When stories resonate: a slow links post

Resonate: (1) sound with resonance (2) be received or understood

Resonance: Relation of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between people

I haven’t written a links post for some time and this one’s been a little while in the making.  As I was waiting for things to stew I had a look back at what I’d said before on the construction of slow links posts.  Remembered my preference for a post that:

  • has a theme, something that connects the links together
  • has been percolating for a while, helping me to make connections as I read - before I write
  • links five different pieces of writing (okay this one’s just me, but I like the symmetry of five links and the challenge of finding them)
  • is of value to my readers
  • is enjoyable to me as a writer - finding the structure, the hook or the theme that connects the strands together and turns them into something bigger, different, new…

And I realised that it was only when I found the fifth link on Friday that I could spot the glue that bound the other pieces together.

The article I’d found was by Wendy Piersall at E-Moms at Home.  She was talking about moving  your readers to tears: how to get personal on a business blog.  The article contained five (great) pieces of advice on writing the deep stuff:

  • Keep it relevant
  • Use stories to create intimacy and trust
  • Use problems as a teaching tool
  • Keep it appropriate
  • Use the power wisely

But it was something else in the article that gave me the ‘aha’ moment, when she describes the moment of connection – or resonance – that we feel on reading somebody else’s words.  She talks about those pieces of writing that:

…cross the line into the “Zen” of blogging in which you feel like you and your readers are one (or vice versa), and that the story being told is the glue connecting us to a higher purpose in life.

Because it was the power of connection that was the hook, the theme, the glue, that linked the other pieces together.   The other posts I wanted to link to were all pieces of writing that had moved me, spoken to me, resonated with me.

I described this feeling in a comment-box-conversation with David Zinger at Joyful Jubilant Learning

I don’t know if this happens to you, but when pieces of writing really ‘speak’ to me I get a physical reaction - like they send shivers up and down my spine.

(Does something like this happen to you when you get that sense of connection?)

My comment was in response to a piece David had written on signature stories – it’s a piece that’s full of ideas, possibilities and wisdom and I’d encourage you to read it (and the conversation in the comments that follow).  He’s explaining the concept of signature stories:

I believe the most authentic story is our signature story. This story is an expression of us. It may be our own story or it may be a story that resonates so strongly with us that it may even feel like our own.

(Yes, there’s that word, resonate).

There was another powerful piece of writing at JJL this week. Ariane Benefit shared a deeply personal story with us - showing, as Wendy suggests, the possibility of using problems as a teaching tool.

She is writing about things that it’s not easy to be grateful for.

These are the things that are not only difficult to be grateful for, they were difficult to forgive.  It would have been easy to become bitter about them, and even now they are difficult to write about, but I’m stepping out of my comfort zone in hopes of inspiring you to think about how grateful you might be for the difficult challenges you have faced or may be facing.  Not that you would have wished for them to happen, but that you can find the positive learning in them.

I am grateful to Ariane for stepping out of her comfort zone and finding the words to make such a powerful, inspiring connection with others.  And I must echo the words of Dean Boyer when he says:

I am also thankful that JJL encourages such writing. May we always provide a safe place for everyone who comes knocking.

Strange, awesome, how our stories can connect in this way.  With people we have never met, may never meet.  Just that their words spoke to us in some way.  Resonated.

And I realised that’s why I’d been holding on to this piece by Melissa Garrett, a reader here and a most powerful writer (destined for great things as Lis Garrett, of that I’m sure).  It was the first thing of her’s that I’d read, a most personal story, but written in such a clear-minded, simple, powerful way.  I felt like I knew her, somehow, and that in a way I couldn’t hope to explain, our stories had become connected.

I was looking back through the article for an excerpt to include for you here.  And it’s this one short sentence.  I know it won’t explain or even introduce the story to you – you’d need to read the piece.  But it was the words that spoke to me, that sent shivers down my spine.

This is the truth I occasionally feel.

Plain, simple, authentic, clear.  Words that resonate.

And I don’t know about you but sometimes I get a little weary of blogging and networking and social media strategies and always marketing and find myself needing, craving, the reminder of why it is that we write – really.

To make that connection.  To make the world smaller.

And who better than the amazing Liz Strauss to put this into words for me:

Every cell, every atom, every bit on the Internet connects. If I removed even one something would be gone.
With every breath, I change the atmosphere.
With every step, I change the ground we share.
I look at the stars and remember we are made of the same stuff.

Her words spoke to me, and I told her so, and she knew that I knew.

It’s beyond me, really, how these connections can happen, but they do – we feel them, they move us, they change things.   It’s resonance.

And when I was looking back at my thoughts on writing link posts I remembered that I’d written some questions, some tests for myself, on writing slow links with intention.  I remembered, with a smile, the lesson that links posts take time – but are worth it when they match your intention.  Which in this case was this:

  • To say thank you to these writers, to tell them that I value their words
  • To let them know that their writing connected with me.  That their stories resonated.
  • To remind you of one of the most powerful tools that we have.  The power to connect.

Use it wisely.

The pieces I was linking to, the stories that spoke to me were:

Moving your readers to tears: how to get personal on a business blog by Wendy Piersall

Signature Stories: more than once upon a time by David Zinger

Two things it’s NOT easy to be grateful for by Ariane Benefit

He will not control us: how to regain control of the dinner table by Melissa Garrett

Life and the universe by Liz Strauss

For more on writing to make a powerful connection - keep tuned in to Confident Writing by subscribing to the feed.  It’s free, simple, easy to use - and helps me feel connected :-)

Joanna Young, The Confident Writing Coach
Because our words count

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6 Responses to “When stories resonate: a slow links post”

  1. On November 18, 2007 at 3:34 pm a writer's woolgatherings responded with... #

    Oh, wow! Your compliment couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been moping about the house this morning due to some truths exchanged between my husband and me in regards to money and careers (isn’t that what it’s always about?). He made the comment that things would improve once our littlest is in school and I return to work.

    “But what I am doing now, working on being a published writer, that is what I consider work. I don’t ever want to work on someone else’s time,” I said. “I feel like you don’t really support my decision. You don’t support my writing.”

    My husband is my worst critic, and I have a lot to PROVE to him. PROVE is my word for 2008. You can bet that I will print this post and tack it on the fridge. Whenever I need a positive affirmation during the day that I will be something great, there it will be . . .

    From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

  2. On November 18, 2007 at 7:02 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Ah Melissa…

    I knew there was some reason why I had to write this post :-)


  3. On November 19, 2007 at 1:02 pm Brad Shorr responded with... #

    Hi Joanna, I enjoyed reading all those posts. Thanks so much for passing them along.

  4. On November 19, 2007 at 2:04 pm Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Brad, it really was a pleasure to pass these links on :-)


  5. On November 20, 2007 at 4:06 am Jean Browman--Cheerful Monk responded with... #

    I use the word resonate a lot. It is a physical sensation and it’s how I know when I’m on the right path in life. I just wrote about this at

  6. On November 20, 2007 at 10:03 am Joanna Young
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    responded with... #

    Jean, thanks for sharing that link - a most interesting post, question (and ensuing conversation).

    You’ve made me think more about being in tune - with that bigger purpose or spirit, whatever we like to call it - which is where that sense of resonance comes from, and how that connects to writing. I think it’s something like this. People know when they’re writing from that sense of connection - they can feel the physical connection with their own words, it’s what makes the writing so powerful. And when others read it, and feel the charge - well it’s that original connection that we’re tuning into.

    The whole concept of writing as sound and music is one that I’ve only just started to explore - but each time I look, the further I want to go, the more I believe I will find…



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