You think you’re just telling a story. But the truth is you’re bringing lifeDonald Miller

Bringing life! Wow!

Today we’re continuing with our recent series on “Make ‘em cry, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em waitWilkie Collins). I hope you’re enjoying this series. I am. It’s the stuff writers enjoy.

Why should writers make readers cry and laugh? Because that’s how you hook readers. It’s like a magnet—you make them want to keep reading. And that’s how they find out what you’re offering them

That’s right—I said what you’re offering them. They read for more than entertainment. Readers are looking for what they can get out of your story

Let’s zero in on “make ‘em cry” and what it can do for readers. (If you missed earlier posts about make ‘em cry, click on the links below.)

Think back to one of your most painful experiences and let me ask you a question: Wasn’t that when you learned some of your most valuable lessons?

Think back again: Weren’t your hardest times the stuff of turning points? Second chances? Personal victories? Spiritual growth? Maturity?

Let me ask another question: Did someone else’s story help you get through to the other side of your pain? I have a hunch you can say “yes.” Maybe it was a friend’s story, or a story you read in a book or in the Bible or a Bible study. Or saw in a movie. Or read on Facebook.

Now it’s your turn to pass on your story to others who need hope

“Beyond the beautifully strung together words

we leave on the page,

we also leave behind

concrete proof that we survived

Ellen Blum Barish

You see, God might be doing something bigger—something broader and deeper and higherthan only in you. He can use your experience to help others, inspire action, and increase faith

Make ‘em cry.

Tears are a universal language.

Tears connect people.

Tears allow people to share an experience.

“I felt a strong pull . . . to write my story,” says Jennifer C. Steele, “so I began the process. It was by no means easy. I had to re-live all of the hard memories again. I had to process emotions that I thought were long gone. I felt deep sadness and anger and experienced the loss at the same intensity as I did when it first occurred. I wanted to quit, numerous times.

“But that little voice that kept saying, ‘your story is going to help someone like you’ kept me going over and over

Each person that I have shared this story with has told me they could relate in some way and has thanked me for sharing

If you feel like you have a story inside of you that needs to come out, don’t be afraid to share itJennifer C. Steele, author of One Step at A Time

Avoid over-the-top, frenzied drama. Avoid exaggerating. Avoid pity-parties and wallowing but be honest in admitting your emotions.

To paraphrase Larry Brooks,

make your readers happy they are not there,

but grateful to feel what it was like to be you.

Don’t waste your trialsmy son-in-law said in a sermonGod might allow something hard so you can encourage othersUse your problems as an opportunity

Make yourself vulnerable. Write about your hurts.

“Your story should incorporate some joy. But pain is the Great Teacher,” writes Donald Miller

By bringing meaning to the pain, you bring meaning to the pain of the world. This is why people need story.

They want to know they’re not alone. Others suffer just like them. They want to know their suffering has purpose, that there is hoperedemptionYou think you’re just telling a story. But the truth is you’re bringing life.” (Donald Miller, “The Meaning of Pain


Related links:

Make ‘em cry

Make ‘em cry along with you as you cry

How and when to write the seared, charred, blistered parts

Did you miss our previous article…