Reverb 14 | December 13 | On Writing

On writing. Chances are, if you’re participating in #reverb it’s because you like writing. Or at least want to like writing.  Writing is like a muscle. Use it or lose it. What do you do every day to hone your craft? Or, what would you like to do each day to contribute to your writing?

I have always been a storyteller. I don’t remember a single time in my life that I didn’t want to tell a story. And when I land on a particularly good one, I like to rehearse it over and over and over again in my head and out loud; adding or subtracting details, changing my inflection, using different words for emphasis.

The spoken word is always, always my medium of choice. There are so many storytelling tools available when we are speaking– the volume of our voice, our selection of vocabulary, emotive tones of voice, posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, pauses and cadence… it’s really a beautiful art and if you watch TED Talks, you can see some great storytellers put these tools to use in some remarkable ways. Plus, the added benefit of immediate feedback. I love when I am telling a story and my audience, whether it is a group of friends at brunch or a conference room of co-workers at a presentation, reflects back to me an emotion I was hoping to elicit at that point in my story. It says to me, “Yes, you have nailed this piece. This makes sense in the way you want it to make sense.”

In the absence of the opportunity to tell stories out loud all day, every day, I use writing as fill. I write about myself and my activities here, I write snippets of thoughts or reactions in a little notebook that floats around me in various bags and purses, and I use social media to tell really little short stories (most of those are accompanied by a picture of my cat).

Writing is not my craft, so I don’t put much energy into honing it or improving my skills. Speaking is my craft, and writing is how I hone that. I write like I speak– once it’s out, it’s out (for better or worse). I don’t often edit the content except to fix an occasional grammar or spelling error, most of which I still miss. I write almost everything in one sitting because I would never tell someone part of a story, go away for hours or days, come back and change a few parts of the story I already told them, then finish the ending. It seems awkward to me to do that in print. This is probably why I would make a terrible author.

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