I have a lovely friend who has a lovely blog with excellent writing. Her name is Elizabeth Downie, and this is her blog. I'm usually laughing my head off reading her posts, so I thought I'd ask her for some tips and tricks in an interview!
(Fancy, huh? This way, I don't have to come up with my own content! Woohoo!)
Me: Hi, Elizabeth! First of all, I want to say that I think your blog is super fun to read, and that I'm glad you decided to write it! Why don't we start by having you tell our readers why you started your blog?
Elizabeth: I needed a creative outlet. I enjoy my job but it allows me no creativity! I've always enjoyed writing and making people laugh. Blogging is a good way to combine the two! I was nervous about starting a blog - that's something I don't tell too many people. I was afraid it was vain for me to assume anyone would care what I had to say. But after about two posts, I was hooked. And I completely changed my mind about blogging being vanity. Blogging is about sharing our lives with each other, staying connected, and giving us something to read when we're bored at work.
Me: What do you think makes a great story?
Elizabeth: I think a great story is one where you can picture what the person is telling you about and relate to what they're saying. I try to make my stories relatable. I live a really fast paced, Hollywood lifestyle though so it's not easy. But I try to remind people that I'm really just like them and there's no reason to be nervous around me.
Me: Who among your friends or family is your favorite storyteller?
Elizabeth: My family is full of story tellers, especially my uncles (on both sides of my family). Family get togethers are always full of hilarious stories, with a
little bit of exaggeration thrown in here and there to spice things up. It's hard for me to choose one! They all crack me up.
Me: You use a lot of humor in your posts; you always have me laughing! How do you turn an ordinary story into a hilarious story?
Elizabeth: First of all, thanks! Secondly, I always try to find the humor in whatever situation I'm in. Sometimes it's not easy. Life is hard, and we can either laugh or cry, right? When it comes to what I write in my blog, I choose to laugh. I save the crying for later. I use my blog as a place to think positively - I never want to write anything in it that would bum people out. That gives me the opportunity to think about what happened and find the humor in it. Usually I can do that by laughing at myself, and poking fun at the things I do.
Me: Who are other bloggers who you think tell excellent stories?
Elizabeth: I love my friend Sara's blog. She is a great writer and photographer, and the combination of the two make her blog completely charming. (http://wandercraft.blogspot.com/). I have a long list of blogs I follow on my side bar and I read every post those bloggers write. I love reading about my friends and family's lives and am always thrilled to see an updated blog!
Me: How do you deal with really tough stories? The ones that are sad, personal, or scary?
Elizabeth: Most of the time I don't write about those, but when I occasionally do, I try to just be me and be honest. It's scary putting stuff out there. And those types of posts get the fewest comments which makes a blogger feel even more insecure. But if I feel I need to say it, I just say it. You have to be true to yourself as a blogger. When you are, your readers will know what they can expect from you.
Me: Any tips for budding storytellers?
Elizabeth: Be yourself. Think about what makes you you - do you love your dog? Do you love to read? Do you love sports? What is it that makes you you? Think about that and let that guide you as you write in your blog. Your passion and honestly will draw people in and make them want to get to know you more.
Thank you for giving me the chance to answer these questions, Sandy! I feel so honored that you asked. I hope it's what you were looking for. :) See you in the blogosphere. ;)
Thank you, Elizabeth! So there you have it, tips from an amazing storyteller and all-around classy lady.
Rule: Have classy ladies in your life; it makes things better. Also, do check out Elizabeth's blog, because it's pretty awesome! If you have any other thoughts on storytelling, leave 'em in the comments. I would love to read them.