We’re all storytellers because everywhere we go, we’re engaging in the stories of our lives. They’re thrilling and mundane. They’re moments and experiences. Every day we engage with structure and schedules. Sometimes we experience it normally, sometimes we pivot. It can manifest with monotony or even exhilaration. We may even have extra moments of laughter, or grief, or relational engagement. No matter how normal or wild it goes down, we’re telling the stories of our lives. And it’s all worth preserving and worth sharing. Years ago, I wrote/directed a film short, Fruitcake.
Based on that experience I began looking into what I considered to be crucial storyteller questions. So here’s 3 questions every storyteller must ask:
Q1: What obstacles are hindering my stories?
Resources, time, money? It depends on what you want to do with any given story. Want to start a non-profit? Have to add an hour to your morning to journal? Need to pay a videographer to tell it? Sometimes you just need to give yourself permission to kickstart your story. And what if resources, time, and money aren’t the obstacle to your story? What if it’s you? Your own moat built around the castle of insecurity? Today give yourself the gift of believing that your story has value. No one can tell your story like you. Only you can give it a heartbeat. You are the key.
Q2: Does collaboration help or hurt my story?
How does your story need help? Maybe it’s asking someone you trust to tell you what they observe about your life that is worth sharing right now. Maybe that’s just a sit-down over a cup of coffee. Maybe a blogger helps you. Maybe a social media person helps you. But if it starts and ends with you, it’s limited. Story Preserve started with me and Justin. My own stories are always better when I bounce ideas off of him. And our joint stories are always better when we work on them together. Back to you… It may feel like asking someone to help tell your story will end up hurting you. It won’t. It will help you. You just have to trust people that you already find to be “trustworthy”. You know the ones, the ones who want you to win. Mr. Rogers said it best: Look for the helpers.
Q3: What if my story has already been told?
There’s a famous saying: there’s nothing new under the sun. It is true. If you want to create something no one has ever heard, good luck. BIG CAVEAT!!! This does NOT mean your story isn’t worth telling now. Take fatherhood for a moment. I’m a dad who’s told countless dad stories. Guess what? It’s a universal motif. Shared. Nothing new. But guess what? It’s my own distinct story as a dad that can affect because it is in fact universal. So can you tell your life stories with complete originality? Nope. Can they be distinct and still matter? You betcha.
To hear more, check out our Story Preserve podcast, and listen to my keynote episode on: Three Questions Every Storyteller Must Ask
To watch my film short, Fruitcake, stream on Amazon Prime Video, or rent/purchase here: Fruitcake
-From the set of Fruitcake