a commentary on Fresh Pressed

Bloggers are like people. Well, in most cases, they are people when you think about it. At least, I like to think so. There are occasional moments when I stumble across those captivating blogs of seemingly larger-than-life people with extraordinary lives. Or, I don’t know, maybe I’m the odd one out. Does everyone just happen to travel to Norway and Cambodia every day, take breathtaking photos, and then upload them to their photo blog for everyone to drool over? (No offense, Casey Arneson. I really just needed an excuse to sneak in a link to your incredible work.) It sure seems like it when you scroll through Fresh Pressed, doesn’t it?

I admit, sometimes Fresh Pressed makes me feel that my life is hypo-ordinary.

Some bloggers have ordinary or perhaps even hypo-ordinary lives, that is lives that are less than ordinary and which can seem to be made a bit more ordinary, at least momentarily, in experiencing the thrill of coining new words (as was recently demonstrated through my use of the word hypo-ordinary). But what makes a blogger’s life or experiences or posts the coveted Fresh-Press-worthy?

the challenge

Start a blog that is a commentary on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed. Make observations about the posts. Why do you think a certain post made it on the homepage? What are some common trends in posts they choose to highlight? Do they refer to pop culture, feature amazing photography, include corny jokes?

possible blog names

  • FreshPressMe
  • FreshPressDontMess
  • BestofFreshPress
  • FreshCommentary
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365 and 52 (project): the numbers of 2012

One year. One project. Are you in?

The official WordPress blog recently encouraged readers to “Kick Off 2012 with Project 365.” Though this project is most often associated with taking one picture each day for a year (There’s a whole site for it, 365project.org, with over 70,000 users uploading one photo from each day of their project.), the concept of a 365-day project can be adapted to fit any project you hope to work on during 2012.

Another variation of the project is a Project 52 (I’m not sure if that’s an official term, but we’ll agree on it, okay?). The idea is much the same, only you do what you do to add to your project once a week instead of every day. My friend Michael Gibbons is working on a 52-week project (Check out his Scottish spiel by following the link. End shameless promo.) in which he hopes to make one video each week of 2012. He even has a theme for each week that the video must express! (Talk about project-ready.)

Now, if you’re numerical and all, then you may have gathered that 365 days and 52 weeks are two equations both equal to one year’s time. (I really don’t make these mathematical statements to insult your intelligence, dear reader. I’m just not very mathematical and like to pretend I am every once in a while.) You would be right.

Today is January 1, 2012.

So if you’re right (365 days= 1 year and 52 weeks= 1 year) and I’m right (Today is January 1, 2012.), then I believe there’s a little more going on here than math. Yes, an idea that’s brewing like hot coffee at a corporate office. Because today is the first day of a new year, it’s the perfect time to start a Project 365 or 52. So why not?

A new year is the ultimate in late Christmas presents.

Now, you know I have to throw in a little promo for starting a blog (I’ve been promoing all over the place in this post.), but I’d like to give a list of ideas for projects, and you could do these whether or not you decide to blog about it. (Of course, I’ll be the first to subscribe to your blog if you do blog about your project.)

PROJECT IDEAS

Remember: Do/Make/Take/Write (about) one per day or week.

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Meal/Dish
  • Illustration
  • Interview
  • Song
  • Poem
  • Short story
  • Craft
  • Form of exercise
  • Restoration (car, antique, etc.)
  • Review (book, restaurant, movie, etc.
  • Page of your next book
  • Invention
  • Update on your ventures in …
  • Way to give
  • One Dress Protest or other social activism
  • Letter
  • Development of a skill 
  • Experience at a new job
  • Conversations
  • Tour (of your hometown, or the world)
  • ((Insert your creative idea here))

This isn’t an exhaustive list, because you could Project 365 or Project 52 almost anything. But if you do, start a blog about it . . .

not everyone gardens and wears dresses (part 3)

Ok, it’s finally here, dear readers. The last part of my seemingly endless (but supposed to be painless and easy) steps for starting a blog. Today we’ll wrap up with the last two steps.

6. Land somewhere. I probably don’t have to tell you that there are zillions of options when it comes to blogging websites! So how do you know where to land?

  • WordPress – My blogging experience is largely limited to WordPress. But that leads me to option #1. There’s a reason I chose WordPress, and if you’re reading most of the Best Blogging Platforms lists, then you’ll see that it’s always on or near the very top. You don’t have to be an Internet genius to set up camp here because of all the great templates and easy-to-use features, but you can still personalize and customize if you wish. If you want your own domain name (i.e. minus the wordpress.com part in the address), you can have it for just over $15 a year.
  • Blogger – Okay, it’s owned by Google, it’s user-friendly for the most part, and even though one drawback is the small number of templates available, you can link your blog with AdSense and make money when readers click on ads you’ve approved. 
  • Others and Microblogs – MovableType, Xanga, Twitter, Weebly, Blogsome

So, this is certainly not an exhaustive list, but I tried to include some of the most reputable platforms that offer free blogging accounts. As always, do your research and see which formats seem to fit you (This might be another time to go back and look at all those blogs you bookmarked earlier.). For example, Weebly is much more complex, which the techies might enjoy, but if you were looking for somewhere to type up and publish quickly and without much behind-the-scenes work, then WordPress would probably be more up your alley.

Somewhere, there's a stadium's worth of people just waiting to read from you.

7. Blog. Oh, finally. Step 7 is here. Our journey is complete. Well, sorta. See, step 7 is an ongoing step. This is the part where you simply do your thing – blog. You have your subject and style, your blog name, your blogging community, everything. So start blogging!

Very early in my blogging days, I read some advice that has stuck with me and helped me figure out this blogging thing. First of all, blog about what you enjoy and love (If necessary, go back and read our step 4 for more on this topic.). If you discover that you really don’t want to keep blogging about your four pet hippopotamuses, don’t feel bad about changing the direction of your blog, somehow expanding what it addresses, or starting from scratch with the blog idea. If you don’t enjoy blogging, people probably won’t enjoy reading your blog either.

That's one of the beauties, that blogs reflect us.

Secondly, be consistent. It may take some practice at first to be consistent with your blogging. It is, in a sense, a new commitment. How often you blog does depend a lot on the nature of the blog (Forr example, a news blog might be updated multiple times a day.). Being consistent is important for many reasons. It keeps you writing, and it helps your readers know what to expect. Some bloggers plan out that they will blog every Monday and Wednesday. Your schedule doesn’t have to be that concrete, but if you’re blogging at least 2-3 times per week, then you’ll avoid the most horrific situation of readers stopping by, only to see the old post they’ve seen the last four times they visited.

In closing, blogging is a product, but it’s also a process. I can guarantee that you’ll grow and change and so will your blog. That’s actually one of the beauties of blogs, that they reflect us and help us see our lives in a different way. I wish you the best in your blogging endeavors.

My dear readers, blog on!