3 Small Habits That Will Make You A Great Storyteller
You need the small things on your journey to greatness.
Paradoxes are proof that balance is essential for optimal functioning. The sun that rises in the morning must set in the evening for all 8 billion of us in the world to properly function and enjoy our time here on earth.
There’s no great person that can attribute their success to a singular grand thing; it’s a confluence of tiny steps in the right direction and sometimes in opposing directions.
Take your courses, attend the masterclasses and workshops; gear up on the hard skills required to become a storyteller but know that there are some things that can’t be taught. There are some life changes you have to make to become successful at Storytelling.
Why is it this deep? You may ask.
Stories are essential to who we are as humans. It’s in our blood the same way oxygen is. It’s how we have survived this far. It’s how we process our experiences and eventually, our lives.
Great Storytellers weren’t just building writing or marketing habits; they paid attention to the many ways life teaches, instructs, motivates, and sometimes coerces one to learn. While you are focusing on becoming the greatest writer the world has ever seen or the face of new-age marketing, there are small habits that would greatly impact your storytelling ability and elevate you into the leagues of the greats.
Here are 5 habits that would guide you to becoming one of the best storytellers the world has ever seen.
Ask lots of questions
Be inquisitive. Don’t ever do as you’re told without understanding why. Be generous with your questions. I use the 5-why approach to get to the root of the matter. I read about this a few years ago from one of the newsletters I had no business subscribing to but finally paid off. Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries was the one who developed this approach. When a situation arises, ask ‘why?’ five times and you would most probably find the best approach to solve that problem.
Let’s assume that you published a blog for your audience of 10000 people and only 50 read it. Asking why five times can help you arrive at the truth of what was wrong with your article, what is wrong with the channels of distribution, or if your audience was the right one, to begin with.
Live a rich life
Have you ever read a book or an article that you couldn’t put down until you finished because each character, setting, and plot had a life of itself? If you have, the author has lived a rich life or has excellently observed someone who has and was able to translate that depth into writing.
If you want to write like that, you need to live a rich life.
A rich life isn’t one where you have many assets or wealth. I am referring to how you form connections with people and the world around you, your perception, worldview and values, how you love, how you fight, how you see people, how you respond to circumstances, how you laugh and so much more. You want to become a great storyteller? Live your own story to the fullest. Become aware of yourself and of others. Pay attention to your breaths and on other days, pay attention to someone else’s. Slow down the world at its crazy speed. See the world. See people. See you. See everything.
Choose a poison — books, movies, music, or art
One of the above has to give you tremendous joy and out-of-body experiences. You need to be obsessed with one of these four.
If you choose books, love them. Love the process. Love them from start to finish. Be finicky with them. Read them. Enjoy them. Stay in line to meet your favourite authors. Be obsessed with the characters. Are you even obsessed with books if you’ve never fallen in love with a character or wished to enter the pages to kill off a villain?
If movies are your poison, sink your teeth deep into them. Watch classics. Watch the behind-the-scenes. Follow the characters. Create fan fiction. Follow the emotions. Know what makes you tick. Follow the story. Cry when your favourite character dies. Laugh. Share. Find the writers. Follow the works of your favourite directors.
You don’t need your eyes for music. This is why it’s probably my poison. You just need to still your heart enough to hear the story behind the rhythm, the lyrics, and the flow. Music can be very liberating. It can feel free because all you have to do is pay attention to enjoy. You can listen to the same piece of music and hear different things each time, and feel different things. I also love music because it’s universal. You don’t need words to understand music. You can listen to a song in an ancient language and feel the weight of the story like you can hear the words in your mother tongue.
Art is out of this world. This is one of the easiest ways you can have an out-of-body experience. Looking at art. Running your hands through art. Watching an artist at work. It’s almost transfigurative.
Follow one of these closely. Experience them. There’s a richness it adds to life that influences the way you write and how creative you can get. There’s a spark it gives and if you’re a storyteller, you need all the spark you can get.