Napoleon's First Battle

What Napoleon’s first battle can teach writers

Imagination is a powerful source of story ideas. This is what a picture of Napoleon Bonaparte’s first battle made me think when I visited the Bonaparte home on the French island of Corsica. And it can help you when you write.

Do you know what is portrayed in “Napoleon’s First Battle”? A snowball fight. It’s unlikely that the artist saw it firsthand, but the image offers a refreshing perspective on Napoleon.

What’s the lesson for you? If you’re targeting a specific audience—for example, pre-retirees in their 50s who work as cardiothoracic surgeons—write about earlier stages of their lives. You don’t have to go back to their childhood. However, showing some understanding of how your ideal prospects reached their current state will help them to trust you.

For example, you could refer to their long training, including residencies and internship, which has shaped some of the pressures in their lives.

Another idea is to write or blog about the challenges your 50-something prospects face in their 30s or 40s. This could help you to build a pipeline of ideal clients.

Have you ever tried imaging your audience at a younger age? How did it help you?