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How many people do you know that are 6’5”, live in Los Angeles, run 20 miles a week, and have broken their hand twice punching a wall? I’m going to guess very few if any.
Well, these are a few things that describe me. In addition, I’m a child of divorce, a college graduate, the youngest of three boys, and have completed a handful of marathons and an IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon. Mixing in these additional flavors, there are very few people on this planet with a similar life experience as me.
Although bizarre and unusual, my life adventures are unique to me — both the good and the bad. Not only do they describe me as a person, but they also give me a comprehensive toolbox for generating endless amounts of content ideas.
Let your messy, imperfect life shine brightly
Just like you, my story is completely unique. It’s different. I have experienced things in my life that few others have or will experience. I completed a 70+ mile triathlon, I’ve been to Hawaii more times than I can count, and I was on the practice team of a D1 women’s basketball team, as a guy.
These types of adventures and stories allow us to create unique, captivating pieces that people actually want to read. Oftentimes, we writers try so hard to share what we think readers want to hear. In an attempt to please others, we end up writing about boring, inauthentic topics. A job we don’t like. Our financial strategy. What we learned from reading a book.
Sure, sometimes, these topics are informative and can add value to the reader. But what readers truly crave are the experiences in your life that they themselves can’t or haven’t experienced. The messy stuff. The uncomfortable stuff. The things you can’t make up or fake. The stuff that makes you completely unique and different.
Just as movie-goers yearn for a fresh experience on screen, readers crave a brief peep into your life that they couldn’t normally see. They want a glimpse into your unique life experience or challenge and how you handled it.
Write about your personal experiences
There’s one sure-fire way to give readers what they truly want — write about your unique personal experiences. The things you’ve seen and endured that not many people have. The difficult stuff in your life. The messy and uncomfortable stuff. The things that still give you a slight pang of anxiety looking back on it.
There is not one single person on this planet that has seen what you’ve seen, experienced what you’ve experienced, and felt what you’ve felt. You are completely and utterly unique — as is your experience through your life.
To capture your reader’s attention, write about these unique experiences. Write about the things that make you different. The adventures in your life that have terrified or excited you. The uncomfortable stuff that still makes you squirm in your seat. Even the things about yourself that are weird.
Humans love to read about other humans. And more importantly, they love to read about how people felt in certain situations — and how they made it through those tough situations. While it’s not always easy, readers want to read about any and all experiences in your life.
You aren’t vanilla, so don’t act like it
Vanilla ice cream is dull and boring. Chocolate peanut butter with rainbow sprinkles is unique and interesting. Readers don’t want vanilla ice cream — which is great news for you because you’re anything but vanilla.
You have experienced things that no one else on this planet has experienced. No one has seen what you’ve seen, heard what you’ve heard, been where you’ve been, or felt what you’ve felt. To captivate your reader, let that uniqueness shine through in your writing.
Help readers see what you’ve seen. Help them feel what you felt. Show them where you’ve been and where you’re going. Give readers insight into what your unique life experience has been like.
The more emotion you can evoke from a reader, the more captivated they will be. To leave a lasting impact, empower your reader to see, hear, feel, or experience something that they normally wouldn’t be able to. Allow them to live vicariously through you and experience something brand-new — and they’ll hang onto your every word.