“Put down everything that comes into your head and you’re a writer. But a storyteller is one who can judge their own stuff, without pity, and destroy most of it.” – Colette
Trick or treat, kid. Everyone in the biz of words and ideas gets edited. When you listen to editorial feedback with openness and appreciation you’re not only a grown-up but a gracious professional. Most people – perfectionists who rarely write or speak – detest feedback. They keep their work private, “perfect” and buried alive. Do you know the richest place on earth? The graveyard.
Countless treasures and gifts are buried there. But not you, storyteller. The days of burying what matters are over.
Get out your axe. Swing high. Let’s cut deep. And yes, there will be blood.
Axe chop no. 1
There’s one thing all stories do. Stories move forward. “What happens next?” is a storyteller’s scream. Every sentence moves the action deeper and deeper into the dark, scary woods. What happens next, what happens next, what happens next? is your mantra when speeding through the dark and clear cutting your story trail. (By the way, data, facts and figures don’t inspire “What happens next?” thinking. There’s only one form of communication that delivers such sugary goodness. Stories.)
Axe chop no. 2
Here’s some advice from axe-loving Stephen King. Ask “So what?” after each major point. By muttering “So what, so what, so what?” like a soul possessed, content pieces fall into place easily and quickly. You never want to outsmart your audience by presenting too much information too soon. If you move too fast or assume too much, the kiss of death is coming. Better to get bitten in the axe now than by a zombie audience you’ve bored to death. (By the way, again: Data, facts and figures are complemented by stories so swing high and get your axe over to tip no. 1 too.)
Axe chop no. 3 (TIMBER!)
Reread, rewrite, reedit. Now retreat. Bless your work, your editor and your mighty axe. Get out your voodoo doll just in case. Remember to celebrate! You’re a courageous, wild-hearted, good-looking, gracious professional who knows how to dig deep, get dirty and transform tricky words and ideas into delicious, world-changing treats. And you’ve done all this work while running around with your mighty, story-loving axe!
Trick or treat, sweet storyteller.