25 - Telling Stories vs Being a Storyteller

Telling Stories vs Being a Storyteller

Telling Stories vs Being a Storyteller

I’m not saying telling stories isn’t important I’m just saying not everyone is a storyteller.

Last week’s episode was an interview with the well regarded designer Stefan Sagmeister and near the end of the podcast there was mention of how in the design industry there needs to be a bit more regard for the meaning of words like ‘Passion’ and ‘Storytelling’. Stefan had recently been asked in a video about his thoughts on story telling in the design and marketing worlds. He used some language I can’t repeat here without having to tag the episode as explicit but you can watch the video yourself at TheSparkAndTheArt.com/Stefan.

I’ve always had this mantra: Tell one story at a time. Tell stories worth sharing. It all has to support a bigger story. 

What this means is that on a webpage about Widgets don’t also mention that you sell Wodgets. Tell one story at a time. When talking about your Widgets don’t say the same thing you said last time. Don’t say the same thing as your competitor. Tell stories worth sharing. Your webpage about Widgets, your twitter post about Wodgets and your youtube video about Squidgets should all support the larger story of why your company is the best Widget,Wodget and Squidget supplier for your customer. This all works for food truck owners, aestheticians, plumbers and anyone trying to offer their skills. 

While I’m working on these projects, telling these stories, I don’t consider myself a storyteller. I also try to use humour but I don’t call myself a comedian. When I perform my songs I play guitar but don’t consider myself a guitarist. For a while I considered my self a songwriter because I mostly wrote songs as my creative outlet but now writing songs is just one of the things I do. I’ve written kids’ books but I’m don’t call myself an author. I tell stories but I don’t call myself a storyteller. 

In his books, The War of Art and Turning Pro, Steven Pressfield talks about the difference between an amateur and a pro. One of his points was that an amateur feels defined by what they do while a professional just does that thing. An amateur may call themselves a photographer while a professional may just say “I take pictures.” 

This is going a little sideways, sorry. I mean it really doesn’t matter what you call yourself. It doesn’t matter what others call you either. If you are comfortable saying you’re a storyteller go ahead. Just know that once everyone calls themselves that it loses it’s meaning. I think it would be best if you said you took pictures that support compelling stories. You paint scenes that allow the viewer to create their own stories in their mind. 


Here’s where you get to do some thinking

What is your bigger story that you are trying to tell?
With each thing you make are you supporting your bigger story?
If you don’t know yet, are you at least continually creating things to help find your bigger story? Is your story worth sharing?

If today’s episode made you think of someone you know who calls themselves a storyteller I’d love you to share this episode with them to hear their feedback. The share URL for this episode is TheSparkAndTheArt.com/25

If you have any comments feel free to get me on twitter @sh_tucker

Thanks for listening and remember, you won’t get the art without the work and you won’t do the work without the spark.