WRITING FOR THE RIGHT REASONS

I wrote a lot of posts before getting Freshly Pressed.

In the beginning, I didn’t think about it because I didn’t know about it. After I became aware that such a thing existed, I figured I’d get noticed eventually. My turn would come. I’m insecure about a lot of things, but not about writing, probably the result of doing it every day for 50 years. Eventually you become comfortable and know you’re really a writer. You have proved it to everyone, even yourself.

freshly-pressed-circle3x3So I waited for that email to come. As almost everyone I knew seemed to be getting awarded — except me — I started to get worried. Then hurt. And I started to brood on injustice which is always a bad sign for me … a very bad sign.

Finally, after airing my grievance — mostly in comments on other peoples blogs about how bad they felt about being overlooked … I took a deep breath and realized I was being stupid and self-destructive. I was letting this thing get to me. It was sucking the fun out of blogging. I’d become focused on winning a prize rather than enjoying writing.

I don’t even remember when I knew I was I writer. It wasn’t something I decided. Writing was part of me as long as I can remember. It has been my therapy. Catharsis. My hobby, my profession, my dreams. The best part of me has always come through when I write. I was letting this thing … this award I didn’t get … take that away from me.

I went cold turkey on expecting recognition. I didn’t stop wanting it. I can’t help wanting recognition. It’s part of that type A personality thing, the competitive piece of me. And I’m sure a little teensy part of my brain nurtured an itsy bitsy hope it might yet happen, but to the degree I could control my feelings, I quit thinking about it, hoping for it, expecting it.

Most important, I gave up being angry. Because holding on to anger is bad for me. It messes with my head while leaving the object of my anger unscathed. It’s one of the few life lessons I’ve learned and accepted. I can’t go there.

I’m glad I kept writing. Most of all, I’m glad I didn’t keep writing only to win a prize, but because I love to write.

A thousand or so posts later, I got the letter.

There is a moral to my tale. Do what you love. Maybe the rest will follow. Maybe not. But when you’re doing what you love, you are a winner.

And the post that finally did it is: GONZO GEORDI HAD AN AX

HOLY EXPLETIVE! I AM FRESHLY PRESSED!

Congrats, you’ve been Freshly Pressed!

That was the subject of the email and it was addressed to me. I was stunned into speechlessness and that doesn’t happen very often. What can I say except “WOW.”

I’ve written 1850 posts, gotten 120,200 hits. I have 1350 WordPress followers. But never Freshly Pressed. I figured I had pissed off the editors. I’m good at pissing people off. I do it all the time with followers, friends, family and total strangers. Why not the editors of WordPress? After a while, I gave up hoping it would happen. I stopped waiting, figured okay, it’s not so important. If there’s one thing I know, absolutely 100% I can do, it’s write. I have a body of work and a résumé. I don’t need external validation.

Mass Broadcasters 12Except, it wasn’t true. I may not need it, but … okay, I’m human. I crave recognition. Writers — all artists, really — want recognition, whether or not we are ready to admit it. Apparently the trick was to stop brooding about how come it never happened and just … write.

The piece which got the nod is GONZO GEORDI HAD AN AX, a piece of writing so different from my usual style I’m not sure how I feel about it. I know I wrote it … but it was like someone else wrote it too and I was a conduit. I hope I’m not channeling serial killers. I know I’m odd, but that’s more odd than I want to be.

Garry was disappointed when I explained Freshly Pressed doesn’t come with a statuette or even a plaque. He wanted to know if I can create one. I can try. There’s no end to what you can do with Photoshop.

Garry has awards all over the house. Plaques and statuettes abound to such a degree that the last two — from the Massachusetts’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame and Hofstra University’s radio station WRHU Broadcasting Hall of Fame — are on the fireplace mantel. There’s no room on the walls. Let me say up front that Garry deserved every one of those awards, but he feels I should have awards of my own, preferably including something tangible. I didn’t work in an industry that gives awards. If you got a regular paycheck, that was the award …. these days, even more so. I’ll think about it. Anything to make my guy happy and I suppose I wouldn’t mind either.

For my friends who are unFreshly dePressed and yearning for recognition, all I can say is — sometimes, after you stop expecting it, the thing you want happens.

Thanks everyone for sticking with me. You are the best!

Hot Rod Cowgirl Nominated For The 2013 Blog Of The Year Award!

Marilyn Armstrong:

Another star for me … and a well-earned sixth star for Hotrod Cowgirl, one of the first blogs I ever followed and still one of my favorites. It’s beautiful and poetic. It speaks of life and the land we love and if you have not yet visited, please do!

Originally posted on Hot Rod Cowgirl:

Hot Rod Cowgirl Nominated For The 2013 Blog of the Year Award!

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Yip-Yip-Yee-Haw!

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Blog Of The Year 2013…Wowzers! Minnie Mouse Of The House says Meowzers!

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Ellie says Bowzers! Look at her jump for joy!

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Melody, Buck, Annie, Pat, Tucker and Dasher are excited as they have enjoyed entertaining you and keeping me busy blogging:)

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It seems only a few days ago that I accepted this awesome nomination the end of 2012…and where did the last year go?

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And Wowowow! I’m excited to receive a nomination for the 2013 Blog of the Year Award from Sharla at http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/

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Sharla opensCatnipoflife with a line of wisdom that is so very true!

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“Observe life at its best, listen to life’s songs, embrace life’s bounties, breathe the breath of life and savor life to its fullest.”

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Catnipoflife is about the school of life…the life we live and the lives lived around us…times…

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Versatile Blogger Award

Marilyn Armstrong:

A big thank you to Tim Neath for giving me a great start to 2014! If you aren’t already following him, he does fantastic movie reviews. Check him out. And thanks again, Tim!

Originally posted on timneath:

The Vesatile Blogger AwardWhat a way to start the year, only a few posts in and I have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger award, thanks to vinnieh. A big thanks to the fellow film fan, please check out his thoughtful reviews!!

This is not the first time I have received the award, which entails a list of short tasks to carry out and spread the love that comes with the award.

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Include a link to their blog.
  3. Select 15 bloggers you follow and want to pass the award onto.
  4. Nominate the 15 bloggers and inform them of it.
  5. Finally, list seven interesting facts about yourself.

With the first two checked off I shall announce my winners below. Of course there are many more than 15, which always make it harder to choose.

  1. patternsthatconnext
  2. Serendipity
  3. In Search of Lost Pictures
  4. Painters Progress
  5. Russel Ray…

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NOT FRESHLY PRESSED? HELP IS ON THE WAY!

What is Freshly Pressed? It is the opinion of editors hired by WordPress. It promises that some blogs are better than others, deserve special recognition and indicates that these people know what good is and have assigned themselves the task of giving out this recognition.

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I believe in merit. I also believe in fairness. While some awardees have created funny, creative, original material and have earned recognition, that is far from universally true. Many other recipients are nothing special, writing stuff that has no social value and little relevance. It’s not especially funny or even interesting. But it is whatever pleases WP’s editors — and they answer only to themselves.

Freshly Pressed gets dangled in front of bloggers not only as an award, but as the opportunity to gain a broader readership. They will promote you, put your material where everyone can easily see it. For those of us who have labored long and hard, produced a lot of really good material only to have it ignored, it’s a virtual slap in the face and it hurts.

Why are the same sites recognized over and over again while others, as deserving or more so, are shut out? Some of us apparently can never meet whatever ephemeral standards are being applied. Because the judging standards are never stated, you can never object to the judgment. There are no criteria to be met, just that somebody noticed you and deems you worthy.

This kind of thing makes many people, including me, feel sad. We aren’t just blogs. We aren’t faceless corporations. We are real live people doing something for which we get no reward except the chance to have our words read, our photographs reviewed. Yes, we crave recognition. Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t want the validation of being Officially Recognized? Even if it’s by a self-appointed board of recognizers?

I’ve appointed myself an official recognizer. Allow me to present my bona fides.

I spent more than 40 years as a professional writer by which I mean I got paid to write and my work was published by the people who paid me to do it. There is nothing which screams professional more than that. I also wrote and published a book that still, to this day, actually sells a few copies here and there, though it was published originally in 2007. Just last week, Amazon notified me that I have earned $10.24 in royalties this past quarter (be still my heart)!

I am a real editor of real books and a pretty good photographer, if not the most skilled user of Photoshop. However, my skills are improving and towards that end, I have created an award. It’s the “I deserve an award,” award. You don’t have to pass it along to any specific number of people. You don’t have to reveal 12 inner secrets you’ve never revealed before. You can send it to people you think would like to have it and deserve it. Display it on your site and maybe this thing will catch on.

Have fun. Remember, guys and gals: We do not need validation or approval from WordPress. Their opinions as to what constitutes quality are no better than mine or yours. It is merely their opinion. If people like you, read you, visit your site, look at your pictures, comment on how they appreciate what you do? That is validation. That is approval. That means something. Don’t let a lack of “official” recognition sour you. Don’t stop having fun doing what you do!

This badge is 375 pixels square and should fit comfortably into a column or footer. I’ve put one on my front page so you can see if that’s the size you want. If you want a badge in a different (smaller or larger) size, I can fix it for you. Let me know what you want.

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I’m going to pass this to a few of you and leave it to you to pass it to others. Use discrimination and give it to sites that do quality work, help others, rescue dogs, provide important medical information that can be hard to find. Give it to those whose pictures make you say WOW, whose posts make you laugh and cry and think.

I’m picking a few of you to get the ball rolling, but many more of you deserve it. I am just flu-ridden and too tired to pick through the many worthy bloggers I know. I’m not ignoring anyone, honest. I have the kind of chest cold that makes me feel a poke in the eye with a sharp stick might be more fun. You know, wheezing, coughing, can’t breathe, eyes running headache, fever and even more body aches than usual? I’ve gotten this far, but I can’t go another inch. I’m done and used up. Love you all!!

You don’t have to do anything with this if you don’t want to. And anyone reading this is welcome to join in and pass this to others who you believe have been unfairly overlooked. It is entirely up to you.

Let’s encourage each other. Be strong and blog on!

ENCHANTED SEASHELLS: Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

The Library Lady and Rosie Bear: Humor / Book reviews

4 writers and readers

Catnip of Life

Sunday Night Blog

Sweetwildflower: Recipes, Crafts, Tips, Writing

THE SUNSHINE AWARD POUR MOI … TIMELY INDEED!

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things

Thanks  znjavid!

I love that you thought of me for this award. She and I have had fun chatting about her children’s book, my husband’s clothes, and the differences between grocery stores in Dubai and Salt Lake City. Check out her blog at:

A Mom’s Blog http://zainabjavid.wordpress.com/

— And NOW — From me …

October 2013

October 2013

Thank you to The Library Lady and Rosie Bear, a delightful website that you absolutely should go visit. She writes about life with a light touch, about writing, her travels and more … with charm and grace.

I’m pleased and proud to receive this award. I’m not giving it out to a bunch of people because I’ve been slinging awards all over the Internet recently — an embarrassment of riches — and I’ve run out of steam.

I’m absolutely CERTAIN beyond any possible doubt that all of you who follow me, even occasionally, know more than you could possibly want to know about me. Too much information is my middle name.

So thank you. I’m honored and proud and congratulations to all you other winners! It’s a good day to be me … or you!

See on geanieroake.wordpress.com

IMAGINE THAT! THE IMAGINE AWARD COMES TO SERENDIPITY

Dawn Hosking, a woman who hasn’t let fibromyalgia (ouch!) stop her … or even more than slightly slow … her hurtling passage through cyber-space, has honored me with a brand new award created by the lovely Jenny at My Fibrotastic LIfe.  

How can I not admire Dawn’s site? It looks a bit like mine, after all. It is one of the few blogs I can visit that has sufficient white space. I can read it and stay awhile without getting a headache. Too many of us clutter our sites with every widget and badge until there’s no place to rest your eyes. Fine if that’s what you want, but I appreciate white space. Probably that’s a remnant of my life in the world of books. But I digress.

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She deals with her physical issues without whining. That’s not easy. Sometimes, I feel extremely whiney. Snivelly and whiny and miserable and scared and all I want is to go online and beg people to send love and cash (or checks or money orders). Usually I resort to humor to keep from humiliating myself, but she does it with just enough humor to keep from being — what’s that word? Oh, I got it. — dull. That’s what she isn’t, just in case you got lost in my Byzantine sentence structure. She keeps us reading and wanting more. To really spice it up, she includes information that is accurate, useful and can be passed on the medical professionals who rule our lives.

And speaking of writing, Dawn can. Write, I mean. She can tell a story. Whether it’s about herself, or something imagined, or just talking about “stuff” going on in the world, on WordPress, or whatever. She expresses herself simply, cleanly, without excessive embellishment or convolutions. Like the white space on her page, it’s refreshing and easy on the brain cells.

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About THE IMAGINE AWARD: 

“The Imagine Award” is an award created by Jenn Mulherin (who is the writer of the blog “My Fibrotastic Life!”) in October of 2013. This award was made in order to recognize the bloggers who express their passion and dedication towards their blogs through their creativity.”

How is creativity found in a blog?

There are many ways by which bloggers can express their creativity. Creativity can be displayed through:

  1. Words — fiction writing, real-life experiences, memories, humor, poetry, quotes, metaphors, tackling issues, parody, reviews and so much more. What can’t you do with words? The sky’s the limit and these days, not even the sky is a limit.
  2. Graphics including photography, comics, computer-drawn graphics, cartoons, paintings, illustrations and more.
  3. Video. Personally, linking a YouTube video is about as far as I’ve gotten with this one, so I greatly admire those who have found far more creative ways to use this medium.
  4. Layout of the post itself and the blog page. We are all constrained to some degree by whatever template we choose, but within those constraints it is remarkable how many artistic choices remain to us.
  5. I’d like to add community to this list. It takes a unique type of creativity to draw others in to form a community. It sounds easy, but it’s not. Some people create networks that stretch around the globe while the rest of us remain essentially on our own … wondering how those amazing others form solid durable relationships with people they’ve never met in person.

Why is creativity so important?

Creativity is one quality in a blog that not only draws readers, but shows how much a blogger cares about his or her (or their) blog. Taking care of a blog is like taking care of a plant. To keep it healthy and growing, you feed the blog with your ideas and give it a lot of love. And time. (I dream about mine!)

Here’s what you need to do to accept the Imagine Award:

In a post dedicated to this award:

  1. Copy and paste The Imagine Award into your post.
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog page to your post.
  3. List 3-5 things about the nominator’s blog that you like (which you think are very creative).
  4. Nominate 5 other bloggers/blogs which you think display a fantastic use of creativity and imagination.
  5. Notify your nominees.
  6. Display The Imagine Award to your blog’s award page.

Should you prefer to decline The Imagine Award, that’s okay, but please — pass the award to a blog you find really creative. If it inspires you, even better.

Now, back to that envelope. Since Dawn has already given this to a couple of people who’d be on my list … well … you beat me to it. Great minds think alike and if this isn’t proof, I don’t know what is. I’m giving this to people who actually inspire me. I refuse to be responsible for what they do about it after I give it to them. I give the awards. You will have to deal with them :-) Just play nice and say thank you Marilyn (all together now: THANK YOU MARILYN!)

LASERS, MONSTERS AND BARBARIANS OH MY! is a totally bizarre blog that makes me laugh. Half the time I haven’t any idea what he is talking about. Creative language skills and effective integration of graphics media — including video — has made this one a keeper, even though I wind up scratching my head and saying “huh?”

ALIENORAJT – Creative, sensual and blunt writing from Ali’s pen… And so it is! What she doesn’t mention is she is funny, sensitive, kind, bawdy, bizarre and a master (mistress?) of words. They fall from her virtual pen like a tidal wave of wit and unique imagery. Sometimes, imagery so intense I can’t escape it for hours … or at all. Ever. Like a haunting (annoying?) little song, it just goes round and round. Whatever else, call this woman creative. Fantastically, magically creative. In every way. Her response is here..

CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS is one of the most eclectic and amusing sites I know. She writes (very well) about anything and everything, from family life to cooking and politics. Her humor is wry and ironic. She employs subtle wit and honesty as a rapier. I never miss one of her posts and reading her stories and anecdotes gets me thinking about what I am going to write. Great work!

I’M JUST SUPER SAIYAN is pretty new, but she’s a pistol of creativity. It’s worth a visit just for the hand-drawn cartoons. And she’s funny, witty, and so far … prodigiously productive. Being a grandmother, it’s fun for me to plug into a younger world and see what they’re doing, saying. The new words used in an old way, the old words used in a new way. For graphic creativity and humor, this young woman absolutely deserves The Imagine Award.

DRALIMAN ON LIFE - Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think. Not only does he make me stop and think, he makes me stop and laugh, makes me admire his very cute cartoons. Are they cartoons or doodles? Droodles? Whatever. I didn’t know physicists had a sense of humor. Go figure, right? He’s also … gasp … a shockingly talented writer, both of fiction and oddball posts about anything and everything. I worked as a tech writer for a very long time … and to find someone who’s a scientist or engineer who’s funny and can write too? Wow. I mean, that’s like discovering a new species of something cute and furry, or a star cluster or well something anyhow. Check him out. You will like him, I absolutely guarantee it. Or your money back. Has anyone ever gotten their money back? Just asking.