Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thoughts on Blogging Part III: Telling Authentic Stories

Aphrodite, Barbary Falcon
a permanent resident of CLAWS
I've been thinking a lot about blogging lately, specifically about this blog, where it fits in the greater world of unpublished writers blogging about being an unpublished writer, and what this blog's greater purpose is.

Here's the third of three posts about this:

In "All Marketers are Liars" author (and blogger) Seth Godin says that in today's post TV-industrial complex all successful marketing is based on stories that are told well and are felt to be true by consumers.  Organic food, Tom's Toothpaste, Apple, Starbucks.  Their successes have all built on good stories, stories that their creators believed in, lived authentically, and were accepted by the public as authentic.

In light of that, let me rephrase the question I ended the last post with.  "What authentic stories should an unpublished author write about that a potential audience might embrace?"

Personally, I considered several options:

Do you want to read what it's like to be the IT Manger at a scholarly press?  Neither do I.  Another "My Journey to Publication" blog?  Not if you paid me.  Stories about our six cats?  I might as well talk about genealogy.  Doing Arts and Craft Shows?  Even when I saw the financial potential for doing it, I couldn't sustain my own interest in that one.

At the end of "All Marketers are Liars" Godin writes:
What is Your Story?
That's what people want to know from you.  They want your resume, your packaging, your candidacy, your ads and your customer service people to tell them a story. 
So the challenge you face is now clear.  You must have a consistent, authentic story that is framed in terms of the worldview of the person you're telling the story to.  Your story must be robust and honest and transparent and you have to be prepared to live it out loud. (p.185)
A few weeks ago a co-werker brought me a print out of one of Randall Munroe's brilliant xkcd webcomics titled Dreams.  It starts off with one character telling a friend who is typing into a computer, "You should be more careful what you write.  You never know when a future employer might read it."  The other character starts their response with, "When did we forget our dreams?" and continues on from there.  (I urge you to read the full webcomic.  Warning: Strong language ahead)

It reminds me of my sixth posting to this blog I said I was going to be completely honest in this blog about what I thought about the books I read.

Recently agent-to-the-stars Rachelle Gardner wrote a blog entry listing various tips for making a better blog.  Number 7 was "Be controversial." Now, I have no intention of being controversial simply for effect, but honesty does, at times, lend itself thataway.

See, the only authentic stories I have, the only ones I can be honest and transparent and can live out loud, are my own.  Allow me to expand that to being honest all sorts of areas of my writing life.  I think another word for Controversy could be Interesting.

What do you think?  And how does this apply to your writing and your blog?

-- Tom

[EDIT: Blogger does not seem to want to respect my wishes to Schedule posts for publication in the future.  Very annoying.  Has anyone else had problems with this?  What's the solution?]