“Brand isn’t just a statement created spontaneously. It is made up over time of many little experiences.”
Five minutes to go, I thought, while valiantly attempting to work off on the treadmill my over indulgence of Christmas treats. Thank fully I had t.v. to distract me. And distract me it did! Twenty minutes later I was still huffing along, engrossed in the Bloomberg’s story about the future of advertising.
It made me think, as I prepared for the end of 2013 and the new year- 2014, that as authors every word we write speaks to this concept. Our stories are our brands. But so too are we. Which one of us hasn’t heard the advice, write what you know? I believe this goes much deeper than a research suggestion. This is about being true to ourselves when we write.
If I don’t believe in my characters and the life they lead, how on earth will my readers? Our passions for the settings we explore in our novels, whether it is renaissance England, modern day Moscow, or the planet of Zeezee, will shine through in how we describe them.
But branding isn’t as simple as picking out a few words which fit our personality or writing. Branding needs to provide focus for our efforts, so that the choices we make reflect the experiences we want our readers and fans to have.
As we toast in the new year it is a perfect time for us to consider the brand we have created for ourselves, be it stated or unstated. Does it fit our values, our dreams, and our goals? Do we live by it in what write as authors and what we do as people? And finally, would others recognize it in the experiences they encounter with us?
Last year I made a handful of resolutions which may or may not have been kept. Unrelated to what was most important to me, I have lost track of what they were. This year I plan to keep it much more simple. I have one resolution only: To formalize my brand, Journeys Inspired by Love, in what I do, what I write and who I am. At the end of the year I hope to be able to look back and find specific ways that I created this experience, not just for my readers, but also for myself.
Here’s to the very best of New Years for each of us.
p.s. last day to get your comments in for a chance to win $10 to the non-political charity of your choice. Check back next week to see if you won.
“I dared him to use mini-wienies on his house.”
I thought you would all enjoy the result. The kids only became more creative from there, competing to see who could make the funniest gingerbread house using the appetizers alongside the candy. The houses wouldn’t last longer than the night of the party (especially the ones using shrimp), but added a whole new level of fun for both the grownups and kids.
This, actually, turned out to be the year of Gingerbread houses for me. It all started at Thanksgiving when we went to the Sheraton in Seattle to appreciate the huge Gingerbread houses on display there.
The theme was nursery rhymes… and there was everything from Hickory, Dickory Dock, to The Cow Jumping over the Moon. I don’t remember the theme of my favorite one, but it was a town complete with bookstore and pub.
My daughter’s school also held a gingerbread decorating party. I am always glad when the mess can be made at someone else’s house. So I enjoyed watching the kids and teachers build their amazing houses. I also learned a new trick- molding Rice Krispie treats. They were using it to make dogs, bushes, lamp posts. Pretty cool.
Then, on the first day of school vacation my daughter had a little party to decorate these huge gingerbread men we found at Costco. Watching the young girls create their design made me appreciate how unique each one of us is in how we think and plan and execute. In fact, this was true of every gingerbread decorating event I attended. Whether it was lining up the candies in a pattern on a roof, drizzling food color gel over the window edges, stacking cheese and shrimp to make a flagpole, or merging two houses to make a condo, gingerbread decorating brings out the designer in all of us. It forces our imagination to keep up with the sweet joy of the candy being used. And shows us that, like the season of Christmas itself, it is less about the end result, and more about the time spent with friends.
May your Christmas be filled with just such time spent with family and friends and, like gingerbread decorating, your 2013 be as crazy as you choose to design it.
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