The act of storytelling has evolved with the proliferation of new ways to share stories. Storytelling was once a personal tale, shared with intimate friends/family, now it is shared on the internet to unknown audiences worldwide. From verbal stories passed from generation to generation, to published books and magazines, to online open books and magazines, to blogging—we have charted a course from unstructured to rigidly structured and back again.
For my work, I have been learning about the use of storytelling in research and evaluation. More specifically, utilising Digital Storytelling to share the stories that aren’t being heard or are being covered in a less than empowering manner, in the mainstream media.
Wikipedia defines Digital Storytelling as, “a relatively new term which describes the new practice of ordinary people who use digital tools to tell their ‘story.’” It is being used in a multitude of ways, including being a mouthpiece for those who are usually ignored.
We have YouTube, blogs, vlogs, online magazines, Twitter, Facebook and many other avenues for sharing stories available to us and if one wants to make a career of writing, they must utilise most of these.
Sharing stories has become easier. Becoming a writer, for a career, has become much harder. A writer must not only write an excellent book, but they must also develop a platform of followers utilising social media, they must tour and actively promote their book. They must also produce a book a year and somehow squeeze in a few short stories.
It appears to be much more than a full time job. When one applies for a position, either they tend to apply for a full time position (40 hours) or, like me, they apply for a 30-hour position because they cannot physically bear any more than that if they are to go home and scribble some musings.
Is the only way to be a successful writer to load ourselves with the equivalent of 1.5-2 full time jobs? If so, are we then missing the stories that those who cannot stretch this far could contribute? With chronic illness on the rise, around 1 in 25 with Fibromyalgia (chronic pain & fatigue), are we contributing to this epidemic?
Is the paradox of modern storytelling that it is easier to share but harder to create?
I am immensely grateful that I have a platform on which I can write about my passions. It is certainly exciting to watch the unfolding of this evolution, but I want to be wary also. If we are spending hours on our computer for work and then for our reading (and more for writing, if we do), then when are we creating relationships? When are we moving and doing things that are natural for our bodies?
I suppose it is all about balance and this is what I am watching most keenly, the alternative streams opening up in which entrepreneurial people are utilising these changes and making a living as a writer, while keeping it balanced.
Four bloggers/writers that inspire me:
- I adore Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens who blogs (about “tiny homes, simple living, entrepreneurship, and more”), has written books, photographs, and offers online courses.
- One can hardly mention alternative living and online writing without mentioning Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, who has published a number of books, runs a few blogs, has simplified his life, and chronicled it online. On his site mnmlist.com he says, “You can make money as a writer or website creator without ads, without being a slimy marketer. Just build an audience by being useful and trustworthy, then help them with books, courses, software, a service, or whatever you can create that helps them even more deeply. Making money by helping people? Now that feels good.” I personally really identify with his messages.
- Courtney Carver of Be More With Less is also an inspiration to me. She has built a business out of her writing (about minimalism and a simple life) and also offers courses and has written a few books.
- I have just started Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Book, which she wrote through blogging a post at a time. This evolution of storytelling is something I can aspire to (one post at a time!).
We are in exciting times and I am looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.
Who else is inspiring you in their journey as a writer/blogger?