Here’s what I mean by telling a story.
This came across my computer this morning, and to tell you the truth, I’d read it before. It had made an impression on me the first time I read it, back in December when Jon Morrow wrote it for Copyblogger, which I subscribe to. (If you don’t, you should.)
Now Jon is marketing his own blogging course, and he referenced this article about how to stand out on your blog. How to become known as an individual, even if you’re known only as a writer by virtue of the famous blog you happen to write for, as in Copyblogger. Kind of like saying, “Hi, I’m Susie Smith, and I’m from the New York Times.” Your credibility isn’t because your name is Susie Smith, but because you’re from the New York Times.
Jon linked to this post that he wrote back in December 2009, and when I opened it, I immediately recalled reading it, and I felt connected to him. I felt connected because he writes it from a mother’s perspective:
The doctor cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, but I have bad news.”
He paused, looking down at the floor. He looked back up at her. He started to say something and then stopped, looking back down at the floor.
That’s when Pat began to cry.
She’d argued with herself about even coming to the doctor’s office. Her baby was a year old, and he hadn’t started crawling yet. He tried, yes, dragging his legs behind him as he struggled to make it just a few feet on the floor, but it didn’t look right. Everyone told her that she was worrying over nothing, and maybe she was, but she told herself that she would take him to the doctor, just to be safe . . .
“Your son has a neuromuscular disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy,” the doctor said. “It’s a form of muscular dystrophy that primarily affects children.”
I also felt the connection because I’m a writer, struggling to express my thoughts in an authentic way that moves people:
Not to imply that I’m unique, because I’m not. Yes, I’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity, but so does every creative person who wants their ideas to see the light of day.
If you want to succeed, you can’t wait for the world to give you attention the way a cripple waits for food stamps to arrive in the mail. You have to be a warrior. You have to attack with the madness of a mother whose child is surrounded by an army of predators.
Because, let’s face it, your ideas are your children. Their future is as tender and delicate as that of any newborn.
You can’t just write them down and expect them to succeed. Writing isn’t about putting words on the page, any more than being a parent is about the act of conception. It’s about breathing life into something and then working to make sure that life becomes something beautiful.
That means spending ten hours on a post, instead of 30 minutes.
That means writing a guest post every week, instead of one every few months.
That means asking for links without any shame or reservation, not because you lack humility, but because you know down to the depths of your soul that what you’ve done is good.
You have to realize that your blog is more than just a collection of ones and zeros floating through cyberspace. It’s more than the words on the page. Your blog is a launchpad for your ideas, and you are the rocket fuel that lifts them off the ground.
So burn it up, baby.
Your ideas are counting on you.
There have been 298 comments on that one blog post — to date. The latest comment was today (I made it, but I wasn’t the only one who made one recently). Great writing lives on, and it gets found.
See? This is the power of story. This is how you take a real story and make connections that matter. Connections that result in business. Why? Because people do business with people they feel connected to.
You may not have a story this dramatic. But you do have stories. They aren’t always obvious, but if you’ve lived for more than 15 minutes, you have them. Find them. Tell them. Be real.
Photo: A Mother’s Kiss from Edwin Dalorzo