Spoiler Alert: If you plan to watch A Christmas Story Christmas, the sequel to the 1983 classic, A Christmas Story, this article will give away parts of the story, although everything I’m saying here has been written elsewhere. As for what happens at the end, you’ll have to watch the movie.
When I sat down to watch A Christmas Story Christmas with my wife and two girls a couple weekends ago, I had no idea Mrs. Parker would say something so profound and heartfelt that it would spark a blog article.
Ralphie, now in his 40s with a wife and two kids, had stopped “working” and was approaching the end of a year-long attempt to become a published writer.
He wasn’t just struggling to fill the void left by the passing of the Old Man. He was at a loss for what to write for the Old Man’s obituary.
Here’s the exchange between Ralphie and his mother (whose first name is never mentioned in either movie).
Ralphie: That obituary is the hardest damn thing I’ve ever had to write. I just found out why. I’m no writer. Just ask any publisher in Chicago. Nobody cares, ma. Nobody wants my book. It’s over.
Mrs. Parker: Oh, Ralphie…
Ralphie: That obituary. How do you sum up a man’s life into a paragraph? I can’t do it.
Mrs. Parker: Ralphie… Ralphie, look at me. Just forget about the publishers and the paragraphs. Forget about trying to write the perfect words. Life isn’t perfect. Your father certainly wasn’t perfect. Just write about the man you love.
I’ve seen this movie before, so to speak.
It’s not easy to get out of publishing mode or marketing mode and tell a story. It can be even harder to convince others to do the same.
I’m a pretty laidback person, but clients sometimes get nervous when I’m about to interview them to learn who they are, what they do, and how they help people.
Same goes for their customers, who I often interview for the purpose of developing success stories based on their experiences with the client.
They’re afraid they’ll say the wrong thing.
I try to help them relax and get them in the right frame of mind by saying something along these lines.
Forget about marketing. Forget about what you think you should say on web page or in an article. Don’t worry about the perfect wording or grammar.
Just tell me what you feel. Tell me what you think. Tell me what you believe.
I’ll worry about that other stuff later.
And here’s the thing.
When you simply express your feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in their purest form, without overthinking or overanalyzing, the words that come out of your mouth are usually damn near perfect.
Why? Because they’re authentic. They’re natural. They’re completely your own.
At that point, my job is to weave those feelings, thoughts, and beliefs into a cohesive story that supports your marketing strategy and connects with your audience.
The real heavy lifting has already been done.
Yes, you have to spend a little time talking about the product or service, depending on the format or platform. Yes, there may be some technical details to cover.
But when it comes to telling your story in a way that connects with your ideal client – the people you want to build long-term relationships with – don’t overcomplicate things.
Don’t let “marketing” get in the way of a good story.
Because an authentic, meaningful story is often the best marketing.