Don’t Tell me to Take Two Freshly Pressed and Call you in the Morning!


assemblage--paper, cork, beads, shells, chinese coins, etc.--(click to enlarge)

Help me out here, folks!

Tell me why. 

Why, after every semi-decent piece I write, do I panic that I will never again write anything remotely readable again?

Seriously.

You would think I could successfully argue, from past experience, that this fear is unfounded, that I feel this “too-damn-near-terror-for-comfort” kick in the writerly gut every damn day, and most days I, indeed, manage to get beyond it and write something bordering-on-decent again the next. 

Therefore, it would seem to me, I should be able to help myself beyond this panic, that I should not face this fear, day after day, year after year, ‘til death do pen and paper part, so help me blog gods!

Is this a sickness? 

Am I going to face this compulsion to write every  morning for the rest of my life, and still, day after day, deal with this “punch-in-the-face” fear that every authorial success will be my last?

Is this wild roller coaster ride of writerly ups and downs an insanity that I can medicate with some cocktail of bipolar drugs that will keep me this side of crazy, this side of beyond-the-brink?  

Is there some special poet’s Prozac?

Some writers’ remedy I’m not aware of?

Please leave your script in the comments that follow.

And don’t tell me to take two Freshly Pressed and call you in the morning!

53 thoughts on “Don’t Tell me to Take Two Freshly Pressed and Call you in the Morning!

  1. Kathy,
    You feel this because you are a perfectionist, plain and simple. But, you have to be kinder to yourself and trust that, even if you have a bad day on the writing front, your readers are going to stay with you. No writer is perfect. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve picked up something by a favorite writer only to be disappointed. But that doesn’t mean I will never read that writer again, unless the work becomes consistently bad. And, speaking as someone who cannot seem to achieve that elusive FP even though I feel I’ve written some high quality posts, maybe we need to focus on being proud of our own work rather than on what others think of our work.

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    • I know I should write for the pure joy of doing it, but that’s not always easy. You have, indeed, written posts that should have been Freshly Pressed–especially the one you did about the drama program with the developmentally disasbled! That was an incredible piece!

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  2. Self doubt is not necessarily a bad thing. It can be quite the motivator. By questioning our own ability, we can then sure ourself up and kick the next item in the butt just to prove a point to ourself. If we get too sure of our own abilities, then we may start taking it for granted and THAT is when the quality starts to drop. Because we no longer do that extra push for excellence. It actually happens quite often in the creative world. How often have we seen best selling authors start having mediocre books once they have achieved so called mastery for long enough. Or movie makers? You just keep on having those brief moments of self doubt, no matter how much they may annoy. It is just proof that you still care, and a guarantee that you will try your best.

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  3. Being Freshly Pressed is sort of like winning a mini-lottery– it’s just based on the luck of the draw. Nothing more. You can buy a ticket (write a post) and enter yourself into the lottery, but there’s nothing else you can do to guarantee a win (aside from committing some serious fraud!) Great posts too often get overlooked on the FP page, in my humble opinion.

    That said, I agree with Taochild’s assertion that the self-doubt and anxiety fuel better and better pieces. No writer is immune from those nagging fears and questions– I’m sure even famous authors wonder “Will people still like my writing?” when they publish a new book. Just keep on writing and trust that your readership will grow and stay committed to you. I know I’m with you for the long haul! 😉

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    • EXACTLY WHAT DANA SAID. I call this The Freshly Pressed Effect. It feels awesome, glorious even, for a few days, and then you wig out, worried that you’ll never grace the front page again. I’ve gotten less stressed about it BUT I find myself jealously reading FP posts and committing Jr. High Treason: ” My post was SO much better than this. Ugh” {eye roll}. I think Dana is right. There are amazing posts that don’t get attention and blah posts that might get a little undeserved recognition. The key is to keep writing because your posts, lady, are the amazing ones.

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      • I have the same response, Tori! I know EXACTLY what you are saying. I’ve done the eye roll.

        I say we start our own recognition process–not one of those meme awards, but serious recognition for good work. I know you already do a real recognition on Sundays, which is awesome. I just wonder if a group of us could organize something bigger. Though what do I know. Just a thought!

        Regardless, I think you are right, we just write, try to put the jealously aside, and plow ahead. You, for one, have a wedding to plan!

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    • Thanks, Dana! I’m glad you’re with me!

      I just don’t understand the entire freshly pressed selection process. I was FP-ed when my blog was only 3 weeks old. I have written some MUCH better stuff since then but not gotten the recognition. And the quality that’s selected is so mixed. Most of the stuff is quite good, but some of it is lacking a bit.

      Also, so many of my blogging friends who have been FP-ed have not had their best work selected–good work, but not their best. I see this over and over again. Mine was certainly not my best–may have been far from my best, even.

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    • Okay, I lost my last rather lengthy response, so here we go again.

      But, I was saying that I just don’t understand the entire Fresly Pressed selection process. My blog was FP-ed when it was only 3 weeks old. However, it’s been 7-8 months, I’ve written some much better stuff, but I have not gotten the recognition. It’s weird.

      Also, my friends who have been featured have not had their best work selected–yourself included. Your almond milk piece was very good, but some of your other suff has been incredible. Do you know what I mean?

      Also–I’m so glad to hear you will continue to read my stuff, even as I’m striving to produce better work! Thanks, Dana!

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  4. Agree with all above. But seriously, what good comes from being Freshly Pressed other than a high stats day, and maybe a handful of new subscribers? And you must admit many Freshly Pressed posts are lucklustre and disappointing (although a few are gems, to be sure).
    I enjoy the Freshly Pressed page if I have time to kill – I like to read a sampling of other bloggers, and think it’s good for this purpose – but if I were you I would shelve its importance.
    Write to satisfy yourself, no one else. Your readers, in turn, will continue to love and adore you, like moi.
    One caveat: I’ve never achieved this badge of honor, maybe it’s far greater than I realize. Second caveat: I found both you and Tori through Freshly Pressed, so it has already served me well, I don’t mean to diss it completely.

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    • I understand your ambivalence. Freshly pressed is very mixed. But, I will say this, Deanna, you may never have had the honor, but that piece you posted today was STUNNING! If anything ever deserved the recognition that one did, at least in my mind! So, I hereby, bestoy that honor on you! Brilliant work, Deanna!

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  5. Freshly Pressed is a both a blessing and a curse. It’s like an addiction. The first time it happens, it’s totally unexpected and you experience this amazing euphoria. Then you become obsessed with finding that “high” again, and it starts to consume you.

    I think we need to establish a “Freshly-Pressed-ics Anonymous” group.

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    • This comment made me laugh out loud, Heather! I LOVE it! I’m in! You totally crack me up. I laughed hard, my friend! Thanks! But, seriously, it’s not a bad idea–that’s part of what makes it so damn funny. I need it!

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  6. I have let this one go, the need to produce, the worry over whether or not I can or will…I am thankful to be freed from the “should” of it–the writing, posting…
    If I “feel it”, I write. If I don’t, I don’t.
    In the gap lies velvet beauty and peace.
    blessings,
    jane

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    • I know you’v let it go, Jane! And it’s your spirituality that allows you to do it. I love that about you! And, I love the “velvet beauty and peace” image–really nice! I so crave that freedom!

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  7. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is already an FP Anonymous group out there somewhere. Or at least a more general Bloggers Anonymous. We should google it!

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  8. I used to stress over being Freshly Pressed, even timing my posts to coincide with what I figured were the mysterious editors’ prime reading times, but quickly realized that’s a waste of time and energy. If it happens, great; if not, I’ll just keep writing because it’s what I do. I will admit, I’m going through a sudden what-will-I-write-now-that-I’m-done-traveling phase that will, hopefully, correct itself quickly.

    I love your posts – keep up the good work!

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    • I used to do the timing thing too, Mark! How funny! What would be really interesting to know is if we both thought this prime reading time was the same.

      And I understand what you mean about not knowing what to write about next. It is a lot easier when the posting road ahead is clearly defined–as in travel update. But you will find great stuff to do. I think you should further develop some of your ideas about budget hotel rooms.

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      • I always imagined it was around 8 AM east coast time, which explains my streak of 5 AM posts – while I was still fast asleep! – earlier this year. Now, I’ve seen them choose posts that are several months old, so it’s a moot point. I figure, if they like what they see, they’ll find it and FP it.

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      • We’re close in our estimates. I always thought it was around 9, as I’ve gotten the impression WP was in the central time zone, so 9 am here on the East coast would be 8 in the Central time zone.

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  9. Well, two Freshly Pressed does tend to help with the blogging-self-esteem, but the problem is attracting the notice of Those Who Decide.

    Your posts are wonderful. You don’t need Freshly Pressed. 🙂

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    • Alas, maybe it’s not a matter of need, but rather one of want–plain old ambition. I always have had an overly strong urge to succeed!

      But, how does one attract the attention of “Those Who Decide?”

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  10. I’ve been scratching my head about the whole FP phenom, too. Are posts nominated? chosen at random? But, then I realized I was focusing on the wrong thing. My job is to share my life and my process with whatever skill and talent I have—and to have fun doing it.

    But, let’s get back to the main issue, here. The I’m-Never-Going-To-Write-Another-Decent-Word issue. There is a switch in your head, Kathy, that you can flip. It takes sleuthing and guts to sniff it out. You’ll have to catch yourself when those thoughts surface, grab them by the throat, and follow their trail backwards to the Lie they come from. Because there is a Lie at the heart of this fear and self-doubt.

    For me, the moment came when I suddenly realized Shitty Drafts were a *good* thing. For you, it will be something else.

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    • I don’t think it could be entirely random, as you see some of the same people FP-ed more than once–a number of my friends. I sometimes wonder if they work from the blogrolls of folks who have been Freshly Pressed. I don’t know.

      But, you are right, each of us can only be motivated to share our own truths. And I agree my willingness to think otherwise is based on some kind of lie that I have to learn to undo! Beautifully said! Thank you. You have said it so well!

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  11. This is funny – both the title and the thought that you couldn’t write anything remotely readable. As if! Actually so is ‘Poet’s Prozac’ -cracked me up! But I do understand – a lot of bloggers seem to be writing about this at the moment. I have already written a comment somewhere else about my suspicions that freshly pressed is generated randomly for the very things you mention (inconsistency of quality and not the best posts of particular bloggers) although I’m not denying some of them are brilliant.
    Maybe you have to ask yourself what would happen if you ever did write something that – struggling to find the words here – wasn’t ‘remotely readable’? Just a thought 🙂

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    • Somehow when you put it this way, suddently my thinking what I did seems kind of absurd! Somehow you articulated this in a way that made me see something differently. Don’t know what or how–but thank you, Penny! You are dear!

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  12. I know how you feel. The only thing that really helps me is to remind myself to just write from the heart and whether another soul ever reads it doesn’t matter. (I know. It does.)

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    • You are absolutely correct. However, some days I’m more able to do this, than I am on others. I don’t know what the difference is–why sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t.

      At any rate, hope you’re having a great weekend, Terri!

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  13. I know for me the problem lies in believing or identifying with my thoughts. When I believe thoughts like, “I am inadequate”, it pulls me down. When I believe thoughts like, “Great job, Marianne”, it pulls me up, so I’m continually on a thought-induced roller coaster that elates or crushes. Half the battle, for me, is recognizing when this occurs so that I distance myself from my thoughts because I am not my thoughts.
    Hope you’re having a great weekend, Kathy!

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    • I understand, Marianne! I too struggle with lots of ups and downs and must work to make myself think more positively–not always easy, to say the least. Hope you are having a great weekend, as well, my friend!

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  14. I’m with some other commenters here…I’ve been FP’d three times…none of my FP posts have been what I’d call my “best efforts.” I think it is a lot like a lottery, and I’m still happy when I win, but the “15 minutes of fame” is so very short!

    I think you’re amazingly dedicated to want to write every day…a lot of days, I just don’t “feel it.” Keep doing what you’re doing, Kathy…your readers love you!

    Hugs,
    Wendy

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    • Thanks, Wendy! I certainly understand not feeling it! I guess I just do it whether I’m feeling it or not–but maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe that’s my problem.

      The thing I don’t get is how it could be like a lottery if you and a number of other folks I know have won multiple times—lottery is like once in a lifetime. I at least have one once, but lots of really, really good writers I know have NEVER won! Why? Does anyone have any idea?

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    • You too!? I’m glad to know I’m not alone either, but I hate for anyone to expereince the same misery! Bless your poor writer’s heart. It’s a sickness we all have, maybe?

      At any rate, thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I hope you’ll come again! In the meantime–happy Monday!

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  15. Yes, I too and glad to know I am not alone. Thank you for sharing your honesty. I always worry about this issue but then 2 weeks ago I got Freshly Pressed and now my anxiety is definitely WORSE! I am trying not to let that wonderful experience effect how I write or when or where or how or what I write about… but I can’t help but wonder and hope and that someday I will be found “worthy” again. I think those of us who LOVE writing and who recognize the difference between good writing and bad writing will probably always have that fear. Maybe it is part of what keeps us going creatively. Great post!

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    • Isn’t it a crazy feeling!? It’s been 7 months since I was freshly pressed. I have written great stuff since then, but haven’t been honored again. I suppose this is what happens after you write your first book, and it is a great success. How can you ever top it?

      Thanks so much for reading! It was great having you. I’m glad I’m not alone, either, so thanks for confessing your own fear. Hope you’ll come back soon!

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  16. Freshly Pressed must be fairly random. There are occasionally great posts there and it is agood way to discover new blogs, but some of the chosen ones do leave you wondering why they are there. Some of them are just plain awful. I have a little list of bloggers who comment on every FP ( the ones I look at anyway) I only comment or sign up for the ones that actually interest me. Keep on blogging!

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    • Freshly Pressed is a mystery to me! And you are correct–some are awful! It’s weird. Glad I’m not the only one to think so! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment! And have a great weekend!

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