What I did NOT learn from famous writers about writing

The truth is simpler.

There was a palpable excitement in my voice. I had spotted a yellow book with a familiar name.

I was walking down the aisles of Barnes and Noble with my then 7-year-old daughter. I pulled the book out and shared it with her. “I know the author of this book and I have spoken to her,” I beamed while she gave a wide-eyed expression of interest.

It is not often that an author of a book that adorns the aisles of Barnes and Noble, talks to you on the phone. I “e-met” Karen Dietz, author of , within my first five blogs on LinkedIn. From that day, she has always encouraged me to write about the art of storytelling. I always paused to act on it, writing has always been instinctive fun and I am not formally trained. Around my 100th blog, I took my first tentative step of sharing my experience — here are my instincts in words.

How to say it? Movie nuance I so enjoy.

I am predominantly a visual learner- I always liked the way movies moved. First scene is in the kitchen, the next scene is in the living room. The walk from the kitchen to the living room is implicitly assumed. In those subtleties of the movies, moving from scene to scene, I found my biggest draw — a respect for the audience.

The best way to describe the feeling — trusted to figure it out without being micromanaged. As a movie watcher, I enjoy that feeling and I brought it into how I write. When I started, I moved between my paragraphs without mentioning the walk between the rooms.

The best part, I was embraced by many — the early readers. I slowly gained in confidence and became more daring — I started to move from the kitchen to a different location- an office space and sometimes even a different era. The more I stretched, the more you propelled me with your words of encouragement. In all that, the common thread was my mom’s prophetic words — “respect them (your audience) as individuals, they in turn would respect you.”

From movies to books: The nuance of books I so enjoy

Talking about movies, 15+ years ago, my friend and I reached the theatre early to grab middle seats for a matinee show to watch the first Harry Potter movie. Children slowly filled the seats on both sides. The claps, the oohs and aahs, the roller coaster joy was amplified in the august company of the children.

As I walked out, I had one tinge of regret. While reading a book, you (reader) visualize the scene the way you see it. When I watch a movie, it is the director’s visualization that I absorb.

The independence that a book provides me as a reader is something I so enjoy. I always relished the idea of being the visual director of every book I read. I wanted my blogs to radiate the same feelings in my readers.

I left a lot unsaid and relished the thought of not being pedantic. I felt liberated. When many of you shared, “I could imagine your grandmother in action in a remote village in India” –those words filled my face with joy.

How to share your story is interesting, equally important one is why.

Your profile may share what are your accomplishments, what you care about. My aha, in order to draw your audience, what they care about more is your why - those accomplishments mean a lot to you, you care about what you care about.

Before people meet you, you can be an enigma, a stereotype or you have the power to paint your own unique picture in their minds– through your story imprinted by your voice. The choice is always yours. It is easier today than in any other era.

Parting thoughts

For those of you with the unspoken question, “Is my story interesting?” here is a snippet. My 7 year old daughter presented about Oprah to her class. An Oprah quote from the top of her white tri-fold panel sums up beautifully what your story could embellish- “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you — always.”

On our ride back home that day, I asked my daughter what she liked most about Oprah. I was expecting the usual lofty details about Oprah’s success. Her answer surprised me, “She started a book club in 1996 and many people started reading again. I wish I could start a book club.” She said it with the earnestness of a 7 year old. I chuckled. The magic of walking the book aisles — life comes a full circle.

The unrealized benefit in all this- when you write your story, the world today and generations to come will read it — when they want to understand you and when they want to remember you. You can be an experienced professional or a millennial kickstarting your career — we are all on the same pedestal.

Look forward to reading your story — your success, your trials, your triumphs, and above all — what makes you truly you.

Stories to fuel your mind. Theme: life’s hidden treasures in plain sight. Goal: Warm tone, solid content, crisp stories. About me: one google search away.

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