Under Pressure

Dear Readers, (real and imagined),

Here I sit, contemplating what to write for my next post, in the unusual circumstance of having had a recent post Freshly Pressed. And as with most things in life, (especially if your star sign is Libra), I find myself noting that there are both good and bad things about that experience.

To summarise:

Good things about being Freshly Pressed:

  • It gets out all the wrinkles and makes for a smoother, silkier blog. If wrinkles are stubborn, use the Cotton setting and a liberal sprinkle of water.
  • It introduces new people, who are, for the most part, also real people, to my blog
  • Some of those people “like”, some comment, and some even follow my blog.
  • Replying to comments keeps me busy for at least a week,  thus helping Febfast to fly by with plenty of distraction.
  • Some comments are very funny. You guys kill me!
  • What with comments to reply to, and blog stats to feverishly and repeatedly check every few hours, at the height of all the excitement, I feel downright popular!

Of course, after about 7 days, the stats gradually die down again and become just a quiet shuffle of views, no doubt mostly accidental, from readers who were actually looking for instructions on how to use their yoga mats, information on why Air Supply cried, or breaking news about Nigella Lawson’s ears. You heard it here first. (No pun intended.)

A pic of my blog, right near a pic of Joachim Phoenix.

Here’s a pic of my blog, right near a pic of Joachim Phoenix.

Bad things about being Freshly Pressed:

Um…well there are not many bad things about being Freshly Pressed really, in fact there is probably only really one. That is:

  • the crippling anxiety that it induces in the Freshly Pressed blogger, as she contemplates writing her next post after being Freshly Pressed.

It’s like second novel syndrome (or so I imagine, never having written or published a first novel). The stress is so immense that keeps me awake at night. Alright, not exactly awake, but I’m tipping it’s responsible for the annoying dream I had last night where I was back at high school and my purse had been stolen.

In many ways it’s quite different to writing a second novel of course. Firstly, and significantly, there is the word count. A novel may be anything from about 30,000 words and upwards (opinions seem to vary), whereas the average blog post is probably about 800 words. My own posts tend to land somewhere between those two figures, but usually closer to the 800 mark than the 30 000. (When commenting on other’s blogs, I definitely try to keep my comments to under 1000 words.)

Secondly, there is the coffee intake required to write a novel. I once tried to give up coffee, and lasted 3 years, but now I drink it on a sort-of-one-cup-every-second-day or thereabouts schedule, which clearly means I could not write a novel without making some serious lifestyle adjustments.

I only have a cup every second day because it's such a hassle having it brought in to work on a trailer

I only have a cup every second day because it’s such a hassle having it brought in to work on a trailer.

Pic: Sign Effectz, Inc

Thirdly,  a novelist contemplating her second novel has the huge pressure of worrying about what the editor will think, whether the publishers will go for it, and how it will live up to the first novel once it’s published and the eagerly awaiting public make comparisons. In contrast, my calculations on the odds of having two posts in a row published on the Freshly Pressed website came up with the answer 0.000, (or 0 for those using the imperial system) so I can rest totally assured that the post I am writing now will, with 100% guarantee, NOT be Freshly Pressed. It would be like the novelist knowing for certain that her second novel would be self-published, and posted straight to those fans that had already purchased the first one.

However of course there is the pressure of living up to the expectations of the small group of lovely new readers who, for whatever reason, (perhaps too much wine, or not enough sleep), decided to follow my blog after reading that recent post. An even smaller group still, a sub-group of those people, might actually read this next post. If they do, they may make comparisons to the previous one.

“Huh!” I imagine them thinking to themselves. “That post about cats was funnier/better written/more culturally relevant/more informative/included a lot more mentions of cats”.

I try to put this thought out of my head. After all, it’s the second time that a post I’ve written has been Freshly Pressed, so this blog does already have a little band of followers, who no doubt have already experienced the searing disappointment of reading many posts that are not as funny/informative/culturally relevant/well written/filled with socks, as the first post they read and enjoyed. Still they hang on, or don’t. There’s no way to really know whether people read your posts, just because they subscribe to your blog.

That’s where I find imaginary readers very encouraging. I like my imaginary readers because they were reading this blog before anyone else was, and although they are not as forthcoming with the “likes” and comments, they are very loyal, and always kind when I post less-than-brilliant writing, which is nearly every time I publish!

For those wondering what to expect from post-Pressed posts (pun intended), the only thing I’m certain about on this blog is that it is personal in style, so in general, when thinking of an idea for a post, I try to avoid being guided by whether a topic is popular in itself or not. You won’t find posts here about the 2014 Sochi games or Miley Cyrus. Clearly, I couldn’t have written posts for about 6 months straight back in 2011-2012, on how I was feeling after the death of my brother, if I’d allowed myself to be guided by the desire to write posts that gained lots of readers. Those posts are some of the most infrequently viewed on this blog, while people are constantly landing on my posts about yoga mats and the ears of a certain celebrity chef.

So I tossed around a few ideas for the dreaded next post – but at this point, I’ve reached the ideal length for a post, and it might be better to wind up here. In typical fashion, which shows why I am a fan of Samuel Beckett’s writing, it seems that my next post after being Freshly Pressed is a post about the factors holding me back from writing a post.

So for those readers who are new to following this blog, um…..how about those Winter Olympics, hey???*

*

*So far I have watched 1.5 minutes of the Winter Olympics, or for those of you on imperial measurements, bugger all.

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12 Comments

  1. Ah…the pressure of being pressed, freshly or otherwise! Keep writing in your inimitable style!!
    Belated condolences for your brother; may his soul rest in peace. To lose a loved one is a traumatic experience.

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  2. Thank you, that’s very kind! Both the compliment, and the condolences. 🙂

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  3. dorothyemyers

     /  February 17, 2014

    This was perfect, this inspired me to second guess any aspirations of being freshly pressed. I’ll enjoy all my imaginary readers, and my one real one as well.

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    • Never underestimate the power of imaginary readers. They keep me going! I often think all my readers are imaginary, even the real ones, since I don’t know whether any current readers will read the next post I write or not. PS, if you blog on WordPress, when you make a comment, it automatically includes a link to your blog so that if curious, people can check it out, but there is no link below your name so it may be harder for people to find your blog.

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      • dorothyemyers

         /  February 18, 2014

        Cheers to my imaginary readers.

        No link, OK, thank you, I have more to learn.

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  4. Twice published on Freshly Pressed? Oh dear. According to the laws of random events, I’m afraid you’ve likely achieved your once-in-a-million incidence, and so no longer have the potential for a life changing lottery win. This is a real thing. I wrote about it here if you don’t believe me http://wp.me/p3clDN-u

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    • Haha, just read your post. Well if I’ve had my once-in-a-million incidence, so be it. Never expected to win the lottery anyway. Maybe the odds are that after 40 something years of never winning anything much at all, my luck all came at once, as I also won tickets to see some bands, and a double pass to a movie, all within a 6 week period. Never rains but it pours apparently. I guess that’s it for the rest of my life, then. 😉

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      • Well now you list the treasure trove you’ve clearly exceeded your quotient. Still, never hurts to try. Some of my best fantasies are only enabled in that golden period between buying the ticket and the weekly draw.

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  5. This is a great idea for a post-Pressed post (that’s getting too difficult for my tongue!!) 😛 If and when I ever get Freshly pressed, that too twice in a row just like you, I’ll do the same 😀

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    • Well thank you! Best wishes for being Freshly Pressed! PS, I was definitely not Freshly Pressed twice in a row, the previous time was more than a year earlier. Twice in a row would really put the pressure on!!!!

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      • Oooh! I read both your FP posts one after the other, and somehow it reaffirmed my faith in miracles. Now I have to go back to believing that only half a miracle is possible at once! I have a feeling that mine is going to take a long long time. In the mean time, I will enjoy my moments of relative peace 😀

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      • Hmmm maybe I have confused readers. It was not 2 posts in a row that were Freshly Pressed, as someone else thought. The previously-pressed post was over a year ago & called The Behaviour of Socks. Definitely don’t hold out for 2 Freshly Pressed posts in a row! Thanks for reading!

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