Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

And the winner is… July 9, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 7:37 AM
Tags: , , , ,


Please allow me to humbly boast today. (Can I be humble and boast?)

On Wednesday I won the equivalent of the Oscar or the Emmy in blogging. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but…WordPress.com featured my blog post, “In praise of preserving country churches,” on its homepage, in Freshly Pressed.

Big deal, you say. Yes, it’s a very big deal. You see, among the hundreds of thousands of WordPress blog posts out there in the world—and we’re talking like 330,000 or so published on Wednesday—mine was selected as among “the best.” Only 11, that’s as in 10 + 1, were picked for Freshly Pressed.

I shot this picture of Freshly Pressed on my computer Thursday morning. The numbers change often, reflecting changes in post counts. Go to WordPress.com and click on "Earlier" at the left bottom of the screen to find my post.

So now you can understand why I’m giddy, thrilled, happy, elated, and whatever other adjective you may select to describe a blogger who’s overwhelmed with this sudden rise to notoriety in the WordPress blogosphere.

And here’s the interesting aspect of this whole event. I had no clue, absolutely no clue, that I was in contention for this prize. Until Wednesday, I had never heard of Freshly Pressed. Sorry, WordPress.com. But I expose this ignorance to clarify that I don’t write for the fame.

My first hint that something big was brewing for me came in a reader comment. Jason wrote, in part: “I was glad to see this on the freshly posted category on WordPress!”

Huh? So I googled and discovered that WordPress.com daily chooses about 10 posts that “represent how WordPress.com can be used to entertain, enlighten or inspire.” Five guidelines are listed for writing posts that increase your odds of making Freshly Pressed:

  • Write unique content that’s free of bad stuff.
  • Include images or other visuals.
  • Add tags.
  • Cap off your post with a compelling headline.
  • Aim for typo-free content.

Apparently “In praise of preserving country churches” met those criteria.

The homepage of WordPress.com, as photographed Thursday morning. My "In praise of preserving country churches" blog post is on the lower right and was categorized under "art."

And then I got to the warm and fuzzy part: “Why do we do all this? It’s our way of saying we like you. We really like you.”

Well, Freshly Pressed, I really like you, too. As promised, traffic to my blog has soared. Typically I get about 150 views daily. On Wednesday that skyrocketed to 1,052. The following day my numbers still remained high.

Likewise, more readers than ever are commenting, which is good, but also sucks up a lot of time screening and posting. But, hey, I’m not complaining. I value reader interaction.

This “award” from WordPress.com validates that I can blog, and blog well. Considering that I launched Minnesota Prairie Roots only a year ago, I am truly amazed that I have achieved Freshly Pressed status.

My work also has been noticed here in Minnesota as my posts have been featured on Minnesota Public Radio’s Minnesota Today “Blog Box.” and in MinnPost’s “Minnesota Blog Cabin.”

Yet, I don’t blog for the glory, at least not my glory. I blog because I am passionate about writing. I have to write. I love to write. And if in the process my writing is recognized, then that is just reassurance that I am using my God-given talents as I should be.


© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling