Don’t tell a story just to tell a story

paper flower

Photo: Roxanna Salceda (CC)

We’re expected to do tasks to completion. Clean our plates. Fill our phones. Instagram our lives.

If we have a blog, we’re expected to jam it full of posts. Once a week, twice a week, three times a week. Blog for the sake of blogging.

After all, we have audiences to grow, things to sell, companies to market. We can’t do it with a blank blog.

Perhaps we should all take a deep breath.

Marketers often fall into the trap of filling air time and email newsletters simply because they exist. Not because they wield a great story that will inspire people. Not because they want to share something memorable or funny.

It’s agony to sit through filler TV episodes and dull chapters. We can see the storytellers spinning their wheels instead of spinning tall tales.

Instead of comedians feeling pressure to be always “on,” we do. We fill channels because that’s what we’re paid to do.

Stop running on inertia. Craft a story with feeling and meaning. Edit it, then edit it some more.

One risk that we should take more often is pausing, allowing silences to fill the space we normally clutter with empty chatter. Let’s clear our throats only when we have something to say.

Storytellers don’t ramble. They stride onstage, give their story with artistry and then exit.

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About Wade Kwon

Wade Kwon is conference director for Y’all Connect. See his full bio.