10 tips for enhancing your writing and storytelling skills

On Wednesday 17 October 2018, Motovila in cooperation with the Centre for Creativity (Museum of Architecture and Design) held a seminar on innovative communication approaches in cultural and creative sectors. Participants included representatives of various cultural organisations from Slovenia and Ukraine.

Za medije · November 14, 2018

Speaking at the seminar and sharing their wealth of experience were José Rodríguez, Communications Director at Trans Europe Halles (TEH) and responsible for communications of the EU-funded Creative Lenses project, and Jana Renée Wilcoxen, a content/copywriter, translator and language editor who has lived and worked in Slovenia for a number of years.

José focused on communication strategies, tools and principles that enable organisations from fields of culture and arts a more sustainable operation. He described his projects, communication approaches and the challenges he is faced with, and presented the case of redefining the marketing strategy of Aalborg Festival from Denmark, the main task having been to make the festival financially stable.

In part two, Jana explained how to use a practical approach to improve storytelling skills. Furthermore, she elaborated on what makes the creative process of shaping stories so central to various fields of operation, including fundraising activities for cultural projects. According to her, we use stories to explain “why” or specify the aims of our project, and to try to invoke empathy in our audience. She compared the creative process of writing to the process of cooking: we use various methods to transform raw ingredients (words) into a dish (story). She also listed ten tips for enhancing your writing and storytelling skills (see below).

Translated from a text by Ana Škreblin Pirjevec, Kreativna baza.
Photo by Janez Klenovšek.

Jana´s proposals of practices and approaches that can widen your capacity for teasing out and telling your story in different contexts:
1. Write regularly. Even just 10 minutes a day.
2. Write in a group, as a team. It helps to create a shared vision this way.
3. Turn writing and storytelling a game. Use Dadaist techniques, timed-writing exercises (see also N. Goldberg in resources).
4. Copy (out) the masters. By hand. This way you get to see up close how they write.
5. R-E-A-D. A lot. Across genres, formats and disciplines.
6. Cultivate a diverse diet of spoken language (storytelling) inputs. Listen to rap, podcasts, talk radio, radio plays. Go to theatre. Watch cabaret and stand-up comedy.
7. Put your words into spoken form in different contexts. Poetry slams, open mike nights, storytelling events.
8. Practise writing from other perspectives. Use old photographs as an entry way into different roles and perspectives, places and times.
9. Get to know your (target) audience. Try to understand them in every way. Write as if you are them.
10. Future writing. For example, write a review or award jury explanation about your project before it is even carried out.

The seminar was organized by Motovila (CED Slovenia) in cooperation with the Centre for Creativity, a programme run by the Museum of Architecture and Design. The project is implemented within the Centre for Creativity platform and supported by the EU from the European Regional Development Fund, and the Republic of Slovenia. The event was part of the study visit “Beyond horizons; In Focus: Ukraine”, which is being implemented by Motovila within the Culture Bridges programme.