finding your voice

Writing Prompt: The "why" behind the stories you tell and hear

The WHY behind the stories #365StrongStories by Marisa Goudy Story is currency in conversation. It's how we trade ideas, convince people about accepting a new concept, or inspire people to take action. Story is how we connect with strangers and it's how we reach the hearts of the people we know so well. This week, pay attention to the conversations you participate in. This can even work when you're watching a TV show with strong writing.

Look at the stories you tell aloud and those that are told to you. Write into one of those stories.

Write about a story you tell and explore why you tell it. Explore what meaning lie beneath. You're sharing that childhood anecdote or what happened at the store yesterday for a reason. It might "only" be to get a laugh or pass the time (entertaining someone with a story is no small matter). Explore what other meanings lie beneath.

Or, write about a story told to you and consider what you learned about that person through the telling. Their hopes, fears, passions, and past - how are those revealed in the details they share and the emotions their words convey?

Why this exercise? What can it teach you?

Stories swirl around us constantly. There's a deep truth in the concept "humans are wired for story." Take this opportunity to see that in action. When you become a more aware student of everyday story, you will begin to tell your own strong stories with greater ease and confidence.

If your stories and observations make it into a blog post or a social media share, please tag me and #StrongStories!

When did you stop telling stories that mattered to you? #365StrongStories 23

You were born a storyteller. What happened? #365StrongStories by Marisa Goudy I’d been born a storyteller. Fearless. Impassioned. Believing that it was just as easy to write a story as it was to read one. But then…

I fell in love with a more ambitious, committed writer. Praising a story became more important than writing one.

I got caught up in the scholarly race of college. Analyzing literature became more important than creating it.

I landed a job in academic library administration. Managing the collection became more important than adding to it.

I built a series of website and copywriting businesses. Marketing strategy became more important than getting to the core of the stories I was always meant to tell.

For almost half my life, I nudged my stories at the back of the line.

I told the stories I felt I was supposed to tell. The stories that served and supported others. The stories that seemed useful. The stories that I prayed would be practical and profitable.

Funny. Very few of those stories were worth a damn.

Writing for the sake of writing. Writing for pleasure, passion, expression… That was a nice hobby, confined to the journal page. It seemed like the greatest decadence, a suspect and selfish act, to craft stories of my own.  Growing up, it seemed, meant putting aside the stories that really mattered to me.

I know there are countless creative women - and men - who stand beside me and say “me too.” I know that I am amongst the fortunate who has found her voice and can say aloud “not any more.”

Bring on the selfishness, bring on the devotion, bring on the act of being in service to the page - even when someone hangs on my elbow and reminds me that I need to keep my mind on other stories too. If I’m really a storyteller, I can balance and juggle and spin all these tales together into work that makes life sing.

... And so can you. I believe that every strong story told for the greater good begins with devotion to what you really need to say - it's the first step to telling a story that connects.