Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Jennifer Miller.
Vanessa recently sent an email to her subscribers about an accident that profoundly changed her life. It was personal. It was compelling. It was real. And it inspired me. Probably you too.
If you’re reading this post, it’s because you’re interested in doing storytelling better. And you can — by taking a cue from Vanessa and making it more personal.
Isn’t that the point of storytelling, anyway? To stir emotions? Motivate? Inspire?
Don’t kid yourself: That won’t happen without a very personal stake in the story from both the author (you) and audience (donors). If you tell a story like a robot, don’t expect donations to pour in. If you remove the emotion — the REAL raw stuff that takes your reader’s breath away — don’t expect a momentous response.
So do yourself a favor:
Step back from the storytelling instruction manuals and just make it personal. Scrub your brain for a second. Look at the story. What’s it about in its simplest terms? What made your heart leap forward and your stomach drop?
I remember when I was a sophomore in high school in Miami. I had a school assignment to tell a historical story. Back then, Holocaust survivors peppered Miami Beach. Back then, there were Holocaust survivors still alive. And they remembered.
I walked along Ocean Avenue and I knew. Saw it in their eyes. The faraway look. Sadness mixed with wariness. I approached one older man, sitting on a bench made partly of coral. His prisoner number, tattooed on his arm, was still very visible.
We spoke, but I can’t tell you the details because I don’t remember them. I do remember putting my notebook away. I couldn’t scribble fast enough, and at some point, it was a distraction. I remember my eyes being trained on the tattoo on his arm. I remember wanting to throw up. I remember knowing that members of my own family perished in the Holocaust. I remember feeling like this interview changed everything for me that day.
That’s the story I told. I think I got a B on it.
That’s okay. I wasn’t in it for the grade.
Want to know more? Contact me at: Jennifer.Miller@truesense.com