We all have a story to tell whether we write it down or not. Writing and speaking are fundamental pieces of our culture, to both express thoughts and ideas to conveying complex and basic emotions to one another. My wife and I love to talk about our days, whether good or bad, the words we share at the kitchen counter are moments when we can share the exciting or decompress from the days experiences.
The day I started writing I spent more time learning how to connect with others than I really did trying to learn the basic concepts of writing. It was more important for me to share a good story than it was to write it flawlessly word for carefully crafted word. Don’t get me wrong all writers should end up learning the craft of writing good spelling, grammar, and “occasionally” punctuation, but connecting with readers is what sells it in the end.
Whether you’re speaking to friends or in front of a room full of people, writing blogs or the next great American novel you have to be able to tell your story. Communication is key. I know plenty of people who can ramble off their entire weekend extravaganza while I’m trying to pour my first cup of coffee at 7am before I start working, but I am not talking about those people. People who can talk aren’t telling their stories a lot to times, because they are more interested in hearing themselves talk than the information they are sharing with me in most cases. For example, to be a great writer you have to be able to draw people into your story emotionally, a reader will not keep reading unless they feel personally invested to see how the hero wins the story. The same can be said for public speakers who spend their time making their subject personal and relatable for the audience, rather than some ethereal concept. To tell your story effectively you have to find that connection between you and the audience.
I can still remember reading for the first time the Gettysburg address. The words and emotions of a nation in turmoil were stained across the page. I could connect with every soul that lived and died on those battlefields as Lincoln’s heartfelt words began to invade my own. Lincoln not only wanted to desperately bring his nation back together, but he wanted to much so to unify the human race to understand that we could accomplish so much more. He said it best when he told us, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” Lincoln’s words still resonate today with those who read them because he understood that in order to communicate well you need to connect with the audience. When we write or speak we’re inspiring people both now and those to come with our words.