5 Ways To Trust Your Instinct For Storytelling

5 Ways To Trust Your Instinct For Storytelling


Writers Write creates writing resources and shares writing tips. In this post, we share five ways to trust your instinct for storytelling.

We are all born with an instinct for storytelling and narrative. And not just writers, singers, painters, or photographers. The art belongs to all of us as an innately creative species.

Right now, you’re thinking that this doesn’t apply to you. “I don’t have that creative instinct. I don’t have the storytelling gene.”

But, think about it …

Think about the joke you’ve told at the water cooler or break room. Yes, you heard it from a friend on the weekend, but by Monday morning you’ve given it your own little embellishments.

What about your witty Facebook posts that your friends and family follow? The visual stories you’ve put together on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram. The anecdote about how you met the love of your life. That’s your story.  I bet you tell it with love.

What about the one where you lost the love of your life? I bet you tell that one too—perhaps with a touch of bitterness, irony, even dark humour.

Lost and found

Some of you may be thinking that you used to have a gift for storytelling and writing, but that somewhere along the way you lost it. Maybe forever? Never. It’s still there.

In fact, I would go so far to say that it isn’t “lost” but rather “trapped”—it’s like the pressure of a hot natural geyser just under the crust. Remember that sometimes volcanoes are covered in ice.

We don’t ever lose our creativity or our love of storytelling. What happens is that we lose ourselves in an inverted, narrow world. Of stress. Of obsession.

[Suggested reading: 30 Practical Tips To Beat Writer’s Block]

How do you improve that instinct for creativity?

5 Ways To Trust Your Instinct For Storytelling

  1. Write a letter. In a world of 280-character Tweets, we’ve lost the art of long-form writing. This weekend, take an hour to write a letter to a friend. Get some blue onion-skin paper and a beautiful pen.
  2. Get out of your mind. Another way to break open the seal of our trapped creative tinderbox is to get out of you mind. Go for a swim with your kids, or a hike with your friends. Go back to gym. Do something/anything that doesn’t require thinking.
  3. Have a plan. Develop a plan to get back to your creativity and keep it alive. Maybe, it’s a map of your creative land, or a wall chart, or an app on your phone. Give your creative land a name or create a visual shorthand for it.
  4. Fall in love with reading again. Make it your goal to read at least one of your favourite books and at least one new book each month. Set yourself a goal of finishing a book every two weeks.
  5. Write. Just write—get the words on the page, go with the flow, write without over-analysing every word. Say what you want to say.

“Play around. Dive into absurdity and write. Take chances. You will succeed if you are fearless of failure.” ~Natalie Goldberg

Top Tip: If you want to write a book, sign up for our online course.

 by Anthony Ehlers

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