Digging Ditches – How I Got Freshly Pressed.

So last week one of my posts got Freshly Pressed.

What this means is that my post was featured on WordPress.com’s homepage, where each weekday, ten posts are selected from around 450,000 new blog posts!

What it also means is a lot of traffic to my blog… like 85 000-hits-in-10-days-kind-of-traffic!

So, needless to say it has been quite a buzz! Especially for someone whose previous record for a post was 350 hits, and who didn’t even know what Freshly Pressed meant. 🙂

So, how do you get featured? Well, according to WordPress, it’s all about the content. In a very helpful post Five Ways to Get Freshly Pressed they offer great tips for blogging that I think any blogger should follow, to get featured or not.

But let’s be honest, while I agree that content is king, there are a lot of great blogs out there with great content who still haven’t featured. Of course, there is always an element of “right time, right place” that factors in.

But here’s the bottom line – if you want to get featured, it’s all about “digging ditches”.

Steven Furtick sheds light on a story in the Bible where a guy named Elisha asks God for rain (read asks God to feature his blog on Freshly Pressed), and God responds by saying, “Dig some ditches first, and I’ll make it rain.” In fact he says, “Make this valley full of ditches.”

The truth is none of us can make it rain.

None of us can orchestrate “right time, right place”. No one can control the circumstances that ensures the editor reads our post. But what we can do is dig some ditches in the meantime – follow all the advice we can get, spit out quality content consistently – and prepare for the day when the rains will come and fill those ditches!

Keep plugging away. Writing your best. Checking your spelling. Using great images. Adding tags. Thinking of compelling headlines.

All of us can decide to write no matter what, even when it hurts.

And I think this principle is true for much of life. Some people just arrive. They write one post and “BOOM!” – instant traffic and fame. But for the most part, behind the scenes of great bloggers like Seth Godin and Michael Hyatt lies hours and hours of faithfully plugging away and the digging of many ditches. Malcolm Gladwell says that if you want to really shine in any field or skill, you’ve got to put in the hours… 10,000 hours in fact.

So… to all you aspiring bloggers out there (I include myself in this), keep on digging! Eventually the rain will come.

Thanks to WordPress for giving me the opportunity to get Freshly Pressed. Right now I am singing in the rain!

41 Replies to “Digging Ditches – How I Got Freshly Pressed.”

  1. Thanks for your honesty, Tom. And for your generosity – I feel as though you’d love everyone reading your blog to have successes.
    Your “digging ditches” analogy made me think of the story about investments that Jesus told in Matt 25. The investor says to guys who did something useful with the money: “You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.” How we do the small things is important, it leads to big things.


  2. I once heard a speaker say we do the steadiles so God can do the suddenlies. Good on you for being faithful in digging your ditches – may you continue to experience His favour and His suddenlies 🙂 Have been reading my hubby some of your blogs -which we only discovered when you got ‘freshly pressed’ and we’ve really been enjoying them. Bless you!


  3. Wow, and let me tell you this advise inspires me for much more! The idea is to dig and let the rain come. Same idea applies to success everywhere. You have to do all it take to make luck happen so that that luck works. What say?


  4. Thanks for the encouragement! I’m trying to “dig ditches” with the new blog I started aimed at helping young people (http://expectthisnext.wordpress.com). It can be discouraging if I focus on the stats and see how many (or few) people are seeing my content, but I try to keep consistently putting out posts with the hopes that God will bring along the right person at the right time who will be touched by something I’ve written.


  5. I am so, so glad that you were featured on Freshly Pressed, Tom. I just loved your post about completing a “marathon” in finding the right person to spend your life with — so inspiring and uplifting. Also, I’ve gotten several views to my blog just from the single comment I left on yours! 🙂 Thanks for your great posts, and keep it up. -Adrianne



  6. What an inspiring post! Thank you! It’s a reminder for me to never forget why I began writing/blogging in the first place…for me! So, in the meantime, I’ll just keep digging ditches, and if it rains (i.e. if I’m Freshly Pressed), I’ll be grateful, and if it doesn’t, I’ll STILL be grateful!


  7. Excellent! Soooo true for anything we want. Very inspirational. So glad I follow you. BTW–my blog is up now, just a couple of minor posts, but I want to link your blog to mine as soon as I figure it out!


  8. I love the 10,000 hour comment. I have heard that in so many classes in college. I don’t think I have spent that many hours doing anything in my life except sleeping. I believe that what holds me back from putting forward that much time on one particular thing is that if it does not work out in my favor I will have lost a big part of my life. I suppose that it is easy to say you should find a direction, follow that direction, and give it all you got, but it is hard to send someone on the path. What I mean is that it is easy for someone to point the gun (the direction they want to go), but very difficult for them to pull the trigger. So success in something, be it blogging or another passion, is not necessarily a function of time doing something, but of starting the stopwatch.


  9. Just found this blog and love it. This post is right on the money. Too often, we underestimate the amount of hard work that success will take. But God can not be mocked: you reap what you sow. So keep digging those ditches!


  10. All of us can decide to write no matter what, even when it hurts.

    Deliver consistently, even in pain – This is what I have heard from most of the successful bloggers around me. I tried to follow it and stopped. Time to gear up and start again. Thanks for inspiring me once more!


  11. I needed to read this, so thank you. I want our blog to be Freshly Pressed so badly, but then again, that’s not the reason why I write. So yes, I will write and write, even if it hurts — especially when it hurts. There’s a reason why the expression ‘tortured artist exists hahaha.


  12. I appreciate your effort to illustrate the line where my will ends and god’s will begins. This has always been a grey area for me as I am constantly trying to do the least amount possible to gain the maximum results. This is actually a good change for me because I lived a life of absolute control over both effort and results, and if you’ve ever tried this you know how frustrating it can be. I have learned one thing so far though in this journey for the defining line for where my action is over and the chance starts to take over. My will is in the effort and god’s will is in the outcome. To put it another way, the one thing I don’t have control over is the outcome, while the one thing I do have control is my outlook. Thanks!


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