Whatever your niche, these cool ideas will get you unstuck in a hurry. The topics are general enough that with a few what-if’s, you can customize your post, making it specific to your audience.
Okay, so I’m taking the challenge today. I randomly chose a topic from this week’s list, “What We Can Learn from Fairy Tales,” and made it my own. I’m looking at lessons the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin can teach us about how not to blog (or live, for that matter).
Because, frankly, every character in this story screwed up—and more than once.
The Story of Rumpelstiltskin
Do you remember this Brothers Grimm fairy tale?
In the story, a miller is so full of himself that he boasts to the king that his beautiful daughter can spin straw into gold.
The king says, “Bring her to me.”
The miller’s daughter is put into a room filled with straw and told that if she hasn’t spun the straw into gold by dawn, she will die.
She is saved by a grotesque little man—called a manikin in the story— who visits her and helps her spin the straw into gold three times. Once for her necklace, once for her ring, and finally—because the king says he will marry her if she pulls off the straw-to-gold thing the third time— for the promise of her first-born child.
A year later, when her son is born, she gets a revisit from the manikin. The daughter, who is now the queen, sobs bitterly. The manikin feels sorry for her and says that if she can guess his name in three days, she can keep the child.
The queen’s servant scours the land and spies on the manikin dancing in front of a fire, singing a song that ends with his name. Not quite the equivalent of going on Twitter with the announcement, but, still, it was a pretty stupid thing to do.
With this information, the queen “guesses” his name and the manikin gets so upset he “tears himself in two.” That’s a pretty “grim” story ending.
There are so many things wrong here, on so many levels.
A man puts his daughter at risk for death for no good reason, telling the lie that she can spin straw into gold.
A king cares more about “stuff” than human life.
A daughter marries a man who threatened her life and wants her only for her gold.What will she do if the king demands more spun gold, like on their honeymoon in the south of France? Did she really think this thing through?
And what’s up with the mean little manikin guy, who has all these magical powers, yet all he wants is a human baby?
What can this story teach us about blogging? I’m thinking, except maybe for Rumpelstiltskin, if we do the exact opposite of the way these characters behave, we have a blueprint for blogging success.
5 blogging lessons from Rumpelstiltskin
1. Leave your ego at the doorstep.
The miller’s mistake: He is full of himself, boasting about his daughter, “in order to appear to be a person of some importance.” He jeopardizes his daughter’s life, then bows out of the story. We never see him again.
My lesson: My blog will not be all about me. I will focus on what my readers need and give them as much help as I can. And when I can, I will help others shine.
2. Be a giver, not a taker.
The king’s mistake: He had all kinds of riches, but “his heart only lusted for more.” It was always all about him and what he wanted.
My lesson: I will give freely on my blog. Offer solutions. Ask what else my readers need.
3. Don’t take credit for other people’s contributions.
The daughter’s mistake: To stay alive, she lied big time. And it almost caught up with her in the end. Who knows what happened after the weird little guy tore himself in two? Maybe the king saw through her and divorced her.
My lesson: I will acknowledge other people’s contributions to my blog—readers and other bloggers alike. I will help spread other people’s good ideas on my blog.
4. Put yourself in other people’s shoes.
What Rumpelstiltskin did right: I know. He is the villain in this story. But when the queen begins to sob, the story says “he feels sorry for her.” He offers a gesture. He won’t take the baby if she can guess his name in three days.
My lesson: On my blog, I will try to understand all points of view. I will feel my readers’ pain and try to help them solve their problems. And I will always give people a second chance.
5. It helps to have a memorable name.
Okay, this one might actually work. I think a blog called Rumpelstiltskin.com has a nice ring to it. The little guy was trying to hide his name, but it’s unique. Memorable. Fun to say. Maybe a little hard to spell and not so search engine-friendly, though.
What about you?
Do you see other blogging lessons in Rumpelstiltskin?
Why don’t you take the challenge and write a post on one of this week’s For Bloggers, By Boggers topics?
If you choose to accept this mission, come back and tell us about it here in the comments. And leave your blog post URL because we’d love to read it.
And if you’ve already written on one of our blog post topics, tell us that, too—and leave a link so we can visit.