When I first learned to read, I was drawn to stories. It didn’t matter if they were fictional or factual – I cared just as much about Pussy Willow, as I did about the lady who was bitten by a wolf spider and watched her hand slowly rot.
I was a strange child, caught up in a world of imagination. Reality didn’t hold much appeal for me and a friend and I developed an obsession with the knots in wood, calling them “eyes” and assigning them powers, some good, some evil.
Years later, I find myself still looking at knots in wood and imagining what latent powers they might have. I didn’t exactly grow out of my oddness, I just worked out how to make it slightly more socially acceptable.
I’ve been blogging for over four years now, I’ve watched the rise of the US Mommyblogosphere and slowly found myself surrounded by Australian bloggers and brands who want to work with them. I’ve been invited to events and I seem to have readers who are loyal to my writing and who want to read my stories.
I can’t quite work out why – at the heart of it, I am still a gawky misfit kid who doesn’t want to be part of the popular crowd, but doesn’t know how to want anything different.
People ask me what I do and sometimes, I will say that I’m a blogger and that I write on the Internet. Other times, depending on the company I am keeping, I say that I am a writer.
Of course, regardless of what I say, people want to know what I write and it was with this that I struggled. “I write about parenting on the Internet” doesn’t quite explain what I do, nor does “I talk about my life and kids.”
Blogging is so much MORE than that. It isn’t just parenting, or life, or meta-blogging. It is everything and nothing, all at once.
Blogging is storytelling.
Hundreds of years ago, stories were passed from grandparent to grandchild, being told down through the generations. People have always been drawn to stories and the messages they contain. Messages of connection, of learning, of community, of humanity.
We lost the storytelling a little bit, I think in part because books became affordable for everyone. Not a bad thing by any means, but did you ever wonder how myths survived for so many thousands of years? Mouth to ear storytelling. Once upon a time, myths would have been a true story, told at the fires on a winter night.
We are the story tellers of today, with our blogs and our community. We are writers, every one of us and we tell our stories to the world, demanding that someone (anyone) listen to us. We are powerful in this.
Tips for storytelling on a blog:
Write each post as an individual story.
Each blog post should stand alone. Of course you can link back to old posts and encourage people to click on them, but if we fall into the habit of always assuming that our readers have been reading since the beginning, then sometimes the best bits are lost.
Not every person who reads your post is going to be a regular reader.
New readers aren’t going to want to trawl through the last 50 blog posts to work out what on earth you’re talking about.
Ask yourself: If I was telling this story to my friends, how would I do that?
Then write it that way.
The best bloggers are story tellers, who keep me coming back for the next installment.
I want to know what happens to you, so do me a favour and tell me. You ARE interesting and I DO care. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that no one cares. Everything has the potential to be a story, if you think about it.