Published Author, Professional Storyteller & Writer, and Educator
Published Author, Professional Storyteller & Writer, and Educator
Published Author, Professional Storyteller & Writer, and Educator

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Storytelling vs. Writing

Since I am both a storyteller and a writer, many of my friends think it's easy for me to create, tell and write a story, thus making it easier to get published. Sorry, it's not quite that easy.

There are many similarities between storytelling and writing which are critical to both. Let's take a look at them:

(1) Reading skills are a must;

(2) A creative mind and creative thinking are essential;

(3) Both can generate some sort of payment;

(4) It is necessary to practice each one to become fluid;

(5) Patience is an ongoing requirement;

(6) Self-promotion is paramount;

(7) Perseverance is essential in order to succeed;

(8) Expect to make personal appearances; and

(9) There is a crossover between storytelling and writing - stories can be told, written and published.


Now let's take a look at how these two art forms differ:

(1) Storytelling is usually a shorter-term project, whereas writing requires more time doing research, the actual writing (which can take a very long time) and marketing.

(2) For storytelling, the teller gets paid upon performance, while in writing payment is usually not made until acceptance, plus possible royalties.

(3) Storytelling requires working with a live audience, who gives you immediate feedback. You never see your audience when you write - unless it's at an event where people have already read your work and will comment on it.

(4) In storytelling, the teller must have strong oral and presentation skills. On the other hand, the author requires strong writing skills.

(5) A storyteller can embellish a story, using more words for dialogue and for descriptions. Not so with the writer, where fewer words are better (especially for children).

(6) The storyteller can give a voice to characters that the listeners can hear, whereas the writer gives voice to the characters through the choice of words used in writing.

(7) A storyteller has no illustrations to show the audience, but creates images for the mind. A children's book writer has illustrations that create pictures for the reader to see.

Both storytelling and writing are art forms that allow an individual to be creative and bring pleasure to others. If done well, either or both can lead to a satisfying, productive and lucrative career.

Which one appeals to you? Or, are you interested in doing both?

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