The spitting cobra hit me.
He moved back and forth and fatally danced what few people could ever see and live to tell about.
I wasn't a snake charmer who lounged cockily and confidently in front of a disfigured snake.
I was a scared booley in Bali.
The spitting cobra hissed.
He could have easily projected his venom 10 feet into the air and aimed at our eyes like spitters normally do.
My Balinese neighbor even told a sad story about how her dog was blinded and killed by a spitting cobra.
After a few tense moments and a fatal blow from my friend's spade, the cobra was headless against a wall.
He beheaded the snake.
I buried the cobra, the dead mother hen and 2 dead chicks the next day.
The strangest thing about this experience?
I learned a brilliant blogging lesson that you need to learn as a blogger.
It is this: Always be prepared.
Until those moments when you are completely unprepared.
Then all you have to do is walk with it until you are done with it.
Or you may have to get through every hairy, challenging, or difficult blog situation by all means.
Tell stories and blog
In Hades there was no way you would read the previous 16 lines and say:
"Yes, a typical blogger goes to Bali, faces a spitting cobra and helps his friend behead one of the most dangerous snake stories in the world to include in a post … boring!"
I probably caught your attention after reading the first line.
I kept your focus
As if the spitting cobra had grabbed my focus in a split second, I was within reach of this formidable, beautiful and terrifying reptile in a Balinese fishing village.
Blogging from paradise isn't always about sitting on tropical beaches and drinking fresh coconut juice, you know?
Anyway, the story I told got you involved.
You had no other choice.
You had to be careful.
When you want your readers to hold onto like a pit bull grabbing a toy or a devil, like a spitting cobra focusing on a mouse (or a well-built, narrative, island-hopping Amazon best-selling blogger), narrate Simply create stories and link the stories to your niche.
No need to be exotic
Everyday, everyday stories are fascinating too.
Everyone loves a good story. And everyone has a good story to tell.
You are human By default, your life is a story.
Cavemen told stories and every human has lived and told a story since then.
It doesn't matter whether you're facing cobras spitting or telling challenging stories about building your blog part-time as a single mom of three teenage kids.
It doesn't matter if, as a student, you struggle to get one post per week while trying to reach a challenging major.
It doesn't matter if you're a meteorologist, a retired security officer, and a current world traveler who inspires people to retreat to an island life through smart blogging (yes, I am. Meteorologist at school. Al Roker, eat your heart out).
Some of the wildest stories of my life happened during my days as a security guard at a shipping terminal.
Life is a fascinating story.
Every blogger has a story to tell if you can learn:
- Add details to create a vivid picture
- Associate the story with your niche
How to tell stories
Watch your life
What happend today?
Tell yourself 3 to 5 stories – aloud – to develop your powers of observation.
Here are some of my stories from today: I spoke to someone on the train who asked me what I would call "paradise" after I suggested they buy one of my 126 eBooks on Amazon when he turned to the back from looked at my Blogging From Paradise t-shirt. I found that paradise is wherever you are happy and then I suggested Fiji and Bali islands as two of my favorite islands that I am quite happy to be on. He suggested visiting St. Kitts and Barbados. This happened on a New York subway.
I listened to a woman out there screaming at Moses, hiding her money, and being evicted from a deli on the subway.
I spoke to a deli while he was making me a delicious hero sandwich of bacon, ham, and cheese here in NYC. I found out that he is from Yemen. And this Yemen was in a civil war. What I unfortunately couldn't say, I wasn't aware of. I told him about how we recently visited Cyprus and Istanbul in Turkey. We then talked about Syrian refugees.
So many stories to tell when you watch them.
2: Add details to create a vivid picture
Add as much detail as possible to your picture.
Read Will Hatton's blog, The Broke Backpacker.
Dude is a brilliant storyteller who will guide you vividly through his wild journeys around the world, detail by detail.
Add details to your daily stories.
Colors, movements, sounds, everything.
You think in pictures.
When you create a detailed blog story, you are doing a lot of your reader's work for them.
3: Associate the story with your niche
Associate the story with your niche.
I've turned my experience with a Balinese spitting cobra into a blogging lesson: be prepared until the poop hits the fan. Then be flexible, be in the moment and roll with the situation.
Connect your story to your blogging niche. Start with a colorful blog post title (grab my e-book if you're struggling to write effective blog post titles).
Develop a connection to the transition from the real story to a very important lesson for your readers.
You don't always have to tell stories on your blog like I did a few months ago.
Just work them in here and there to keep your readers engaged.
It's your turn
Do you use stories to appeal to your readers? Or are you having a terrible time getting your reader's attention? What storytelling tips can you add? Let me know by leaving a comment below!