You Are a Storyteller: Why Being a Storyteller Matters

Knowledge

When we launched You Are a Storyteller back in 2018, we jumped right into things, starting with the most foundational component of story structure: the armature. However, in doing this, we forgot to share something pretty important with you all—the armature of our own show.

The good news is that it’s easy to figure out. Our armature is simply our name: you are a storyteller. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Humans are natural-born storytellers. We tell stories instinctively; they’re the basis for conversation and communication. Everything we do as humans requires a story, and at your core, you are a storyteller. We all are.

In this week’s episode, we’re going back to the basics. You now have a good base for how to construct a story. Here, we tell you why it’s worth it. In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The first part of being a storyteller is believing you’re one. You can’t do anything until you do this. The beauty of it is that it’s already true—we’re all storytellers. You just have to know it and live it out.
  • Writing and storytelling are two different things. You don’t have to be a good writer to tell a good story. There are plenty of good storytellers who are bad writers—and plenty of good writers who are bad storytellers. This is a particularly important lesson to learn for storytellers who’ve held themselves back from telling stories because they aren’t skilled writers—don’t let the mechanics hold you back.
  • A story is also different from entertainment. To entertain is to distract. Stories are meant to move people. As a society, we rely on entertainment. We’re afraid of emotion and we think it’s much safer to be a smart person—to be cynical, to quote the right books, to create something ambiguous and open-ended and muddy. These are things “smart” people do. If you want to move people, you don’t appeal to intellect—you appeal to emotion.
  • Once you believe you’re a storyteller and you’ve shed any misconceptions about storytelling as it relates to writing and entertainment, you can do something about the world around you. There’s nothing more powerful than the truth and nothing more attractive than conviction. When you know that as a storyteller, you’re unstoppable. If you want to change something, tell a story—the best story you can. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be true. Start with the story you are uniquely positioned to tell. What have you survived? What did it teach you? The more honest you can be, the better your story will be. You’ve probably learned something the hard way, so don’t waste the pain—turn it into something wonderful that teaches someone else how to survive.