“I’m writing my story so that others might see fragments of themselves.”
– Lena Waithe
Throughout the ages, from ancestors in ancient lands, to our mothers and fathers, stories have captured our imagination unlike anything else. And there is no doubt that some of the best storytellers are the most influential people in our communities. They are Leaders, they are School Teachers, they are Parents, they are Writers and Speakers.
Storytelling is an art. By treating it as such, we can delve into developing the skills required to become great storytellers, moving our audiences toward catalyzing their impact on the world in a shorter period of time.
To Tell A Great Story, Distill It Fiercely
“A great story inspires us, makes us feel something, imparts a profound truth, makes us feel less alone. Great stories exhibit vulnerability by the narrator, they reveal something about themselves and/or the world that allows us to connect to them and see the world in a different way.”
Terrie Silverman is a Creative Writing, Story and Solo Performance Coach, Founder of Creative Rites Workshops & Coaching for writing, performance & creative expression. Her work supports women globally to connect with their story on a deeper level to transform themselves and their lives, whilst leveraging it to do great work in the world.
As an expert in this arena, Terrie wants you to know that you must “be brave and vulnerable” to tell a great story. She goes on:
“I believe we tell stories because we’re grappling with something that we need and want to understand. That grappling propels us to keep writing so that we’re able to arrive at a place of understanding with the events, situations and memories that we draw on for our stories.”
The skill comes in when you “distill the story down to its essence using imagery, sensory details and emotional truth. It’s asking yourself, “what is this story actually about? And what’s the story I need and want to tell?”
- Tap into what you need and want to understand by telling this story.
- The skill required is paring away what is not part of the story, cutting extraneous details, getting right into the story without a lot of set-up.
- The story should track how the narrator has changed from the beginning of the story to the end.
During the distilling process you are likely to make many edits, some pieces will fit and others won’t.
The biggest mistake that budding story writers make, Terrie shares, is “judging, editing or censoring while you’re writing and discovering the story and what wants to be said. See where the thoughts, feelings and ideas are taking you, instead of trying to control them. Trusting your impulses will lead you to your story gold.”
Authentic Word Expression
“Getting over yourself is one of the hardest things you will do, yet standing in your wisdom and in your voice automatically transforms you into a great storyteller. And this is life- and business changing!”
USA Today Best Selling Author, publisher and Supernatural CEO Incubator, Jess Verrill, who utilizes her gifts as an intuitive and extremely skilled energetic worker, shares that “Writing a great story, requires you to give up the fears and the people-pleasing to stand in your true story and let the wisdom ready to come through, be transferred onto the page”.
Expressing yourself articulately through words, according to Jess, requires a certain level of energetic embodiment and skill-level. She says “it is about having access to your purpose, it is about having access to your power. Your internal power must be sturdy and grounded for you to confidently be able to connect your energy to your voice, and then authentically express this connection through your words, without over analyzing and knocking yourself down”
For women who struggle to translate their potent story into words due to hitting emotional edges and visibility fears, this is where skilled ghostwriters can step in to pick up the slack.
Jess’s publishing house, Indigo Publishing, has an extensive team that includes ghostwriters to bolster her clients throughout the writing process, should they need it. Having a ghostwriter to support you in the articulation of your authentic expression, is a powerful way for you to not only remain in your zone of genius while your writer gets to work, but allows you to connect with your story from a fresh perspective – giving you a whole new outlook on the impact of why your story is being told.
Confident Storytelling Demands Embodiment
“Stories connect us as humans. Our mind naturally compares and looks for the contrast and commonalities to decide if we resonate with someone’s service. When we know how to engage, activate, and inspire a reader by incorporating all the senses through emotional words, rhythm, and metaphor – we become a masterful storyteller who can connect with our audience.”
Krystal Hille, a publisher for the personal growth industry, who holds a BA (hons) in English Literature & Theatre Studies, a diploma in Life Coaching, NLP and TimeLine Therapy, shares: “our ability to connect emotionally with key moments of our journey is essential to the embodiment of our story – in my experience this is what shapes the way we communicate our story with confidence and clarity.”
Descending into some of the more painful and pleasurable moments of your story through ‘sense activation’ and timeline therapy, gives way to greater levels of embodiment:
What did you see, smell, hear, feel and taste in that moment of time? Is there something there that needs healing before communicating it to the world?
Writing can be a powerful catalyst to transcending your wounds and shame, which often live within any good story. This can give you the confidence to pick up the mic and speak, or grab that pen to write your heart out, sharing your greatest lessons and teaching moments.
Exploring the depths of your story, according to Krystal, gives you the ability to communicate well both verbally and in written form.
“It is a different skill set when you are communicating verbally. You need to learn how to communicate in rhythm and consciously connect your tone to the emotion that you desire to express. When you are writing, it is about using pauses through punctuation. It is about using short sentences vs long senses and lists that lead to something to create a melody. This melody generates a visceral response in the reader that activates a subconscious response and connection to you, the narrator.”
There are many ways to weave the intricate tapestry of a great story. On the one hand, learning the art of poetic delivery and grammatical mastery can serve to reach the very soul of our readers, yet on the other hand, our rawness and vulnerability can transcend our words, to move people more powerfully than even the best-written literature can. It is this humanness that gives us all the ability to become great storytellers.