I know more than a few people who pick a word at the beginning of the year, instead of new years resolutions. It's to guide your focus during the year, to inspire how you want to live, to remind you of what matters. Some people choose words like relationships, creativity, authenticity, connection, family, adventure, etc. There’s a whole website dedicated to this idea: http://oneword365.com/
I think it's a cool practice. But I’ve never actively done it myself. Until this year.
Except, it's not quite the same… And it's not just this year?
Around about two years ago the word storytelling started to show up in various areas of my life. At first it was just occasional, appearing here and there in some of the books or articles I’d read, or magazines, or videos I’d watch. I didn’t think much of it, but at some point I did write “tell the stories” on a sticky note and post it by my bedroom door where I’d see it every day. But I never actively tried to tell any stories.
Then in 2017 it started appearing more. In online courses I would take for my job. In workshops I participated in, in conversations with people, and even more frequently in the books, articles, and media I consumed. By this time I had started to notice that it was appearing more and more frequently. But I didn’t know what to do with it. I had lost all confidence in my writing and photography skills. So I still didn’t try to tell any stories.
Then, at the beginning of 2018 the word Storytelling started bashing me over the head. Offbeat, the photography group I am part of, chose it as their theme for the year. We were given a project to do over the course of the year, involving both photography and written words. Then it started showing up aggressively, even unpleasantly, in other parts of my life. It was in less than pleasant critiques, every chapter of every book I read, every single video I watched on youtube, every resource I accessed while learning how to make videos (also, it turns out that video is a pretty fantastic storytelling platform that I’ve never had any interest in learning, until this year), every blog that I visited, every Instagram post I read, in many of the conversations I’ve had.
So now that I’ve been sufficiently threatened by the Gods of Storytelling, I’ve decided it's time to start telling some stories, regardless of whether or not I’m truly an awful writer, photographer, or videographer. The stories don’t care, so long as they get to live.
I didn’t choose the word “Storytelling” so much as it hunted me down and infected me, I’m just a host.
So begins this project of Small Stories.