Magical metaphors

I’m a big fan of metaphors so I’m really looking forward to the series on ‘blogging metaphorically’ that Brian Clark has just started at Copyblogger.  In the introduction he reminds us that:

Metaphors allow you to make the complex simple and the controversial palatable. Conversely, metaphors allow you to create extraordinary meaning out of the seemingly mundane.

Don’t worry if you can’t remember the difference between a metaphor, a simile and an analogy.  And don’t switch off if the word throws you back to turgid discussions on literature at school.  Metaphors are part and parcel of the way that we communicate and we all use them, naturally, all the time.  Here’s a brief reminder of how they work:

Metaphors make comparisons.  They compare one thing with another - often something quite unlike it in a literal sense - in order to illuminate… Metaphors are great at communicating meaning - in particular multiple or ambiguous meanings.  Metaphors take us beyond one meaning and open up new possibilities and avenues.

The trick is to tune into how we are using them and what meaning we intend to convey.  And the simplest way to start using metaphors in your writing, to work them into your blog, is to ask yourself ‘how is my topic like…?’ an object, a situation, a place, a conversation - whatever you come across in your daily life.

Anna Farmery at the Engaging Brand has some great examples of this style of writing.  She compares her subject (leadership) with the stuff of everyday life: a junk sale, cutting the grass, a box of chocolates, a gift-wrapped present.  Each post creates a new twist on her topic, creates a lasting impression on her reader and gives her a never-ending source of material to write about!

If you want to build more metaphors into your own writing don’t over-complicate the task.  Keep an eye out for powerful metaphors in things you are reading.  And get into the habit of making comparisons between your topic and unrelated objects.  Once your creative juices are flowing the writing will be easy.  And you might be amazed at the new insights you discover along the way…

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Comments

  1. Anna Farmery says:

    Thanks Joanne for the shout out. I write from my heart and from experiences. For me all the lessons that we learn are as relevant to work as in life. I think often people make a too much of a distinction, work is about human beings with human needs……be it customers, employees, leaders, suppliers…when people see people not roles they can motivate, inspire and engage people at work which drives the bottom line. Enjoy your blog too!

  2. Joanna Young says:

    Hi Anna

    It’s an interesting point about the black and white distinction we make between work and life. I think you’re right that we’d do well to transfer a lot of our ‘life’ lessons to work. I certainly enjoy the way you do just that on your own blog - as well as the style of your writing. The fact that you write from the heart shines right on through :)

    Joanna