Don't Forget These 3 Things When Creating an Impactful Story
Storytelling has so much power, and the world is starting to discover more of it.
Yet, sometimes we get hesitant to share. There is great power in your vulnerability. We resonate with other human beings in our failings, frailties, and overcomings. We like to show, “Here I am. I’m rising. I’m triumphant.”
But to share your story and your triumph, there are skills to be learned to make it more impactful.
WRITE FOR ONE PERSON
It’s easy to get caught up in the world of “I want everyone in the world to read my book!” Who wouldn’t want everyone to read their book? I sure do! But your story gets muddied when you try to please too many people.
To have the most influence with your story, you need to create an avatar and speak directly to that person. Effuse the words and vocabulary they use into your writing.
If your avatar is a child, are you using words they will understand? If your avatar is a teenager, you would use language that would be delicious vernacular, colloquialisms, but something that would spark their fire.
What phrases do you use to inspire, motivate, educate, and inspire your avatar when talking in person? Be sure to use those! If you are highly academic, but your audience is not, you need to bring the language down to a level your lay-person can truly understand.
When I was working with Melissa Moore on Shattered Silence, she was struggling to write down her story. We talked about who she wanted to write the story for. She knew immediately who that person was. She knew of a young woman going through something similar (her father was in prison for murdering several young women). Melissa could not reach out to her because she knew the media would crucify her.
Melissa wrote her whole book to this one young woman. It helped her become clear on the story and what she felt inspired to write.
Later, after the book had been seen on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, and Oprah, Melissa brought together families of the victims of serial killers to heal.
If she had not written her book for one person but rather wrote some parts for the families and some for the victims and some for her father, it wouldn’t have had the depth, intimacy, and authenticity that it did.
USE THE TRY-FAIL CYCLE
Your story will naturally have rises and falls. That’s an important part of any vulnerable story.
Vulnerability happens to be my specialty! I’ve written about a former skinhead who changed his life, how the daughter of a serial killer overcame that skeleton in her closet, and the 19th wife of a religious cult leader who was enslaved and abused as a child.
In all those stories, they had a lot of difficulty in their life before becoming preeminent leaders and incredible forces of nature and movement.
It’s important to recognize that your language should always be low energy. You want to give your readers a reprieve and something to hope for. Then you’ll have rises, where your spark, fire, and rebelliousness show through. Then you’ll begin to rise.
This is called the Try-Fail Cycle.
You begin to rise but don’t completely. Then you fail, but rise again and show us how the skills you learned along the way were able to translate into something greater.
Don’t neglect your rise! We are all looking for a win, and it’s important for you to share it.
BELIEVE YOU HAVE AN IMPACT
It’s not uncommon to question yourself, especially when deciding whether to tell your story or not. You may think, “Who am I to tell this story?” or “Someone has already shared something like this before.” It’s easy to question.
But you have to believe that you have an impact!
Think back to a time you told your story to a friend, family member, or coworker. What did they get out of that? What was their response?
If you don’t believe in the impact your story has on the world, you will most likely never put it on paper. You won’t start writing.
Everyone has an extraordinary story. In learning to tell it, you must believe it has an impact.
When your intention for writing your story is to serve, I have seen how that opens doors upon doors upon doors for people. That's where I've seen the most miracles happen. If you have that person in mind and choose to serve them, you’ll begin to see those miracles unfold. It's extraordinary.
When you utilize these three tips to create a powerful story, you will find that you can create a ripple and great influence. People are waiting to hear your story. Start by writing it in a journal or someplace private, then expand on it over time.