What do Your Stories Reflect?
The test of a book’s quality is not if it reflects my life, but if it reflects yours. ~E. L. Doctorow
I came across this quote this week and fell immediately in love with it. How very true that if readers cannot connect with our story, if they don’t see some of themselves in it, then it will fall flat. I’m having this issue with the book I’m currently reading, because I can’t relate at all to the protagonist or his life (though I’m sure someone might). And even though the author is clever and writes interesting dialogue that has made me laugh out loud on several occasions, I still can’t get into the story. I just don’t care.
I think the same sentiment could be used for social media, and blogging in particular. Facts, laundry lists, announcements, proclamations are sometimes useful, but if you neglect the human story, people might lose interest. As humans we want to be drawn in and made to feel something.
I heard a writer on a panel say nothing bored her more than writers who blogged about their writing process (which is hi-la-ri-ous, because I’ve been asked to partake in a blog hop about my writing process). I agree with her to a point. If all a blogger writes about her progress like a report or her process just as a process itself, yes, that can get dull. But great bloggers manage to weave process into story and give us a glimpse of life. An example might be Libba Bray’s moving blog post about depression (which is definitely part of the process for many writers).
Other blogging writers who manage to weave story into posts about their writing are Kelly Barnhill, Kate Johnston, and Jennifer D. Munro. And you don’t have to be a “writer” to do this. One of my favourite posts ever (I’ll link it up here if I can find it again!) was on a cooking blog where the blogger told a beautiful and funny story about being really tired before she posted her recipe. There are also folks I call professional bloggers who tell great life stories, like Wait, But Why and Hyperbole-and-a-Half
I think this is one reason I blog so sporadically. Unless it’s an announcement or giveaway or straight forward like that, I want the post to tell a story. I don’t want every post to be an announcement or report or process play-by-play. Luckily, the blogging world has become far more accepting of the once-per-week post. Appreciates it, even, because there are so, so, so many of us out there.
Are there any inspiring blogger/storytellers you read often? Please share!