Getting “Freshly Pressed”: Reflections on Almost a Year of Blogging

This weekend, Girl Meets Formosa was Freshly Pressed. Now I’m steeped in juicy pulp. (Just kidding. I know, that was terrible.)

To explain “Freshly Pressed”: is the location and also the blogging software that I use to host this humble site. Word Press is a very popular blog interface, and needless to say, gets lots of traffic on its homepage. Each weekday, the content editors at Word Press choose 10 posts to feature in a special section on the homepage called “Freshly Pressed” (with a feed to which you can subscribe). This Friday, Girl Meets Formosa was featured in that section for my post “The Fantasy Treehouse.” Thus, my site traffic has increased by an embarrassingly large number of page views in the past two days.

So, Thank You, Word Press!  (Click here to learn more about how blogs are chosen for Freshly Pressed each weekday). And many thanks to you, dear readers, who have supported this blog from its beginning almost a year ago, and have followed my adventures on it!

And to my new readers and subscribers, WELCOME! Thanks for joining us, and I hope that you like what you read. (To get a comprehensive intro to GMF, please check out the “Welcome” post here.) Thanks to all for your great comments over the past few days, and I hope you’ll continue to comment liberally with your thoughts and feedback.

So this sudden rise in readership has been a wonderful, quite surprising, and hopefully-not-too-fleeting explosion of recognition, in an otherwise low-key year of blogging. It has also marked a nice point in time to reflect on my year of blogging– and raised a question in my mind: Why am I doing this? Is blogging really about readership, or about self-expression? God knows it’s not about money. (At least not yet!)

For me, this year, my digital Girl Meets Formosa self has been on a writing adventure, just as my physical human self has been on an adventure living in Asia and doing family history research. The challenge with the blog was to write regularly, write things that people *might* presumably want to read– to entertain, inform, or simply to connect with loved ones from afar. But it also became an experiment with putting my voice out there into the ether, launching it in a bottle out into the frothy waves of the interweb, and hoping that somewhere, there would be eyes focused on a screen reading these words and thinking, “Yes. I feel that way too.”

The Girl Meets Formosa blog this year has also been an amazing and fortuitous tool, a means for meeting some incredibly kind and helpful people who have contributed their advice, expertise, and networking prowess to my research. Thanks to the kindness of these benevolent strangers, I have met historians, witnesses to many long-suppressed brutal moments of Taiwanese history, and family members, as well as those who knew my grandfather Thomas Liao during his life and career.

Thank you to everyone who has used this blog to get in touch with me, and get involved in this project!

So what are the hopes and plans for the next year? You heard it here first, Girl Meets Formosa predicts the future. (Sidenote: this year, I have had exactly one dream that did correctly predict the future, which involved a good friend missing his flight to Hong Kong. Yup.)

1) First, I plan to invite more voices to join mine!

To add to the conversation about the writing life, I will be shouting out this week to other writers I known who have published and shared some wonderful insights about their experiences working in a creative field. Also hope to have some upcoming Fulbrighter and Taipei-related guest posts soon.

2) From Blog to Author Website

As the “Girl” plans to depart from Formosa, I’ll be working on evolving both the writing and the goals of this site. As I move back across the Pacific, I may write more about the writing life, progress on the book, aspects of Taiwanese history that come up in writing the book, and introduce various characters portrayed in the book. In this evolution, I am thinking of transforming this site from an experiential-blow-by-blow blog of updates into more of a polished “author website,” as I shop the manuscript to publishers.

Which brings us to…

3) Using the Blog as Publicity for the Book!

This may sound a bit bald and overly direct, but in the end, this blog has quite a specific frame of reference, and that’s Taiwan, expat living, writing, and trying to complete a book about my family’s role in Taiwanese history. As I have more of the book to share, in publications elsewhere or excerpts or what have you, I hope that this blog will pique the interest of those power players whose taste MATTERS in publishing: agents, editors, publicists, publishers.

I did a summer publishing internship in publicity once, and learned the immeasurable value of a good publicity network— so now my charge to you, dear readers, is this: If you like what you read, if you think this family history and identity discovery story is interesting, please, Please, PLEASE: Tell your friends! Tell your agent. Tell your editor. Tell your boyfriend, your best friend, your mother.

Thank you in advance. A thousand times, thank you.

And for my Girl Meets Formosa almost-1-year-old birthday send off, here are my top 5 favorite posts from the past year, in no particular order, should you want to read more:

* Learning Chinese: Fragrant Intestine with 9-Layer Tower

* Hong Kong in Photos: Now and Then

* A No-Oven Thanksgiving

* Travel Fashion: 12 Pieces of Clothing for a Year

* Meeting Peng Ming-Min; or, Your Easy Breezy Guide to Taiwanese History Research

My mother took this photo when she was visiting me in Taipei, through the window of a cab. To this day, I still wonder where that truck was headed.



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6 responses to “Getting “Freshly Pressed”: Reflections on Almost a Year of Blogging

  1. Again, congrats on being Freshly Pressed! As for people who have never met Kim or me (Eva, featured in the first of five posts, yay!), I am neither the dude selling the sausages or the pleased lady buying them; accurate images can be found in the ‘I Saw the Sign’ post :). As for the photo, I believe that your mother took a picture of a god or goddess on Her/His jaunt into the common world (either that, or it’s a very festive funeral truck – hard to tell sometimes). The words on the side say, roughly translated, “Wishing for the winds and rains of fortune.” [also, never had a chance ever to say this before, so it’s now or never: FIRST!]

    • Thanks for the info on the mysterious photo… fascinating! Thanks also for all of the favorite food recs, which have immortalized you on GMF forever, hahaha.

  2. Dr. KF Lin

    Dear Kim,
    Congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed”! Sincerely wish you a memorable journey about Taiwan and publication of your book. Look forward to seeing you again.

  3. This is so funny! My name is Kim. My grandfather’s name was Thomas. And my maiden name is Formosa! I also love writing but you are much more accomplished than I. Congratulations! Beautiful site!

  4. zaidaisabella

    I’m one of the new subscribers, and I’ll say it is a bit overwhelming to know that there is a year’s worth of entries to read through….but I wouldn’t have subscribed if I wasn’t fascinated by your undertaking. I’m looking forward to both catching up on this past year and reading about the future book. Best of luck. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Play That Funky Music! | Dabbling Deep

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