Earlier this week I published a couple of posts, one about corporate storytelling and the other about the need for anyone in any field related to an audience to start honing and defining their own narrative and their own story world. This notion of storytelling as a vehicle and a method of gaining and keeping control of your own creative and entrepreneurial fate has been pointed out by others before. I was reminded of the work done over at Get Storied by Michael Margolis, who’s shown the importance of stories and the way to create the right personal story and narrative to many people over the past few years.
I will readily agree with Michael on any number of his points, especially when it comes to the reliance on data that has permeated a lot of the businesses I’m in contact with. Data is extremely important and very valuable, yes. But data will not let you connect to anyone on an emotional level. That’s what stories are for – catching the eye and the ear of the people you want to reach, so that they will be willing – eager, even – to also be told the data behind the story you’ve told them.
The same goes for you as a person, as a producer, as a creative – your plans and your creations, indeed your whole professional persona will fall on deaf ears unless you craft a story to act as a vehicle and deliver them to the intended audience. Sometimes someone does that for you, but then you’re no longer in control of how you’re perceived and assessed. Especially if it’s done by someone whose profession it is to create stories, be it a Buzzfeed writer, a “regular” journalist or someone else, professionals with their own agendas and their own narratives to strengthen and support.
If your story is your vehicle, think of it as creating and building an actual vehicle. What kind of vehicle would attract the attention of your intended audience in a positive way? Would you build a sports car or a bicycle? A wagon pulled by mules or a fighter jet? What do they want, how can you surprise them and what would make them stop and take a second look? And how do you construct that vehicle to make sure that the story it carries matches the vehicle itself, so they both support each other and do not cause disappointment and resentment?
Finally, remember that crafting stories take time. Just as there is no other way to write a stunning novel than to start writing it (and failing uncountable times, going back, editing, deleting, rewriting, rethinking….) there is no other way to tell a story than to start telling it. No one can tell your story with more authenticity than you yourself. No one can know the full extent of the story world your narrative grows from than you yourself. And no one can build the vehicle that will get you and your creations delivered to people in the most perfect way better than you yourself.
It’s time to move into the transportation business.