How you choose to tell your story can be as individual and unique as you are. Here are 10 resources that might help you to write or record stories that keep people reading or listening.
One of my favourite sources of inspiration these days is Ted.com where there are short (average around 15-16 minutes) but powerful presentations on any topic. There are also playlists to help you get started or choose talks around a particular theme. Here is a good place to start for storytelling: TED Talks Playlist – 6 talks on How to Tell A Story
There is sure to be some inspiration in these entertaining and informative presentations
General writing tips
Want to write fiction? Here is step-by-step process that you could also apply in your own stories.
Writing tips that are helpful whether you want to write biography or fiction.
Quick tips for telling your story – public speaking or otherwise.
Reasons you should tell ALL your stories.
Resources and tips for preserving your life story.
Oral history and digital storytelling
A not for profit organization dedicated to preserving oral histories for Americans of all backgrounds.
Helen Bartlett offers plenty of links to sites with digital storytelling resources.
Center for Oral History and Digital StoryTelling
For an extensive collection of literary resources, you might want to visit the Great Writers Inspire blog.
These are just a few of the wide and seemingly endless variety of inspirational sites and books. Please share your favorites in the comments.
Capturing stories before they disappear
I have been working on designing a variety of memory quilts. One that I want to do is a tribute to my Mom and Dad. Whenever I work on that, I am grateful for the time that I spent with them talking about family pictures and stories but I always wish that I had recorded more of their stories more formally. And definitely with some vocal recordings.
Do your parents have a box of old photographs with no identifying features? Does your favorite aunt keep trying to give you memorabilia from her days as a roving reporter? Does your grandfather regale you with stories and offer you tokens of his adventures?
You might value the collections and want to restore them for display and sharing. Or it might be that you want to learn the stories behind accumulated stuff that has come into your possession. Or maybe you don’t even want all the treasures but you want to be sure that their tales are not lost. Whatever the reason, now is the time to record some of those details.
Sit down with your Mom and Dad and have them tell you about the people, places and events in those old images.
Interview your aunt about her days on the beat and have her tell you about the people she met and the meaning of all that memorabilia.
Listen to your grandfather retell his stories and hear them with new attention – ask questions, make note and seek details.
Taking the time to do this will ensure that history is not lost. Start now. Make a date to connect. Don’t wait and later regret not asking the questions.
It is not really that long ago that the source of much of our family histories were from the oral tradition and reminiscences of people who lived it. Maintain that tradition and speak to older family members to learn about your family history.
8 Tips for conducting an oral interview
- Ask permission to take notes or record the discussion.
- Have a list of questions to start the conversation but don’t be too tied to a specific list or order. Be able to change course according to the whims of the speaker. Ask follow-up questions and be flexible.
- Start with brief, biographical questions for context and to help your subject relax.
- Use open ended questions that invite a detailed response rather than a yes / no answer.
- Give the person time to think and answer. Be prepared to wait and learn to be comfortable with silence.
- Be an active listener and check understanding of words, phrases and references.
- Rather than one long marathon session, plan on multiple smaller ones.
- Make notes shortly after the conversation while it is fresh in your mind.
Most people welcome the opportunity to share their stories. For you, it can be gift, a chance to spend some time connecting with family and friends. I remember a few sessions when I encouraged my parents to label pictures and they brought out one of the boxes then went back and forth with stories while I noted details on the backs of the photos they described. Those were fun evenings with lots of laughter. I feel lucky to have shared that time with them and only wish we had done it more often. Now they have gone and there is still so much I wished that I had asked.
Time to connect and gather the stories is never wasted. So, you might want to decline the generous offer of a stuffed swordfish but don’t miss the chance to hear its meaning. Invite Gramps to pose with his trophy fish and tell you again about the day he caught it – and how it fought the good fight. You’ll be glad that you did!
As Maria Robinson once said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Nothing could be closer to the truth. But before you can begin this process of transformation you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back….
That is how Marc Chernoff starts his powerful article on 30 Things to Stop Doing To Yourself. Marc and his partner, Angel Chernoff, started their popular personal development Life Hack blog in 2006 and now have more than 130,000 subscribers.
Everyone has days when they want to shake things up and make a new ending. Sometimes it is hard to find the strength or the direction. If you are looking for a great resource, pop over and visit Marc and Angel’s extensive library of articles for inspiration and motivation. You are sure to find something to help you rewrite your own story.
This article was from some time ago but it appeared in my social media feed again this week and it still rings true.
Mystery can be an amazing inspiration for telling and keeping stories. When J.J. Abrams’ spoke at TED, he talked about how mystery drives his interests – AND his storytelling.
5 things educators can learn from J.J. Abrams’s TED Talk | EdTech Avenger.