8 useful advices to improve your storytelling

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Many readers of my blog, and lately also my Instagram followers, have been asking me to write something about storytelling techniques.

I’m obviously flattered and even feel a bit embarrassed, which is often the first mistake made by writers (or wannabe ones): self-censorship, the idea that you are not “good/competent/famous/authoritative/[fill the blank] enough” to talk about a specific topic, as I said more in detail in this post about self-censorship.

Even more so… since I was just named among the Top Travel Blogs 2018 by Movie Hustle and since I was among the Momondo Open world Award finalists, I think I can interrupt my “I’m not good enough” attitude for a moment, am I right?

Now, let me tell you about what I’ve done to improve my storytelling. I’ll tell you about the way I write and tell about myself, my job, the way I write on this blog in the attempt to raise the interest of as many readers as possible while, at the same time, preserving my identity and constantly having fun writing (I produce 10.000 words a week on average, so at least I’ve got to have fun).

I’ll tell you about a couple of things I mainly learnt in the past two years or slightly less, discussing with other bloggers and storytellers, after writing three novels and increasing my visual storytelling activity on Instagram. Please forgive me for this.

Well yes, because the little pieces of advice I’m about to give you apply to both writing books or blog articles and to the micro blogging activity on social networks.

Let’s begin.

1 – Listen to your readers

It’s the first thing I’ve done to improve. I’ve realized that many of my readers were particularly mad about some articles like this about travels (with so many comments now that it’s difficult for me reply) or articles about the blogging activity.

You can do it too by analyzing the stories that turn out to be more interesting and understanding what makes them stand out from the others.

Try making a list or ranking of your posts, pictures etc. that were most liked and a list of titles for your next posts that recall the most loved ones.

2 – Make your point clearly

quali blog leggere e seguire

The titles and first lines of a blog post or captation on Instagram/Facebook are important.

I found out that providing answers to clear and simple questions in the title itself is really useful. What many people usually search on Google, to be clear.

Then… be on the ball!  That is make sure you’ve actually answered the initial question when you’re done writing.

3 – Speaking of titles, write the title of a post that you would like to read too

instagrammer che mi hanno ispirata

If one of your posts is called “My Africa”, it will definitely be a nice quotation from a good book and an interesting article for those who know you well, like mom and dad, and want to find out whether there’s still something they don’t know about your last trip to Africa.

Besides this…you’ll probably end up having less readers interested in your post.

On the contrary, if your post is called (or starts with) “What to know before going to Senegal”, “Which country to choose for you first trip to Africa”, you can reach a wider audience.

4 – Talk to them, about them 

From blog posts to novels, people don’t like autobiographies, unless you are a Nobel prize winner who’s about to die, or Britney Spears. Or Britney Spears on her deathbed.

If you want to achieve the level of the award-winning Nobel prize holder or Britney, you first have to talk to other people by taking their interests and experiences into account.

5 – Make questions to your readers (showing interest and not being rhetorical) 

bilancio travel blogger
kelia hotzel – unsplash

If you don’t want to lose track of your readers, try to act the way a good speaker would: ask your listeners questions. Yet, definitely avoid rhetorical questions such as

Nice place, isn’t it? / Don’t you agree? / We all agree, don’t we? 

On the other hand, questions like Which destination would you suggest between these two? are way better.

Have you ever been on the verge of committing suicide after being left by someone? How did you get over it? is another good question. Or rather, a great question.

It’s not just that. Asking your readers what they would like you, your blog or your social channels to show/tell them is an idea to pursue.

For instance, doing a survey on Instagram or Facebook is a good way to interact with your followers and ask them what they would like to read the most. Or twitter chats.

6 – Don’t neglect yourself though.

ph jorige kuzmaite – unsplash

Every time I have to get personal, I freak out…that’s why I never or rarely do it. No need to worry! It’s not necessary to talk about your private life if you want to achieve a personal touch. Besides, everyone has its own different threshold dividing what is private from what it’s not.

Give your readers the part of yourself that you are not afraid to show; keep the rest as your personal identity and for the people who are lucky enough to be close to you every day.

We all have more than one “self”: some are functional screens, while others are parts of ourselves that we prefer to hide from anyone.

You have to feel comfortable when you write, the tone and key you use (irony, poetic and romantic tone, even haughtiness and self-conceit if you like…) are the clothes you choose to wear when speaking to the public.

Some feel comfortable in jeans, whereas others prefer a nice smoked grey suit or a large skirt from the ’50s.

Find your favorite tone and feel free to change it when it doesn’t suit you anymore.

7 – Arrange your thoughts in “blocks”

Thoughts fly free and take shape out of nowhere…and that’s where they risk ending up if you don’t catch them in a consistent and systematic way.

Even swallows follow a geometrical and rational pattern when they fly; give your thoughts the same functional freedom, because that’s the only way they can get far, like the swallows. And just like swallows, they’ll come back to you.

Well, enough now with these silly metaphors and let’s get down to practical examples.

Everyone can do it their own way. My way of arranging thoughts is as follows:

First, I have an idea to develop in a post. I write it down along with all the concepts that I would like to be in the post/story or whatever it is, by dividing the sentences into blocks and paragraphs.

Then, I read them again and try to move the blocks according to their consequential consistency.

For example, the initial scheme of this post was born in 3 blocks:

block 1 – Be clear about your topics 

block 2 – talk about yourself

block 3 – don’t forget the others 

Yet, after reading block 1 once again, I understood that block 3 immediately followed on from it so I changed the order.

I did the same with the other blocks, some of which can be divided into more blocks, as happened to this post that was initially made of only 7 parts.

8 – Start from the end 

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Over the years, many people have shared with me their intention to create a blog to be constantly updated or to write a novel, but once they start they are not able to go on after a while.

Whether for a short post or a more complex project, read this post

“From words to actions: how to force yourself to put an idea into practice and turn it into a project”.

Then, when it comes to writing, I suggest you start from the end.

From the last chapter or paragraph.

As Seneca used to say, there’s no favourable wind for the sailor who doesn’t know where to go.

Starting from the last word is like working with the end point in mind, just like getting lost in one’s thoughts once the course is set.

That’s it. What would you suggest? Do you have any other idea for me to improve my storytelling, concerning especially Facebook or Instagram (social networks I often have issues with)?

Write it in the comments and follow me on Instagram, Twitter and add me as a friend on Facebook

17 pensieri riguardo “

8 useful advices to improve your storytelling

  • Mar 5, 2018 in 3:32 pm
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    Your post is useful to write a story in our blog. Great tips to take note 😊

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  • Feb 27, 2018 in 8:16 am
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    Thank you for sharing such great advice! They are indeed helpful for a writer who’s struggling to write feature stories like me. I will keep these in mind.

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  • Feb 24, 2018 in 6:15 pm
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    I love what you said about titles. I always try to think about ones people would click even if they didn’t know me. So I go for things like hidden spots and money-saving tips. Also listening to your audience is so important.

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 11:29 pm
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    These are great storytelling tips! I do the questions thing at the end of each blog post imagining I’m talking to a girlfriend, what would I ask her?

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 9:46 pm
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    Great advice! listening to your readers is great advice. I think working out what suits your audience is a great start.

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 9:19 pm
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    These are some really great tips! As a blogger, I definitely can take them on board and use them to help me improve.

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 6:17 pm
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    Start from the end is a good idea. Also, listening to your readers is key and gives some great pointers x

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 2:42 pm
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    Amazing tips! I always try to balance between “what the reader wants” and “what I want”. I try to think from reader’s perspective, but at the same time, I don’t compromise on my views or thoughts too much.

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 2:02 pm
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    Some really handy tips here, I always want to have a good twist and different out look on my posts. I think I will implement these ideas in to my next one.

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 12:45 pm
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    I think listening and also knowing your audience and yourself is huge in the world of story’s

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 11:16 am
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    This part really appealed to me: Write the title of a post that you would like to read too. People are very selective in reading, so I guess I better brush up on creating titles. Or maybe I should need to ask around and have title choices for my post.

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 9:58 am
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    Some great tips here. I need to start utilising them a little bit more. Although I always talk to my readers and ask them questions.

    Ami xxx

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 6:17 am
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    Very very very great tips. I actually just pinned this so I can dissect this post later. Thanks for sharing.

    Do you mind sharing how to insert an instagram picture on your blog… I have always wondered about that. Thanks in advance.

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  • Feb 22, 2018 in 12:44 am
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    There are plenty of ways to improve on the way you write. It’s important to listen to your readers and talk to them in a way that they can relate. I love these tips of yours.

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  • Feb 21, 2018 in 10:10 pm
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    These are incredibly useful tips and I love your photos too. I think talking to your audience is one of the most important things. It should be as though you are chatting to a best friend!

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