“Thereʼs nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
-Walter Wellesley ʻRedʼ Smith
If you have a moment, Iʼd like to travel back in time to when you were bored out of your mind in history class, watching the clock move backwards as the teacher mumbled meaningless dates, documents, and names. Remember how hard it was to memorize all of that information?
Well that was my experience. I just didnʼt realize it would help me become a better writer some day. However, when I ﬁrst began my personal development blog, I started out writing posts very much like my old history teachers gave lessons. I would…
- lay out the problem(s)
- tell my solution(s)
- follow up with supporting ideas/facts
- ﬁnish off with a conclusion
It was like reading a school essay, and that is no way to build trafﬁc. Readers did not respond to it just like I did not respond to those history lessons.
Connecting with Readers
To get a response, I needed to give them something to identify with. Make them want to read on, comment and share it with the world. In order to build trafﬁc, I needed my articles to be worth sharing. However, I had no idea what a the secret of popular posts was, so I just kept on writing….for months.
Then, one day out of the blue, I remembered Mr. Joe. When I was in college Mr. Joe taught history differently. When he recapped the American Revolution, it was so vivid that I wanted to attack the next person I saw wearing a red coat. Suddenly the facts were not so hard to remember.
I didnʼt even need to study for his test. It was if I lived the answers. This was because Mr. Joeʼs fascinating lessons provided much more than facts. They included the gossip, popular music, jokes, beliefs, and styles of the time period.
To sum it up, they gave us an understanding of the human experience from that moment in history.
The Moment of Discovery
Inspired by Mr. Joe, I let my humanity ﬁll up my articles. Suddenly my posts were not only easier to write, but they lead to comments, social media shares, and direct emails ﬁlled with praise. My subscriber list steadily began growing and I have been using the same approach ever since.
Life is the one thing we all have in common, so readers respond to ʻreal lifeʼ stories. They identify with the same struggles, fears, and letdowns that we all do. When I am writing a personal development post, I simply try to picture myself back at the point when I ﬁrst learned the lesson I want to share.
- Where was I?
- What was I doing?
- What did I feel, see, hear, smell?
- Why did this lesson suddenly stand out to me?
Writing about the moment of discovery allows for a better connection with your readers. It gives your message a unique delivery, because no matter how similar the lesson, no one learns it exactly the same way.
Make it Worth Sharing
By adding in a little personal human experience, you provide a connection for others who may have experienced something similar. It draws the reader into your world, and gives them a break from their own.
It’s what defines a post worth sharing. I always identify much better with a blog post that makes me say, ʻ…I had an experience just like thatʼ, than one where I say, ʻ…thatʼs a great pointʼ. Add in a little human experience to your writing.
Make it vivid, and donʼt be afraid what someone may think. Simply tell it exactly like it is. After all, you are trying to reach the world, and nothing travels faster than a great story.