Your Stories Are Read And They Matter

I recently did some research into what stops people from blogging, and one of the reasons was the radio silence that often seems to greet their blog posts.  And I get it.  It can feel disheartening to put all that work into writing about something your audience will find useful and entertaining, only to get no engagement whatsoever.  But just because someone doesn’t tell you they’ve read your blog post, doesn’t mean that nobody has read it.  And it doesn’t mean that nobody loved it, or was inspired by it.  And it certainly doesn’t mean that you should stop blogging.  Because your stories matter. A year or so ago I attended a school reunion and reconnected with many old school friends that I hadn’t seen for years, decades in some cases.  As we got talking, it became apparent that some of them were reading my blog.  This blog.  I was astonished.  I had no idea.  It was both flattering and reassuring.  Flattering that they didn’t bin it after reading the first post, and reassuring that there were people reading my blog I didn’t know about. And only today a lovely lady wrote to thank me for the gift I sent out to all my subscribers.  She mentioned in passing that she’s been enjoying the cartoon strips that I send out every Sunday (if you haven’t signed up for Sunday Sunshine, you’re missing out: the sign up box is on your right 😉 ), and that one in particular, a cartoon from several weeks ago, had resonated with her.  I was surprised, because that particular cartoon wasn’t created with the purpose of conveying a message.  It was simply...

The Heart Of A Good Story

Even a mediocre story, well told, can help people remember you for the right reasons.  But all too often, storytellers find themselves following a tangent, losing their way, and fumbling to get back on track.  Meaning their story tails off into a whimper, that if remembered, will be for all the wrong reasons. While in person this can be painful to listen to, at least people are obliged, through politeness if nothing else, to hear you out.  In written form however, nobody has to read such a story, they can merely turn the page or click through to something more interesting.  In fact I’m willing to bet that half the unpublished blog posts in the world are stories that just fizzled into nothing.  All those unfinished stories floating aimlessly around cyberspace, destined never to see the light of a computer screen! And yet, this is an easy storytelling malady to fix.  All the best stories have some kind of structure: they hang on a skeleton of one or another shape or size.  And at the very heart of this skeleton is the reason you’re telling the story in the first place: what it is that you want people to Think, Feel, or Do.  Once you know this, you can use it to inform the rest of your structure and the tools you use to tell your story.  So the next time you’re about to tell a story, ask yourself, what do you want people to Think, Feel, or Do once they’ve read or heard your story?  And then structure the rest with that in mind.  I’m looking forward to reading what...

The Story Revolution

Grey suits used to rule the world.  They were serious, professional, and spoke in big words that didn’t make sense to anyone else when they were strung together.  We trusted them.  We believed in them.  We thought that they must know more and better than us, the non-grey-suit brigade.  After all, they were so serious, and business is serious, isn’t it?? Then the Information Revolution brought swathes of knowledge to anyone who wanted it.  Knowledge that was previously only available if you paid lots of money to acquire it.  So people began to question the serious business people and look for alternatives.  Alternatives run by people like you and me, people who had previously been “too smiley, too happy, too bubbly” to be promoted.  But who could now easily set up a business of their own and didn’t need to wait until the serious business people had made them miserable enough to deserve promotion. But how to distinguish ourselves from everyone else??  For a while after the Information Revolution, we built websites and marketing material that was still oh-so-serious.  These would invariably be a professionally presented list of facts, figures, credentials, features, and benefits.  But if everyone’s material is the same, how does anyone know to choose you?  When I first entered the world of self-employment, it was as a coach.  After I switched to writing, someone I’d met previously told me how relieved he was that I was now doing something he could hire me for.  He told me that he comes across coaches every day, but they all sound the same, so he doesn’t hire any of...