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.