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eTips from the Storytelling Coach - Number 8

Saved by a Buddy

June/July, 2001

eTips is a free, monthly electronic newsletter from Doug Lipman. You can subscribe, unsubscribe, or read a more detailed description of the newsletter at the eTips page. You can also read the other back issues.


1) Saved By a Buddy
Article on your support team - helpers who keep you on track in your artistic life:
2) Workshop Announcement #1: Living Your Artistic Vision
Full description of this life-changing workshop: .
3) Workshop Announcement #2: Storytelling Strategies for Speakers
Are you a public speaker? Do you know any speakers who would like an information-filled, practical, one-day seminar on storytelling? Full description: .
4) Special Offer: For new deluxe subscribers to Storytelling Workshop in a Box[trademark].
Save $19.25 and get all four back issues! This offer is only for eTips subscribers, and only while supplies last. See below for details.

***News tidbit: You can now register on-line for my private workshops - such as Living Your Artistic Vision and Storytelling Strategies for Speakers - see below. To register, go to .

***News tidbit: The brief story I told at the National Storytelling Conference, "So No One Would Know," is recorded as part of Storytelling Workshop in a Box[trademark] #4: "Storytelling As A Dangerous Adventure."

1) Saved By a Buddy

I'm the kind of person who loves new projects. My tendency is to think of a new project, then drop everything else to dive into it. This has advantages: I am energized by new ideas, and as long as I don't have to stop doing something, I work on it until it's done.

But, like any personal style, this one has disadvantages. As soon as my head-long rush into a project gets interrupted by something previously scheduled, I lose momentum. If I lose momentum long enough, I forget all about what I said I'd do. Then I think of a new project! The net result is that I am likely to end up with piles of unfinished projects.

a. Listeners to the Rescue

I use listening partners ("rehearsal buddies") to tame my wild project-chasing tendencies. These are the same folks I rely on to listen to new stories (see eTips #4 ), but I also have them listen to me as I figure out which project makes sense to work on, and what I want to say or write for it.

For example, one recent morning I had my regular monthly phone session with Fran Yardley (of New York state). For the first hour, I was her listener and helper. Then we switched roles.

When it was my turn to be listened to, I got out the little list I had made of possible things to work on, including: the next issue of this newsletter; the next story to post on my Hasidic Stories Home Page ; the next installment in my Storytelling Workshop in a Box[trademark] (SWB) series; and the story I was to tell at the National Storytelling Conference.

So I began my turn with Fran by talking briefly about the first three things on this list. When I got to the SWB item, I looked at my calendar to see how long I had until it was due. I suddenly realized that, if I wanted to mail issue #5 in July, I would need it at the duplicators BEFORE the National Conference in Providence. This meant I had less than two weeks to get it ready!

b. Finding a Topic

Okay, I realized I should drop the other projects for this session. But what should the topic be for the Storytelling Workshop in a Box #5?

Fran listened appreciatively as I told her my thoughts. I wanted the series to alternate inspirational, theoretical sessions (e.g., the role of the artist, or the nature of audience expectations) with nuts-and-bolts (e.g., how to learn a story, how to portray characters).

The fourth issue (which is being shipped this week) deals with the power of storytelling to create change, and the consequent pressures on us to "stay comfortable" and not rock the societal boat. That means that #5, in contrast, should give tips for hands-on story work.

I had been wanting to devote one issue to characterization. But characterization hinges on your intention for the character, which depends on your intention for the story. Yet this depends, in turn, on your intention toward your audience - which is a response, in part, toward their expectations of you. That's why SWB #2 was about audience expectations, the basic concept underlying all the others.

Now I knew! I could make the next issue be about the storyteller's intention for a story - what I call the "MIT" - Most Important Thing. (You can read an earlier article about this concept, on my web site at .)

c. Down to the Wire

Once I had talked my way to a logical choice of topic, I began talking aloud about what I would say. Then I spoke an oral "rough draft" of the issue. Finally, with ten minutes of the session left, I asked Fran for appreciations of my draft.

With only two minutes remaining, I turned my attention to another item on my list, this newsletter. Fran said, "Can I give you a suggestion?" With my consent, she continued, "I found it fascinating to hear your process of thought about all of this. Perhaps people would find it helpful to read a description of how you use these sessions?"

So now I ask: did you?

For a workshop that will help you create a support system (and much more) for your artistry, read on.

2) Workshop announcement #1: Living Your Artistic Vision

All artists hunger to live their art. Whether you are a storyteller, speaker, musician, writer, painter, or other artist, you face the question, "How do I live my art, and still live in the real world?" Do you need help with performance, marketing, dreaming, setting up support structures, goals, or ways to achieve them? Now, you can give yourself - and your art - the opportunity to spend a long weekend imagining your art as the focus of your life. And take home the skills to make your dream happen!

This workshop - a first - will take place August 9-12, 2001, in Atlanta, GA. For more, see - or ask me to email you a copy.

3) Workshop announcement #2: Storytelling Strategies for Public Speakers

Are you a public speaker? Do you know someone who is? Saturday, August 4, I'll be giving a workshop in Illinois just for public speakers.

In this one day, I'll give you the concepts and practical tips you need to tell stories effectively as part of your presentations. You'll get clear, usable information about:

  • How to learn a story.
  • How to keep your audience's attention as you tell.
  • How to bring out the point you want your story to make.
  • How to take your storytelling to the next level.
There are two ways to take part in this workshop. Four to eight participants will be coached in front of the group. Up to twelve others will participate in all other ways. All will receive a free highlights video!

Sign up by July 25 and save $30!

Read the full description at or email me for a copy.

4) Special Offer: Save $19.25 and get all the back issues of Storytelling Workshop in a Box!

I just got back from the National Storytelling Conference in Tennessee. So many good things happened there that it would take a full newsletter just to mention the highlights.

I made a special package for the conference. The idea was to offer all four issues of Storytelling Workshop in a Box (#4 is just shipping this week) to new Deluxe members at a hefty discount. I'm happy with the results - but I still have 18 copies I didn't sell.

I started to dismantle all the leftover "conference special" packages to sell as regular back issues. But then I had an idea: why not first give the subscribers to this newsletter a chance to get the conference-goers special?

Here's the deal: be one of the first 18 new deluxe members of Storytelling Workshop in a Box , and you can have all four of the previous issues for a discounted price of $39.95. You save $19.25 over buying and shipping them separately. As an added incentive - and since I'm busy enough travelling that I'd just as soon sell these cheaply as disassemble them - I'll throw in free shipping. But you must order by July 31. As always, you can cancel your membership at any time.

(Note: This private offer is not listed on my web site. To get this special price, sign up for a Deluxe Membership. Then, in the "comments" column, write something like "Conference Special." Elaine will email you a confirmation before she ships anything.)

All the best,


P. S., Email me for one or all of these, or view them on the web:
Article on your support team - helpers who keep you on track in your artistic life:
Living Your Artistic Vision workshop:
Storytelling Strategies for Speakers workshop:
What you get with the Storytelling Workshop In a Box:
On-line workshop registration:

(To unsubscribe to this newsletter, just email me your request. No special format is needed, because a person will read your message, not a machine!)




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This page was last updated on Friday, November 28, 2003
Copyright©2001 Doug Lipman