Are You a Natural-Born Storyteller?
A friend of mine always laughs at the fact, that talking to me is like watching a soap opera, in a good way. Something is always going on, something interesting always happens to me, people coming and going, tension, friction, love and drama.
In his eyes, my stories are the result of me being a magnet to drama. He’s convinced, that my life consists of huge events, something dramatic, funny or very emotive all the time. If I am the one telling about it, the simplest episode of an online dating failure turns into half an hour of laughing and deep thoughts about life and the world. He thinks I have a very interesting life, that is anything but boring. I am that kind of person who always has something going on.
I don’t think I have an especially interesting life. I am working, writing, raising my kids, I go to kickboxing and running. I am reading and thinking a lot. I meet friends when I can, which happens less frequently than I’d like to. I travel whenever I can — which is even more infrequent. I am dating sometimes, but that’s all.
One thing is sure: It’s never boring. But… Nothing too important or mind-blowing. Yet, when I talk about it, and when I think about it… I see and tell it as if something was always happening to me.
I realized that the most interesting people in my life have one thing in common:
They are natural-born storytellers.
Life is never boring, but you need to have an eye for a story
Everything is a story, everyone is a character, boring or exciting, but they are a character in your show. If you notice it.
There is no such thing as an event too small to tell. I read stories about extremely mundane things, very simple thoughts — the bests usually are the ones that could have been told in one single sentence. But then I wouldn’t have cared.
If you open your eye for the things that can serve as a springboard for a story, it is very hard to close it again. It can become an addiction. But not an addiction to drama, an addiction to tell stories.
Storytelling starts with telling your story to yourself
It doesn’t matter if you are a writer, a designer, any kind of creative person or anything, you can also be a “boring” housewife like I sometimes think I am… — if you notice the little things and you tell yourself about the events that are happening to you in a way that they become a story — you are a storyteller.
If you think life is pretty exciting with its ups and downs, you notice the drama in the trivial factors of life, then your narrative has you as the hero of your own story, with a villain (sometimes more than one), with your helpers, with the necessary props. The storyline is given, your choices and life shape it, but how you process it depends on you.
Overthinking is not always bad
There are so many articles about how not to overthink your life, how to let go of unnecessary fuss, how not to get lost in your own thoughts. This “bad habit” actually helps the storytelling ability. You are looking at it, trying to make sense of it, writing your story in your head and editing and rewriting it, as events start to make more or less sense.
I noticed that all my interesting friends have a tendency to notice drama, to overthink, overanalyze, overprocess their lives — to finally be able to tell their story as a whole narrative. And it doesn’t matter what happens in reality, great stories and conversation starters can come from the most insignificant grocery shopping to the biggest life events.
Being weird is great
When we are kids, we are taught in school to fit in and the best students are invisible. If you are unlucky, your family background has the same belief. The system rewards the norm. Yet creativity is way more interesting and being weird is so much more fun.
Being different can be a burden, especially if you don’t yet have the means to process it and use it to your own benefit. It can become your superpower, it can become your single most valuable trait. The greatest stories, the best aspects and the most mesmerising executions come from a weird point of view. Do us a service, please be weird and stay weird. Have a strong opinion, think a bit differently, love the things that others don’t even notice, stand out from the crowd. It’s amazing and interesting and the stories worth it!
Writing as an outlet of storytelling
Meeting so many brilliant writers I came to realize that the ones I find most interesting are the overthinkers, the over-analysers, the ones with exceptional curiosity, with an eye for the details, the ability to spot the seed for a story. The best stories I’ve read usually start from a very simple core-thought, based on personal experience, a snippet from the past, a current happening, a simple musing, a spark of frustration or a burning question.
I enjoy it immensely to follow the train of thoughts of others, to marvel at how their brains work, how they draw their conclusions, how they live what life hands them, how they phrase their stories.
“Something is always happening to me” is not a curse. Noticing that it is happening and being able to tell the story of it is a blessing. It is very comforting to see that you are not alone. It’s a relief to see that you are not a drama magnet, you just have an eye for the story, you see the world a little differently and you are a good kind of weird.
So keep on telling us your stories, share with us your particular point of view and nurture your weirdness.
Writing is one of the greatest ways of using the overflow of internal stories to your own benefit: to heal, to entertain, to be read, to be acknowledged, to open up, to make yourself vulnerable from a safe space.