Friday, October 14, 2016

Storytelling Workshop


So since trying to write more frequently on the blog, and taking up new challenges to steer my career in a different direction, I have been looking around Hanoi for a writing workshop, or class, to improve my writing skills and at the same time, motivate and inspire me to write more.

I have a friend at work who commented on a past blog and said that she was really enjoying my blogs (shoutout if you’re reading this, you know who you are) and I told her that I was looking for a short course or workshop for writers in Hanoi. She referred me to Knowmads Hanoi, who were running a workshop on storytelling starting from the next week! I immediately signed up and was keen and ready to go the next week when the workshop started!
The first workshop date we learned about different ways to tell stories, and a little bit about the tools to use to tell a good story. I immediately knew that this class would be a struggle for me, and not be my forte, when we were asked to partner up and tell a story – any story – and I froze. Turns out I am reeeeallly not good at thinking of things on the spot.

I remember a time back in grade 6 in my little Traralgon primary school uniform, being asked to come to the front of the class and present something with no preparation. To just get up and talk about a topic for 2 minutes. Wow was the class when Millie Burns, the most talkative, person they knew, could not get up and talk to the class for 2 minutes.
So I immediately learned that while yes, I am a talker, when put on the spot I immediately freeze. I mean, I sort of always knew it, but I never really knew how bad it was.

So when we were given time for the next exercise to sit down, write an outline and then present, I turned back to my normal chatty self.

However difficult this class was for me to be put on the spot, I decided to stick with it, and hopefully by learning a bit about a new skill, I could learn a bit about myself, and how to improve my writing. I call it learning outside of the box.
This realisation of how shitty I am at coming up with things on the spot, and following prompts, became even more evident in the second workshop day. We were told a story, it was about 10 minutes long. And at the end we learned some more tools to use for telling a story. One of them was to “zoom in” which is used to create the finer details of a scene in a story. So after being told this story, we were asked to pick one scene from the story and re-define it’s details.
I started doing this, but as I was writing, inspiration hit me, and suddenly I was not only describing a scene from another persons story, but I was creating my own story. I had heaps of fun writing it and got so carried away with it I didn’t realise when everyone else was finished and the timer had sounded. You can read it here.
There is still one lesson to go, that’s taking part next week, but unfortunately I have to go on my visa run next week on the day it’s on, so I will be out of the country for it.
What I have learned:
  • I have learned about myself.
  • I have learned that I need to calm down my brain when put on the spot, and I need to exercise the part of my brain that recalls information on the spot (both my hippocampus and my prefrontal cortex)
  • I am much better at writing things down, editing them, and presenting them, as I am just coming up with something.
  • I enjoy writing so much more than I enjoy presenting.
  • I can do things that are out of my comfort zone, and I need to do them more often.
  • Inspiration can strike at any time, always be prepared!
Thanks for reading. Follow my blog for updates when I post something new! (link in the sidebar)

-Millie Burns

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