Why We Tell Stories

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If you have not guessed by now, I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to storytelling. As human beings, we have been telling each other stories as long as we have been capable of communication. We have had this intrinsic desire to share our experiences with others. No matter what part of the world you are from, what culture, what religion, we all have our stories.

And we are creating more every day. Between blogs, podcasts, games, movies, tv shows, books, poems, (and any other medium I may have missed) there are countless new stories created each day. Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have stories and Twitter has moments. We cannot seem to get away from this need to share.

Why is that? What are stories so important?

Making sense of the world

All you have to do is look at mythology and legends to see how stories help us make sense of the world. Myths are stories people created to explain what was happening around them. They created the gods and goddesses to explain how the world came to be and how humanity was created, as well as all manner of natural phenomena. They did this to feel like they had some sort of control over the world, that they could appease these deities into doing what they wanted. It also gave them something to blame when the worst happened.

The stories of heroes help them understand their place in the world. Whether in relation to the deities or their society, these stories work as a sort of social blueprint. The heroes and heroines and damsels all serve to show people what is expected of them. The evil witches and wizards and temptresses show what is not acceptable.

You also have fairy tales. Short, fantastical stories used to teach children to behave. They usually feature misbehaving children who suffer the dire consequences of their actions. The original versions of these stories can be quite terrifying and, contrary to popular belief, the Grimm fairy tales were not written for children.

Even though we are older and wiser and know these stories to be untrue, they continue to captivate us. Part of this can be attributed to Disney as well as Marvel and DC Comics, of course. But even without that, we are still drawn to these older tales. They are timeless and curious and I can’t help but marvel at how much they tell us about where we came from as humans.

Making sense of our lives

When you read, write, or tell a story, you experience things through the character’s eyes. We identify with them because we see part of ourselves in them. Some people live vicariously through them because their lives are more interesting. We celebrate when they celebrate. We mourn when they mourn. Sometimes we even grow up with them.

Writing the story adds a whole new layer to this. There is a quote that says a writer lives a thousand lives, and it is really true. Reading a book, you have no idea how the story started or what all it went through. There are countless revisions, additions, sometimes a genre shift or two. Some stories may even have started with a completely different main character.

We pour so much of ourselves into the world, the plot, and the characters. It is impossible not too. We use these stories to work through whatever it is we are struggling with. It may seem like we are using writing to avoid our problems but for many of us, it is how we process things.

Journaling is another form of telling a story, although few people ever get to read our journals. The act of physically writing down what is going on in your life is very therapeutic. It is like being able to share all your secrets with someone who never judges and never tells. Here you can work out exactly what you are thinking and feeling with no fear of repercussions. While I refer to writing as thinking on paper, journaling is feeling on paper.

Making connections

As I said earlier, mankind has been telling stories since we were able to communicate. These stories can connect people in ways you may not realize.

Look at fan communities. People bonding over a shared love of a story or series of stories. Not only does this give people a chance to share their thoughts and opinions, but they do so much more.

These communities allow people to build lasting friendships with people from all around the world. They gather together to support each other in times of need. They help teach people that it is okay to be different, to like different things, to have different interests. They show people what it is like to feel accepted.

This applies to online communities as well as when people run into each other and realize they share an interest.

There is another way that sharing stories can help bond us to people. We all have stories we wish were not true of our lives. Things that we have done, things that happened to us, things we have to struggle with. These are the stories we keep to ourselves unless we really, truly trust someone.

We don’t always realize that the people around us have those stories too. By opening up and sharing your experiences and your struggles with someone, you let them know they can open up to you. We are less alone than we think. My personal experience has been that our struggles are not uncommon.

It is okay to struggle. It is okay to doubt. It is okay to share this with people. Friends can help you come to terms with what you are dealing with, help you realize you are not alone, and help you find a way to move past it.

All in all, the world would be a much darker place without stories.

How have stories changed your life?

The Origin of Solitude

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The Origin of Solitude

A fairytale

Once upon a time, there lived a dragon name Solitude.  Solitude was born to two very old dragons, their only child.  From the start, all of the other dragons knew there was something different about Solitude.  While he very much enjoyed the company of the other dragonlings, Solitude was just as happy being on his own. Since his parents died while he was still very young, he was mostly raised by another dragon family who adopted him, surrounding him with half a dozen siblings he got along with relatively well. He also had a peculiar interest in the small village that laid within a day’s journey of his home, of which he knew very little but loved to daydream of.  It was an unwritten rule among the dragons that they were not to have any interaction with the village’s inhabitants.  Being a good little dragon, Solitude did as he was told.  In fact, it was not until the village had grown so large that the two groups were forced to communicate that he even knew who the inhabitants were.

Once the leaders of the dragons realized there was no avoiding the villagers anymore, they set up an envoy to reach a peace settlement.  The villagers were already aware of the dragons, having seen them many times flying overhead, and so were very curious to speak with the amazing creatures.  The leaders of the dragons thought long and hard about who they would choose to be the intermediary.  After a period of debate, it was decided that Solitude would be the dragon representative.  With his gentle yet pensive nature, they decided that he would be the one most suited to communicate with the strange new beings.  At this point he had grown to be quite the intelligent dragon, studying and observing everything.  His community had come to respect him as a source of great wisdom, despite his relatively young age.  He still preferred to spend time on his own, observing the world around him, but was more than willing to help anyone in need.  When the elders came to him with the offer of allowing him to be their representative, he accepted it immediately yet humbly.  Soon after this, the humans selected their representative and it was time for the two to meet.

The human representative turned out to be a young girl who, like Solitude, was different from the others.  At first, the meeting was rather stiff and formal, as this was the first time either of them had ever spoken to one of the other kind. After a while, though, they settled into a comfortable conversation, each intrigued to learn more about the other.  Hours went by in the same manner, questions being passed back and forth and answers being listened to eagerly.  Each day they would discuss and decide on certain points that their elders put to them, as well as more personal things.  As time went on Solitude and Serenity became the best of friends, despite their differences.  They were among the few, though, once the council came to be.  Half human, half dragon, the council was created to negotiate and enact the peace between the two groups.  It was soon discovered that on the whole, humans and dragons did not get along.  Months of tense negotiation went by with both Solitude and Serenity watching with great concern the proceedings.  They did their best to act as intermediaries so as to keep hostilities to a minimum and decrease the likely hood of conflict.  After about half a year, it was decided that both groups would separate and no longer have direct contact.  The dragons would move up into a nearby mountain range while the humans would remain on the other side of the foothills.  Upon hearing this, Solitude and Serenity pushed for a neutral land to be made in between where humans and dragons could intermingle if they so decided.  It took much convincing, but eventually, it was agreed upon that the small forest between the mountain and the plain would be reserved as a neutral ground.  As both sides retreated to their lands, Solitude and Serenity began to set themselves up a home in the forest.  Serenity had several of her human friends come and help her build a house, with Solitude helping to supply the lumber and anything else they needed. Some of his adopted siblings came to visit as well, interested to see his new home.  The humans and the dragons interacted some, but none became as good of friends as Solitude and Serenity.  As time went on, the dragons’ visits became less and less frequent, to the point that most of their company was human.  This suited them just fine.

They settled quite comfortably into their new homes, happy to still be able to spend time together.  Every so often, some of the people Serenity grew up with would come and visit her, bearing supplies and news from the village.  Solitude was surprised to find that she too, had grown up an orphan, practically raising herself.  They took turns regaling their guests and each other with stories from their childhood.  Sometimes Serenity would return to the town to visit some of her older friends, and Solitude would use this time to look in on his adopted siblings or explore the woods.  Years passed in this manner, and Solitude began to grow distant from his dragon relatives.  Even Serenity’s visits to town became less frequent.  With Solitude’s help, she had become quite self-sufficient, growing her own food and herbs.  She took in and raised several of the orphans from the town with Solitude’s help.  It was as if they had a family of their own, and Solitude was content.  The children would grow up and eventually return to life in the town, sometimes even traveling to far off lands.  Before long, Solitude and Serenity found themselves along once more.  This suited them just fine.

As the years went by, though, Solitude began to notice a problem.  Even though he was still quite young, Serenity was beginning to grow old and was having trouble caring for herself.  He helped her out as best as he could, but one day she grew so ill that he knew what he had to do.  After much urging, he managed to convince her to return to the town to get help.  She wrote to one of the boys she grew up with, asking him to send someone to collect her.  Solitude waited with her patiently, carrying all of her belongings that she might need.  She was rather reluctant to leave her beloved Solitude alone, but he reassured her that he would be fine.  He promised to tend her garden while she was gone and to be there when she returned.  When her ride finally arrived, Solitude recognized him as one of the children Serenity had raised.  He was surprised to see Serenity so ill and expressed his thanks to Solitude for taking such good care of her.  Before he left he told Solitude that he did not know how long it would be before Serenity was able to return.  Solitude assured him that he would be just fine on his own and that he was to content to wait for Serenity, however long it took.  Without any more conversation, the man hopped on his horse and started off, Serenity comfortably seated in a cart behind him.  Solitude watched her and she him until both were out of sight.  He remained there long after, calmly observing the world around him, reveling in the silence.

Months passed by and Solitude did exactly as he had promised, caring for Serenity’s garden, guarding her house, and every day waiting for her to return.  Each day he found some way to entertain himself, stretching his wings, exploring the forest, going for a swim in the pond in the middle of the forest.  He rarely hunted, for he needed very little food to survive.  For the longest time, he had no company at all, yet he was content for he knew that one day Serenity would return to him and all would be as it once was.

When the months turned into years, Solitude grew concerned.  Part of him wanted to fly to the town, but he kept his promise to Serenity, waiting for her in the spot where she had left him.  One day, many years later, Solitude discovered a young man waiting for him in the woods.  Curious at this change, he slowly approached him and asked if he was in need of assistance.  The man explained that he was here to deliver a message and asked where he could find the dragon named Solitude.  Knowing that this could only mean one thing, Solitude quickly explained that he was that dragon.  The man sighed in relief, apologizing for not being there sooner.  It had taken them a long time before someone realized that ‘solitude’ was indeed a dragon.  Once they had figured that out, he grabbed the letter and ran out to the forest to find him.  He explained that the letter was from none other than Serenity, and thus began to read it aloud.

My Dearest Solitude,

It has been many a month since I left your care, and yet I fear that I will not be returning to you any time soon.  You see, I have become very old and very ill, and the doctors have been telling me that I am not long for this world.  I do apologize, my dear friend, that I am not able to deliver this message to you in person.  My health is failing me and it takes all of my energy to pen these words.  The boy caring for me has promised to deliver this to you immediately upon my death.

Of all my friends in this world, you are the one I hold most dear.  With your great wisdom and kindness and devotion, you are one of the rarest, most beautiful beings in this world.  You have filled my life with light and I only hope that one day you will meet someone who does the same for you.  I do hope that you have not waited too long for me.  Now that I am gone, it is time for you to go home.  Return to your people.  Start a new life filled with adventure and wonder.  You deserve nothing less.

My only regret in life is that I was not able to see you one last time.  I will forever cherish the memory of our time together, and have already passed down our story to my children.  I hope that you will one day do the same.

All my love,

Serenity

It was a while before Solitude was able to respond.  The man waited patiently.  He asked of her last days, whether or not she was any pain, which the man assured him she was not.  They briefly discussed her life and Solitude asked if the man needed a place to spend the night.  He stated that he did not.  In fact, he needed to return home to his family, for his children were expecting him.  His youngest was in bed with a fever, but upon finding the letter he had felt compelled to ensure that it was delivered promptly.  He remembered very well the stories his grandfather had told of being raised in the woods by Serenity and her dragon.  When he asked what Solitude would do now that Serenity was gone, Solitude replied that he would follow her wishes.  After arranging to have someone come and take care of her garden, he decided to leave for the mountains.  With that they parted ways, Solitude wishing the man and his daughter well, thanking him for his kindness.

Solitude spent his last night in the forest curled up around Serenity’s cottage, mourning her loss.  The next day he left to return to his mountain home, to his people.  When he arrived he was surprised to find the mountains completely empty.  The dragons had left without Solitude.  He wandered around for hours, looking for any sign of where they could have gone, but it was fruitless.  Eventually, he realized the sun had gone down, and so he slipped into one of the empty caves and slept the night.  The next morning he flew back to the forest.  Back at the cottage, he was pleased to see someone was already there.  They were surprised to see him approach but he told them that they had no reason to fear, he was only there for the moment.  He proceeded to instruct them on how to handle some of the more precious of Serenity’s plants and belongings.  The young man looked at him in awe, finally explaining that he had never seen a dragon before.  This puzzled Solitude.  He went on to share of how there were stories of dragons in the sky, but no one had seen them since his great grandfather’s time.  This saddened Solitude, but he did not let it show.  When the boy asked if he would be staying, he thanked him for his service and said that he would not be.  He asked no more questions, and Solitude disappeared into the woods.  Without considering where he was going he wandered, eventually finding himself wading into the pond.  He went for a brief swim, allowing the cool water to soothe his mind, the sounds and feel of nature lulling him into a state of relaxation.

Making up his mind he climbed out of the pond, shaking the water off.  Lifting his head to the sky, he took a deep breath.  Without another second’s thought, he leaped into the sky and took off, heading away from the village, away from the mountains.  Away from Serenity.  With no particular destination in mind, he flew, enjoying the sun on his back as he went off to his new adventure. In his own way, he was honoring his beloved Serenity, whom he would always keep in his heart, until the end of his days.  Solitude was content.

Never Forget Your Mission

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Everyone who sets out to chase their dream struggles with this. Whether you are diving headfirst into your dream or it is something you do on the side, you will undoubtedly encounter this moment.

You hit a wall. You feel stuck. You feel lost. You question your decision to follow this dream. You find yourself wondering if any of this is worth it.

It is this crippling anxiety that you will never make it coupled with a deep sense of failure. You are afraid to let go of your dream lest you lose it. Yet you also fear that your dream is nothing but a fool’s dream.

Everyone around you tells you what kind of job you should be looking for, what you should be doing with your life. Some consider your dream to be silly, but some support you. Either way, it is easy to be bogged down by everyone’s expectations of what your life should look like.

I have experienced this myself. The anxiety. The self-doubt. I spent a fair amount of time struggling with this until I came to a realization. There is a way to fight this.

Whenever you are in this situation with your back against the wall, questioning whether it is worth it, as yourself a simple question.

Why?

Why are you doing this? Why does this matter to you?

Sometimes the easiest way to keep going is to remember why you started.

Sometimes you need to take a step back and reevaluate. Is what you are doing now getting you closer to where you want to be? Are you doing it because you want to or because someone else told you that you should?

Take some time to think through what you want to do. Create a mission statement. Figure out your strategy. Even if you never show this to anybody else, this can help you keep focused.

Remembering why you are doing something can help you keep going when times get though.

Another thing to consider. If something truly matters to you, it will matter to someone else.

Remember why you started and never give up.

You may just change the world.

The Social Media Crash Course for Creators

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So you want to build your brand.

Where do you begin?

Social media is a great place to start. It’s easy, its free, and (almost) everyone uses it. There is an art to it, though. Each platform has their own purpose and their own quirks. Once you get the hang of how they work and what content works best, it’s amazing what you can do.

Here is a crash course on the three most used platforms.

My first piece of advice, keep all the names the same or as similar as you can. Consistency is key in branding. It also makes it easier to use the same profile picture and banners across the platforms. This makes it easier for people to find you.

Photo by Tim Bennett on Unsplash

Facebook: the Gatekeeper

Facebook is the gatekeeper for social media branding. This is your starting point. You want to make sure that you do everything right while creating the page because some things cannot be undone.

The first question you will get when creating the page is if you are a business/brand or a community/public figure. The first option is for anyone who is looking to build their business’ brand. If you plan on offering any kind of product or service, this is a good option for you. If you are looking to build your personal brand, take the second option.

The next step is naming your page. Make sure it is informative and easy to remember. You will also want to make sure you can use some variation of it on any other accounts you use. For example, my Twitter and Instagram names match my website.

There are some things that you can change after the page is created, but this is no longer an option after you reach 200 followers. Keep that in mind.

Now, on to content. Facebook is good for all kinds of content. Big posts, small posts, pictures, videos. You can share blog posts and other website links. Talk about what you are interested in, share your thoughts on certain debates within your industry, show people what you are doing. Whatever content you put on other platforms, you can put it on Facebook.

Some free tips:

Get people talking. More conversation means more eyeballs on your post.

Avoid the words “like”, “comment”, and “share”. Facebook will show fewer people those posts.

Facebook live is a great way to interact in real time with your followers.

Photo by Freestocks.org on Unsplash

Twitter: the Conversationalist

Twitter has developed an interesting reputation. It has its fair share of trolls, but it also has some people who are looking to help others. The reason I stay is because of the creative community. Twitter has a plethora of writers, gamers, game developers, and all around creative people. If you notice that a lot of people in your field (or with your interest) are on Twitter, you should definitely consider joining the party.

Setting up your Twitter account is simpler than setting up a Facebook. Unlike Facebook, you can update your profile information at any point after it is created. I recommend not changing your Twitter handle, though, as it could cause confusion. You can change your username at any time and still be found. I have seen many people do this to match the season or signify they are attending a certain event.

Twitter can be used to share your thoughts as they come. I tweet a lot of quotes from other people. What I mainly use it for, though, is to talk to people.

At its core, Twitter was made for conversations.

Twitter is full of communities, and in these communities, people love to talk. Finding your people isn’t difficult. Start with the people you know in the industry. Find the thought leaders. Find the people who are active on Twitter. Join their conversations. Add in your thoughts and opinions.

Whatever you do, be polite. Remember that you are talking to a human being. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it on Twitter.

Also, use hashtags. They can help draw people to you, as well as help you find other people to follow. A quick Google search can help you find the hashtags commonly used in your industry. You can even create your own hashtag for your brand (just make sure no one else is using it)

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Instagram: the Showoff

Instagram is all about pictures. You can show off what you do and show off what you love. This can be as personal or as professional as you want it to be. I often post pictures of what I am working on or of quotes that I like.

One thing to remember is that links in Instagram posts are not clickable. This can make sharing blog posts difficult and sharing links from multiple sources, impossible. You can attach a link in your profile and refer to that link, though.

There is one way to get around this. It is something Instagram is perfect for.

Microblogs.

This is especially good for writers. It helps you learn how to convey information in three short paragraphs. This can be in relation to your blog post or you telling the story behind the picture. The possibilities are endless.

Hashtags are popular on Instagram too. There is a limit to 30 per post, but they serve a similar purpose as on Twitter.

Now that you know the basics, it is time to get started.

There are plenty of other things you can do to build your brand, like blogging (more on that later), YouTube (keep an eye out for more), and LinkedIn (I’ll get to this eventually).

If you have any questions or want me to go into more depth on any of these topics, let me know.

Until next time!

My Battle with Writer’s Block

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I have competed in NaNoWriMo every year but one since 2011, to varying degrees of success. And by varying degrees of success I mean I have never won but I did finish some of the stories. This past year, though, I had an interesting experience.

Plotting started a few months before November. I had already been chewing on the idea for a while and it was finally the way I liked it. I developed the characters, laid out how I wanted things to unfold. I was ready to go.

64 pages and 23 days in I finally gave up. There were maybe 12 pages that I was okay with. Everything else I hated. I tried at least six different ways but could not for the life of me get it started. I liked the world, I liked the characters, but everything else I couldn’t stand.

So I shelved the story and tried to move on with my life. This is one of the worst cases of writer’s block I have ever had. Not counting the time I finished a story and then could not look at it again for a year.

I could not for the life of me figure out what the problem was.

I continued playing around with the idea every so often for the next few months, hoping I would find some way to make the story come to life.

That is when it happened. Two side characters who had been creeping along the edge of the narrative stepped forward, bringing with them the few pages of another unfinished story. One of them had existed since the beginning and the other showed up in one of the attempted introductions. Both were important to the story, though I could never quite figure out their motivations.

I was a little confused when they came up to me. We all sat down with a cup of tea and they told me the whole story. Their story. Piece by piece things started clicking together. It took some time and a two hour Skype call with a friend to iron out some of the details, but the story was finally ready to be told.

The main cause of writer’s block is because the story is not ready to be told. Either it needs more work or you personally are not ready to write it yet. Anxiety and insecurity can play a big part in this. I will dive further into this topic at a later date.

The good news is, there are ways to cope with writer’s block. Take a break. Try it from a different angle. Talk it through with another writer or storyteller or creative person. Drop your characters down a hole and see how they get out of it. Take them to the circus.

Whatever you do, don’t give up on writing. Just because you are stuck, just because it doesn’t look like things are working out the way you want them to, doesn’t mean it’s the end. Writing is hard. It is also very subjective. Keep an open mind and don’t lose hope.

You can do this.

A Different Kind of Storytelling

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There is something beautiful about the kind of storytelling that is found in video games. You can get lost in a book or a movie, but it isn’t the same level of immersion that you can find in video games. Games allow you to live the action instead of just witnessing it.

I think that is why most people play video games. There may be different reasons behind it, but at a basic level, video games provide some level of escapism. I know that I personally use games as a way to dive into another world for a period of time.

Ever since I started gaming a few years ago, there is one thing, in particular, I have fallen in love with when it comes to gaming.

I am talking about the power to make decisions.

The first two series I played through were Mass Effect and Dragon Age. I was floored by the impact my decisions had on how the story unfolded. I think that might be part of why I got so hooked on the games. There is something thrilling about being the only hope for the world in the face of some great darkness. Add on to that the fact your decisions can actually affect the outcome…it is easy to get sucked in.

These games force you to think about where you stand on tough issues. They put you in uncomfortable situations where you have to make a choice whether you want to or not. Many people say that the games punish you for making the “wrong” decision, but that isn’t necessarily true. They just force you to live with the consequences of those decisions.

Sometimes they even go so far as to back you into a corner where there is no “right” decision, but you still have to choose. Who do you save? Who do you leave behind? How do you decide between two bad options?

 

While these decisions can be incredibly difficult, even painful for players, they are important. They remind us that sometimes, there is no right choice. Sometimes, you can’t win. You still have to choose.

And it isn’t easy.

Video games have the unique ability to let you live through situations you will never have to face in real life. They make you tackle complex issues on a broader scale than most people would ever have to consider.

They make you take a long, hard look at your beliefs. They make you reevaluate your moral compass. The way you look at the world. They also put you in some really tough situations where one wrong decision could have disastrous consequences.

The interactivity of games, especially the decision-based, narrative-driven games, makes it feel real. That is why it is so easy to get sucked into the games. You become emotionally invested in the characters and in the world itself, which makes the lessons you learn feel so much more real. It also makes the consequences of your decisions that much more painful.

Games offer one thing, though, that real life doesn’t.

The ability to try again. To start over with a slate that is truly clean. You can play the hero, the villain, even a god in some cases. You can wreck as much destruction as you want or work to the best possible outcome. Then you can start everything over again, doing it differently. It is something you will not find anywhere else.

I will be talking more about this later, but until then…

Why do you game?

The Power of Building Your Brand

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Here is a lovely little infographic about social media that was created within the last year.

You may be thinking “why does this matter to me?”

It matters to you because if you want to tell your story, social media is the perfect place to do it.

The power to tell your story

You may be thinking “why does this matter to me?”

It matters to you because if you want to tell your story, social media is the perfect place to do it.

When people talk about ‘branding’, this is what they mean. Each brand is its own story. Each brand has its own message that it wants to share with the world.

And these brands are choosing to use social media.

Now, I know that social media can be intimidating, especially with all of the negativity and stigma. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a positive influence on social media.

Think of social media as a tool. At is core, that is all that they are. Platforms.

Platforms that you can use to your advantage.

The power to be yourself

People crave authenticity.

Think about it. People flock towards those they identify with. They celebrate the celebrities who are open and honest.

There is power in being authentically yourself.

Share your journey. Share your passions. Share your knowledge.

You can start building your audience today. Talk to people. Tell them who you are. Start documenting your journey and people will pay attention.

They will celebrate your highs and rally around you in your lows.

All you have to do is be unapologetically yourself.

The power to reach people

As I mentioned before, there are a lot of people in this world who use social media.

Many of those people would greatly benefit from hearing your story.

They are also people you will never run into during your daily routine.

The wonderful thing about social media, and the internet in general, is that it connects people.

If you decide to build your brand through social media, there is no telling how many people you will reach. I have started to build relationships with people in Canada, Australia, and I even have a follower from Israel (shoutout to the wonderful Galit Balli)

There is no telling just how far your story can travel.

The power to connect

This is another amazing bonus of building your brand. It forces you to connect with people.

When you start broadcasting your interests and sharing your knowledge, you will attract people with similar interests. Case in point, my friend Galit. We both have similar interests.

I have another friend I met through a writer’s group on Facebook. She has been a good friend and writing buddy since 2013. Never met her in person (she lives in Colorado and I live in Texas).

One great thing about connecting with people, is it makes you realize you aren’t the only one.

No matter how obscure your interests are, I assure you there are others out there who are interested in the same thing. They will gather to you. You can create a much needed community.

At the very least you will meet some interesting people. You may even make a friend.

The power to inspire

This is probably my favorite point of them all. It feels me with the warm fuzzies.

You see, there is this thing that happens when you begin to grow a following doing something you love.

You inspire people.

Whether it is what you are talking about or simply what you are doing with your life, you will inspire people. You inspire them to try new things. You inspire them to work to achieve their dreams.

When you are living your life to the fullest. When you are chasing your dreams. When you are connecting with others. When you are living a life that 100% true to yourself. You are showing others that they can do it too.

When you take that first step towards changing your life, you never know who will follow you.

So what is standing in your way?