Storytelling: When Voice and Purpose Meet
When I was a small girl, I loved horses. A lot of small girls love horses, that’s true. I didn't take riding lessons or go to farms very often. My love for horses involved collecting. Breyer Model Horses have been on the market for decades. They are very detailed and beautifully carved and painted horse models, typically made from a molded plastic resin. I had dozens of them. When I was really little, I played with them and many were scratched and broken. As I became a teenager, I wasn't ready to part with them. I purged the older broken models. I kept the beautiful ones displayed on shelves in my bedroom.
I moved and the horses came with me, packed away in brown boxes and forgotten in a cold, dark basement. One day, finally, I realized that I needed for them to go. It was time to purge that part of my life. I wasn't the little girl who loved horses any more. I'd grown up, moved on, and I would never have them on display again. I recognized that I was an adult and needed to shed some of the trappings of childhood.
The Power of Narrative
I wrote this blog post in February of 2005 for a long-forgotten personal blog project. It was only days after I decided to unpack the box of pristine model horses and sell them, so my emotions were raw. It was meant to be a confessional. Just a personal essay about my growth as a person, and a writer.
Storytelling is the means by which we communicate as humans. No matter the subject, we related to stories. We can rattle off facts and figures, but they’re just numbers on the page. We need context to understand them.
Your business blog is the same as any personal confessional, even though it's packaged in a different way. This blog post, about letting go of a part of my life, was well received at the time. It only served the purpose of building my confidence as a writer, but it also told a story. My readers knew just a little more about me.
Over the course of several days, I painstakingly researched each horse. I made notes about their years of production and how much they seemed to be selling for on eBay. The memory of each horse flooded my emotions and it felt sad to reduce them all to a description, a date, and a price. These horses were rich with stories for me that I was afraid to forget. I attached a yellow sticky note to each model, wrapped it gently in paper towel, and placed it in a cardboard box. I handed them off to a friend with more eBay experience. If I didn’t let them go in a group, I would never let them go at all. I wouldn’t feel emotionally connected as each piece of my younger self drifted away.
Your Story, Your Voice
Telling the story of yourself, and your business, while you’re trying to educate your readers about what it is you do and how you do it is a critical part of getting your message across. It’s the fundamentals of good writing.
Don’t tell someone what you do, show them how you do it.
But there was one. Just one that I kept. The very first Breyer model that I ever received. I was about 8 when my Nana bought her for me. She is very worn; her leg broke once when I was little. My mom repaired it using a headless nail for stability, rather than just gluing it back. She mixed several colors of paint that she had in the house to match the rich red of the mare.
I still have that horse now. I'll keep her forever as a small symbol of my childhood.
Blogging For You
Writing your business narrative is an essential part to telling your story. Blogging regularly can be hard if you don’t love to write. There’s good news. A writer, like me, can learn your story. I can paint a picture for your readers that humanize your business using your voice. That’s the fun part for me, as a creative writer. I’d love to hear from you to learn more about your story and help you tell it.