You know what makes blog posts pop, right? Telling stories that matter. Harnessing the power of your personal narrative. Relating those stories in your authentic voice so that you can connect, person to person, with your readers.

Let’s unpack those components one at a time, because I’ve just listed three essentials of good storytelling:

Tell stories that matter. Story isn’t just anything we talk about. It’s not simply what happened, or who said what, or how you felt. Story requires something more. Something to hold the reader’s interest. Something to make the reader care.

This “something” is called LITERARY CONFLICT. Conflict sets the action in motion and drives the plot forward. Conflict creates tension in search of a resolution. Conflict gives characters motivation. It makes the story interesting. It keeps the reader reading.

Conflict needn’t be earth-shattering to make a story interesting. There are quieter forms of conflict in our daily thoughts and interactions that are important, amusing, and interesting.

Harness the power of your personal narrative. NARRATIVE STRUCTURE is how your literary conflict unfolds. When does your story begin? How is the conflict set up? In what order are the events told? What’s the climactic moment? How is your conflict resolved?

Narrative structure gives your story sense, pacing, and flow. It’s the foundation upon which the emotional arc of your words finds footing. So write your blog posts like you’re putting on a l’il three act play. It’ll keep you from rambling and your readers from drifting.

Write in your authentic voice. Beginning writers often look for advice in finding their writing VOICE. You’ve probably heard the advice:  Write like you talk. I disagree with that. I think you should write like you are. The difference? We don’t talk in narrative structure. We don’t talk in compelling conflicts.

Writing like you “are” is writing like you talk plus something. Identifying that “plus” for each person requires looking at how you speak, for sure, but also how you think and what you tend to notice. Consider how you interact with the world and then couple that with your speaking style and you’ve gone a long way to nailing down your voice.

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CONFLICT + STRUCTURE + VOICE. It’s the story equation. We’ll be covering these components and more in my Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp. You’ll write a 750-word personal essay for me and, each week, I’ll give you valuable feedback as you edit and polish your work. Plus we get to hang out each week on Google and you can probably meet my dogs and my kids. They tend to pop onscreen. They like to wave.