Once upon a time, there was a woman, a woman who was also a writer and a business owner and a healer and a mother and wife. She had wandered in the hinterlands between her various identities trying to root into her most essential, creative self. It was a sweet journey, albeit a scattered one. Most nights she fell restlessly into bed, feeling she’d run a dozen races and sure that she hadn’t finished a single one of them.
But then, in the darkest time of the year, the time we hang with lights and soak with champagne, she heard a call. She was invited to step deliberately into the new year. It was time to bring all the threads together. It was time to embrace a truth she’d long known but often forgotten:
She is a storyteller.
And so, if you happen to have this woman in your digital circles, you have seen the floodgates open. Sixty stories and more have poured from her heart, sprung from her mind, and flowed through frantic fingers. She has dozens of beginnings, middles, and ends to show for herself in 2016.
This writer has never felt so creatively alive.
She is proud. She is weary. She is also afraid.
Though she began this project almost on a whim, she’s not having a casual affair with these #365StrongStories of hers. This project matters and it will endure, she swears it. But at what cost?
It’s time to reevaluate the big project
Ok, enough of the third person (a handy tool to hide behind when emotions threaten to drown out the narrative, but a way to hide nonetheless). I’m standing before you, my generous and supportive community, to say I won’t quit, but I will change.
The #365 project is vital to my mission - walking the talk and showing that it is possible to tell stories that connect with confidence and ease. And yet, flexibility and transformation are just as vital so I can survive and fulfill that mission.
And so, I am further redefining the parameters of this #365StrongStories project.
Not all stories require spell check and copyediting
In this media driven age, it’s obvious that stories do not need to come in written form. Think about it - storytelling thrived long, long humans could write and story will continue to be an engine of the human experience when we start communicating via telepathy.
I’m giving myself to break my stories out of their sentences and paragraphs (and the sizeable time commitment that comes with editing the written word). More than half of the entries in the #365StrongStories projects will continue to be good old stories that you can read with your eyes, but the rest will be video, image, and even art.
In doing this, I am giving myself some creative breathing room. Now, I am liberated to develop the stories and ideas that refuse to be bound by word limits and midnight deadlines. I can go deep and tell the bigger Story when I need to.
I am also being realistic about what it takes to develop a readership for all this stuff. Yes, it really is true that content marketing is 20% content and 80% marketing. I certainly do not have four hours a day to devote to promoting this content, especially when I have a writing coaching business to run.
Tell me what kind of stories fill you up and help you along
In my creative flurry, I think I have occasionally lost track of one of the fundamentals of story: connect with the reader and invite that reader to be the hero.
As I revise the shape of the #365StrongStories project, I am also reconnecting with what matters: you. Please help me do that.
- What kind of stories light you up?
- How do you feel about video storytelling?
- Would writing prompts inspire you to write your own stories (and even submit them to the project?)
- What can't I see about what's working and what isn't about this project that you, dear reader, can see clearly?
Leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments or post them over on the Facebook page.
This project matters to me, and I know that it matters to many readers too. With your help, Strong Stories will fulfill its mission: to inspire a great circle of people to tell stories that matter.
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