog…)

    1. No big deal. The truth is that I’ve built a pretty decent following without being FP’ed. Plus, it’s given me a fun topic which I’m not done poking fun at just yet…

      Thanks for your advice in any case, and I’m very very happy that you enjoy reading my stuff – FP or not.

      Keep your eyes peeled for my upcoming photo spread…I just have to take some pictures first…

      1. Just tell me there will be cheesecake and mittens and I’m already there. 🙂 Not true, of course. What I’m really dying for is to see Beulah with handcuffs and ropes in the background, but done film-noir style. Political correctness is entirely overrated. Meh.

        Also, I don’t think many people realize just how much longer each blog post takes when you are drawing the pictures by hand. I never even thought about it until I read this post.

          1. Worst job ever. I did it one time for my grandparents… (After that I refused because my grandfather was laughing at me the entire time.) Lawn-mowing makes me happy to be female.

            You should totally do a mock draw-up of wordpress’s front page, with a post about cheesecake right next to a post about exercise… No, no, no, you should resist. And you should still delete this post.

              1. Today there is a picture of a rainbow. I’m not saying there are never good writers on FP, there are, but a fucking rainbow? Seriously?

                I really hope that when you’re fresh-pressed you are not next to a rainbow. If that happens, I will still try to be happy for you.

                1. Tough to compete with rainbows, or cookie recipes. I actually love recipes, I’m cooking right now. I just ponder the logic of putting that assortment together…I guess it’s no different than Barnes and Noble.

                  1. Yeah, cookie recipes are difficult to resist (because let’s face it, almost all cookies are good)… BTW, I know I said being PC is overrated, but if you need to edit my comments, feel free. Once I hit reply I can’t edit.

                    And I was banned for a few days from the reader for approving an inappropriate comment. Oops. Though it’s rare that anyone cares, it can happen.

                    1. Not to pry, but how inappropriate could a comment be to get you booted off the reader? By the way, your bad girl image of getting in trouble with “the man” only makes you more appealling as a writer and a person.

  6. This post should be Freshly Pressed. I double-dog dare WordPress to do it 😉

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a moment…in part so I don’t bite the Freshly Pressed hand that has so graciously fed me. For reasons that will never be clear.

    Maybe we should not be pointing fingers at WordPress and its story wranglers, but instead at those who frequent the WordPress homepage. WordPress is savvy enough to know exactly what posts get the most hits on the homepage. People are idiots in general. I have to assume this of a culture where the Kardashains rule the airwaves. And then there’s the element of time. People see a photo of blueberry cobbler and think, “Hey, I don’t like to spend time reading. I don’t like to spend time even baking. But I like to eat. Lemme see this picture of blueberry cobbler so I can think about it while I’m eating my frozen Weight Watchers dinner.”

    Just pointing this out to say, it’s not you. It’s not WordPress. It’s the idiots who live here. 🙂

    1. Of all the comments today, you’re the first person to point that out. I suppose there’s a reason why People magazine outsells The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthy every time!

      As I’ve written earlier, at this point I don’t much give a rat’s heinie whether I ever get FP’ed. I’ve built up a pretty sizeable following without them in 6 or 7 months.

      You’re right of course. If WP filled FP with a bunch of dense, sparsely illustrated treatises on thorny topics, they would get far fewer new members.
      The key is to lure them in with cookies and travel pics, then gently feed them things which require a little more digestion….or let them keep coming back for the intellectual equivalent of Twinkies and be happy to have them. WP without a bunch of readers can’t make much in the way of ad revenue.

      So enjoy my musings, darling. I’ve got a few more in the chamber, as I was feeling particularly cynical this weekend.

      Also, be a darling and go vote for your favorite caption at Byronic’s page…it’s your civic duty!

      1. See, you took what I said and wrote it even better. You got real talent there, kid.

        I was a philosophy minor in college and it taught me to always point the figure back at society. So if a turdball like GW becomes President, don’t blame him for being a turdball. He’s merely a turdball reflection of all of us. And I do think Socrates used the word turdball.

        1. Damn girl! That’s some deep shit! (I minored in Cheech and Chong movies).

          I’m less wrapped up in FP than ever.

          Still, if someone does something and I catch them in the act, I will make fun of they ass. KnowhatI’msayin?

          So WP and FP are no different than relatives on Facebook, people in malls, or even authors of wildly successful erotic novels. Do something inane, and you’ll feel our wrath.

          1. Cheech and Chong movies were my major.

            My iPad tried to change Cheech to Chechnya…giving my intelligence the benefit of the doubt. Sorry, IPad. I know nothing about that world which you speak of. But Cheech? Yeah, I know all about him.

  7. See? I KNEW there was a reason why I never check out Freshly Pressed. I thought is was all the cookies I’ve been eating.

    Getting FP’d is like trying to get pregnant. Stop worrying and it will happen. And the waiting? Sooo much fun. *nudge nudge, wink wink*

      1. I beg to differ. What you write is of much prosquence. (Putting pro in place of con doesn’t really work…unless you’re talking criminal.) I slay me until it tingles. 🙂

  8. 1 Point! Ok, I’m going to get very nerdy and sound possibly creepy here…

    In a way, it’s a blessing not to get Freshly Pressed. It makes one sort of lazy, and I think it makes one (at least temporarily) start to take things for granted. I will now share a quick Freshly Pressed story.

    In December of last year, I had a post Freshly Pressed. A blog called “Fibromy Awesome” had a post called “15 Things White Girls Love to Do on Facebook” Freshly Pressed on the same front page that I was on. My Freshly Pressed post netted me maybe 400 new followers; Fibromy Awesome’s pressing got her over 3,000. My post did well – her’s totally blew up.

    So I started stalking her blog, probably out of jealousy. Eventually I noticed that the same things happening to me were happening to her. At first, right after the Freshly Pressed, tons of comments and likes on the new posts. Easy. For both of us. But in time, all that enthusiasm eventually dwindled. Now, we both get around the same amount of ‘likes’ and she gets only a few more comments than I do. Here’s the point –

    You’re getting more comments and likes on your posts than either of us. Sure, the Freshly Pressed thing is great and it’s a lot of fun, but in the long run, it isn’t an end all be all to creating a successful blog. Look at Byronic as an example of what to do – he networks, writes creative posts, encourages participation, etc. All those things are more important than getting Freshly Pressed. Don’t sweat it, man!

    I’ll stop now. I need to go make a cheesecake post so I can get on the front page.

  9. Yes, sometimes you look at a post that has been FP’d and you think “seriously?”. I also think it’s a bit odd that some people get FPd more than once, are we expected to believe that it’s a coincidence, that they happened to do the best posts of that day more than once? We’ve all read posts and bloggers that are just fantastic but never get a look-in on the FP front. I’m not bitter about not getting FP’d myself I’m just…well ok…a little bitter. But as you say, the following and commenters that we earn by ourselves are probably worth much more than the bandwagon followers who just hop on because it’s an FP post.

  10. I clicked over from Blogdramedy because I seem to see you everywhere I go, and I couldn’t contain my curiosity any longer. This is a great post and it mirrors a lot of what I feel when I look at the FP page. I mostly bypass FP, and get right to work, but sometimes I’m just in the mood to browse. Unfortunately, there often isn’t much on there that I’m interested in. I don’t care about cooking or crafts, to begin with, so it also frustrates me that there always seem to be so many on there. And then I click on something that looks interesting, just to find that the writing is not that great, or it’s overly long and boring. Like this comment 🙂

    Anyway, I feel your frustration!

      1. Haha!! Believe it or not, as I was driving home, about an hour and half ago, you popped right into my head. I thought, “I should just subscribe.” And then I thought, “Man, I can barely keep up with all of the subscriptions I have now.” And I answered myself, “It’ll be okay, you’ll find a way to keep up. If you don’t subscribe, you may miss something good.” And then I answered that answer with, “Yeah, but do you have room to subscribe to all those others that you ALSO keep seeing? You’re about to join into another circle of bloggers, you know. You already follow Blogdramedy and Byronic, next it’s 1pointperspective, you know you’re going to end up following speaker7, and Jules, then… Where will it end?”

        And then I thought I should start paying attention to the road, so I stopped talking to myself.

        1. I follow anyone who looks like they do good stuff that I’ll read. If they repeatedly disappoint me or stop posting, I’ll drop them to make room, otheriwse, I’ll have to take the laptop everywhere I go once in a while and catch up.

  11. I think every non Freshly Pressed blogger thinks like you, including myself. I look at some of the posts and think dude, are you kidding me? But then I thank God I wasn’t put next to the “15 Things White Girls Love to Do on Facebook” post. Silver lining and all 🙂

  12. I don’t understand “Freshly Pressed” either.
    I usually find the most interesting blogs by following links from people who comment on blogs I already enjoy.
    You, for example, commented on http://curlycarly.com/ and I think she’s hilarious. I can’t resist anyone who has a clever blog name, so I followed you here.
    Much more amusing than anyone I’ve found on Freshly Pressed.

    1. thank you for the kind words. I stopped whining about freshly pressed, i was starting to sound like i was obsessed about it. Like you, i’ve read some weak posts on FP, and find most of my favorites the same way you do.

  13. Good to know that you are no longer obsessed about being FP’d, and congrats on being freshly unstressed.
    Personally, I expect not to get FP’d ever (not that I would fight it if that happens). You’ve probably noticed that I concentrate on politics, and I am pretty sure WP has a policy of not choosing any controversial topics like politics or religion. And recipes, travel logs and random photos bore the hell out of me.

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