Practice your storytelling technique through the eyes of a child
When meeting a new person, sometimes I mention that I used to be shy but now I can’t shut up. Though I say this jokingly, it’s true. When I quit my job and went to work for myself years ago, I had to break out of my shyness in order to survive and eventually thrive out there in the big, bad world.
I modeled people who seemed to be naturally outgoing. It took years of practice to overcome my shyness and even now, after being in my own little writing world for too long, it’s an easy mode to slip back into.
On a recent trip, I was forced to be around people and so practiced being my outgoing, extrovert self again. One way I did this was through storytelling.
Children are natural storytellers. They have no inhibitions and they let their imaginations run wild. If you’ve ever witnessed a child telling a story, you can see how they’re in the moment, reveling in the thrill of the story. Children tell stories to entertain themselves first.
Just as when I modeled outgoing people to overcome my shyness, when I tell stories, I try to model how a child would tell the story—with no censoring and an abundance of excitement.
On our trip, we met up with a friend who we hadn’t seen in a few years. As I brought him current with our life, I practiced my storytelling. I think I passed my own test, because several times he asked, “Did that really happen? Is that a true story?” They were true stories. I just made them come alive by telling them through the eyes of a child.
Now, that I’m home and back into writing mode, my goal is to bring this enthusiasm for child-like storytelling into my writing.
Exercise: Think of a recent event in your life. Practice your storytelling technique either verbally to a friend or by writing it down. How would a child tell this story?