"Tell me about yourself"
Four little words guaranteed to strike terror into most people's hearts, especially if we're standing in front of a roomful of people.
Am I right?
The story we're most familiar with is... our own.
Our favourite topic of conversation is... ourselves.
We love hearing about... us.
So why, when it comes to writing an about page or author blurb or doing a *shudder* elevator pitch, do we find ourselves hot and sweaty and with cotton wool in our mouths?
There's a bunch of reasons why. Here are the top 4:
- It’s instilled in us from birth—especially girls—that we shouldn’t "brag". We should be humble, and not toot our own horn (this is bullshit—toot your own damn horn proudly).
- We’re worried about what people will think: will they like us or not?
- We don’t know what to say: what’s relevant and important? What’s TMI?
- We think we’re boring. Our own lives are mundane to us because we live them every day, so we can’t imagine others will find us interesting.
Let's tackle number 4 right now (and if you can wait a few weeks, I'm writing a whole mini-book on this topic to cover the rest of them).
Not so long ago, I helped Drayton Bird (yes, I'm dropping that name) to write his autobiography. He spent a lot of time worrying that people would find it boring.
I found this hilarious and bizarre because Drayton has lived a most... unusual life. I mean, quick glimpse: three separate women have nearly killed him over the years.
Far from boring.
Yet to Drayton, his life is familiar, like comfortable shoes—because he's lived it for 84 years.
We don't have to have lived an unusual or daring or particularly hard life to be interesting.
Think about soap operas like EastEnders—god they're dull (in my opinion) but millions of people love watching the minutiae of fictional characters' lives. Yes, there's the odd uber-drama, but most of the time it's just people living.
Humans are fascinated by other humans. We want that connection.
If you have a lurid tale of shenanigans, by all means tell it—we love those too.
But really, deep down, we want to know we're not alone. We want to know that our everyday experiences and troubles and triumphs are shared.
So tell your story.
You're not boring. You're not mundane. You're as fascinating as the next person.
p.s. the perfect place to practice writing about yourself is in Team Moxie's Power Hours. In fact, that's where this email originated because someone asked the question: how do you write about yourself?
Start Writing Your Book Today
If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.
Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she's not doing that, she's hanging from a trapeze by her feet.