3 Ways to Boost Your Storytelling Mojo

Image by Canva.com.

Image by Canva.com.

A few weeks ago the young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg sailed into New York to join protests and to attend climate talks.

Great Thunberg Sails Into New York.JPG

This incredibly brave, focused young woman certainly has found her storytelling mojo, and she's inspiring more than the youth of the world to stand up for the planet in a very serious way.

I'm very inspired that she's sticking to her goal of no airline travel. When all seemed lost for her to travel across the ocean, the marvelous solution of a solar powered sail boat was offered to escort her to the U.S.

This great act of creative thinking and generosity (from the royal family of Monica no less) reminds us that fresh solutions to great challenges abound, but we've got to tap into our creativity to allow them to come forward.

Fall and end of year fundraising is just around the corner.

How would you like your own, or your organization's, storytelling to be more authentically, emotionally and visually engaging?

The graphic platform Canva is now free to registered nonprofits to help your storytelling. It also has a free level for entrepreneurs. Better images and layouts are fabulous ways to improve your storytelling skills.

But what about you personally? What about your team? How can you better harness your own storytelling mojo?

Today I'd like to talk to you about three ways I'm tapping into greater creativity for my own storytelling that I think you'll find very useful too.

Give Yourself Permission To:

1. Cultivate Your Curiosity

The Buddhist call this The Beginner's Mind. Question your assumptions. Question your beliefs. Are they really true, or are they just things you're used to thinking? They can be modified and even abandoned when we realize they no longer serve us anymore.

I can't...I'm not good at...I'll never be able to...these people are jerks...that group will never get it...

Becoming curious is one of the first big steps in creative breakthroughs.

Personally, I thought that I just didn't have the mental bandwidth to ever understand how to create illustrations on Photoshop and the other super sophisticated Adobe programs. I just couldn't understand the language of the programs, how they thought.

I began to have breakthroughs when I asked a friend who's a rock star STEAM educator and a librarian specialist for middle school kids for help in understanding a few tools. That was so inspiring I began looking on YouTube for artists who could explain things in a way that I could understand.

This is key, you must find teachers who speak in a way that you can understand, that makes sense for your way of thinking.

Every week, sometimes every day, some new "aha" is clicking for me on how to better use these programs to create what I have in my mind's eye. I look forward to sharing some of my new designs and coloring pages with you soon.

2. Create Space for Inspiration & Fresh Thinking

You need to get out of your old paths of thinking and doing in order to allow the creative juices to flow. For me, since I work from home, this means that I need to get out of the house at least a couple of times a week with the specific aim of going to someplace new and being inspired by visually interesting and beautiful places.

Author Julia Cameron of the world famous book “The Artist’s Way” calls this an “artist date” - but I didn’t know that when I started having them. Isn’t that cool?

My partner Charlie and I are in the process of discovering many of the larger parks and historic port towns in the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas. I'm finding that the mix of nature plus interesting towns and shops is sparking all kinds of new ideas for my illustrations.

For you this could mean taking a different route home from work, taking a walk at lunch someplace in nature or a local park, setting aside regular time to journal or sketch (not just drawing but writing ideas), checking out stores you've never gone into but that have interesting window displays, or spending time on Canva, or Pinterest, or other visually alluring platforms for ideas that spark your fancy.

This isn't time to read or watch and learn skills to put into practice right now. This is time to create space for your own brain to relax and allow the creative juices to flow. Even setting aside half an hour regularly can reap big rewards. Try it!

3. Stream of Consciousness Journaling

Julia Cameron
also pioneered the concept of "morning pages". This is a practice of writing three stream of consciousness journal pages at the start of each day.

What the heck does stream of consciousness writing mean? It means write anything, anything at all, no judgement what so ever. Even if you write "I don't know what to write" it's perfect, it's fine.

What you find as you do this is that you're able to get clearer on ideas you've been chewing on, things you're curious about come forward, ideas spark. Commit to trying it for a month and I think you'll be delighted by what unfolds.

Your #1 Social Media Mistake

Image courtesy of Canva.com

Image courtesy of Canva.com

The number one mistake you're making in your storytelling, social media and overall communications are weak, boring headlines or taglines that fail to catch your audience's interest.

No matter whether you're promoting a product, program, policy or service, we live in an era where people have short attention spans.

The important work you do, the great products you create, the marvelous programs you offer, won't gain the traction you desire if you don't capture your audience's attention quickly with engaging headlines.

Email newsletters, blogs, articles, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Twitter posts and more all need snappy, emotionally engaging headlines and taglines.

Four Ways to Improve Your Headlines NOW

1) Make headline and tagline writing as important as the rest of your content writing

Top entrepreneurial coach Maria Forleo and other talented copywriters recommend you draft 25-30 headlines or taglines for each piece of content. Yes, that is a lot. But think about it, it's worth the time it if it makes the difference between people clicking to read what you want to share and not.

Make it easy. Write draft headlines and taglines as they occur to you while you're writing the actual content. This will help keep you from freezing like a deer in the headlights.

2) Use lists & numbers

When I made the switch to headlines like "3 Ways to Be a Better Storyteller" and "10 Tips to Transform Your Presentations" I saw a dramatic and immediate improvement in my click thru rates.

Note: Use 10 instead of ten, etc. Why? People make sense of it faster.

3) Offer clear, specific, useful tips and advice

People love to click on things they think will offer them quick, useful advice.

Remember in today's world to excel at online marketing you really need to use the 80/20 rule. That means that 80% of what you post should be useful information your audience will find valuable, and only 20% promotional.

4) Use one (or both) of these free testing tools to help you create dramatically better headlines

https://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer

https://headlines.sharethrough.com/

I've used both of these and they really work. Why? Because they not only rate your headline, they offer specific advice about how to improve it, and then they keep a list going for you so that you can test each new iteration.

How marvelous is that?