I stared at my screen in despair.
“Wow…my life…is so boring.”
“Everyone else is out climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and I’m like…cooking soup.”
“Anyone want to hear about my soup?”
“Dang, I quit. My life is not worthy of the internet.”
As I scrolled deeper into the abyss of social media and absorbed the photo-shopped lives of impressive people, I became more and more discontent with my own life stories.
I doubted their value and their ability to bring value to others.
Writer, tell me I’m not the only one?
Because I know I’m not.
Even if you have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, there will be someone who has not only climbed it but can also spell it without the help of autocorrect.
And the little shoulder demon will whisper,
“You’ll never measure up to that so put away the pen.”
When we come to this point of doubting and comparison, we have three options.
Punch that lying creep in the face.
Hint: the right option is number 3.
Your personal stories are important.
Why should you share your stories on your blog?
Stories show you are a real human.
In the age where everything can be faked, dare to be real.
You have to connect through cyberspace and pixels and help your readers see the person behind the HTML.
When you share stories from your own life, your blog becomes more than just facts and bullet points. It becomes an avenue to relate with others. Which is why it’s ok if you haven’t climbed Mount Everest. Most people haven’t. (Though if you have, dude, share it. Because that’s rad.)
Stories build trust.
Stories can help bridge the “other” gap. It’s the space between I’m me, and you’re something other than me. We could name this bridge, “Really? Me too!” And on your blog it’s built through stories. When a reader discovers they have something in common with you, trust begins to grow.
When we learn that she loves Lord of the Rings too, suddenly, we’re not so different. We read that he once said something dumb at work too, and he’s not as perfect as we thought. We can relate to that. You build trust with your readers through showing them bits of your life and letting them know they are not alone in this crazy world.
Stories hit home.
A list of the tragic effects of cancer, and a story about your mom’s fight with cancer are two completely different things. One may be informative, but the other awakens the heart. It draws out compassion, empathy, sorrow, and anger. It motivates action because it is real. You’re stories don’t have to be as heart-shattering as cancer. (And I honestly hope it isn’t.) They can be as simple as drinking coffee from your favorite mug, skiing for the first time, or spilling a whole bottle of milk on the kitchen floor right before naptime (I’ve NEVER done that *cough*). All of these can connect on a heart level and draw out different emotions. Your words become more memorable because they are connecting to more than just the mind.
Don’t take your moments for granted. Write down something every day.
Did something make you laugh, feel embarrassed, understand something new, or move you to tears? Take note. Keep a file, notebook, or stack of index cards and draw from your collection of stories. Weave them into your awesome content. Stories can be short, long, funny, or sad. The key is that they’re real. They’re you. We want to get to know you—even if your blog is about the technical process of making piñatas.
Sharing to connect instead of impress gives you freedom to share your awesome-sauce as well as your mess. Though there are certain things I will probably never share on my blog, but I love giving my readers a peek at my blooper real because I want to connect with them. I want to share with them mistakes, embarrassing moments, and disappointments because they’ve had them too. Through our own real stories we can nurture an authentic atmosphere in our little corners of the internet, connect with our readers, and enhance our writing.
Sarah Peterson is a stay at home mom and relationship blogger. She started journaling stories at the age of nine, and began sharing them with the world in the fall of 2015. She loves her husband and son in her North woods home where she reads all the books and eats all the soup. Find her writing at inthecrazy.com.