The Rest of the (Revamp) Story

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Last time we were here, I discussed how a link started a chain of events with my website (and honestly, I’m still working to bring all the pieces together). BUT those are just house-keeping details; the bigger picture of how all that revamping came about is, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.

Back in December, Youngest Junior Hall asked for books under his tree. He didn’t ask for specific titles but he did ask for a subject: entrepreneurship and marketing. So like the good writer that I am, I did my homework. I checked entrepreneur websites and a couple of titles kept coming up. I expected titles like, “How to Be a Pro at Marketing and Big Business” which granted, is not very creative but I was thinking like a boring business person.

At least, I thought I was thinking like a boring business person. But boy, did I ever think wrong. Because boring business no longer exists, as far as I can tell; the best books were about thinking creatively, marketing outside the box, business beyond boundaries. And after I ordered a couple titles and read the first chapter or two, I was hooked. And I realized that much of what I was reading pertained to me as a business person, a writer, and a productive member of the human race. Who knew entrepreneurial books could do all that?

First, I cracked open How Successful People Think by John Maxwell. If you want to change up how you think about success, your work, and possibly your life, start with this slim book. I began thinking about what my success would look like long before I touched my website.

As 2020 kicked off, I participated over at Tara Lazar’s Storystorm, which is a great way to stockpile ideas and just think. (You can still take a look at the great posts if you need idea-generating inspiration; you won’t be eligible for prizes but you’re still going to win.) And I would zip over to websites of all these creatives, too. So while I was coming up with story ideas, I had Maxwell’s thinking stuff churning in my mind while I zipped. A picture of where I wanted my website to go was forming.

Then I read Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller and if I’m telling the truth here, I just checked it out of the library for Youngest Junior Hall ‘cause I was too cheap to buy every book on those lists. But I read the first couple pages because he uses the hero’s journey in his seven steps about building a story brand and getting your message out there.

What writer can resist the hero’s journey? If you’ve ever wondered about your brand and branding in general, here’s something perfect for a writer. And as an extra bonus, Miller goes into website-building, too, and so I took a couple (and by a couple, I mean a lot) of notes.

And finally, I came across finding your core story. Core story happens to be a business principle but I’m talking about it as it pertains to writers. We all have a core story, that story we write over and over again. We might dress it differently—romance, horror, mystery, humor—but we tell the same story, over and over. And not to confuse you, but it’s not the same thing as your brand.

For example, I write funny, whether I’m writing for kids or adults. There will be some sort of humor in a short story or a full-length manuscript or even a limerick, and it doesn’t matter if it’s macabre or madcap middle-school adventures. That’s my brand but it’s not my core story. I’m still fine-tuning my core story thinking and wondering how it informs my career.

Meanwhile, all of that exploring helped me see my brand, my writing, my business more clearly. And so then, I clicked on that link, making small tweaks here and there on the website and...well, you know the rest of that story and now you know the story behind it. Totally worth all that thinking!

How about you? Have a book that re-shaped your thinking? Agree or disagree with the idea of a core-story? Expand our minds and share!

~Cathy C. Hall


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

These are ideas I've been playing with myself. I'll have to check these books out. Thank you!

Debbie Dieter said...

Ah thanks to Cathy the "Queen" whose words ignite us into action!
Looking up those books also!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

As usual this is timely. So I started at your website, linked her, and now I have to go to the library. Thanks for filling my dance card. lol

Cathy C. Hall said...

All y'all will have to let me know what you think of these books!

And Debbie, you've outdone yourself, reading here and at my personal Queen of Sheba blog. :-)

LISA! Very glad to see your name popping up again, friend!

Linda O'Connell said...

Your post confirms that after 20+ years of freelancing, I still have a lot to learn. Thanks for the links.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I learn stuff every day, Linda! Keeps us young, right? :-)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--I'm making mistakes and screwing up every day, and learning from my screw-ups. If learning stuff keeps me young, I should look like a 12-year old right now. ;)

I agree with the concept of a core story. I think there are things in our core that always seep and eek out in our stories and essays.

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