A storyteller’s checklist

Signing a contract with yourself

If you need some motivation, here’s a handy note to paste next to your bathroom mirror so that when you look at yourself in the mirror each morning, you are reminded of why you write. Say it out loud until you fully believe each word.

I love my story

My story is unique and original and can only be told through my writing. The characters in my story are more real than people and the fictional world is more profound than the real world.

I have a driving reason to write

I love writing for its own sake. Whether it’s your primary way of expressing yourself, and outlet for your fantasies or a desire to entertain people, real storytellers don’t get satisfaction out of doing anything else.

I am passionate an obsessive

Through writing I want to touch somebody. I am enthusiastic, all the time, even if I am the only person in the world who believes in what I am writing about.

I love drama and the dramatic

Sudden surprises and revelations that bring changes in life fascinate me. I always turn ordinary events into extraordinary and dramatic/comedic events.

I love the truth

I believe that lies cripple the artist and that I must question every truth.

I love sensation

I indulge myself in the physical and inner senses.

I love people and humanity

I empathise with suffering souls and want to crawl inside their skins to see the world through their eyes.

I am a dreamer

I enjoy taking leisurely rides on my imagination just to see where it takes me.

I have a great sense of humour

I may not be able to stand the terrible indignities, humiliations, privations and shocks that attend the life of a storyteller, but I have developed a sense of humour about it.

I love words and language

Nothing gives me more pleasure than sound and sense, syntax and semantics.

I love duality

I have an instinct for the hidden contradictions in life; a healthy suspicion that things are not what they pretend to be.

I am a painful perfectionist

I have the discipline to keep on writing and re-writing in search of perfection.

I set a high standard of excellence

I can discriminate between good and bad writing. Highly successful storytellers are successful because they do the job better than anyone else..

 I trust my instinct and write what excites me

I choose to write what excites me and never second-guess my instinct. Successful storytellers don’t let the marketplace rule their imagination.

I appreciate beauty

I possess an innate sense that worships good writing and despises bad writing and knows the difference.

I love myself

I do not need to be constantly reassured and pampered and never doubt that I am a storyteller.

I write regularly and set writing goals

I make writing a priority. Successful storytellers are highly disciplined.

I understand the rules of the game and how to adapt to them

I know that the only control I have is the quality and output of my pages. Aspiring storytellers need to realise that until they sell a script, or at the very least, win a major contest or represented by a legitimate agency, they don’t exist. Successful storytellers adapt to the realities of the system and generally accept its flaws.

I evoke emotions in the reader

I understand that the most compelling reason why people go to the movies, read novels, watch television and see plays, is often the one element missing from most beginners’ scripts: the experience of emotions.

I want to be a storyteller

I accept the lonely task of a storyteller. Writing can be a lonely profession. In the end, no matter how many storyteller support groups I belong to and no matter how many writing discussion boards I frequent, it is up to me to do the writing. I have to rely on my internal strength to create something, to write and to have a completed draft to submit.

I am a storyteller

You need storytelling skills as big as you can get them. You need imagination, a sense of adventure and fun, an ability to weave a story together and to spellbind an audience/ readers.

I will sign a contract with myself

Before signing a contract with producers or an audience, I have to sign a contract with myself:  set goals for myself, always take ownership of my writing, explore and research the marketplace, and ensure that I meet deadlines I impose on myself. If I fail to honour commitments I have made to myself, it is most likely that I will fail to meet the harsh deadlines that are set by the writing process, my audience and those interested in investing in my talent.