Today I’m really excited to welcome back my new friend, author Laura Lee Padgett, as she shares what she’s learned recently about branding.
You have to have a brand. That is all I heard for the first three years of my writing career. I talked to every writer I knew and no one could help me clarify this. Every time the subject came up in writing circles I extricated myself from the conversation. I felt ignorant and like I wasn’t really a writer at all even though I had published one book and several short stories, as well as penned a blog for over three years. My understanding was if I wanted to brand myself, it had to be as a writer, period. But was I supposed to just dismiss other things fueling my passion and my soul?
Then I attended a writer’s conference one weekend and heard it again. “Define and refine your brand,” the speaker said. I felt like a fraud. Somehow I believed unless I defined only as an author, I was lying to myself and others.
At the conclusion of his presentation, I bought his book. He wrote that we have to intentionally bring our authentic selves into the branding process. In other words, he was guiding us to be who we are and who God meant us to be.
Finally, I got it. After years of frustration with trying to define myself and work through the lens I thought others considered valid, the answer came. In fact, it had been there all along.
My website says I am an author, a speaker and a dancer. The stories on my blog and those published by various anthologies can lend themselves to written story, oral presentation or interpretive dance. In truth several have been presented in all three forms.
There is a common denominator among these three things. They are all forms of storytelling. That’s it. I am a storyteller. That’s my brand. And I tell story in forms besides writing.
I use my training as a dancer/choreographer to bring story visions to light through rhythms and flow, whether on paper or on stage. I try to intermix rest periods and intensity so the audience is not overwhelmed by a heavy topic. I have learned as a public speaker to find ways to connect with audiences and help them identify in areas of their own lives with me, and my stories. Many writing techniques including use of beginning, middle and end fashion dances and speeches that invite, ignite and teach audiences. I don’t develop a dance without visualizing (sometimes writing) the story. And I never write without music.
When considering the word “brand” now I’ve learned it’s too complex, multifaceted and richly diverse to cover with one word. That’s authenticity for me. I define me and my work by being true to all gifts God has given and seeing them as supporting each other. This is my reality and says in the end I dance, write and speak primarily for an audience of One. That is my process, and that is my brand.
Laura is an award-winning author and dancer. She has been featured in short story anthologies like “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, “Letters to America” and has written a book called “Dolores, Like the River” that speaks to the beauty of aging and mentorship as well as the recovery from wounds of a rough childhood. She teaches workshops on storytelling as well as dance and lives in Lakewood with her husband, Keith.
Where to find Laura:
FB Author page: https://www.facebook.com/LauraLPadgettAuthorSpeakerDancer/
Blog: Livin’ What You’re Given on website https://lauralpadgett.com/
Radio Show: http://www.kuhsdenver.com/ Artists Nook every first and third Friday at 2 p.m. MT – internet access only, international format.
“Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible” 2015 “Silver and Gold.”
“Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas” 2015 “It’s for Everyone.”
“Letters to America Short Story Anthology” December 2015 – “Thy Kingdom Come” and the award-winning “Mama’s Ring.”
Dolores, Like the River by Westbow Press, December 2013
Also available at Barnes and Noble and most online retailers. Check the link above to peek inside the book.