A Celebration of Storytelling

As a content writer, I use words to share marketing messages and to help businesses tell their story. This storytelling enables them to differentiate their brand, products and services from the competition. I also enjoy reading for pleasure and sharing stories, which is why I am a fan of World Book Day.

World Book Day

World Book Day is an annual event promoting the benefits of reading and writing. It is a day to celebrate words and the power of language.

For young children, stories can help them spot patterns, learn sounds and rhythms and see familiar things. As reading develops, books open up new worlds and characters. Sharing stories from a young age encourages children to see reading as a pleasure, not a chore.

Books allow readers to safely explore new situations and worlds, see things from a fresh perspective and fire up their imagination. The great thing about reading is that you stay in control of the pace and the images that are created. No two readers will absorb and respond to a book in quite the same way.

Through lockdown, books have provided me with a means to escape the four walls of the home. I have read several travel adventures and stories set in foreign lands. It offers transportation to other cultures, even when you have to stay home. What books have you favoured?

Share a Story

World Book Day encourages us to share a story. This could be giving someone a book that you have read and enjoyed or reading a story to someone. Alternatively, you could listen together to a story being read online or an audiobook. No matter what your age, sharing a story can bring delight.

I believe that early interaction with books offers a great start in life. I read stories to my daughter from birth. We were regular visitors to the Aylesbury library and enjoyed the ‘Bounce and Rhyme’ sessions. She is now in secondary school, still loves reading and has embarked on writing an adventure story.

Community Storytelling

A few years ago, I was working on a community project. The need for more story groups for babies, tots and parents was identified. With a shelf of books at home, I decided to volunteer. ‘Storytime and Song’ was set up as a weekly session held at the Healthy Living Centre in Aylesbury.

When lockdown hit last year, we wanted to find a way to keep sharing stories. I started posting a weekly story on Facebook, which was shared with some of the parents and the in-house nursery staff. It has proved popular with other contacts too. This small local group has expanded to friends in Lancashire, Suffolk, Holland, Luxembourg and Portugal!

Lockdown has encouraged many stories to be shared online. If you have younger children, or even older relatives that might enjoy listening, check out Story Corner and Coles Books Facebook Page.

I am hopeful that it will soon be safe for the group to meet again.

Donate and Borrow Books

A great thing about books is that they offer affordable entertainment. When libraries reopen, you can become a member for free and borrow titles that appeal. Charity shops and second-hand bookshops are also great places to find the work of great authors at affordable prices. Then swap with friends and family.

My daughter and I also set up a street library during the first lockdown. Many books were donated and borrowed and people of all ages thanked us.

If you have novels going spare, you could donate them to a community library or charity shop when they reopen. If you have textbooks and resources that support study, Build on Books is a great charity that donates resources to schools in Africa.

Share a Story Today

If you have children in primary school, you may feel relief in not having to make or buy a costume this year. Dressing up outfits can be a challenge, but the real purpose of the day is a celebration of stories, reading and writing. Why not take the time to share a story today?


Reading and Writing

Unsurprisingly, blog writing and webpage content are not the top priority for many businesses at the moment. I also volunteer, running a weekly Storytime & Song session in a local community centre. That too is temporarily on hold.

My day is now largely spent facilitating home school, whilst keeping out of the way of my husband, (for whom home working does not come naturally). I was dreading it at first, but I can honestly say that I’ve learnt a lot!! Online lessons and worksheets from school have been much appreciated, but that still leaves time to fill.

One of the community projects that my daughter and I prepared is a mini-library. She is an avid reader and reluctant to part with books, but it took less persuasion than expected. We both sorted a pile of books that we were unlikely to read again.

Having filled a cardboard box, we created posters and flyers. The library was positioned at the end of the drive and flyers distributed during our daily walk. We also promoted the result on her school Facebook page.

Each dry morning, the library is ‘opened’ and we bring it in at the end of the day. It is great to spot which books have been borrowed or swapped. With further donations from neighbours, the library has grown to include different genres.

With the prospect of at least another three weeks of social distancing, we hope that this small community project will provide a few people with some fresh reading material.


Spark Ideas for Blog Writing

It’s National Writing Day, does this make it the ideal time to put pen to paper? Possibly not.

As with many activities, you have to be in the right frame of mind in order to write something of value. You may be on a roll and a poem, a letter or a blog post just flows. That would be fantastic, but it isn’t usually that simple.

As well as being a technical process, writing requires creativity. Inspiration doesn’t strike simply because you are asked to write. It takes time to develop an idea and the best place to get started is often away from your desk.

As a freelance copywriter, I have a monthly list of blogs to write. I prepare a rough content plan for the upcoming posts and keep these in mind whilst I’m out and about. Forcing an idea seldom leads to something worth posting. I find that ideas are often sparked in the strangest of places; the supermarket, during a conversation and most commonly, whilst I’m out for a walk.

If you have experienced writer’s block, keep the initial idea in mind, but go off and do something else. You’re more likely to find inspiration when you’re not expecting it.

Tips on the Writing Process

1. Decide what you intend to write about and consider the context (are you writing a blog post, a product review, a letter to Grandma, a training manual, a persuasive report or a full-blown novel?)

2. Branching out from your central theme, what ideas immediately spring to mind? Research those ideas on Google – is there a topical story that relates to your subject or stats that back up your idea with evidence?

3. Look through the information you’ve collated and identify the key points that you wish to communicate. (These could become headings for your blog or chapters of your novel). Then write the first draft without being too concerned with spelling, grammar or presentation.

4. Go away and do something else before revisiting your draft. Read it through, check the spelling and start editing. Should you add elements or be more concise?

5. When you feel you are getting there, read it out loud. This makes it easier to notice mistakes. (If you are writing a novel or other lengthy document, ask someone else to read through it if possible).

6. Finally, return to Point 3 – have you covered the main messages that you wanted to share? If so, it’s time to publish, send or submit your writing.

As with any skill, don’t expect to get it right first time. Take any feedback as an opportunity to improve, rather than a personal attack on your efforts. The more you write, the easier it becomes to formulate and develop ideas.

If you’ve been tasked with business blog writing for your company website and don’t know where to begin, a content planning session can help kickstart the process. Feel free to contact me for further information: