Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling
„Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling“ is a book by Matthew Dicks that explores the power of storytelling and how it can be used to improve our lives in various ways. The author shares his own experiences with storytelling and provides practical advice and tips on how to craft effective stories for different purposes.
- The importance of storytelling: Storytelling has been used by humans for thousands of years and remains an effective way to communicate, entertain, and share information.
- Storytelling can be used to engage, teach, persuade, and change lives: Whether it’s in a personal, professional, or public setting, storytelling can be used to reach different goals.
- The power of personal stories: Personal stories are often the most powerful type of story and can be used to inspire and motivate others.
- The elements of a great story: A great story has a clear beginning, middle, and end and includes conflict, climax, and resolution.
- The art of storytelling: Storytelling is an art form that requires practice and dedication.
- The benefits of storytelling: Storytelling can improve communication skills, increase confidence, and provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
- The role of vulnerability in storytelling: Vulnerability is an important part of storytelling, as it allows the storyteller to connect with the audience on a deeper level.
- The impact of storytelling on the brain: Storytelling has been shown to have a positive impact on the brain and can help improve memory, empathy, and creativity.
Finding your story
The concept of storytelling and tips on how to find the stories that are worth telling:
The author starts by emphasizing the importance of storytelling and its role in human communication and interaction. He notes that storytelling has been a part of human culture for thousands of years and is still an effective way to communicate, entertain, and share information. Storytelling has the power to engage, teach, persuade, and even change lives, making it a valuable tool in various settings, from personal to professional to public.
To find your story, the author suggests several approaches, including the following:
- Start with yourself: Personal stories are often the most powerful and meaningful. They can be used to inspire and motivate others, and they provide a way to connect with others on a deeper level.
- Look for conflict: Conflict is the essence of any good story. It provides the tension that drives the story forward and makes it interesting. The author suggests looking for conflicts in your own life, such as challenges you’ve faced, obstacles you’ve overcome, or moments of triumph.
- Write down your memories: Writing down your memories can help you identify stories that are worth telling. This is because memories are often rich with detail, emotion, and conflict.
- Seek out unusual experiences: Unusual experiences can provide unique and interesting stories. This could be anything from a funny or strange encounter, to a life-changing event.
- Take inspiration from others: You can also find stories by observing the lives of others and paying attention to the stories they tell.
Once you’ve identified a story that you want to tell, the author suggests the following tips to make it storyworthy:
- Focus on the details: A great story has rich, sensory details that bring the story to life and make it more memorable.
- Emphasize the conflict: Conflict is the driving force behind any good story, so make sure your story includes some form of conflict.
- Pay attention to the structure: A great story has a clear beginning, middle, and end, with a rising and falling action, and a climax and resolution.
- Practice, practice, practice: Storytelling is an art form that requires practice to get better. The more you tell your story, the better it will become.
- Embrace vulnerability: Vulnerability is an important part of storytelling, as it allows the storyteller to connect with the audience on a deeper level.
Brain 🧠 Dumping or Crash 💥 & Burn 🔥
The technique to spend 15 minutes every day to come up with new ideas is called „Brain Dumping.“ It involves setting aside 15 minutes each day to write down all the thoughts, ideas, and random musings that come to mind, without any judgment or censorship. The goal is to allow yourself to freely generate as many ideas as possible, without worrying about whether they are good or not.
To practice brain dumping, you can grab a notebook or open a blank document on your computer and start writing whatever comes to mind. You can write about your thoughts on current events, your goals and aspirations, your personal experiences, or anything else that comes to mind. The key is to keep writing, without stopping or worrying about the quality of your ideas.
Once you’ve finished your 15-minute brain dump, you can review what you’ve written and see if any of the ideas spark your interest. You can then focus on developing these ideas further, turning them into actionable steps or projects.
Brain dumping is a simple but effective way to unleash your creativity and come up with new ideas. By setting aside a small amount of time each day for this practice, you can tap into your subconscious and unlock your creative potential.
From the book
Essentially Crash & Burn is stream-of-consciousness writing. I like to think of it as dreaming on the end of your pen, because when it’s working well, it will mimic the free-associative thought patterns that so many of us experience while dreaming.
Stream of consciousness is the act of speaking or writing down whatever thought that enters your mind, regardless of how strange, incongruous, or even embarrassing it may be. People have been utilizing stream-of-consciousness strategies for a long time, beginning first with psychologists in the late nineteenth century. In the twentieth century, these strategies were adopted by writers and thinkers as a means of generating new ideas. Entire novels have been written to mimic stream-of-consciousness thinking.
But for our storytelling purposes, we will be utilizing stream-of-consciousness writing to generate new ideas and resurrect old memories, applying three important rules:
Rule #1: You must not get attached to any one idea.
The goal of Crash & Burn is to allow unexpected ideas to intersect and overrun current ones, just as that rain-drenched corner of Main Street with my dog produced an important revelation about my father and a memory of sex on a golf course. Two intersecting ideas crashed into and overran the meaningful moment that I was experiencing with Kaleigh.
So, regardless of how intriguing or compelling your current idea may be, you must release it immediately when a new idea comes crashing in, even if your new idea seems decidedly less compelling than the original one. When Crash & Burn is at its best, ideas are constantly crashing the party, slashing and burning the previous ones. It’s in these intersections of ideas that new ideas and memories are unearthed.
Rule #2: You must not judge any thought or idea that appears in your mind.
Everything must land on the page, regardless of how ridiculous, nonsensical, absurd, or humiliating it may be. Similarly, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization are meaningless. Penmanship is irrelevant.
This can be difficult for many people. For years, writing teachers have demanded that students think about grammar, spelling, and punctuation as they write. They have required students to outline their essays and stories before placing a single word on the page. They have handed their students archaic graphic organizers and insisted that they be completed prior to writing. They have ignored the reality of writing, which is this:
Many writers have no idea what their next sentence or paragraph will be. Much of writing is done in the dark. The next sentence is often as much of a surprise to the writer as it is to the reader.
The artificial demands of outlines, graphic organizers, and planning often subvert the creative process and force would-be writers to think about what they are writing before a word even hits the page rather than allowing them to spill their guts and evaluate the material later. This is because writing teachers often are not writers themselves and therefore never engage in the writing process in an authentic, honest way. Rather than teaching the writing process followed by actual writers, they speculate about strategies that might help a writer or follow the advice written in writing tomes by people who only write writing tomes, often doing more damage than good.
When it comes to Crash & Burn, you must free yourself of this dreadful, hobbling, ingrained need to prepare and self-monitor. You must spill your guts on the page, free from judgment or worry about whether what you are writing is good or right. Just put the damn words on the page as they appear in your head and on your fingertips. Ignore your inner demons.
Rule #3: You cannot allow the pen to stop moving.
I say pen because, although I do almost all my writing on a keyboard, I have found that engaging in Crash & Burn with a pen tends to trigger greater creativity (and there is some science to support this claim). But if you must use a keyboard, go for it.
Either way, your hand or fingers cannot stop moving. You must continue writing words even when your mind is empty. To make this happen, I use colors. When I have no other thought in my mind, I begin listing colors on the page until one of them triggers a thought or memory.
Red, green, blue, black, brown . . . I tell kids that brown is my favorite color, and it makes them all crazy, which makes no sense, but in truth, I have no favorite color, which makes them even crazier . . .
Writing down numbers is also a popular strategy utilized by my workshop students, though I recommend that the numbers be listed in word form. For example:
One, two, three, four, five . . . I have five fingers on each hand, and there are scars on five no six of them, which seems like a lot, but maybe not . . .
I’ve known frequent travelers to list countries. I had a mechanic in one of my workshops list engine parts. I had a teenager in a workshop list the names of his previous girlfriends (and apparently had more than enough names to work with). It doesn’t matter what you choose. Your list of items simply needs to be long and familiar to you.
Stories are gold. Precious and priceless.
Even better, I recovered memories from my past that had been lost to me until I sat down to write. Forgotten moments that will remain with me now until the day I die.
With each recovered memory, my life feels more expansive and significant. The years gather greater meaning and purpose. Surprising, significant associations between the past and the present are discovered. My life becomes brighter and sharper and better with every memory that is uncovered.
The reason is simple: We are the sum of our experiences, the culmination of everything that has come before. The more we know about our past, the better we know ourselves. The greater our storehouse of memory, the more complete our personal narrative becomes. Our life begins to feel full and complete and important.
Give me fifteen minutes a day, and I’ll guarantee you some amazing results.
Crafting your story
- Know your audience: Understanding your audience is crucial in crafting a story that will resonate with them. Consider who your audience is, what they care about, and what they are looking for in a story.
- Start with a strong opening: A strong opening is essential to grab the audience’s attention and set the tone for the rest of the story. Consider starting with a surprising or dramatic moment, a question, or an intriguing statement.
- Use sensory details: Sensory details help to bring the story to life and make it more memorable. Describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of the story, to help the audience feel like they are there.
- Focus on the conflict: Conflict is the driving force behind any good story, and it should be at the center of the story. Ensure that your story has a clear conflict, and that the audience can understand and connect with it.
- Use structure: A good story has a clear beginning, middle, and end, with a rising and falling action, a climax, and a resolution. Make sure your story follows this structure, and that each element of the story supports the overall narrative.
- Show, don’t tell: Good storytelling is about showing, not telling. Use dialogue, action, and sensory details to convey information, rather than simply telling the audience what happened.
- Be concise: A story that is too long or too rambling can lose the audience’s attention. Keep your story concise and focused, and avoid unnecessary details.
- Edit, edit, edit: Editing is an important part of crafting a great story. Read and re-read your story, and make changes as needed, until you have a story that is compelling, well-structured, and engaging.
Telling your story
- Know your story: Before you tell a story, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what the story is about, what message you want to convey, and what the key elements of the story are.
- Prepare: Preparation is key to telling a story effectively. Rehearse your story, and practice it until you feel comfortable with it.
- Engage with your audience: Connect with your audience by making eye contact, using gestures and facial expressions, and speaking clearly and confidently.
- Use the right tone: The tone of your voice can greatly impact the audience’s experience of the story. Use a tone that is appropriate for the story, and that conveys the emotions and mood you want to convey.
- Use body language: Body language is a powerful tool for telling a story. Use gestures and movements to emphasize key points and to help the audience understand what is happening in the story.
- Tell the story in your own voice: The best stories are told in the storyteller’s own voice. Avoid imitating others, and instead tell the story in your own unique voice.
- Use silence and pausing effectively: Silence and pausing can be powerful tools for telling a story. Use them to build suspense, to create tension, or to emphasize important points.
- Practice: The more you practice telling your story, the better you will become at it. Tell your story to as many people as you can, and seek feedback to help you improve.
This book is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the power of storytelling and how it can be used to improve our lives. The author provides practical advice, tips, and examples to help readers become better storytellers and harness the power of storytelling to achieve their goals.