"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Monday, February 01, 2010

Lost! 3 Ways to Regain the Love and Skill of Storytelling

At one time or another we have lost something.

That moment when we discover something might be gone--whether for a short time or even forever--could cause the most cheerful and calm person to pull hairs, shed tears, and fly into a rage.

These emotions are natural, though what we do next determines whether something is truly lost. There is the hope of regaining and expanding what we originally had.

For other times, the loss of one thing creates room for another.

Such is the case with storytelling.

There are things we can afford to lose. We can gladly say goodbye to:
1. Fear
2. Anger
3. Mediocrity

Yet sometimes, as storytellers, we hang onto the negative and do not move on so to replace the feelings with confidence, patience, and love.

Fear--"Could I ever be good enough? Am I a sham?"
We are always more critical of ourselves than others are of us. Part of human nature is the desire to do our best and to fulfill our potential. When given that moment to shine, as storytellers do on stage, there is the ever need to question ourselves. We look at the audience and attempt to analyze their facial expressions and body language to determine how best to proceed with the story. When our confidence wavers, it may emerge as stuttering or stumbling of words. Sweat may bead from our heads. The whole story may be wiped clean from memory like an erased flash drive.

Way to Regain Love and Skill of Storytelling:
Before walking on stage, remember what drew you to the story you are about to tell. Then think about the reasons why this particular audience will love this story. The audience wants you to do your best and would prefer to give a standing ovation than to boo. . .unless you are at a story slam. Then the boos are more like compliments! What to do for those times when the memory lapses? Realize that you are the storyteller and that the audience is not aware of what will come next in the story.

Anger--"I am mad at the world. . .and the world will know it!"
We might question why certain things happen to us. This innocent curiosity could suddenly dwell on our minds until it transform into anger. Some storytellers use the stage as a way to inflict such negativity to the audience. Suddenly the audience is attending and listening to an intense therapy session, and storytelling is no longer the art form on stage.

Way to Regain Love and Skill of Storytelling:
If you recognize this sensation as you tell, then take some deep breaths and use those times as "dramatic pauses". The audience would rather that you develop some control over the situation rather than plowing through whatever is left of the story to tell. The whole story itself may be one of anger, and you might need to let the audience know that the story will be changed to better suit the intentions of the event.

Mediocrity--"Everyone is a storyteller. . .so why bother?"
Who has not heard the phrase "everyone is a storyteller"? When it is heard often enough, people may not take the times to outline, explore, or practice their stories. If it is a skill that anyone can do, then why bother improving it?

Way to Regain Love and Skill of Storytelling:
Despite storytelling being an art form that has always existed, think about other art forms. Everyone can sing, though does that guarantee them a spot on American Idol as a singer? Now think about theatre. You might have had the role as one of the three little pigs in Kindergarten, though do you assume that you could compete with consummate actors like Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep? You could. . .if you practiced. For extra motivation to improve your craft, think of your role models in the art. What do you think they do each day in preparation? Transform these thoughts into action. Get a story buddy or coach that you could work with in-person, by telephone, or through the Internet.

The great ones always find a way. So go forth and "be found".

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Family Famine Series Site: http://www.familyfamine.com/

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