10 Quick Tips About Blogging
Life Story Blogging
Storii is a platform for recording and storing multimedia life histories. As a team, we've learned a thing our two about how to write blogs that tell meaningful stories. Whether you're looking to collect stories and write down a loved one's life bio, or you want to start blogging your own experiences, these 10 quick tips will help.
Listen to professional storytellers
“But how could you live and have no story to tell?”
― Fyodor Dostoevsky
One of the first challenges everyone faces when it comes to writing down life stories is figuring out what stories they want to tell. It is easy to get overwhelmed by the idea of trying to write out all the details of your whole life. Additionally, it's common to think, 'Well, I've had a rather ordinary life. What stories do I even have to tell? What would be interesting for others to read?' Don't worry. You definitely have stories to tell. Great ones. Even if your life feels boring and ordinary.
What can help greatly is listening to other story-tellers. Listen to podcasts like The Moth, which has a Storytelling School section on their site with great prompts and advice. Other relevant podcasts include This American Life and Modern Love. Read the stories on Humans of New York's social media pages or books. All of these sources contain the stories of ordinary people. As you do this, notice what you emotionally respond to. Which ideas and themes are you attracted to? Often listening to someone's story causes us to think of a story from our own life. Jot them down so you remember to write the story later.
Figure out who your audience is
Most people embarking on a life story blog are writing stories for their friends and family. Alternatively, you might want a way to journal and keep track of what is happening in the present. Or, perhaps you want the blog to be themed around a specific topic like travel, a family business, living with dementia or the journey of motherhood. If you are hoping to reach audiences outside your own social circle, it's important to go niche as possible due to over saturation of blogs on the internet. You'll also want to consider writing about topics that your audience is frequently searching for, using target keywords in your posts, and writing content with catchy headlines that offers value to your readers.
In other words: schedule writing time and show up. Decide how much time you want to devote to this and plan accordingly. Consider carving out blogging time and treating it like you would a work meeting. Do what you can, even if it looks like making a quick voice note on your phone as you wash dishes or jotting down ideas while you wait in line at the post office.
Ask your loved ones to tell you their memories
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
― Shannon Alder
It might seem strange to ask a friend or relative, "What are your favorite memories with me?" But it can provide incredible insight into how the people closest to you will remember you. And you - them. The author Johnathan Safran Foer once said, "My life story is the story of everyone I've ever met." If writing about yourself is proving difficult, try writing about the people in your life and how they've changed or impacted your story.
Use your voice
Anyone can write life stories matter of factly. However, they won't be that interesting to read. Allowing your voice and personality to come across in your writing is key to engaging your readership. What you say doesn't matter as much as how you say it. If you are writing life story content, it is incredibly important that those reading it feel like they're listening to you. People are drawn to authenticity, vulnerability and honesty.
Shorter is sweeter
You should write in a way that feels best and most genuine to you. That said, as a rule, short stories are easier to digest and more likely to be read. Consider how you can write stories short enough in length to be interesting and keep your reader's attention, but long enough to cover the lesson or subject you're wanting to address. It might help to think of life story blogs as small essays.
Vary your sentence structure
The ear demands variety. If you write everything in five-word sentences it will get boring and hard to read. When you write with a combination of short, medium and long sentences you create a pleasing piece to read.
Show, don't tell
It's a good idea to proof your writing for starting too many sentences with "I". "I" language is about telling, rather than showing. If you're going to tell the story about how hard a certain day was, don't just tell them, "It was a hard day. I..." SHOW them.
Read your stories out loud
Reading your writing out loud is a foolproof way of catching errors or little things you want might want to edit for the purpose of enhancing your storytelling quality. Did you use the word "great" four times in the same paragraph? Are you over-using any phrases like, "Honestly," "And yet," or "The truth is"? Are you beginning lots of sentences with "But" or "And"?
Use visual aids
When you write a life story you'll paint a picture for your reader. That said, you can enhance the clarity of that picture with visual aids. Consider how you can add meanginful and supplemental imagery. Do you have photos from this day? Is there a song you reference that could be linked to? Is there a newspaper clipping you could include? Do you have video footage?