I can’t tell you how not to be boring in your everyday life – but I can tell you how not to be boring in your writing.
And writing descriptively is key to making sure readers get through your book – so they can experience your message and so your words can touch their lives.
When I’m starting my work with a new client, I always ask about the stories they’re including in their book. And through the phone, I can hear the skepticism;
What place does story have in a serious book that has a serious message that helps people change their lives?
And I think that’s the exact problem! You’re so concerned with your message (very important) and showing your expertise and credibility (also important) you miss the most critical piece!
How Not to Be Boring in Your Writing!
1. Connect with Your Reader.
Frankly, your reader is NOT going to keep reading if your book is boring. And then your message goes right down the drain because they never read it!
What Makes a Boring Book?
It’s when your reader can’t relate to the material; it doesn’t feel relevant, they can’t imagine themselves in that same situation. There’s no emotional engagement.
2. Telling descriptive stories combats boredom.
I was once hired to edit a book about using the power of the Internet to build a freedom-filled life. It was all about websites and email marketing and social media. It should have been engaging (after all, I’ve got an online business!) but it wasn’t.
There wasn’t a single personal story in there. The author could have been … anybody. She didn’t share anything about her struggles, mistakes she’d made, or successes she’d enjoyed. Nada.
I understand not wanting to put your vulnerability on the page. But you DO have a second option: stories from people you’ve helped and worked with! If you don’t want to (or can’t) use your own stories, share stories from your clients, friends, people you’ve helped, etc. She could have done that.
FYI: These are a bit different than a true case study. In a case study, you use real names and people – and tell the story exactly how it happened. In storytelling for your book, you might combine the experiences of a couple of clients. You might change names, you might gently alter the details to support your point.How not to be boring in your writing. Hint: stories are key! Click To Tweet
Anyway … I was paid to read the book and I could barely finish it. All the lessons I learned from the course of editing the book didn’t stick – because there were no stories to help make it memorable, engage my emotions, and help me learn.
So why aren’t you putting more stories in your writing?
If I had to guess, it’s one of two things:
1. You don’t want to look like less than the expert you are.
2. You don’t know how to craft a compelling story.
I get frustrated when the word ‘vulnerable’ gets tossed around – especially in relation to personal stories. That’s because most people don’t do vulnerable correctly!
I once studied with an “expert” in the online space who was always teaching that you must be vulnerable. That vulnerability gives you power. That it was the KEY to making sales. But here’s the thing … those personal stories of your darkest moments must be well-crafted to showcase your POINT.
Remember this: How not to be boring in your writing is by having the reader see herself in your shoes and have belief that everything is possible. It’s a lot of work to do it right.
This lady didn’t understand the concept of powerful storytelling to create vulnerability and connection – she comes off looking like a hot mess.
When you’re sharing a personal story, it needs to be related to the topic at hand! Relevant and that shows your growth from the pain into the triumph! Here are some I use:
- How my college TA didn’t want to share about publishing and made me feel like I wasn’t a real writer because I wanted to be published (share my message) and not just write for writing’s sake.
- The difference I felt when I started writing and publishing books; not just the weekly newsletter to 10,000 people about camping, fishing, hiking, etc.
- What it felt like to hold my first book in my hands for the first time.
3. And if you don’t know how to craft a compelling story…
You can learn! Trust me, a book with “bad” stories is always more engaging than a book with no stories! The story I shared above about the boring client book – let’s be honest, that’s not going to win any awards for my storytelling. But I’ll bet you will remember it!
Don’t get so hung up on thinking your story has to be perfect; that’s a lie you’re telling yourself! The stories in your book (or your blog posts) need to be relevant and engage your reader’s emotions.
With practice, you can get better!