The Truth About Know-Like-Trust


Know. Like. Trust.

You’ve heard it before, right?

People buy from people they know, like, and trust.

 

So…

How do you get known?

How do you get people to like you?

How do you earn their trust?

 

Those are Big Questions with long, complicated answers.

… or, are they?

 

I may be an audience of one, but I know I’m not alone in how I assess the people and brands I buy from. It’s not really all that complicated:

 

I get to know people by:

  • Reading their blogs
  • Sampling their social content – everything from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram to LinkedIn and Google+
  • Interacting with them on their blogs and social media (and, eventually via email, call, or video chat)
  • Checking out their body of work (products, cases studies, portfolio … whatever applies)
  • Looking at their associations with other people I know

 

I decide if I like them by asking myself:

  • Do their values align with mine?
  • Are they responsive when I reach out?
  • Are they generous with their time and knowledge?
  • Do they have a good sense of humor?
  • Do we have anything in common – hobbies, causes, pet peeves, lifestyle, etc.?

 

I decide if I can trust them based on:

  • Whether their actions are consistent with their words
  • How I see them treat other people
  • How other people talk about them

 

 

The bottom line is this: it all comes down to the old, writers’ adage: “Show. Don’t tell.”

You cannot tell people about yourself – they need to learn who you are by your actions. They need to form their own picture of you based on what you show, not what you say. If you say, “I’m an organic food guru” I may or may not believe you, but if you show me your incredible depth of knowledge and heartfelt passion through the information you share (blog posts, photos, curated articles, answering questions, etc.), I believe you immediately. I can see for myself that you are, in fact, an organic food guru. Each piece of content you create and share online is another piece of the puzzle that shows me who you are, what you do, what you care about, and so on.

You cannot make people like you – you can only put your best foot forward. You are not in control of how people judge you. (And, they will judge you.) Good rule of thumb: remember The Golden Rule. Think about the people you like. What traits make them likeable? Usually it’s not about them, it’s about how they make other people feel. It’s about how they listen, understand, and help. It’s about how they affect positive change for others – solving problems, providing answers, sharing insights, connecting people.

You cannot force people to trust you – trust must be earned. I may know you and like you, but do I trust you? Trust takes a relationship to a whole other level. Now it’s serious. Trust boils down to whether or not you consistently deliver what you promise. At a low level, this could be as simple as providing dependable content that always lives up to the hype. It might mean writing a story that exceeds expectations. Again, this is about actions, not words. Promises are worthless until they have been tested and kept.

 

At the end of the day, it all comes down to human relationships. The writer/reader relationship cannot be developed with a paint-by-numbers approach. There is no secret, failsafe formula you can follow to build a loyal audience. If you want to get people to know you, like you, and trust you, you’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. But, that’s only as it should be.

So, the next time you’re thinking about how to grow your audience and nurture reader relationships, ask yourself these questions:

How do you help people learn about who you are?

How do you put your best foot forward?

What do you do to merit trust?
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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Join me each Saturday for the Weekend Edition (a fun post and great community of commenters on the writing life, random musings, writing tips, and good reads), or introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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This post was adapted from a piece originally published on SuddenlyMarketing.com.

Weekend Edition – Place and Writing Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

How does where you live influence your writing?

Site of Thoreau's cabin on Walden Pond, circa 1908 (Library of Congress)

Site of Thoreau’s cabin on Walden Pond, circa 1908 (Library of Congress)

When I sat down to write this morning, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to write about. As I mentioned last week, life has suddenly gotten a bit crazier than usual. I’ve been jostled out of my usual groove and am flailing a bit in terms of time, energy, and attention. I read through my collection of post ideas hoping something would gel, but nothing came together. Instead, my mind just gnashed anxiously at unsolved problems.

So, in the spirit of letting difficult times inspire and fuel my writing, I decided to look one piece of my dilemma square in the face, and see how I could put it to a better use than simply keeping me up at night.

··• )o( •··

Many famous writers are associated with a specific place. Thoreau had Walden Pond. Hemingway had Keywest. Emily Dickinson lived the life of a near recluse in her Amherst home. Virgina Woolf’s concept of “a room of one’s own” has evolved over the decades into a kind of touchstone for writers. It has come to represent a safe haven for creative endeavors, a place where a writer can put down roots and nurture the writing habit.

I am a homebody – much more like the solitary Dickinson than the adventurous Hemingway. Though I enjoy traveling, I believe much of its charm lies in the part where you get to come home. I have lived almost my entire life in the same small town. I know the people and the shops, the neighborhoods and the natural landscapes. I enjoy the seasonal routines and the community traditions. This is my home. It is part of who I am, and therefore part of what I write.

Over the past seven years, my daughter and I have moved four times. Though the last three have been to different houses right here in our beloved town, the disruption of changing homes has been a physical and emotional challenge for both of us. Anyone who has moved knows that the process of purging, packing, and setting up housekeeping in a new place can be quite draining. Part of what has been keeping me up nights lately has to do with the fact that there’s a strong probability we’ll need to move again soon. And that got me thinking about how where we live and the kinds of places we inhabit can influence our writing.

··• )o( •··

Why should place have such an influence on what or how we write? Isn’t writing the ultimate portable practice? Have notebook, will travel, right? Shouldn’t the writer be adaptable, able to create anywhere? Shouldn’t the act of writing block out the physical world around us, leaving us to focus entirely on the words before us? Maybe. But it does seem that each writer finds certain places and spaces that inspire the muse more than others. And, certainly, a change of scenery can shift the topic or tone of what you’re writing dramatically.

Over the past seven years I have written in a variety of places: a drafting table in a room above the garage of my ex-marital home, a small office tucked into the corner of the second-story carriage house on an old money estate, a nondescript front office in a nondescript colonial that was about 1500 square feet bigger than my daughter and I needed, a sunroom addition at the back of a three hundred year-old antique, and finally at a magical desk (built by my beau) overlooking the town wharf from a second story apartment in a home originally owned by an mid-nineteenth century ship’s captain. I wonder, if I looked back at what I’ve written at each of these places, if I would see any trends or transitions that would show how my physical surroundings influenced my writing. I wonder.

Can a writer living on the upper east side write convincingly about the depth of the redwood forest? Can a writer residing in pastoral bliss accurately capture the grit of the inner city? Certainly, fantasy and science fiction writers craft stories about fantastic and alien different worlds all the time, but do their worlds bear any resemblance – if not physically, then in “feel” – to their own? Again, I wonder.

··• )o( •··

Of course, more influential than the physical nature of our surroundings, is how they make us feel. Do we feel safe or at risk? Do we feel comforted or trapped? Do we feel at home or like an outsider? Are we inspired to write out of gratitude and love, or compelled to write in order to work through questions or pain? Do we write in a place that makes us feel protected and courageous, or do we write in a place that makes us feel vulnerable and afraid?

As I write this, I realize that the act of moving has influenced my writing as much as where we have lived. Though we’ve stayed in one town, the constant change has made me think more about stability, constancy, and the idea of home. Having to relocate and reestablish ourselves time after time has prompted me to ask myself what makes a home a home. I’m also coming to face some personal truths about how closely I associate where I live with my identity, how I let my home define me.

All of these questions and quandaries emerge in my writing in unexpected ways. And my writing helps me navigate my way through the challenges and the changes. So, in the end, I guess it isn’t just place that influences writing, but also writing that influences how I feel about where I am.

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What I’m Reading:

book some kind fairytaleI recently finished listening to Graham Joyce’s novel, Some Kind of Fairytale, on Audible. Though Stephen King named it one of his “best books of 2012,” I have mixed feelings about it.

Some Kind of Fairytale tells the story of Tara Martin, a young woman who disappears at the age of sixteen, leaving her family and friends to assume she’s been murdered. After twenty years, she returns, looking like she hasn’t aged a day and telling a story about having been abducted by the faeries. Only, these aren’t Tinkerbell faeries, these are human-sized beings who live in what appears to be another dimension and have a predilection for flagrant and public promiscuity.

The story is told from several viewpoints, a technique which can work quite well to give the reader multiple perspectives and insights into a situation. I found, however, that it created more distance than I would have liked between me and the characters. It made it hard for me to invest in any one character. I wasn’t sure who to believe or root for, so to speak.

One of my favorite threads in the story was actually a sideline tale about Tara’s nephew and his elderly neighbor. There was something about this poignant piece that felt so tangible to me. And, truth be told, I felt more satisfied with the way that sub-story wrapped up than with the way the book wrapped up.

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And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

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Finally, a quote for the week:

pin reading place to go

Here’s to finding your special place and learning to make space for your writing no matter where you are. 
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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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Blog creation and writing tips

I know that it’s highly unusual to have a post like this on Friday, but here’s the deal. This was supposed to go up yesterday but because of some dental work, I could barely do much more than hold my head in my hands and whimper.

I’m feeling better, so you’re getting it today.

These are more notes from a blog writing class I’m teaching. The blog I reference is one I’ve created to demonstrate what I’m talking about in real life – Fit to Food. I may kill this blog at the end of the class or I may not, haven’t decided yet.

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Header:

As I write more and more in my blog – Fit to Food, I’ve realized that I’m really writing about recovering from my chronic illness of Lyme disease. I went back and edited the tagline from “On a quest to feel bulletproof again” to “On a quest to feel bulletproof again after Lyme disease.”

You are allowed to do all the refining you want on your blog. I discovered that the people who were following and commenting on my posts were most interested in the Lyme aspect. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I will lose other chronic illness readers, but it does mean that I’ll probably gain more Lyme disease readers.

Twitter:

We’ll talk about Twitter in more detail later, but every time I write a post, I tweet it on Twitter. I have it set up so that wordpress automatically does it with the blog post title, but then I usually go in later in the day and send out a new tweet with a more exciting headline.

For example wordpress will send out today’s post with “Thursday – inspiration and tools”

I might send one out later that reads “damn, I forgot – dealing with Lyme memory issues.

If you are going to write (and promote) a blog, you’re going to need to understand a little bit of how to write marketing copy. Voice and excitement sells.

Post:

Don’t make your posts too long and don’t cover too many topics in one post. This is one of the biggest mistakes blog writers can make. They give too much away.

This morning I was going to write a blog post on inspirational jewelry. I found myself in the post’s introduction talking about a specific problem, so I decided to stay with that problem.

I was very tempted to bring in another example of the problem, but decided to focus on what I already had. I can use that other example for another post.

It’s extremely important as a blog writer to focus on and explore a tiny aspect in each post. If you write generally about a great many things, you’ll run out of things to write about very quickly.

Today’s post was about memory loss and using a notebook. Now that I’ve introduced the topic I could also write posts on:

  • Frustration with regard to memory loss
  • Recognition of memory issues
  • How to talk to your doc
  • Memory issues in children
  • Coping strategies for remembering names
  • And let’s not forget – Inspirational jewelry

And there you go, I’ve just come up with post ideas for the next 6 Thursdays. Of course, I wouldn’t have 6 posts on memory issues in a row, but remember that master list of ideas you should be keeping to write about? All of these topics are being parked under my topic of – Inspiration.

Blog decluttering:

It’s a good idea when you write a blog post to create a “read more” break on the previous one. Some people have the break on the current post (which is a pain in the neck and they are clearly looking for site clicks) but I don’t do it that way.

The current day’s post can be read without clicking. All previous posts have a “read more” break so that people don’t have to scroll through a lot of text.

FYI: The “read more” break option is in the wordpress editor. It looks like a square that has been bisected by a dotted line.

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Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com) She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.

Friday Fun – Summer Movies

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

As writers, it’s important that we take time and fill our creative well with other artistic forms. Creation is good, but sometimes we just need to consume, to be entertained. I’m pretty sure we ask this question every year, but every year brings a new batch of “SUMMER BLOCKBUSTERS”. What movies are you looking forward to seeing this summer?

Lee Laughlin CU 7-13Lee Laughlin: I’m not always a big movie person, but this year there are three, that I was/am looking forward too. My daughter and I saw Pitch Perfect 2 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I definitely want to see Inside Out although I’m told tissues are a must. The last summer movie I’m looking forward to is The Minion Movie. I don’t know what it is about those little yellow dudes, but they just crack me up. I’m curious to see what others post, maybe I’ll add a few more to my summer bucket list.

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson: No judgments here, right? I’m looking forward to Magic Mike XXL (Channing Tatum is always a nice distraction, and I’m looking forward to seeing Jada Pinkett Smith’s role – I’ve been loving her in the TV series Gotham this past year and am curious to see her in this movie). I also am planning to see the latest Avenger movie — thankfully it’s still in the theaters! And, I do have to check out The Minion Movie. Those little talking Twinkies (my personal description) have been mesmerizing me since they first hit the big screen.

hennrikus-web2Julie Hennrikus: I love the Marvel universe, so I’ve already seen the Avengers movie. (Really liked it.) I have heard great things about Inside Out, and may see it this weekend. I am a wicked wimp, so Jurassic Park isn’t going to happen. Self/Less looks good too. What do folks think about Ant Man? Again, a Marvel fan, but not sure about that one…

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: I haven’t been to the movies since I saw the Planes: Fire and Rescue movie last summer with my sister, my son, and my niece and nephews. I’d love to see Spy, with Melissa McCarthy, but I’ll probably see it after it comes out on video. I am planning on going to the movies this summer. I’m taking my niece to see Inside Out. I saw the Avengers: Age of Ulton movie with my son-in-law while holding my sleeping granddaughter. The movie, and the company, were excellent.

 

SuddenlyJamie AvatarJamie Wallace: I think that being my father’s daughter makes me genetically predisposed to being a movie junkie. Whenever we get together (which is quite frequently), we always wind up talking about movies – the stories and characters, the sets and special effects, the performances and the behind-the-scenes scoop. We both love the way that film creates new worlds that people can experience together. And, we love retelling our favorite scenes from our favorite movies – over and over again.

The movies on my radar for this summer are a seriously mixed bag, just like the books on my summer reading list. Like many of my fellow bloggers here, I’ve also got Inside Out and Minions on my radar. My daughter and I are thinking about catching Pitch Perfect 2 this weekend, and Jurassic World is also on our list. (I mean, it’s Chris Pratt!) I will also admit to wanting to see Melissa McCarthy in Spy. I loved her in Bridesmaids and the recent sleeper, Saint Vincent, with the inimitable Bill Murray. Oh, and I’ll see Lisa’s Magic Mike XXL and raise her Ted 2.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’m really looking forward to seeing Ian McKellen in Holmes, Lily Tomlin in Grandma (OMG – I LOVE her!), and an entire cast of fabulous folks in She’s Funny That Way. And then, just because watching a good guy kick some ass is fun and good for the soul, I’m going to add American Ultra to my list.

Yep. It’s going to be a busy summer! ;)

 

 

 

Overlapping Timelines – An Interview with Lauren Dane

New York Times Best Selling Author Lauren DaneI’m a huge fan of author Lauren Dane’s books. She creates characters that are strong, but flawed and she never shies away from a challenge. In her latest series for Harlequin, Dane writes about the Hurley brothers, members of the super successful alt rock band Sweet Hollow Ranch. We met Damien Hurley in Lush, as Dane was working on that story, Damien’s brothers showed up. She fell in love with them and knew they needed their own stories. Paddy, Ezra and Vaughn all get their due in The Hurley Boys series. In the first book, Best Kind of Trouble, Paddy meets his one and only, Natalie. Ezra and Tuesday’s story is told in Broken Open and Vaughn and Kelly get their second happily ever after in Back to You.

The books can be read as stand alone stories, but readers of the series get an added benefit. The second and third books have overlapping timelines. As a reader, I found the hints of Kelly and Vaughn’s story in Tuesday and Ezra’s story were enough to make it interesting and whet my appetite, but not so much as to be distracting. When I finally got to read Kelly & Vaughn’s book. It was fun to view events in the story from a different perspective and it never felt repetitive.

As a writer, I read these stories and marveled and all that it took to effectively pull off overlapping timelines. I reached out to Lauren Dane and asked if she’d talk to me about the process of writing these books and their overlapping timelines and she was gracious enough to oblige.

The Cover of Broken Open by Lauren DaneI asked her how the overlapping timelines came about. “Here’s the thing. I did not plan to do that at first. As I was writing [Broken Open] I realized I had totally backed myself into a corner.” Towards the end of Tuesday and Ezra’s story, there is a family medical emergency that perfectly sets up the beginning of Kelly and Vaughn’s second chance. “It’s kind of a pain, but I like how out it turned out in the end. It wasn’t something I planned on. It was just something that happened when I was writing Broken Open and I thought ‘Ok, well, I’m in’. ”

Challenges of writing overlapping timelines

Dane talked with me about two of the challenges she encountered while writing the last two books of the Hurley Boys Series.

The first challenge was staying true to the characters of both the stories without giving away too much of the final story. “The main challenge when you are writing romance is you want to focus on what is happening between your main characters. So the main couple is going through this stuff and normally, given the dynamic between these brothers, they would talk with one another and the reader would know because Vaughn [younger brother] would have gone to Ezra [oldest brother]. I had to figure out how I could keep that communication between the brothers open which was a natural thing and who these characters were, but not give the reader all this information that would render the third book unnecessary.”

The second challenge was maintaining a sense of suspense for the second story. “I mean it’s romance so you know there’s going to be a happily-ever-after but [the reader has] to be unsure of how that’s going to happen. [The reader has] to be going along with those characters and really believing their metamorphosis as a character over the arc of the book.”

What to think about when writing overlapping timelines

The cover of Lauren Dane's Back to YouIt’s worth noting, that the overlapping timelines impacted more than just the brothers’ stories, two of the heroines decided they wanted to be friends, so she had to carefully manage their interactions too! To manage the flow of information to the reader, Dane kept lots of notes of information that had to be shared. “I had a whole lot of notes about things that I couldn’t leave out. Trying to managing all that stuff, I thought ‘ugh I’ve just given myself a huge problem’ but I think it all worked out.” She has developed a special fondness for sticky notes.

The other thing she did was carefully manage the point of view from which a scene was told. She really had to analyze for which character the scene was most important. “I thought, oh she would have said more, but then I thought, well, Kelly can’t say more because she needs to have this conversation in the next book because it is important in her point of view.” Sometimes she’d be going along and realize “This bit of information that we glean here isn’t really necessary until later.” Out would come another sticky note.

“Would you do it again? I asked. “If I did do it again, it would be more purposeful from the beginning. I always say that but I’m kind of a pantser so a lot of the meat of my stories and who these characters are doesn’t come to me until I’m writing and so this is why I get into these situations, so then I think well, it has to be this way.” She thinks it’s possible that if she had thought through the overlapping timelines at the beginning, she might have psyched herself out and written it differently.

Thanks to Lauren Dane for taking time between deadlines and prepping for the Romance Writer’s of America National Conference to talk with me and answer my questions. The Hurley Boys series is available in print and ebook and on sale at all major retailers. To learn more about Lauren Dane and her books visit her website www.laurendane.com, follow her on Twitter @LaurenDane or visit www.facebook.com/authorLaurenDane.

As a reader how do you feel about overlapping timelines? As a writer have you ever written overlapping timelines? Would you?


Lee Laughlin is a writer, wife, and mom, frequently all of those things at once. You can find her on Twitter @Fearless. She blogs at Livefearlesslee.com and she is a regular contributor to the Concord Monitor. Her words have also appeared in a broad range of publications from community newspapers to the Boston Globe. She is currently working on her first novel, a work of contemporary, romantic fiction.

It’s Now a Single-Spaced World

Show of hands. Who learned to type on a typewriter?

TypewriterNow keep your hand up if you double space between sentences.

Wow. Quite a few of you!

I hope this news isn’t a surprise, but double spacing is virtually no more when writing for publication. A single space is all that is needed / required between sentences for most style guides and a majority of publishers.

If you’re publishing your own blog and your own e-books you may retain the double spacing between sentences as a personal preference. But if you’re submitting for publication, a single space is all that’s needed in most cases.

*I’m saying most cases because the American Press (AP) Stylebook did call for the single space, but have gone back to the double space.

Programmers and anyone coding in HTML (for instance) on their blogs, know that it’s an effort to make a double space. Everything defaults to single space unless the special   is entered to add an additional space.

It took me a while to get in the habit of single spacing and I still find old documents that are double spaced. When I first transitioned to single spacing, it was through the find and replace feature in Word. Now it’s just habit to only use one space.

No bad things will happen if you continue to double space between sentences; however if submitting for publication (as is always the case) read the guidelines carefully and if there is a style guide handy, double-check the rule for spacing between sentences. If you can make the best first impression with a publisher, even if it’s single spacing between sentences, you should do it. Right?

I’ve had this conversation a few times over the last couple of months. Some folks are adamant about the double space; others are surprised to hear single spacing is an option; and then there are a few, like me, who have converted to single spacing and can’t imagine double spacing any more.

Where are you in the single vs double space conversation? A convert? Not ever going to single space? Single space on special occasions?

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with manufacturing, software, technology, and realty businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

Weekend Edition – An Infinity of Stories

Our Bodies May Be Made of Stardust, But Our Souls Are Made of Stories

made of starsWhen you look into the space between the stars it may at first appear empty, just a void of darkness between bright points of light. But you keep staring, and you realize that the space is actually filled with a subtle, cosmic light that vibrates and shivers at the edge of perception. And then, staring down the barrel of infinity, you catch a moment of clarity that allows you to see – if only for a fraction of a second – that this pale luminescence is actually made up of innumerable, individual pin pricks of light.

Life is kind of like that.

It’s easy to see the stars. Whether they are twinkling joyously, or flaring across the sky in the death spiral of a meteor or comet, they are clear markers in the vast possibility of the universe – bold as day, in plain sight. They form the constellations of our lives – the shapes that tell our stories. These are the parts of our personal universe that are easy to identify and name. There is Virgo and Ursa Major and Artemis/Diana. You are a woman and a mother and a writer.

But what about the spaces between these visible aspects of your life? What about the countless moments, experiences, and thoughts that span the gaps between the stars? Perhaps it is here, in these gently glowing shadows, that you will find the stories only you can tell.

··• )o( •··

Writing helps us feel our way into the undefined place where there are no recognizable signposts to illuminate our way. At first, we may leap from star to star, as if they were stepping stones across the sky. “Safe” above the depths, our words and stories only skim the surface of the sparkling darkness that lies beneath us. And then, one day – either intentionally, or because we lose our balance – we dip our toes into the unknown, and it changes us.

··• )o( •··

Although, on close examination, the celestial landscape appears to be a continuous expanse of wall-to-wall stars, there are actually vast expanses of space between even the most intimate of cosmic neighbors. Proxima Centauri, the star nearest to us, is 4.22 light years (39,900,000,000,000 km) away. Distances can be deceiving.

As it is with the stars, so it is with us. Though we exist side-by-side physically, emotional and intellectual distances lie between us that are as real and immense as the interstellar spaces between stars. But, in the same way that light travels across the darkness to connect one star to another, so stories travel through emotional space and across time to connect one human being to another.

··• )o( •··

Darkness is scary. The uncertain and unfamiliar are scary. But we have the steadfast stars to guide us, friendly points of light that shine out, an invitation to connect with someone else’s world. Stars and stories both serve to remind us that we are not alone in the Universe. We see the light, and we make contact. Eventually, we might find the courage to hold hands and jump together into the seemingly blank spaces, only to discover that we emerge covered in stardust, glittering in the night.

That is the magic of stories. They are beacons in space and time, in hearts and minds, reaching out across indefinable distances to create unique worlds that bring us together in moments of connection and recognition. I am here. I see you. We are alike. We are different. This is my light. This is my darkness. This is my experience. Tell me yours.

··• )o( •··

Look up into the heavens. Marvel at the beauty and majesty of the ancient lights that dwell there, some only memories – long gone, still burning in the night sky. Look harder. Look closer. Look between and beyond and see how much more there is to witness. Sense the infinity of stars and the infinity of stories. Be humbled before the vastness of the distance between the cosmic once upon a time and this moment. Feel small and vulnerable and insignificant. And then remember that you are made of stars and stories. You are made of magic.

universe stories

∞ ♥ ∞

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To my regular weekend edition readers, I apologize that I’m posting so late and that I’m not sharing anything about what I’m reading, writing, or discovering on the web this week. This past month has been particularly busy for me (for which I’m grateful), and then last night I was confronted with an unfortunate bit of drama in my personal life. We are all fine, but I find that today this is all I have in me.  Real writers. Real life. That’s what this blog is about. Sending hugs out to each of you – from my star to yours. Thank you for always being such caring, creative, and fun people. You make all that we do here so worthwhile.
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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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